This file includes Scrapper's Block, Design Principles, Scrapbooking 101, Postage Stamps as Decoration and Photo Mounting Sleeves, and miscellaneous ideas. Also see Album Types, Fancy Pages and other pages in the Layout Section.
Simple Blues Clues Idea
Crop photo to a medium sized circle and mat with Caribbean blue. Then cut four smaller blue circles for "toes" and mount the whole thing like a blue paw print.
Paper Photo Corners
Cut strips about one half inch wide. Fold both ends of the strips to the back (or front) matching the sides to make a triangle. Trim across the bottom of the triangle.
Using fancy scissors along one edge makes them look elegant. Stickers on the fronts jazz them up a bit. Make them in different colors and sizes. Attach with splits or tape runner.
Try two layers - a solid and a print - for Christmas Corners.
Another idea: Insert photos through slits on the front of a mat. Add stickers at corners if desired
Multiple Events on the Same Page
I started with fifty years of photos and had I put one event per page I would have had an impossible number of albums. Also I often only had one photo - or none - from an event. I journal a LOT but not enough to fill every page with just one photo. I use some poems, quotes or stickers to fill in space but I usually focus on photos and stories. I don't mind some 'white space' but not so much that it looks like I haven't finished the page.
I use different techniques to "divide" my pages depending on the number of events per page and how different they are. I alternate dividing pages horizontally, vertically or diagonally to add interest. I am a chronological scrapbooker and am not comfortable mixing things from several years. I don't mind mixing within the same year - like all the photos of cousins or a particular group of relatives from within that year. For example, a photo of one niece's new baby along with her brother's wedding and their whole family at Christmas. Sometimes I do seasonal pages like spring/Easter photos with pastels; fall/Thanksgiving/Halloween with brown, orange and yellow, etc.
Here are some divided page ideas I have used or seen.
- Leave one section of the page white and cover the rest with colored paper. The sections do not have to be equal.
- Make a border with a pen and ruler and then use different colors of paper to mat the photos and journaling in each section.
- For several unrelated pictures with not much to write, mat them all on different coordinating paper, leaving space to journal around the pictures. Crop them so there is little white space between. This can take some planning but has a really neat look when you get it done.
- Put photos all around the edge with a journaling box in the center that describes each photo.
- Put the photos on the page with no matting. Journal below the photos with different color pens and put a small sticker beside the journaling that is related to the photo. You can also put the same sticker at the top corners of the photo.
- For a page with four different events use a different color triangle in each corner. Overlap a photo on to the triangle and journal about the photo with matching pen color. If there is room you could have a photo in the center of the page as well.
- Divide a page with a row of punches, wavy pen line or design line sticker with little stickers along it. Confetti, hearts, flowers, etc. make good dividers.
- Use a die-cut to journal on if you have not photo of an event. A story about Thanksgiving seems more interesting if if it is on a turkey shaped die-cut.
- Using your calendar create journal boxes with things you did during certain months. For example, have a page with journal boxes of activities during October and November along with a photo kids playing in leaves, in Halloween costumes and eating Thanksgiving dinner.
- Crop photos on one part of the page in circles or ovals. Crop those in the other section in squares or rectangles. Use appropriate stickers in the corner of each section.
- Draw a wavy or irregular line diagonally across the page. Use die-cuts in opposite corners to reflect the theme for each section. You could journal on the die-cuts.
- On a page that has mostly memorabilia and journaling put tiny stickers here and there to designate the various subjects - a band aid for illness, heart for Valentines day, scissors for the day your daughter cut her own hair :-(
- Draw a road on the page to separate two events or places on a car trip. Add a car sticker or die-cut on the road or use it to journal. See sketch. (Cindy Winter)
- Use 1 1/2 page for one event and 1/2 page for another. Use drawn or sticker borders around the page and a half to visually pull it together. Use contrasting colors for paper, mats and journaling to further divide the page. See sketch. (Dwaina Six)
This type of album looks better than it sounds and is very enjoyable to look at. Not so much for strangers or people who are looking for layout ideas but people who know me can spend hours pouring over the pages - even sometimes when I wish they wouldn't because I suddenly remember how personal some of the stuff I put in the album is.
