Spend any amount of time in the art journal world and you’ll eventually run into people talking about inchies and twinchies. If you’ve never heard of this before, it can be super confusing!
Never fear, for I have info ready for you!
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What are inchies?
So what are these things, anyway?
Inchies are little 1″x1″ squares of paper. They’re an offshoot from junk journals and scrapbooking, which both produce a lot of paper scrap. Rather than throw away a perfectly good piece of paper, people turned them into small squares and started using them in collages and other page designs.
Eventually they evolved into intricate, tiny pieces of art on their own– maybe as an off-shoot to Artist Trading Cards, which are similarly small pieces of art.
Twinchies are the same thing as inchies, but 2″x2″ instead of only 1″x1″. 😛
I like inchies because they’re super easy to make and they come in handy for filling in small gaps in a collage or junk journal page.
Use inchies for…
- Quickly adding interesting to a collage page or background.
- Small elements in tiny junk journals.
- Quick gifts for art friends or for trades.
- Digital inchies are a great way to quickly create a bunch of inchies all at once. Use printed inchies as base and embellish them with more paper scraps/stamps/etc. or use them as-is!
Inchies are also a great way to create pre-selected collage elements that aren’t just the same thing over and over again. Because you have to crop the image in a specific way to fit into the 1″ frame, it ends up being slightly more interesting than if you’d just used the whole thing all at once. Sort of puts a new perspective towards that ephemera or photo.
How to make inchies on Canva
Since I’m a digital junk journal girly, I’m always looking for way to create things using digital resources.
Canva is a great tool for creating lots of junk journal ephemera (as well as digital collages and art journal backgrounds). I love my Canva Pro account and highly recommend upgrading to it if you regularly use Canva for your digital collage art. There’s all kinds of things you can make using Canva’s pre-made templates, frame elements, etc.– and that includes inchies and twinchies!
Canva’s frame elements make it really easy to crop images into specific shapes. They have all sorts of shapes, including…squares! We’re going to use these frame shapes to create a template for our digital inchies.
There’s a lot of clicking, duplicating, and fiddling, so I’ve made a video tutorial that goes over the main steps for creating an inchie template in Canva.
If you prefer to read instructions (or want something to read along with the video), I have also typed out instructions here:
First, create a new design in the paper size of your choosing. I tend to use 8.5″x11″ so it’s easier to print at home.
Once you have your canvas, go to the left sidebar and click on Elements. Scroll down until you find the Frame section (or just search for “Frames” in the search bar).
Select the square frame element (circled in red in the photo above). There are several available, so make sure to get the right one! It should have pointy corners and NO tear stylization. Drag the square frame onto your canvas.
Click and hold one of the corners. Drag the corner INWARD. This will let you resize the frame element to 1″x1″ (or 2″x2″ if you’re making a twinchie). Canva’s editing display will automatically show the element’s measurements as you drag the corner, so you can get it right without having to guess.
Once the square frame is sized correctly, duplicate it five times for a total of 6 squares.
Evenly space out the squares into one row. Canva has guidelines that will help get them lined up evenly and in a straight row. Use Canva’s Position tool to make sure they’re spaced correctly.
Once that’s done, select all the squares by clicking and dragging over them. Then Group them together.
Now duplicate that row until you have enough to fill the page. Evenly space out the rows as best you can, and then refine the placement with Canva’s Position tool again.
Make sure to leave plenty of space around the edges of the canvas so nothing gets cut off when you print it.
Tada! The inchie layout is now complete! Now you can start filling in the squares with art or background images.
Drag and drop your selected art image into the square frame element. It’ll automatically fill it in. To adjust the image placement more to your liking, double-click the square frame. This’ll bring up the image adjustment menu where you can resize, adjust the position, etc. until it looks good.
Remember that these inchies are tiny! It may look big on your screen but it’ll print out small.
Also, because of the way you can change the focus of the image element within the square frame, you can use the same piece of art over and over again, and as long as you adjust the position each square will look totally different.
And finally, download your page of inchies as a PDF Print. This’ll ensure that you have high quality art to print out. If you’re going to use your inchies as DIGITAL EPHEMERA, then save it is as a PNG with a transparent background (only available for Canva Pro users).
You may also be interested in these posts:
- How to make a heritage junk journal on the computer
- What is a Visual Journal?
- What happened to Smash Books?
- How to make a travel gluebook for collages on the go
- Make ugly art to be a better artist