Creative Scrapbooking Ideas: How to Think Outside of the Box

In my last post, Scrapbook Page Layout Ideas and Tips, I mentioned using nontraditional supplies in your scrapbook layout to make your page more interesting and save money.

Today, I will discuss how to use some creative scrapbooking ideas that expand on using nontraditional scrapbook supplies to help you start to get your creative juices flowing. The areas of discussion I will talk about are backgrounds, borders, embellishments, and journal entries/titles.

Set the Mood with a Creative Backdrop

Backgrounds set the tone of the layout. It can make the rest of the page stand out or fall flat, but it also helps tell the story being shared with others.

Materials to make a backdrop for a layout can come from practically anywhere: maps, water color paint, aluminum foil, notebook pages, vellum paper, ribbon and more.

Maps make a great background for travel layouts. You can use a map as a general background, or you can cut your pictures out in the shapes of states or countries on the map. Then, glue the pictures over the state or country it represents.

You do not have to be an artist to use water color paints as a background. Simply paint designs or patterns on the page. If you are a little braver you can paint flowers or hearts. For those of you who do have the talent of an artist, the sky is the limit. Have fun!

The first time I saw aluminum foil used as a background, I was amazed. To use it, use an embossing machine like the Silohuette and emboss the foil. Then, lay it on the paper and paint over it with acrylic paint. It is up to you where you want to go with it from here. You can use ink to distress it, trace designs on it, leave it as it is, or anything else you would like to do.

A notebook page would be an ideal background for a school layout page. Even better! why not use a notebook page with math or English notes/assignment on it? This could be a wonderful way to showcase your child’s school work and have a unique background that adds to the page. Don’t think this is the only theme to use notebook pages. Get creative and use it with a variety of themes: old diary pages for a all about me theme, blank notebook page for a long-distance love theme or anything else you can think of.

Vellum paper can be decorated with handwritten designs or patterns of your choice and used as a backdrop for a layout.

Ribbon also makes a nice background when a page is lined with different ribbons or the same ribbon across the page. You can glue the ribbons to the page or sew them. The choice is yours. Another twist on this technique is to use washi tape to create the same effect.

Frame It!

Framing pictures with borders is an excellent way to give emphasis to the focal point(s) in your layout. Borders can also be used for memorabilia, the layout page, or embellishments. When using it as a border, you can either put your photograph, memorabilia, or embellishment on top of the foil, or you can also cut the center out and place the foil on top of the picture or memorabilia.

Here are some good materials to use for borders.


  • Aluminum foil can be used in a similar way it is used as a background.
  • Use water color paints to paint around an item as a border.
  • Notebook paper
  • Ribbon
  • Use embroidery floss to sew your pictures/memorabilia onto the page and have a unique border.
  • Washi tape
  • Pick up some paint chips at your favorite hardware store and use them as borders. Again, you can either put them under or over items. You choose.
  • Glue paper clips (colored or plain) around your photos/memorabilia.

This is just a small list of the endless materials you can use as borders. There are many other items you can use if you are creative.

Let’s Add Some Personality

Embellishments are the perfect way to a piece of yourself to your work. This is how you make the layout reflect who you are.

Some non-traditional ways to embellish include: maps, aluminum foil, notebook paper, ribbon, embroidery floss, washi tape, paint chips, paper clips, staples, old book pages, crocheted items, small wooden dowel rods, needle and thread, measuring tape, buttons, photo scraps, felt, printed images on old book pages, vellum paper, and pressed flowers.

You can cut out shapes, make flowers, butterflies, heart or other shaped embellishments with maps, notebook paper, paint chips, old book pages, picture scraps and felt. You can also make photo corners out of these materials.

You could also cut out the aforementioned shaped with aluminum foil or emboss it for a creative embellishment.

Tie a bow with ribbon, use it to make stems for your flowers, or accent your page with pieces of ribbon. These are just a few ways ribbon can be used as an embellishment.

Sew a design into the paper with thread or embroidery floss to add a special embellishment. For example, sew a curved line with loops to show the pathway a bee or ladybug has flown, or sew your journey on a map from a trip you have taken.

Washi tape can be used to make one of a kind stickers. First, tape a few pieces of washi tape side by side by slightly overlapping the edges of the tape. Then, use a punch or scissors to cut out the shape of the sticker you want.

As I have already mentioned, you can also punch or cut out shapes with paint chips, but if you add washi tape to the paint chip shapes, your embellishment will be more extravagant.

Paper clips can be used in the traditional way to embellish a page, or you can bend the paper clip into any shape to add to your layout.

Staple a piece of cardstock to your layout to add something extra to your layout. You can use colored or regular staples.

If you crochet, then use your talent and some crocheting string to make a nice embellishment for your layout. This is a great way to show off more of your talent and creativity.

Small wooden dowel rods can be used as posts for boat sails, fence posts, or many other things.

Decorate vellum paper with colorful designs or patterns to use as embellishment in your layout.

There are so many ways to incorporate unusual items into your scrapbook page. I have barely scratched the surface on this topic, but this will get you started.

Making Journal Entries and Titles Come Alive

How do use non-traditional supplies to make journal entries and titles? I’m glad that you asked. Here are some ways that I discovered.

  • Use old book pages
    • Make pockets for hidden journal entries.
    • Cut out letters for titles or journal entries.
    • Use words on the page for jour entries by covering all of the unnecessary words.
    • Create a poem or saying by blocking out unwanted words and use it as your journal entry.
  • Use office supplies
    • File labels come in a variety of colors and are great for journal entries.
    • Coin/kraft envelopes with or without string can be used to tuck journal entries/ memorabilia into.
    • A dime label maker can make journal entries in a variety of colors, or you may choose a more modern label maker for journal entries.
    • Envelopes can be used to add hidden journal entries or memorabilia. The envelopes could be store bought or you can make them yourself out of scrapbook paper/cardstock.
  • Cut letters out of thin metal and paint or decorate any way you want to make titles.
  • Write your journal entries on a piece of notebook paper in your own handwriting. This could also be done in the form of a letter, poem, or song lyrics.
  • Write on top of washi tape to make your journal entries stand out.

There are so many ways to liven up your journal entries and titles.

Creative Scrapbooking Ideas

There are many, many ways to get creative with unconventional materials. It just takes some originality, an imagination, and a good look around your environment. I challenge you to get creative and use what you have around the house to design beautiful scrapbook layouts.

I would love for you to share your ideas with me. Leave your ideas in a post below, and thank you for sharing.

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