Dingbat Fonts in the Project Life app

Of all the changes in the app this past year, I consider the ability to use dingbat fonts the icing on the cake. What the heck is a dingbat font?! I tried to figure out the origin of the name dingbat but couldn’t find anything associating it to a font. One of the definitions is “a stupid or eccentric person.” So how did it become the name of a category of fonts? Remember those decoder games from childhood years? Dingbat fonts are kinda like that. A designer creates image and assigns it a letter or number. “A” is now a smiley face, “B” is a star, etc. So I think the dingbat fonts are the renegade fonts in the typographical world...the eccentric ones, those that will not be constrainted to their typical label.  “You want me to be an ‘a’?! Hell no...I’m an arrow!!” Or something like that...

My only association with them until now is when I am on my computer scrolling through my font options and I get to the bottom of the list to find a bunch of weird symbol fonts and think “Why would anyone ever use these?!” 

So how do they work and why do I suddenly find them so awesome? What can we do with them in the Project Life app?! Basically this is our ticket to a whole new avenue of creativity! Do you love the overlay kits in the app? Imagine dingbat fonts as super customizable overlays! If I were traditional scrapping they are like getting a Cricut and being about to cut out any shape in any size and color you want. Or they are like using a digital stamp in Photoshop. A scallop edge, a banner, a paint splatter, a tag...with dingbat fonts you can add all of these to your Project Life page AND change the color, size, rotation and location!! The possibilities are limitless...fer reals!!

QUICK DISCLAIMER: I love being creative with the app but I still make very quick simple project life pages that I love all too. Please don’t feel like you have to use these techniques to tell your story and record your memories.

So I have four tasks and three mini tutorials!! (No wonder this took so long!) FIRST?! Your tasks!!

First task: Purchase and learn how to use Free Form Text. If you haven’t taken the $2.99 FFT plunge get at it. Here is a link to Becky Higgins video all about Free Form Text: https://youtu.be/JFNseMju4qY

Second task: Get your page ready! You can add dingbats to any form of page from an original pocket style to something like I made on this blog post: http://www.thepracticalscrapper.com/2018/10/the-storing-rocks-for-winter-page.html?m=1

Third task: Find some dingbat fonts that catch your eye and download them to the app! DaFont.com is a great source. Or you can steal my favorites (so far) either with the links below or, for a more complete list, here on this Pinterest page: https://pin.it/y2k67hibhvucfo

Fourth task: TAKE SCREENSHOTS OF YOUR DINGBAT FONT GUIDES and create an album somewhere with easy access. I have found this step to be essential!! I use an album in my camera roll. I know some who use the Notes app.


So we are first going to make a page using the dingbats within individual pockets. I made this page for my son and couldn’t find just the right card for the bottom right pocket so I made my own. I used this dingbat font https://www.dafont.com/kg-arrows.font (you should probably just download ALL THE KG FLAVORS AND FRAMES fonts right now then make sure to send a donation to Kimberly Geswein through dafont.com...she is a font/dingbat genius!)

The steps are pretty simple. 

1. Find the elements you want to use in the screenshot of your dingbat font guide and remember their corresponding letters. I want to use the two arrows circled below so I need to remember J and K.

2. Open a Free Form Text box by first selecting the journaling option in the upper left corner of the pocket then pressing the plus sign on the right side of the font options bar. Then type in your letter.

3. Now change the font to the downloaded dingbat font. You won’t see the actual font name just symbols that represent the font. If you press on the symbols the name will briefly pop up.


3. At this point you can change the color, size, rotation and location. The image can’t be dragged to a different pocket so when it hits the edge it will partially disappear. I wanted this card to have that look so I purposefully made the arrow too big.

4. You can also add another dingbat if you want to by pressing the plus sign again. I added the “K” arrow, made some adjustments, and came up with this:

I added my journaling and the word RUN with another fft box and here is the final page!! 

[Big Shot 34, All About Me Themed Cards, “Cross Country” & “RUN” Brushzilla-Regular, Swirly Arrows KG Arrows]

Here are a couple other pages where the dingbats stayed within the pocket:

No dinosaur cards in the app? Just make your own! https://www.dafont.com/dinosaurs.font

[Big Shot 22, Everyday Adventure Edition (retired), Dingbats “Dinosaurs” from dafont.com]

The apples are from another great dingbat font by Kimberly full of distressed images called KG Flavors and Frames Seven https://www.dafont.com/kg-flavor-and-frames-seven.font

[Side A: Big Shot 8, Forever Young Edition Side B: Design D, Forever Young Edition, Apple Dingbat KG Flavors and Frames 7]

This paint splatter dingbat is also super fun! Like addictive fun... https://www.dafont.com/rfx-splatz.font

[Design A, Everyday Joy Themed Cards, Paint Splatters RFX Splatz]


This tutorial is for a single or double layer of dingbats that you want to stretch over multiple pockets. The process is pretty much the same as above it’s just the set up that is a little different.

