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Scrapbook Pages-Layouts Tips And Tricks

As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.


Scrapbook Page Basics

Scrapbook pages are easier to create than you think they are. While there are a few guidelines that you can use, the bottom line is that this is your art, expressing what you feel about the pictures you are using to tell your personal stories for the generations to come.

A one page scrapbook page is just that- a single page. A scrapbook layout is two like pages facing each other with the same design.


There are different sizes of scrapbook pages depending on the size of the album you are using. The most typical is the 12 inch by 12 inch. This gives you the most options for the number of pictures and designs that you can use.

The 81/2 inch by 11 inches is not as popular as it once was, but these types of albums are still available. They are smaller and easier to store,but do not hold as many pictures per page.

The 8 inch by 8 inch and the 6 inch by 6 inch have also been very popular. The square sizes hold photos and journaling. They are easier to design, but offer fewer options, They are great for a specific event or subject. Of course they are easier to carry and store.

Mini and handmade scrapbooks can come in any size that you would like to design. You can make them with chipboard covers. They can be made with paper bags or envelopes as well as scrapbook paper. The creativity of these books are endless.

Scrapbook Sketches

Think if scrapbook sketches as a guide to a layout. A layout is how you design your page. There are hundreds of free scrapbook sketches available on the internet. So you do not have to feel uncomfortable as you work with your page.

The question that I am asked most often is, "Do I start with the sketch first or the pictures?" Well, the answer to that is how new are you to scrapbooking? If you never have done any scrapbooks at all, I would recommend that you start with a kit that is formatted already for you/ That means the pictures just need to be taped or glued onto the page. Once you are more experienced, then I would consider sorting through your pictures and pulling several like pictures together. Then search for scrapbook sketches for how many pictures that you want to include. Finally, do some designs of your own. Make a sketch for future use.

I keep a scrapbook sketch notebook. When I have found a sketch that I like or have designed, I place it in a page protector and file it for future use

Scrapbook Sketch

A scrapbook sketch is like a blueprint for your scrapbook pages. All the elements of a good page are included. Use the sketch as a guide.

A scrapbook sketch is like a blueprint for your scrapbook pages. All the elements of a good page are included. Use the sketch as a guide.

Essential Tools To Create Your Scrapbook Layouts

There are a few tools that you should have in your stash to make creating your layouts easier and faster. Here are the must-have tools :

  • A Paper Trimmer-For making clean and exact cuts on your photos, mats, cardstock, and embellishments. A good paper cutter will also help you measure and cut straight lines for your layout. You need a paper cutter with an extended arm so that you can measure pages up to a 12" by12" piece of paper.
  • A Circle Cutter-The best circle cutter is one that creates a circle between 1-8 inches. You can create mats, title backgrounds, and embellishments. Easier and faster than using your electronic cutting machine. Also can be taken to classes and crops.
  • Rounded Corner Punch-This reasonably priced paper punch is a tool that you will find yourself using over and over again. It will add a lovely finish to your photos and mats.
  • Glues- Thereare different glues that can be used on scrapbook pages. Make sure that whatever glue that you use on your pages, they are both acid free and archival. PVA glue is a basic glue that can be used for general paper application. Tacky glues are used for heavier flowers and gems.That means that they will last over the long haul. And they will not damage any of your photos.
  • Double Sided Tape- Double sided tape is used to adhere photos, mats and the other elements to your pages. They can be permanent as well as repositionable. They are sold as rolls and in rollers.
  • Acrylic Stamps-In coordination with an acrylic block, these stamps will be used over and over again. They can be used to create titles, quotes, and embellishments. Having a variety of these stamps will give your creative side a boost.
  • Craft Inks-These inks are used to stamp images, letters, words, and designs on your scrapbook layouts. There are different types of craft inks. It is important to use the right ink for the right application. Some inks are water resistant making them useful with alcohol and watercolor markers. Others like distress inks work with water to create special techniques to enhance your layouts.
  • Clear Gridded Ruler-This will become one of your favorite tools. It will help you line up the letters on your titles. It will also make it easier to line up photos and other elements on your pages. It makes your pages have a better layout.
  • Scissors- Every scrapbook artist should have a variety of scissors for their use. If your budget will allow it, invest in Teflon-coated or nonstick scissors. You should have one pair that is an *' to 10" pair of basic straight scissors. A pair of detail scissors is a must-have for small cuts and detail work. These are usually 5 " scissors. Patterned scissors have edges that will create edges that have details like scallops and other patterns. Patterned scissors are also called decorative scissors.
  • Craft Knife- used to cut and trim designs and elements of scrapbook pages
  • Storage-You will need several storage units to keep all your scrapbook supplies clean, safe, and organized. These can range from anything like a milk carton, , a rolling cart, magazine holders, and more. Storage depends on your available space and your budget.

Best Paper Trimmer For Scrapbook Artists

Additional Scrapbook Tools And Products

There are many more tools that will add design, dimension and interest to your scrapbook pages. Adding these tools will enhance your pages and experience.

Die Cut/ Embossing Machines

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You can create your own embellishments with this die cut machine. These machines work with dies and embossing folders to give you more designing options.