Labeling a Group Photo
When you have a group photo where people are not in straight rows it can be difficult to label so people can identify who is who. One way to do that is to trace the silhouette of the people in the photo on a piece of paper using a light box - or just sketch it. Write the names in the appropriate place on the paper. You can put the sketch in the album next to the photo or make a pocket for it. You can put the photo in a photo mounting sleeve, adhere it with a paper hinge and put the sketch behind it. You can also copy and reduce the size of the sketch but I would write the names first.
Using Small Photos
Ideas to use with wallet size photos from friends of their kids and pets - or postage stamp size photos you get with portrait packages.
- Set the pictures on colored paper (light works best) as if they were in a collage frame.
- Cut pictures into circles and place in center of large flowers that grow out of bottom of a two page spread.
- Crazy quilt the pictures with "stitch" lines between them.
- Cut into hexagons and placed into a quilt block (grandmother's garden block)
- Put on large strip of film (made out of black paper) or negative strip. Use the title "Action!".
- Assemble photos into shapes like a puzzle or mosaic.
- Place pictures on paper hearts all over the page.
- Cut pictures into hearts and place in bouquet bunch with streamers or stems coming from bottom of hearts. Use the title "A Bunch of Love".
- Cut a large photo into a silhouette. Let the silhouette tell you what the page should be. Is the child bouncing balls with his/her picture on them all over the page? Holding a bunch of balloons with his/her picture? etc.
- Make a large half watermelon or watermelon slice using pink or red paper and green or evergreen paper. Cut holes where the seeds should be then used those little pictures as the seeds (mounted under the holes). You could also crop the photos in the shape of seeds. (Aretha)
Where was the camera?
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Was it far away?
'Cause I(we) have no pictures
for the _________ day (fill in the blank like: Christmas day).
What a crazy thing that I (we) have done.
I can't believe there are really none!
(or there is really not a single one!)
So read the stories that I've written here
that tell about our memories, so dear.
I use postage stamps to decorate my album pages. I usually just put one in each corner with a simple border drawn between them. Most recently, I used the James Dean stamps for a 50s party; the Chinese New Year stamps for our trip to China, the desert scenes for our trip to Sedona and various decade stamps for my family reunion. (Since the post office makes huge profits from stamp collecting they take great care in making sure stamps are made of archival quality materials.)
New stamps are introduced on a regular basis. Search online or ask at you post office to see what is currently available. (Michele Rice)
Using cardboard, cut a 4" square, then cut it on the diagonal. Next, cut a smaller triangle out of the larger one, leaving an "V" shape that is about 1" wide from outside edge to inside edge. It will look something like this:
You can use this template for many things. For example:
- As a Place Holder:
Once photos have been positioned on a page, nest the "V" template next to one corner of a photo, lift the photo, attach adhesive, then replace photo at the inside corner of the "V". This saves time in trying to recreate the original position.
- For corner decorations:
Line it up with the corner of the page and trace with a pen. Embellish with stickers.
- To make photo corners:
Cut 1"x2 1/2" rectangles out of scrap paper. Lay the outside point of the "V" template on the long edge of the strip of paper so that it is centered. With the tip of a scissor blade, lightly score along the two edges of the template. This allows for a sharp crease with a perfect 90-degree corner. Fold the two ends back; fasten with a photo split with the tab facing the corner. The folded, fastened corner can be trimmed with straight or fancy scissors. To insure that the finished corner is even, turn to the back side of the folded corner and make a mark on both folded edges that is an equal distance from the point and cut from mark to mark. Use larger rectangles for large photos. This is easier to do than to describe.
- As a Positioner:
Use for positioning corner triangles, photos, design line stickers, etc. when you want two or more corners of your page to match.
