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How to Make a Book of Shadows Using Adobe Photoshop Elements

Updated on September 1, 2016
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

My Free Digital BOS

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Sage's Book of Shadows Pages on Tumblr.

How to Make a Book of Shadows

A Book of Shadows is arguably the most important Wiccan tool, and many Pagans and Witches have adopted the tool to use as their own. If you're like me, you want your book to be legible, first and foremost, and you also like it to be attractively decorated. Unfortunately, not everyone can (or has the time for) calligraphy and sketches.

Almost everyone has access to a computer these days, though, and if you're familiar with the art of digital scrapbooking, then you can apply these concepts to making Book of Shadows pages on the computer. All you need is photo editing software.

Here, I'm going to walk you through the steps of creating a lovely Wiccan Book of Shadows page using Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. Once you learn the techniques, and how to navigate your own photo editing software, you will be able to make your own Book of Shadows pages, fully decorated!

Book of Shadows

Wiccan Book of Shadows are an essential tool.
Wiccan Book of Shadows are an essential tool. | Source

To Make Your Own Book of Shadows

You Will Need
Computer
Photo Editing Software
Clip Art or Digital Scrapbook Embellishments
Printer
Colored Printer Ink
White Printer Paper
A Binder (post bound or 3 ring)

Starting A Book of Shadows Page

Open Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE) and start a new document. I want my pages to be 8-by-10 inches, the size of standard white printing paper.

I improve my resolution to 180 since I am planning on printing images. Some people like to put it up to 300 for printing, but I only do that when trying to print photos. No need to waste ink.

Make sure the Color Mode is set to RGB Color, and the Background Contents are set to White. You can give your image a name, too.

Photoshop Tutorial Image 1:

Source

Creating the Background Page Coloring

Let's start by giving the page a little discoloration and texture, so it looks more like aged parchment. I like making my Book of Shadows pages look 'antiqued'.

  • First let's click the Set Foreground Color tool and the Color Picker will open. Select a desired shade. I picked a pale-ish yellow for the background.
  • Click the Paint Bucket Tool and fill the entire white page with this new color.
  • Go back to Set Foreground Color and choose a slightly darker, taupe-like color for your page.
  • Click the Brush Tool and set it to a brush that will give you a mottled look. I picked the Assorted Brushes category and chose Texture 3.
  • Go to Size: and choose 1000 px. Then go to Opacity and move it to 15%. You want it blotchy, but faded to give it texture.
  • Position your curser over your paper and click once. This will give you a nice, light 'dab' of color. Do NOT click and drag! Just click one, quick click!
  • Now move the cursor and "dab" by clicking once more. Move the cursor and do it again, and again, moving it all over the paper, overlapping sometimes. This will give a nice, light, mottled look on the page. If you want, adjust the opacity or the px size, or try different brushes and colors.

At this point you should save it as a PNG document. Saving it as a PNG will allow us to change it as we add more layers.

Photoshop Tutorial Image 2

This is where you find everything discussed in the previous section.
This is where you find everything discussed in the previous section. | Source

My Page Transformation

I took my page from white to flat parchment to a textured, antiqued-style parchment in a couple of minutes!
I took my page from white to flat parchment to a textured, antiqued-style parchment in a couple of minutes! | Source

Adding Text to Your Book of Shadows Page

Let's write something on this page!

Decide what you want to put on the page. I'm going to put a prayer to the Goddess Vesta. This prayer is from the ancient Orphic Hymns, and the translation by Thomas Taylor is from the 18th century so it's public domain and I'm free to use it.

  • First I'm going to take the title and make it fancy. Click on the Text Tool and pick a font.
  • Adjust the text size-- you might want to use a larger font for the title.
  • Position your cursor and type your page title.

Now I want to fancy it up a bit. I click the green checkmark on my upper tool bar to commit the text. That turns into the style drop-down menu. I play with styles.

  • I choose Inner Glows and apply it.
  • I click on the drop-down style menu and select Drop Shadows and apply it.

Now I'm going to type (or copy and paste) my prayer. I'm going to make the font smaller so it won't be too big for the page.Other than that, I'm going to apply the same settings and styles as I did to the title so they're uniform.


Photoshop Tutorial Image 3: Playing with Text Styles

Notice how plain text looks different from text with an inner glow, and then it looks even more different with a shadow. Fool around and see what combinations you like.
Notice how plain text looks different from text with an inner glow, and then it looks even more different with a shadow. Fool around and see what combinations you like. | Source

Photoshop Tutorial Image 4: Arranging Text on Page

 I kept mine to all one side because I want to put an image on the other side.
I kept mine to all one side because I want to put an image on the other side. | Source

Photoshop Tutorial Image 5: NOT What I Want!

Of course, you might like the border. You might even put a frame around it-- it's up to you. This is just a demonstration to inspire you to make your Book of Shadows your own.
Of course, you might like the border. You might even put a frame around it-- it's up to you. This is just a demonstration to inspire you to make your Book of Shadows your own. | Source

Photoshop Tutorial Image 6: Color Adjusting

Notice I made it more of a sepia tone.
Notice I made it more of a sepia tone. | Source

Decorate Your Book of Shadows Page

Find digital images for your Book of Shadows. Raid free Pagan clip art sites, sites that have clip art of pretty designs like flourishes, flowers, Celtic knots, fantasy or mythology images. Important Tip: make sure the images are free to download and use, such as creative commons or public domain; who wants the negativity of stealing copy written images from starving artists in their Book of Shadows?

