Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Keep your Scrapbook Layouts Simple and Uncluttered

By Christina VanGinkel

Busy scrapbook layouts can be fun, but sometimes the mood of the picture, lack of time, or just a wanting for a basic layout is what is called for. For whatever reason you decide that a simple, uncluttered look is right, go for it. Too often, when we create a layout, we feel that we have to use a bit of everything that we have in our supplies. Busy embellishments, large or multiple borders, pockets, layered mats, etc. Before you know it, the page is cluttered and the heart of the page, the picture itself and the meaning behind it are lost. For this reason, special photos, which can hold their own, work the best. Keep this in mind when choosing a photo to use in such a layout.

To solve this common dilemma will actually take a bit of backwards psychology so to speak. Think back to when you first shopped for a couple of scrapbooking supplies to create your first page or two. You most likely were unsure of what you might all need, but in the back of some magazine or on a website, possibly from a friend's advice, you created a list of all the things you needed to begin. The list was probably pretty basic, and included cardstock, paper scraps for matting, scissors or a paper cutter, pen, glue, and not much else save for the pictures you intended to scrap. This short list will still suffice today and you can end up with some very impressive layouts. To begin, take some time to consider what you want the layout to be representative of.

To accomplish this, take the time to concentrate on the picture or pictures you plan to scrap. Simple, uncluttered layouts are actually ideal for those single photo layouts. They can be a typical 4" x 6" snapshot or larger if that is what you have. Do not assume that just because you are not going to go wild with the embellishments that you need to fill the space with the photograph though.

Still concentrating on the photograph, pick a single, or at the most, two colors to use as accents on the page. Plan where you will place the photo(s). A good way to decide where to place your photo(s) is to keep in mind the rule of thirds when choosing. An example of the rule of thirds in relation to a simple and uncluttered layout would be if you used one third of the layout for the photo, one third for the journaling, and one third for color or patterned paper.

For the concept of simple and uncluttered, keep in mind that this does not mean to fill each third of the space with such items, only that if you break apart the page in your mind that each third should be home to one of the choices. These thirds can also overlap if desired. In addition, the thirds can be broke apart in any shape you decide upon, either vertically or horizontally.

Let us walk this through to give you a better grasp of what I am talking about. For the sake of simplicity, we will confer that you are working on a single page 12" x 12" page. Your choice of photo is a single 4" x 6" snapshot. Breaking apart the page into thirds in you mind, position your colored or patterned paper on the page for a border or for use as a title. Create a journaling block and place that down onto the page into another third of the area. Finally, mat your photo and set it into the final third of the page's space.

Once you have the layout to this point, feel free to move things around until you are comfortable with their placement. Remember that this is not the time to reach for embellishments. If the page seems like it still needs something, consider expanding the matting to a double mat, add some doodling between the photo and the border, or create a title on the border itself with some simple lettering. If your journaling seems a bit lost, give it a border or underline it with a thin strip of coordinating colored or patterned paper that you used for the border or title.

When you are satisfied with the placement of your pieces on the page, affix everything in place and share with your family and friends.

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