Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hybrid Bingo Game Tutorial

I love being able to use my digital supplies to make little games to use around home, so when Libby released her Paper Clips: Bingo Templates, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. For today's hybrid tutorial I thought I'd show you step-by-step how I went from this:

to this:

This is such an easy way to make a customized game for little ones at home. I know we've had a lot of fun playing this with ours! The background papers for my project came from Libby & Tracey Howard's Fra-Gee-Lay with many of the elements from that kit and a few other of Libby's Christmas kits.

Step 1: I first opened up the bingo template that I wanted to use for my games. There are a few different options in the template pack - I used the version with rounded corners that has blocks for where the numbers would go. If you look in the preview shown above, I used the version that is like the sample card that says 'ADORE' - you can see what the blank template looks like on the bottom left. With the basic template, I clipped black paper to the bottom layer, patterned paper to the next layer, a darker solid paper to the layer just below the blocks, and then a light-colored paper to the blocks themselves and then shadowed each layer. That made my base for the cards.

Step 2: After creating my base card, I duplicated the file 2 more times to make a total of 3 cards. You could create more or less files depending on how many cards you want to make. For the cards that I duplicated, I changed the patterned paper layer to give each card a different look.

Step 3: I had decided to make these Christmas-themed, so for the items in the squares, I opened up a bunch of elements in Photoshop from different kits that fit the theme. (You need at least 24 different elements for the cards). From there, I picked an element and dragged it onto the first card. After resizing it to fit on one of the squares (and shadowing as needed), I then dragged that same element onto each of the other cards. I tried to make sure that I placed it on a square in a different column or row for each card, although I wasn't too picky about it. You just want them to be in different enought places that the cards are each unique. I also typed in the word 'FREE' using the text tool and placed it over the center square in each card.

Step 4: To finish each card, I then repeated the process in Step 3 of dragging each element onto the first card, resizing, shadowing, and then dragging it to a different place on each of the other cards until all the squares of each card were covered. I then added a title at the top and the cards were pretty much complete.

Step 5: The last thing I needed to create was a sheet with just the blocks and elements to cut out to use for "calling" which square to cover when playing the game. I created a blank 8.5x11" document and then using one of the completed cards, selected the layer with the blocks and the layers with all the elements and moved them all together onto the new 8.5x11" canvas. (Hint: To select multiple layers, you can click on the bottom layer that you want to select and then while holding the 'Shift' key down scroll up and click on the top layer you want to select. Holding the 'Shift' key down while doing this will automatically select all the layers in between the two that you click on. Otherwise, you can hold down the 'Ctrl' key while clicking individually on each layer that you want to select. )

Step 6: I did this next step for ease of use when printing and cutting the squares out. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to easily see where to cut them if I kept the light ivory I used for the cards, so I clipped a light blue paper to the squares instead of the ivory. I then merged all the layers and resized the resulting image to make the squares slightly bigger.

The squares were pretty close together, and I probably could have cut them out just fine (especially if I wasn't worried about a small amount of white trim around the edges), but I decided to use my marquee tool to move the squares out to get some spacing between each column and row. To do this, I first chose the rectangular marquee tool (shortcut key 'M') and then selected the far right column of squares with my mouse. I had to zoom in pretty closely to make sure I had the entire left edge of the square in my selection without getting any of the neighboring squares to the left. Once I had the column selected, I hit the 'V' key to select my move tool and then used the right arrow key to nudge the column to the right. Once I got that column where I wanted it, I used 'Ctrl + D' to deselect my selection and started the process over again with the next column or row that I wanted to move until I had each square sufficiently spaced.

A few notes about moving your selections: In order to move the selection more quickly, you can hold down the 'Shift' key while also using the arrow keys to nudge the selection. Also, if you are using PSE and find that the left and right arrow keys do not work to nudge a selection, you will need to first hit 'Ctrl + T' to transform the selection. At this point the arrow keys will work to move the selection; however, you will need to confirm the move once you are complete by either hitting the 'Enter' key or clicking the check mark on your screen. This is a weird quirk of PSE - the arrow keys work fine to move things around until you've used a layer style or action, after which you have to use 'Ctrl + T' in order to make the arrows work.

Step 7: With the squares all spaced out, I flattened the image and then printed it out. For the Bingo Cards themselves, I merged all the layers on each card and then moved it to an 8.5 x 11" canvas for printing. I was able to fit two cards on each sheet.

Step 8: Cut out the Bingo Cards and squares. I laminated mine to make them a little more sturdy, but if you printed on heavier paper (or if your kids are a little more gentle with things than mine) this might not be necessary.

Now that Christmas is over, I'm thinking about making another set or two of these using animals or different vehicles. The possibilities are endless!

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