I found some free mythology images from a university. I downloaded and saved an image of Vesta. I don't want to use it as-is though, or it will look like this on my page (see photo at right).

I don't like that because it will give me that stark white border. So instead, I'm going to remove most of that white background.

First, I need to get rid of those stark black lines-- they're too dark and will not look good next to my brownish font.

  • Open your image in a separate file.
  • Go to Quick edit mode.
  • Play with the color adjusting tools until you like the color.
  • Save a new image file.


Recommended Reading:

Scrapbooking Digitally: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Your Memories Digitally
Scrapbooking Digitally: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Your Memories Digitally

If you want to make amazingly beautiful digital Book of Shadows pages, then start learning digital scrapbooking. It's all the same thing, except instead of your photos you're scrapbooking your spiritual information. This is a really great guide.

 

Photoshop Tutorial Image 7: Highlighted

Source

Photoshop Tutorial Image 8: All Decorated

Much better! I could remove ALL the white if I wanted to using the same method, but I like the white in her body; it lends contrast and reminds me of a statue.
Much better! I could remove ALL the white if I wanted to using the same method, but I like the white in her body; it lends contrast and reminds me of a statue. | Source

Now to get rid of some of that pesky white around my image.

  • Go back to Full edit mode.
  • Click on the Layer drop-down menu.
  • Click on Flatten Image (If Flatten Image is not highlighted, it just means the layer is already flat).
  • Click the Layer menu again.
  • Click New, then Layer From Background.
  • Select your Wand Tool.
  • Click on one of the corners of the page to highlight the image.
  • Click backspace.

Now, behind the image should be a white and gray checker board. You’ve gotten rid of the annoying surroundings. But we’re not finished yet—now we need to paste it on our page.

  • Click CTRL A to select the entire image.
  • Clic CTRL C to copy it.
  • Switch to your Book of Shadows page.
  • Press CTRL V.
  • Use the mouse to arrange it to the space you want.

Notice Now that the stark white border is gone.

Photoshop Tutorial Image 9: Effects

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use the computer for making your Book of Shadows?

See results

Even More Book of Shadows Decorating Fun

Now I am going to get a little fancy with my images to add some finishing touches. Again, you don't have to use the ones I'm using; you can play with it.

  • Go to the Effects Bin.
  • Click on the drop-down menu.
  • Choose desired Effect Style (I chose Bevels).
  • Click and grab the desired effect with the mouse, drag it to the image and let go.
  • Go back to the Effects drop-down menu again (if desired).
  • Choose another Effect (I chose shadows).
  • Click and drag-- you get the picture.

My image looks embossed on the page now!

Only I think it's a bit too bold, actually.I can change that easily by going to the Layers bin right below the Effects Bin.

  • Select the layer with my image.
  • Go to the Opacity bar and reduce it. I like the way it looks at about 70%.
  • Reduce the opacity on other images or fonts if desired to make them all even.

This makes it all look ever so slightly faded to fit my book's aged appearance. I added some more images and decorative touches, and used the same effects on all of them for uniformity.

Don't forget to save your PNG file.

Now, save it again as a separate JPEG file!

Keep the PNG file in case you ever want to make changes and print it again. But the JPEG file is what I'm using for the finishing touches, to print and to share.

  • Go to the Layer drop-down menu again.
  • Click Flatten Image.
  • Click the Eraser Tool.
  • Go to the Brush drop-down menu to pick a brush that will give a speckled/mottled effect. I'm going with Thick Heavy Brushes -> Rough Flat Bristle.
  • Lowering the Opacity of the Eraser Tool (I'm lowering mine all the way down to 5%).
  • Position your cursor over the page, click and hold, then "Scribble" over the page with the mouse.

This is a barely noticeable touch that gives a uniform look to the entire page, making the print look even more aged. Now I can print it.

To antique it further, you can use paper crafting techniques like tearing the very edges, or very carefully burn them with incense charcoal.

Photoshop Tutorial Image 10: All Finished!

You Can Also Glue Them In Books Like This

Put the Page Into Your Book of Shadows!

Get a book that’s post-bound or with a 3-ring binder and put your page in there. You can punch holes in it and put them in your book directly. You can also use plastic drop-in page protectors. Two pages fit in one sheet protector, back to back, to create a front and back page. The page protectors don’t look quite as "antique", but you’ll never have to worry about wax splashes or oily finger prints.

Another option is to have your book professionally bound-- you won't be able to add to it or change the page order around, but if you're set with the book the way it is, or if you're making one as a gift to pass onto children or coven mates, this can be an excellent option.

I hope I've helped get the creative juices flowing for you! Good luck with making your own Book of Shadows!

More Advanced Digital Scrapbooking Tutorial:

© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright

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    • grafis-media profile image

      grafis-media 14 months ago from indonesia

      greatttt thank you

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks Eddy! I love doing anything crafty, collages are so fun and freeing, lol. Glad this inspired you. I appreciate your comments.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Wow what a great hub.

      In the past few months I have realised a flair for crafty collages etc. So maybe I can add another after reading this. Thank you so much for sharing and here's wishing you a great day.

      Eddy.

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Hi Billy, great to see you! Thanks, have a great week!

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks VVanNess. Thanks to my love of art and scrapbooking (not to mention my boss when I worked as a photographer and switched from film/darkroom to digital/computers), Photoshop is one of the few computer programs that I've learned to master. That and MS Word. Everything else I just sit there looking at it like this: o_0

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very helpful...very detailed instructions....well done!

    • VVanNess profile image

      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      Oh, even better!! I might have to check this out on my own! What a beautiful job you do on these articles!