Scrapbook Page Layout Ideas and Tips

In my post, Creating Your Own Scrapbook from Start to Finish, Part 2, I said, “Design your layouts by arranging the photos, memorabilia, embellishments, journal spaces, headings, and captions by trial and error until something appeals you.”

Today I would like to expand on that by giving you information that will help you find the perfect layout you need. These scrapbook page layout ideas, tips and helpful suggestions will address topics such as having balance in your page layout, how to save time making a layout, how to put a large number of photos on one page and how to make your scrapbook pages more visually pleasing to the eyes.

Balance: Symmetric or Asymmetric?

So, what is balance? For our purposes. balance means arranging the elements of your scrapbook page in a harmonious and satisfying way that is pleasing to the eye.

The first way to accomplish this is to make both sides equal in appearance whether horizontally or vertically. Imagine a balance scale, the page is split in half down the middle. Everything you do on one side of the line has the same treatment on the other side of the line to make it look equal. This is called symmetry.

The second way to accomplish balance is a little more difficult to do. It does not involve symmetry at all. The two sides of the page are not equal at all, but balance is still achieved using a few guidelines. This is asymmetry.

Here are some guidelines to achieve balance when using asymmetry.

Use common margins. This means that your margins will have the same distance between the various elements on your page.

  • Make your page harmonious by looking for anything that sticks out in an obvious way. When you find something that sticks out, fix it by removing the item, replacing the item, disguising the item to make it blend in or move it closer to the focal point of the page. Do what you feel works best to make the misplaced item fit into the page better.
  • Use patterns on your page to give your scrapbook page more consistency. You can use patterns with colors, products, sizes, shapes, or even techniques to bring the page together more. This is also an easy page design to follow whether you are new to making scrapbooks or are just short on time.
  • Color choice is important when thinking about balance. A good way to find the exact colors to create better balance on the page is to look at dominate colors in the pictures you will be using to decide on what shade of color to use. For example, if your pictures have dark colors like navy, black, and mocha, you wouldn’t want to use a bright orange as one of your colors.

You can use your theme to pick your colors. Use orange, black and purple for Halloween, blue for the birth of a little boy or reds, pinks and white for romance, love or Valentine’s Day.

  • Make sure that the chosen colors in your palette for your layout compliment each other. A good way to do this is to use a color wheel. You can find one for free if you use a search engine on the internet. A color wheel points out which colors naturally compliment each other no matter how many colors you are using.

Scrapbook More Photos with Fewer Pages

There a number of different reasons one would want to put more pictures on a single scrapbook page whether it be to save money, to save time, or to try to fit the whole story in on the page. No matter what the reason is, here are some ways you can accomplish this goal.

  • You do not always need everything in the picture to tell your story. Crop/cut off the excess of the pictures that you do not need. Do you really need Aunt Mae eating a hot dog in the background of the picture of your child taking his/her first step? I would venture to say probably not. Cut out the part of the picture of your child walking for the first time to keep the child the focus of the page, not Aunt Mae.

While you are cropping pictures, why not make them all squares of the same size to add balance to the page and fit more pictures in? This technique will also take some of the guess work out of designing your page layout.

  • Using photo collages is a great way to use a lot of pictures in a small amount of space.
  • Frame your title with photos to make your title pop.
  • Use hidden journal entries to make more room for pictures.

Hidden journal entries is done by writing your journal entries on a piece of cardstock that is then slipped into the layout in a way that it is not completely in view. Try having pictures that flip up, pockets that the journal entries will slip into, or slipping the journal entries behind the pictures. If you use pockets, decorate them to add to the flow of the page.

Hidden journal entries is an excellent way to journal when you use photo collages, a large number of square photos on a page, or when you surround the title with photos.

  • Do you have photo strips? Why not scrapbook them? There is no need to cut them apart. They will tell a chronological story and using them will save time and space. Try putting several photo strips in a straight row across a page and embellish around them, or mix them up with regular photos. The choices are endless.

In a Time Crunch?