(by Jean Gifford)
- Turn the first page of your album into a "title page". Give the important basics on this page - who, where, what, when.
- Choose pictures with a common theme to go on a single page or a "two page-spread" (two pages that face each other).
- "Cropping" means cutting away part of a photograph. Some pictures can be improved by cropping out extra sky or ground, people with backs toward the camera or people in unflattering poses. Cropping can be used to draw attention to the main subject of a photo.
- Cropping also allows you to fit more photos on a page!
- Draw attention to the most important photo on a page by
- placing it in the center of the page
- placing it in the upper right corner of a page
- cropping it into a circle, oval or other shape
- matting it with colored paper (to cut a mat easily, mount your photo on paper then cut carefully about 1/4 inch away from the photo).
- Stickers, border designs and die-cut shapes can be used to enhance your pages, but they shouldn't take your attention away from the photos.
- Choose colored paper to emphasize one main color in a photo.
- A die-cut shape has two parts...the die-cut and the "frame". Adhere the frame to a page and "journal" inside it.
- Memorabilia can be used to add variety and interest to your pictures. An event ticket or brochure or menu can be added to the page right along with your photo.
To best preserve your photographs, however, don't let these items actually touch the photos. The memorabilia can contain acids which can deteriorate photographs.
- Ribbons and medals can be mounted in your album; just make sure that "lumpy"
items do not directly face a photograph; this will protect your photos from scratches. (Color copying works great for things like that.)
- Newspaper clippings are best preserved by photocopying them, then adding the copies to your album. Acid-free, lignin free paper is best for permanency, but any copy is better than the newsprint, which will yellow quickly.
- The most important thing to add to your album is "journaling", the words that tell the story of the photographs. At the very least, make sure each page tells "Who, Where, What and When". Adding some "How and Why" to your journaling will make your pages come alive for future generations! And don't worry about your handwriting - It is an important part of who you are, and YOUR handwriting will look great on YOUR pages!
- Ideas from others:
Dental floss can be used to remove pictures from magnetic albums.
Use miscellaneous photos and memorabilia for the year that you are not sure where to place in your album and make a collage page that is a time capsule for the year. (Sherilyn)
(many of these ideas are from Margie W., Barbara M. and Michele R.)
Keep in mind some simple principles of design and your pages will be attractive and visually pleasing. The following are some things to think about as you lay out your pages.
- Place photos that are light in color or that have a lot of sky at the top of the page and photos that are dark in color or that have a lot of ground at the bottom of the page.
- Large or busy photos look better placed toward the bottom of the page.
- Small photos tend to "float" if mounted singly. Place them in a group or on a larger piece of paper to create one element.
- The natural focal point of a page is the upper right hand corner. Choose your favorite photo, or the one that best denotes the event for that space. Or use that space for the heading or special journaling. The upper left and lower right corners are secondary focal points.
- The most important photo on the page, if it is fairly large, can be placed in the center of the page. It should be placed on colored paper to call attention to it. Photos surrounding it should not be matted.
- Crop pictures in a variety of shapes and sizes, but not more than two to three different shapes per page.
- When cropping photos it is better to crop big than too closely.
- Crop photos so that the subject is not dead center. (The focal point is usually best if it is in the intersection points of the imaginary lines of that picture divided into thirds.)
- If your photos contain arms or legs that are cropped off, place those photos at the edge of the page. They will not look so awkward there.
- When using colored paper on a page, choose one or two colors that are prominent in the pictures themselves. The purpose of the matting is to enhance the photo, not to overpower it. Use a color wheel to find complimentary or analogous colors to use on the page.
- Patterned paper behind a photo competes with the photo rather than complementing it. Create a "buffer zone" by double matting with a solid color directly behind the photo.
- Do not combine pastels with brights unless they are from the same color family.
- A symmetrical arrangement can be very attractive. However, page after page, it may get predictable and boring. Try mounting photos to one side, leaving space for simple embellishment (sticker, die-cut, lettering).
