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Let’s Talk Layouts!

February 25, 2016

Can we be honest here? Traditional scrapbooking is about having fun being creative in real time with paper and pictures, but it’s also about documenting our life’s adventures. And let’s face it, it is not always easy scheduling the time to be creative. Life just seems to get in the way. Whether it is kids, family, grandkids, graduations, weddings, moving, sports, jobs, you name it, and the time adds up.  So when you do get your precious time to scrapbook, some easy tips can help you learn to make the most of it.

Lauren-Family-LayoutI have shown you in other posts the idea of working with sketches and also how to build borders, which are both great tools to help you make progress in your albums. Now I want to share with you how I think about layouts. The key here is simple, clean lines and three fundamental rules. So that it is easy to see these rules, I’m using layouts that don’t include actual photos. Instead, I have colored paper placed where photos will be added later.


Snap to the grid. I often get comments when people see my pages, that they like my “style.” This has made me wonder what my “style” is, and just how to define what I do when I layout my page. Years ago I remember learning about “eyelines” (the space between elements on your page) and it transformed the way I created my pages. It was so easy to line my pictures, paper, journaling boxes, and decorative accents in a grid. No more thinking should I tilt here, cut a circle or oval, or how to dance things all over my pages. Everything I do snaps to a grid, and the results are simple, clean, easy to admire pages that focus on my pictures.


Color Blocking.  Long gone are the days where I have to back every picture with a piece of coordinating paper and where every page has to be a masterpiece. Instead I focus on using three products per page and then add my pictures.

  1. Designer Cardstock or Solid Color Cardstock
  2. Journal Box
  3. 2″ Border Strip or Pocket Border Strip

The key here is adding large blocks of color with cardstock. Think about where you want to add color to your pages and then cut your paper accordingly. I find that 3″ and 4″ strips work really nicely, but if you want to add pictures on top of the paper, then adjust the cut so there is a ¼” border showing on the sides of the pictures. Next just add in your journal box, decorative border strip, pictures, and snap to the grid.


Straight is easier than curves. There are always going to be those pictures that just scream to be cut into a circle or oval but the majority of our pictures look great as rectangles or cut into squares. And when you have straight lines, it is so much easier to line them up on the page. In fact some of my favorite sizes to work with are 3×3 inch squares and 4×4 inch squares. When you trim in this close you really focus on the essence of the picture. This also gives you a lot of flexibility on how many pictures you can add to a page. Yes, there is a little bit of math to scrapbooking but don’t let it scare you!


As always, don’t forget to add joy to your creative time. Whether that is sharing your time and space with friends, listening to some of your favorite music, or enjoying your favorite beverage and munchies. Make this an opportunity to creatively express yourself and celebrate what matters most!

– Lauren