How To'sday | Picassa Photo Collage by Stephanie Umpleby

Posted by Melodee Cloud

If you've ever wanted to learn how to re-size your photos so that you can create a layout featuring more than your basic size prints, then today's tutorial by Stephanie Umpleby will be right up your alley!


Do you ever have many pictures from the same event that you want to include but don’t want to create multiple scrapbook pages to include them? Smaller pictures are the answer! But, if you don’t have your own printer, how do you do it? One answer is Picasa.

With Picasa, you can make collages of pictures. You can set the collage size to standard printing sizes (4x6, 5x7, 8x10, etc) print a bunch of small photos inexpensively. Here is how you do it!

First, download Picasa if you don’t have it. It is a free photo editing program from the Google guys, it works pretty well, and is Mac and PC compatible. Next add your photo folders to Picasa. This is very easy to do, and as long as always save to the same location on your computer, it is a one-time thing. Go to File, and then Add Folder to Picasa. I have mine set to “scan always” our picture hard drive, so each time I open the program it is up to date.

If you have a big folder of photos and only want to use some of them, you need to sort out the ones you want to use. There are two options. First, you can “star” the photos, which will put them in the Starred Photos folder. To “star” a photo, all you have to do is click on the star icon near the bottom center of the screen. You can “unstar” the same way. Starred photos will have a little star appearing in the bottom right corner of the screen for easy reviewing. You can also make a new folder and copy the images there too. Normally I start with the starring process, and if I want to keep the folder for later, I then export the starred photos to a new folder.

Now that you have your photos, you have some decisions to make. The first is what kind of collage you want to make.

  • A picture pile allows you to move the pictures around and alter the size and angle of the pictures. The “default” pile is normally not very appealing, but with some maneuvering, you can end up with some cute results.
  • A mosaic creates a square/rectangle grid of pictures, trying to fit all of the images as best as possible. You can have it shuffle the pictures and drag them around, but it doesn’t give you 100% control over where the pictures are located.
  • Frame mosaic puts one picture in the middle and the others around the outside as a frame.
  • Grid gives you equal-sized rectangles of all of the images you choose. There are two other options, but I don’t think they are very useful for scrapbooking (contact sheet and multiple exposure).

I like the picture pile and mosaic for my kids’ monthly update photos because I can include all of the “good” pictures from the month into one picture that I then email to friends and family (and later scrap as one photo). For vacation pictures, I love the grid collage because I print out several photos at once and then decide how to scrap them later. If I did a picture pile or mosaic, I would have less freedom in scrapping because it is harder to break those collages up.

Here are some tricks to the grid collage.

  • First, sort your pictures by direction (landscape vs. portrait).
  • Select the perfect number. I prefer to select a perfect square (4, 9, 16, …). Doing these two things will keep the aspect ratio of your photos almost unchanged, which means the program won’t crop the picture much. You could crop all of the images to begin with, but otherwise Picasa does the cropping “automatically” and the results aren’t always desirable. Also, if you chose a non-square number, check to see if there are duplicates included in the collage. Picasa does this if it thinks the best layout would be met by including one or two more photos.

Here are the actual steps to making the collage.

1. Select your photos. All of the photos you select should appear in the selection box at the bottom left of the screen. I normally use Ctrl, Click or Shift, Click for this.

2. Click on Collage (at the bottom center of the screen).

3. Change any settings you want on the collage.

  • The top setting is for the type of collage.
  • Grid spacing adjusts the border around each photo.
  • Background color is the color of the border/grid lines and the background of a picture pile.
  • Page format allows you to choose the print size (including a custom option so you can do any size you want) and direction.

4. Shuffle or drag the pictures around if you need to.
5. Create the collage

Here is a page done using only 4x6 collages from Picasa. I kept one as a whole 4x6, then I cut many of the others in half. I used the last print as two square pieces and as individual pictures at the bottom.


Thank you Stephanie for the great tutorial! I'm excited to incorporate a little more of the unique photo sizing with Mid Week Mojo sketches and will be able to point everyone in the direction of this tutorial to help them create those unique-sized photos for layouts. Speaking of, the sketch for tomorrow does incorporate some smaller photos. :)

If you have an idea that you’d like to share with us, please send it to We want to keep your ideas coming. Next week we have a great tutorial by Brittany Perry which you will simply not want to miss!

Be sure to check in tomorrow morning for Mid Week Mojo. For those of you that want to get started with smaller photos, the sketch includes one 4x6 vertical and four 2.5 x 1.75 photos.

Have a great day and scrap happy!

Topics: How To'sday, Featured, Scrapbooking


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