How to change your background in blogger

This post was originally published at Songbird. If you like DIY inspiration of the home and decor kind, than please visit me there.

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Well it’s about time, isn’t it! That I would write another episode in my DIY blog design series. I didn’t mean to keep you waiting this long, but yeah life happens.

Voor de Nederlandse dames. Voor het gemak (vooral dat van mij) schrijf ik mijn blog in het Engels en dus ook deze serie over hoe je zelf het een en ander aan je blog kunt veranderen. Dat wil  niet zeggen dat jullie mij geen vragen in het Nederlands kunnen stellen of niet om wat meer uitleg kunnen vragen. Aarzel dus niet om het mij te laten weten als je iets niet snapt of als je vragen hebt. Ik help jullie graag!

Ok then. I ended the last episode with a new header for my DIY Blog Design blog

DIY-Blog-Design-Blog-screenshot-1_th

That blue background really needs to change stat! Don’t you agree.  So let’s get on with that, shall we.

When you think about your background it is good to realize that it consists of two parts: the main blogging area (where you posts and sidebars are) and the outer shell around your blog. Here at Songbird the main blogging area is white and the outside area has this grey flowery pattern. If you have a small screen and you  have set your blog width pretty wide (I covered how to do that here) than that outer space can be quite narrow, but with the big screens some people have these days it can be a visible and integral part of your blog. Most of what I am going to cover today has to do with that outer space.

But first a little bit about you main blogging area. Just like the rest of your blog you can customize this too and add a background or color to it. I personally don’t like busy patterns here. Your blog is first and foremost about your posts, the writing and the pictures, and you want them to stand out as much as possible. So although your main posting area definitely doesn’t need to be white I’d go for light colors as your background. Make sure there is enough contrast between your text and the background. It is so much easier for your readers that way.

Ok then now how to change that background behind and around that posting area?

How to change the background of your blog

You have several options.

1. Use the blogger template designer and choose a single color for your background.

The template designer will give you some good options based on your color scheme. But that is a bit limiting. You might want to adjust your background color to the colors of your banner picture or font. Blogger allows you to choose your colors by the Hex code, so if you know the hex code of your desired background color you can be very precise. But how do you find the hex code? Well I always use my photo editing software. I open the picture I want to use as my color source (this can be a print screen too), get the color picker and choose the color.

red

Here I picked a color from my red mouse, got the code and pasted it in the outer background box. You can customize your colors that way on the backgrounds tap in the advanced menu. Already a lot better than that blue, blogger suggested for me isn’t it.

2. Use the blogger template designer and the background pictures blogger provides.

Although the red is already a lot better I think we could do even better. Maybe a nice picture will make it stand out - in a good way-  some more. How about this:

construction paper

I choose some construction paper that I found under the business options. Just go to backgrounds – click on the arrow next to the color box and choose something you like in the drop down menu.

There are a few issues I have with this option blogger gives us here.

  • First almost all of them are full size pictures, which means there is one picture that gets pasted behind your main area. Therefore most of the background image is not visible and what is visible becomes pretty meaningless. They are nice pictures to use as your desktop wallpaper but not for your blog background.
  • Second the options for the most part aren’t exactly feminine. For us Home D├ęcor bloggers the choice options are limited.
    Which brings me to:
  • Number three: your background will hardly be original and that’s what this whole exercise is about.
  • Four this is a biggy! I have heard rumors that the background can make your blog hard to scroll and load. So that would be a big no-no.

3. Use your own picture for your background.

Right in that same screen where blogger shows you the options they have collected, you also have the option to upload your own picture.

upload picture

Any picture that is big enough and that you have stored on your computer can be uploaded here. So maybe you have a great cloud picture, or a field of flowers, or of the fur of your doggy baby. Or you could use scrapbook paper that you have scanned.

The Background Fairy wrote a full tutorial on how to upload your own background image.

4. Use a (free) background someone else made for you.

There are several kind and generous souls who have made it their mission to provide us all with beautiful free backgrounds. Sometimes they even throw in matching headers and buttons to create a cohesive blog look.

