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Avoiding Scrapbook Embellishment Overload:

Scrapbooking has changed a lot since the days of using colored construction paper to highlight pictures. There are a myriad of options available now, even more than just a few years ago. Each scrapbooking magazine I get or website I visit has new ideas, techniques and tools to use. Innovation is the name of the game for scrapbooking companies, and they are all interested in developing a fresh new look for layout designs.


While this certainly leads to more variety for scrapbooks, this can sometimes be overwhelming for layout design. I used to find myself piling on embellishments because I wanted to use everything on every page. With so many fun techniques and neat touches, I was experiencing embellishment overload. Can you relate?


Let’s say you’re working on a birthday party layout for your son’s scrapbook. You look through your supplies, and find that you have some balloon patterned paper, present die cuts and some party themed stickers. You also just learned how to use rivets and grommets, and would love to incorporate that into the design. You tend to gravitate toward using ribbons and chalks in your layout so you pull those out as well. Stop right there! You’ve entered the embellishment overload zone!


Every good scrapbook layout should display the photos, so take your inspiration from those first before you start looking for themed embellishments. In your photos, there are red, yellow and blue balloons from your son’s party prominently displayed. Take your inspiration from these. The balloon paper would obviously clash with your photos. Instead, choose solid colors that coordinate with the pictures. Primary blue, red and yellow are good choices to back the layout and mat the photos.


Using rivets or grommets would add a nice touch to the layout, as would the present die cuts if they were in the right colors. Choose either the coordinating ribbon or the chalks to punch up the layout, but not both.


A good rule of thumb to follow with embellishments is to remember the rule of three. Use no more than three techniques or types of embellishments on the page to keep it from looking too cluttered. When you use many elements on a page, they start to take away from the impact of your photos. After all, your scrapbook should be made to showcase your family and your life, not your scrapbooking technique skills.


Those should be secondary. Draw inspiration from magazines, but pare down their use of embellishments. I’ve found that many sample layouts in magazines go overboard with technique and take away from the beautiful photos. Try out different techniques and experiment with your pages…but remember where your focus should be!

Resources for Scrapbook Embellishments:

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