- White space is an important element to an aesthetically pleasing page and it allows the eye to rest. However, too much white space in one spot can create a "hole" in the page and draw the eye there instead of to the photos.
- Leave a margin of 1/2 " to 1" of white space around the page.
- Never have someone looking, facing, or walking off a page (unless into the center of a two-page spread). It will be distracting to the person viewing the album. You want a photo to take your eye into the action of the page.
- Rarely ever do more that three of anything (shapes, colors, etc.) on a page. Three of anything almost always looks good (three groupings, three small stickers, etc.) Odd numbers are almost always more pleasing than even numbers.
- If you can't decide whether to add anything else to a page, DON'T! Leave the page and come back to it later. Better a simple page than a cluttered one that distracts from the photos and journaling.
(condensed from an idea by Donna B.)
- Use your regular scissors as little as possible, instead use a trimmer, circle cutter, cut paper, and die-cuts.
- Use only a few stickers or die-cuts.
- Use fine tip pens for decorating and writing, and bold point pens for captions and titles.
- If you like a page idea that has a border design, consider doing the border (or simpler version of it) on just the four corners or two opposite comers. Usually a corner border should extend about 1/3 of the way out from the corner
- Decorate just the corners of your page or just the outside vertical edges of a two page spread. It means less decorating but ties your two pages together.
- Use an elaborate idea for the first page of an event and a "low-fat version" on the following pages, keeping the same theme throughout the event.
Mix and Match Albums
Take one each of the blue, green and mahogany album and mix up the binding covers to get an album that goes with the school pages. This was for someone who had three children but you could do it with two colors also.
With the new black album, some folks might be able to do school colors (black and silver!).
Photos you want in your album but don't always want everyone to see
I sometimes put photo sleeves ON the page protector. I use page protectors on every page, but when I use a photo sleeve under it, it's hard to pull out to look at. So I put a not-so-important-but-can't-toss photo UNDER the item in the photo sleeve.
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I do this a lot now, and it's a nice surprise for the kids to see what photo I HID under the photo sleeve!
- Use them in the "traditional" way to display a photo that you want to be able to remove.
- Cut a hole in your page and use them to make a window.
- Use them to make a little "mini album" on your page.
- Make a paper hinge and use them to hide journaling or to put a photo behind another photo...makes more room on your page. This is also great for when you come up with extra photos after you have already completed your page.
- Use them for greeting cards, brochures, etc. These can also be "hinged" to make more room on the page.
- Use them to make an open pocket behind a photo, then make a "diagram" that labels people in the photo. Works especially well for a large group photo.
- Layer them on a page to show letters, certificates, etc
- Use them to make a homemade pocket page.
- Make a shaker box out of them by cutting to size, filling with confetti, small stickers, sand, dried flowers, glitter, etc. Then, re-seal (see tip below) You can also use Photo Tape to re-seal them. To hide the photo tape, just cut a shape of paper that is slightly larger and then cut a circle or other shape in the middle and place on top of your pocket. This makes a frame with a window to view the contents.
- Use them to display mementos like locks of hair, coins, stamps, etc...cut to size and reseal.
- Use them to make a "Move-along" interactive border on your page.
- Use them to protect the "Pop Up" portion of a Pop Up Page.
- Use them in place of a Portrait Sleeve Page. This acts like another page and you can have double-sided viewing or insert a piece of paper to make it single-sided.
- Use them in a pre-made gift album. The recipient can then slip whatever photos they want inside and the album is finished!
- Use them in Photo Sharing Cards, "Grandma's Brag Books", or your own albums. Photos can then be updated and exchanged.
- Make a Treasured Recipes album and slip recipe cards in...makes it easy to take them out while cooking.
- Note: you can attach the sleeve on the OUTSIDE of the page protector to make it easier to view items.
