Canva is a great tool for creating lots of junk journal ephemera (as well as digital collages and art journal backgrounds). There’s all kinds of things you can make using Canva’s pre-made templates, frame elements, etc.– and that includes inchies.
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We’ll be using Canva’s free tools to create an inchie template. You don’t need a Pro account for this, so if you haven’t used Canva before and was just waiting for an excuse…here you go!
That said, I love my Canva Pro account and highly recommend upgrading to it if you regularly use Canva for your digital collage art.
What are inchies?
Inchies are little 1″x1″ squares of miniature art. They’re a more recent creation in the scrapbooking/junk journal world; traditional inchies are made using paper scraps from larger collages and junk journal pages. I think they’re an off-shoot of Artist Trading Cards, which started off the same way.
I like inchies because they’re super easy to make (whether digital or physical) 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/stamps/etc. or use them as-is!
Twinchies are the same thing as inchies, but 2″x2″ instead of only 1″x1″.
How to make inchies on Canva
Canva’s frame elements make it really easy to crop images into specific shapes. They have all sorts of shapes, include letters! (That’s how I made the header image on DigitalJunkJournals.com.) 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.
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.
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 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.
>>> Don’t feel like making your own inchie template? Download my free Inchie and Twinchie Canva template instead!
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).
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