Pasting one of those backgrounds to your blog is easy. You just save the code they give you into a HTML/Java script gadget box and your done. (all the sites tell you exactly how to upload their backgrounds).

Let’s see what The Background Fairy can do for my DIY Blog Design blog shall we.

I found this linen look background that I liked, I copied it as a gadget to my blog and looksee:

linen background

When using a free background there are a few things to consider:

  1. Try them out on your test blog first, because not all of them work with the new template designer
  2. Check to see if they work with your settings, some of them are designed for blogs that haven’t adjusted the width of the main area
  3. You will have some advertising somewhere on your background. I guess that is only fair because you are getting the background for free.

You can find loads of background designers if you Google “free blogger backgrounds”, but I have selected a few favorites:

www.backgroundfairy.com   ~~~~~~~~~~                      lots of lovely vintage images here!
romantikgrafik.blogspot.com  ~~~~~~~~~                      very romantic backgrounds
1stfloorflatblogology.blogspot.com ~~~~~                      backgrounds with a nice fancy twist
shabbyblogs.com/?page_id=5  ~~~~~~~~~                      lovely selection of backgrounds with a cottage feel
www.freebloggerbackgrounds.com ~~~~~                     if you like graphics this is the site for you
thecutestblogontheblock.com ~~~~~~~~~                      an amazing collection in all kinds of styles

 

5 Design your own background by using tileable wallpaper

Okay then these are not ‘unique’ enough for you yet, you want to fully customize your background. Find a design with a nice little pattern that fills up that screen. Maybe something like I have here on Songbird? Well that kind of background is made with tileable wallpaper, which basically means that I have uploaded a really tiny picture that repeats itself into infinity AND whose pattern runs fluently without any visible lines between the pictures.

You can search for tileable wallpaper and you will find hundreds and hundreds of different textures to choose from. Damask, toile, paper, sheetmusic, stripes, polka dots you name it and it is out there.

Here are just three links that will give you an amazing choice already:

www.grsites.com/archive/textures/
bestdesignoptions.com/?p=1576
webtreats.mysitemyway.com/category/photoshop-resources/patterns/

Since I am looking for a background to fit my DIY Blog Design scheme how about a background consisting of nails?

I found that tile in link number 1.

This is how it looks:

nails 2

Not bad he. I think I like it. This is how I did it:

- remember try this on your testblog first -

1. Choose the background you want to use and save it to your computer.

2. Upload the picture to a picture host, this can be photobucket, picasa webalbums or even a post on your testblog. As long as you get a web address for that picture.

3. Copy this bit of code EXACTLY and paste it in your CSS style sheet (you’ll find it at the bottom of the list on the advanced tab). I explained what the CSS style sheet is in the post on How to Make a Blog Header.

body {
background:url(http://i562.photobucket.com/albums/metal065.jpg);
}
.body-fauxcolumn-outer div {
background: none !important;
}

4. Copy the link to your picture and replace the text in red with it.

5. Click apply to blog

 

This is fun you can test a whole bunch of different backgrounds this way.

metalsiding baby blue
Damask red plaid

I think I quite like that last one, so here it is a bit bigger

plaid 3

Or got to my DIY Blog Design blog  to see it live.

Ok and one more for the road. If all of those free downloadable tileable wallpapers are still not enough for you. I found a tutorial on how you can make one yourself using Photoshop:

How to make your own tileable wallpaper

Ok. This concludes this episode, I think I have given you enough options here.

Remember always fiddle with your testblog before you make any changes to your real blog, and save your blog and your template before you do anything. You can read all about the five safety precautions you should take before you fiddle with your blog design here.

Have fun designing a background for your blog! And remember just keep asking me questions, I will answer them either in the comments or in a next episode of my DIY Blog Design series.

Love,

Marianne

1 opmerking:

  1. Wish I can express as you do. What a blog? Can you give the names of websites who are paying for bloggers? I am sure you must be making tons of money. I want to do the same, but in own sweet time. Meanwhile I have worked on my interests and posted some micro-jobs on blog commenting service,freelance it jobs. Mostly I have my writing skills on offer. Many have responded. I am happy as anyone can be.

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