- If the Sleeves is not the size you need, cut it to size, leaving about 1/2 to 3/4 inch on the side. You may need to "seal" one edge so the document does not fall out. CAUTION: do NOT seal all sides or condensation may become trapped!
- Here is a way some people seal the edge of a photo mounting sleeve that has been cut but I don't recommend it. (I would tape the edges with photo tape and cover with a mat.)
Put the mounting sleeve in a phone book with ONLY 1/16 inch sticking out.
Using a lighter, run a flame around the edge of the mounting sleeve.
Do not get the flame too close to the sleeve or leave it in one place too long.
Leave one side open so the document can be removed if needed.
- Use the photo mounting sleeve to put confetti or dried flowers in your albums.
Cut about one centimeter out of each side of the sleeve (the open sides)...but only on the back of the sleeve. The front will be longer than the back. Take photo-mounting tape and tape the extended "flap" you created to the back of the sleeve, sealing off one end. Put in whatever you want to save. Then do the same with the other end. You can place on a page as is. Or you can cut a piece of paper slightly larger and then cut a circle or other shape in the middle. Adhere this over the sleeve, creating a window to the memorabilia.
- Some advantages of using CM photo sleeves:
-Made of clear, photo-safe, polypropylene plastic.
-Protects from fingerprints and moisture
-Protects from acid-migration from paper memorabilia.
-A completely "reversible" option for your photos, documents and memorabilia.
-Mount with photo tape or photo splits
-Mount horizontally or vertically.
-Open on two ends (tape along one edge to close the opening if desired)
-Can be cut and refolded to accommodate different sizes of treasures.
Non-scrapbooking uses for Photo Mounting Sleeves:
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- Inside lunch boxes, daily planners, on calendars, book covers, lockers, inside kitchen cabinets or medicine cabinet, checkbook, etc.
- Use sleeves to cover recipe cards, business cards, birth certificates, etc. (laminating birth certificates makes them an illegal document, so this is a solution!)
- Use on the front of files, kids drawers, boxes, storage containers, etc to label contents.
- Attach sticky magnet strips, add your favorite photo and use on refrigerator/file/locker. (Have kids decorate a frame for it!)
- Make an activity book for a child. Cover activities (dot-to-dot, maze, numbers and letter to trace, etc.) with a sleeve and use a dry-erase marker to do the activity. Make a pocket in the back cover of the book with a sleeve to hold the cloth!
- When making a sentiments guest book or the activity book above, use a sleeve attached to the inside of the back cover overlapping the edge (so that it sticks out) to make a pen holder. Slide the pen into the sleeve at the edge and close the book (test before your mount the sleeve).
Put these ideas on strips of paper and grab one whenever you have
Scrapper's Block! (You can add other ideas - I only kept the more unusual ones.)
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- 'Dangle' something from the title
- Decorate the four corners of the layout
- Do a "Like Father, Like Son" or "Like grandpa, Like granddaughter", etc. page
- Do a "Totally Me" layout using pictures of you doing your "stuff"
- Do a BEFORE and AFTER layout (diet, pregnancy, dirty/clean)
- Do a Garden layout
- Do a House And Home layout
- Do a Paper Tearing layout
- Do an "It's Broken" layout (Toy, leg, car ???)
- Do Paper Piercing on a page (with a needle or tool)
- Do Paper Weaving
- Frame a picture with the same picture-(cut out part of it)
- Journal two points of view for each picture
- Make a Peek-a-Boo page
- Put your title down the side of the page
- Scrap a Family Tradition
- Scrap a sports event or a game
- Scrap an accomplishment - yours or family member
- Scrap an event that includes some sort of food (Picnic, Thanksgiving, restaurant)
- 'Sew' or 'cross-stitch' on a layout with pens
- Use "Something from the Kitchen" in a layout
- Use a template (shape) to make a journaling square
- Use a torn photo mat
- Use photos from different time periods (to show change or similarity over time)
- Use the Name of a Song for a title
- Write a Letter to the person in the layout