All of this changed when my blogging friend, Amanda, introduced me to Scrapblog (http://www.scrapblog.com/). Through tips from her and my other blogging friend, Elaine, I was able to make a cute, professional looking header. Scrapblog is a free (well, mostly) user friendly site that enables you to make awesome digital scrapbooking pages for free. What's great for bloggers is that the space they give you to work with is compatible with the size of a header!
Scrapblog has all sorts of stickers and backgrounds to choose from. Recently, I noticed that some of their stickers and backgrounds are no longer free and must be purchased. They still have really good free stuff to choose from and design a header with, though. I have yet to spend a dime there. It will take a few minutes to get acclimated to the site, but you will be cranking out masterpieces in no time.
Some helpful tips for creating a header on Scrapblog:
Once you have created your header, save and publish it (circled in yellow above). You must publish it in order to view it again. It will give you the option of keeping it private or public. Once your Scrapblog has been published, go up to file and export it as a JPEG (circled in red). I like to save my headers to my desktop so they're easy to find and then I move them to another folder later.
Uploading your header to your blog is easy. Simply go to customize-->layout and click on 'edit' in your header. Select 'instead of title and description'. Browse for your new header. Once it is loaded (you will be able to see a small pic of it) click save and view your blog.
I have made headers in Scrapblog before. I didn't want mine to be so big, so what I did was leave the bottom fourth of my page blank. Then I exported the file as a JPEG and opened it in Paint. I simply cut the blank bottom portion off, saved it and POOF! my header was ready to be uploaded to my blog.
If you have a minima template, you will notice a thin border interferes with your header. To hide it, go to your fonts and colors page, click on border, and make the border color the same as your background. It will still be there, but not as noticeable. I will go into more depth on how to remove this border by tinkering with the HTML of your template later on when I do a tutorial on borders.
Have fun and enjoy your new header!
Related Post: Create a Free Header w/Picasa