1. After you have your base page created (see blog post link above in Task Two) and in the 12x12 collage and you’ve added your text, find the dingbat you want to use and remember the corresponding letter. I am using my favorite scallop edge dingbats in KG Flavors and Frames Five found here https://www.dafont.com/kg-flavor-and-frames-five.font

2. Open a fft box and type your letter or other corresponding key. I typed a few M’s because I knew my scallop edge section needed to be a little longer. You can always add more or delete at any point.

4. Find your dingbat font (remember, only a few of the symbols show in the font selection bar but the name will only show up shortly when you press on the symbols). And now you can change the color, size, rotation, and location. 

*One little tidbit: The freeform text boxes seem a little finicky when it comes to resizing and moving in the collage section (weird, I know). It will work! You just need to be patient with it.

5. If you want to add more dingbats just open up a new fft box. I added a scallop edge along the top too. For consistency I made sure the font sizes were the same in the two scallop edge fft boxes (if you are over size 120 you just have to eyeball it). 

*Another quick tidbit: the palette that appears for changing the color in the collage section is the same as the last one selected before you exported it. If you want to change your color palette you need to go back to the original page and change it there then go back to your 12x12 collage. You can’t change the color palette while working in the collage section.

A couple more tweaks and it’s done!! Yay!!

[Design A, Be Bright Themed Cards, KG Frames and Fonts 5]

Here is a similar use for the scallop edge dingbat:

[Squared Away 7, Project 12 June Edition, KG Flavors and Frames Five]

This page is made with a great dingbat font that has lots of different shapes. The name of it is Font Frames and you can find it here: https://www.dafont.com/frames.font

[Design A, Halloween Magic Color Palette, Frames Dingbat Font]

The large distressed banner on this page is from the same font referenced above with the apples KG Flavors and Frames Seven https://www.dafont.com/kg-flavor-and-frames-seven.font

[Squared Away 15, Ready Set Go Edition, Dear Lizzy Polka Dot Party Mini Kit, Distressed Banner Dingbat KG Flavors and Frames 7]

AHHHH!!! My element disappeared or is covered by another one. WHAT DO I DO?!

Sometimes, when making adjustments or moving things around, an element you want on top can get stuck under another. The last element highlighted will be the one on top. To fix this do the following:

1. Press on the + sign like you are opening a new text box.

2. Press on the element you want to come to the top again (if you can’t see it because it’s completely covered press where it should be even you have to press on the elements over it). It should show up.

3. If there are more than two elements you might need to press the + sign again until the one you want shows up on top. I have noticed that the app rotates throw the layers each element “taking its turn” on top (does that even make sense)?

This process can get super frustrating if you have more than two layers of fft boxes. See the next tutorial if you would like to make a multiple layered page without this hassle.


This tutorial is for 2+ layers of dingbat fonts. 

Since the Project Life App doesn’t have the capacity to manage layers very well it is easier to do the following:

1. Get your base layer of words and dingbat fonts situated.

2. Save your page.

3. Open a new 12x12 collage. 

4. Add your saved page.

Now it is it ready for another layer of dingbats!!

I want to add some stitching and flowers to this page but if I try to add more fft boxes over top it’s going to get frustrating to adjust each element if needed. As you can see below, when I try to add the flowers without saving a base if I accidentally press the wrong spot the page the fft box that I hit can cause that image to “come to the top” of the layers and cover others (like the stitching I already added also). It can get really complicated to get it back in the right place when there are so many other fft boxes.

Here is the end product! I was easily able to add more dingbat layers without any fuss. The flowers are from this dingbat font: https://www.dafont.com/second-flowers-st.font

And the stitching dingbat font can be found here (you need to find the “download here” link in the blog post and make sure you are in your web browser to access the download):


[Big Shot 13, Color Palette Better Together, Floral Dingbat Font Second Flowers St.]

Here are some other layered dingbat font pages I have made:

[Design A, Little Moments Edition, Banner Dingbats KG Flavors and Frames Five, stitching dingbat Crafters Stitch]

I am obsessed with this next dingbat font that is all different shapes of confetti!! View and download it here https://www.dafont.com/confetti.font

[Big Shot 13, Color Palette In the Details, Triangular Dingbat FE Confetti]

Whew?! Did you make it through?! I am sure there is so much more than can be done!! I hope this inspires you. Tag in @thepracticalscrapper if you play around with dingbats in the Project Life App!! I want to see what you come up with!!

1 comment:

  1. Such a good post! When you are back from your social media break, you'll have to take a look at the page I made with duck silhouette dingbats! I posted it in the FB group and on IG.