  • So, you may have a lot of pictures to catch up on when it comes to scrapbooking. After all, pictures do have a way of accumulating over the years. Don’t they? If you need to save a little time, here are some helpful tips to help you on your way.  Use 4″ x 6″ pictures and save time from cutting the pictures down. You may want to crop the photos before they are printed.
  • Use the paper tearing technique to embellish your scrapbook page. This is exactly what it sounds like. You tear the paper with your hands instead of cutting it with a cutting tool such as scissors. Using the paper tearing technique add texture and dimension to your layout while saving you time.
  • Use scrapbook page sketches to take the guess work out of creating a scrapbook album. These are sketches that tell you where to place items on a page to make a previously designed layout. You can find an endless number of scrapbook page sketches online if you type “free scrapbook page sketches” into a search engine. Click on the images tab at the top to see a lot of different sketches to choose from.
  • Save time with your journal entries by using bullets, lists, and phrases.
  • Journal one time in the center of the page and surround it with your photos. This saves time from writing multiple journal entries.

Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind

While you are making your scrapbook page layouts, keep the following tips in mind to help you achieve balance and save money and/or time.

  •  Use an odd number of sets of items on your page. The most common numbers to use are 3, 5, and 7. This will draw the eye to the whole page, add to the balance of the page, and give a finished look.
  • Using layers in the layout will add texture and depth and make it more interesting to the eye. It will also bring the page together more and add balance.
  • When placing items in your layout, be mindful that everything visually connects. You do not want an item off to the side by itself with no purpose. Doing so would take away from the balance of your layout.
  • Use similar items together to add to the visual appeal of your scrapbook page.
  • Use patterned paper to fill in empty spaces that take away from the balance of the layout.
  • If you choose to use patterned paper as a background or filler, make sure it helps tell the story. For example, use a blue and yellow star patterned paper as a background for a sleeping child.
  • Repeat the use of shapes to make an emphasis. When using this technique, always make your focal point the largest shape.
  • Use nontraditional supplies in your layout to save money and add a different effect to your layout. For example, use office supplies in a layout featuring coworkers.

I have a word of caution for you before you try this technique. Be careful of the possible damage certain items can cause to your pictures or page. Don’t do anything that may cause you grief later.

  • Reusing your paper scraps is a great way to save money. I store my scraps separately from my full scrapbook pages of paper.

To me, there is nothing worse than having to cut a small shape out of the corner of a full piece of paper. This doesn’t set right with me because if I would have just saved that small piece of paper I threw away earlier, I wouldn’t have to cut into a new sheet of paper.

Fun Ideas to Liven Up Your Layout

Here are some ideas to help you make your scrapbook page come alive!

  • Mix different leftover letter stickers for titles. This is a great way to get rid of remnants of letter stickers and save money while giving your page layout a little twist.
  • Hand-cut graphic elements printed out on cardstock and use them as embellishments to save even more money. Making your own embellishments this way opens endless possibilities of what you can do when embellishing your scrapbook page.

Be careful not to use any copyrighted material. Look for royalty free or free domain pictures.

  • Use black and white photos on the page for a classy look.
  • Mixed typed and hand-written journal entries to add interest, or use different fonts when typing journal entries to add interest.
  • Using different colors of the same patterned paper is an easy trick to use, and it adds balance to the page.
  • Focus on the faces of your subjects and use quotes as your journal entries to add a personal touch.
  • Enhance your layout by using paint techniques. For example, paint simple horizontal lines across the page to add journal entries onto once it dries.
  • Design your layout around the lyrics of a song. This would work well for first dance wedding photos or an intimate scrapbook layout for someone special.
  • Using stamping techniques can add texture, dimension and interest to your page.

That’s a Lot of Information!

Your scrapbook pages need to have balance, whether symmetrical or asymmetrical. This means it will be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. There are many ways to achieve this while saving time and money. The possibilities are endless, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure the end result is a good reflection of you.

What ideas and tips have you discovered while scrapbooking that you would like to share? I would love to hear about it. Please share in a comment below.

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