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By Barbara Kotsos

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Coffee table hard-bound books are becoming very popular. You can create them online and have them printed and sent to you, or you can make one yourself using StoryTeller™ Photo Book Creator from Epson®. StoryTeller is an all-inclusive kit with everything you need to turn your digital photos into a beautiful, hard-bound glossy photo book for friends and family to enjoy. And it can be printed and assembled right at home.

You get a durable, pre-bound book in one of 3 popular sizes (5x7 with 10 pages, 8x10 with 10 pages, and 8x10 with 20 pages), along with glossy photo pages, a glossy book cover, plus easy-to-use software that lets you select, enhance and place up to 400 photos.

We’re going to discuss FIVE different ways to use Epson’s 5x7 or 8x10 StoryTeller.

1. Building your book using StoryTeller software: Once you have the StoryTeller software loaded onto your computer, building your book is very easy! Professionally-designed templates let you lay out pages on your computer. Choose from 6 different book styles, each with 10 page layouts for a total of 60 unique page layouts, plus 18 cover selections. Then, you can add your own captions and titles to tell the story behind your pictures – all of which makes creating this stunning book a breeze. The process is so simple, and the results so amazing, that you'll want to make several.

2. Creating your book with designs meant for use with Photoshop Elements: Another quick way to create a 5x7 book is to use one of the pre-designed templates available for download on We’ve created and included alongside this article two sets of templates – Good Times Designs and Heritage Theme Designs. All you need do to complete these pages is to add your own photos behind the template in PhotoShop Elements and then add any journaling you’d like. Be sure to keep checking the CreativeZone website for additional designs and sizes in the near future.


A. Open the templates in Photoshop Elements by choosing File | Open and searching for the page you want to open.

B. Open your picture in the same way. You should now have both your template and your picture(s) in the photo bin at the bottom of the PSE screen.

C. With your photo in the main work area (as shown to the right) and your Move Tool selected (the keyboard shortcut for the Move Tool is V), click on your photo with your mouse and drag it down to the template in the photo bin.

D. The template will now pop up into the workspace with your photo on top. You may need to resize your photo – just hold down your Shift key, click on one of the corners with your mouse and drag it until your photo is the desired size (be sure to release your mouse before you release the shift key). In order to move your photo underneath the template, you’ll need to click on the photo layer in your Layers palette and drag it below the template layer.

Image Photo layer on top of template layer Photo layer below template layer

E. Just follow these steps to complete the 10 pages you’ll need to finish your StoryTeller! Look for 8x10 templates to be added soon!


3. Creating your StoryTeller with original designs you create in PSE:
If you’re familiar with digital scrapbooking, you can create your own custom pages by designing a 5x7 scrapbook page using your favorite papers and embellishments! Just open a new document in PSE by going to New | File | Blank File. Select a custom size of 7 inches wide by 5 inches tall (or 10 inches wide by 8 inches tall for an 8x10 book), be sure your Resolution is set to 300 pixels/inch (in order to print your page at high quality), your Color Mode is set to RGB Color, and your Background Contents is set to White.

From here you can add digital papers, elements, journaling and your photos. If you need more instruction, you might consider taking Epson’s “Digital Scrapbooking Kits and Photoshop Elements” class at an upcoming event. If you do a search on the internet for Digital Scrapbooking you can also find tutorials at many of the digital websites.

4. Creating your StoryTeller by scanning and reproducing your traditional scrapbook pages: If you have a scanner you can create a digital copy of your traditional pages and then resize them to fit inside your StoryTeller! With 12x12 layouts, you’ll need a program like ArcSoft’s Panorama Maker or Scan-n-Stitch Deluxe. These programs allow you to scan your layout in two or more sections, with plenty of overlap between, and then automatically merge the pieces together into one seamless digital document. The programs use the overlapping sections to match the rest of the layout, working from the inside towards the outside. Once you have your layout scanned and stitched, you can resize it to a 5” x 5” square for 5x7 StoryTeller books or 8” x 8” for an 8x10 StoryTeller book (in PSE you would do this by going to Image | Resize | Image Size and changing the width and height to 5 or 8 inches).

Use the steps above to create a new 5x7 or 8x10 file, then use the Eyedropper Tool to pick a dominant color from your layout. Use this color to fill your blank document (using the Paint Bucket Tool) then click on your layout and drag it onto the 5x7or 8x10 file. Your layout should be even with the right side of the page, leaving you 2 inches on the left side of the 5x7 or 8x10 page that will be in the color you chose for your background.

5. Using your StoryTeller to Showcase your Favorite Photos: Do you have 10 or 20 favorite photos? Why not print them in the size of your StoryTeller and add them to the book – you’ll instantly have a hardbound copy of your photos. And recreating this favorite book as a gift is so easy!

We’re sure you’ll come up with even more ways to use your StoryTeller. And now that you have the saved file on your system, it would be so quick and easy for you to print out a few more copies to give as gifts. Have fun being creative with your StoryTeller.

Sponsor: Epson America, Inc.

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