Electronic Cutting Machines

Using a computer program, these machines make it possible to create embellishments, titles, shapes, designs and die cuts. In some cases, these machines have options to create an entire scrapbook page.


Markers are used to add details to letters and other elements of scrapbook pages. They are also used to color stamped images that are being used in layout design. They can also be used to add design elements. There are alcohol markers, gel markers, and watercolor markers. They may be sold as individual markers (as in Copics) or in sets.

Colored Pencils

As in markers, colored pencils are used to color stamped images for scrapbook pages.

Craft Punches

Craft punches are used to add design elements to your layouts. They can be single shapes like hearts. Or they can be layered shapes like flowers. There are also punches that add decorative elements like borders to your pages. They are inexpensive and can be used with other paper crafts

Foam Tape

Foam tape is used to raise elements off the surface of a page. You can use it to raise things like scrapbook page titles and other pieces to add dimension.

More About Page Design

Your page design may also be referred to as a layout. A layout can be a single page or two pages that face each other. Your design can be a sketch. That is the easiest way to create a design especially if you are a beginner.

As you go along, you will develop your own personal taste and preferences.

  • Chose a focal point on your page. It is usually a photo, but can also be a title or a journal section
  • Try making two-page layouts. You’ll have more room to be creative, you can use more photos, and they’ll help create a sense of flow within your scrapbook
  • Emphasize your focal point photos using mattes.
  • Don’t glue anything down until you’re sure you like where it is. Lay things out first, or use removable glue dots. When in doubt, keep it simple. You can always add more later, but you can’t take things away once they’ve been glued down.
  • Use repeating patterns like polka dots or chevrons on multiple pages to create a sense of cohesiveness throughout your entire scrapbook.
  • Embrace negative space. You don’t need to fill every nook and cranny of your layout with photos, journaling, or embellishments. Leave some space clear to add emphasis to your focal point.
  • If you buy letter stickers, buy two of the same. There are never enough vowels on those letter sticker sheets. Having two of the same give you more options. If you have any left over letters, try mixing them with other letters to create interesting titles

Base Page Ideas And Tips

You can create a custom base page in minutes. Add a strip of floral paper to a plain base page. Then embellish the floral sections with Neuvo drops. Let it dry overnght.

You can create a custom base page in minutes. Add a strip of floral paper to a plain base page. Then embellish the floral sections with Neuvo drops. Let it dry overnght.

Your base page is what holds all the other elements of your scrapbook page. It is the foundation of your scrapbook page. So, you will want a strong piece of paper to be able to hold your pictures and other elements. It should also be acid-free paper. That will protect your pictures.

You will need to use a card stock weight paper of at least 80 pounds or more. Your paper can be in almost any color imaginable. It can be a solid color or a print. It can be flat or textured paper.

  1. The finish on your paper can be matte, glossy, glitter, or iridescent.
  2. Choose your color and texture to enhance either your theme or the colors on your pictures.
  3. You can also use transparent paper overprint or solid color to soften the look.
  4. After you have chosen the pictures you will use, it's time to start building your page either using a scrapbook sketch or your own design. Pick one or two colors from your pictures to use. Your base page will be in the color that is most prominent in your pictures.
  5. Try making two-page layouts. You’ll have more room to be creative, you can use more photos, and they’ll help create a sense of flow within your scrapbook.
  6. Use textured paper to subtly add visual interest without overcomplicating your designs.
  7. Embrace darker colors like black and brown. Pictures and ephemera will stand out against darker backgrounds.
Use different fonts in your titles for more interest

Use different fonts in your titles for more interest

Your Scrapbook Page Title

Your title tells what your page is about in just a couple of words. It can be a title, a saying or quote, a part of a song-just about anything will work as your title.

Let your imagination take you to unexpected places when deciding what materials to use for your title. You can stamp a title with rubber or acrylic stamps. You can use letter stickers. You can make letters out of card stock or patterned paper. You can use letter stickers that you purchase. Cut letters or words from a magazine. Use your Cricut or other electronic cutting machines. Print a title on your computer. You get the idea! Let your design take you to unexpected places.

Scrapbook Page Title Tips

  • Keep it short! You want to be able to fit it on a page.
  • Use a one-page title on a two-page spread rather than two separate titles.
  • Use vertical lettering along the side of a large photo.
  • For a page with lots of curves and photos, why not curve your title too?
  • Do a test run on where to place your title before you actually permanently place it.
  • Dot the "i" in your title with a sequin or jewel
  • Keep it simple use where what or who in your title
  • Go large with your page title for different scrapbooking ideas. Make the Title as big as the page and the main focus of your layout.
  • Use a song title, phrase, or quote as your title
  • Use shapes like circles. squares. or ovals behind the letters of your title
  • Make your scrapbook page stand out by adding one or two mats behind your title
  • You can also add interest by cutting out letters from patterned paper for your title.
  • Create a title on your computer. You can use the word program to create a font. Have fun and be creative with fonts and colors
  • Take a piece of watercolor paper and use watercolors or watercolor pens to create a mixed color background. Allow the paper to dry. Once the paper is dry, cut out some letters freehand. Take the area where you cut it out. Use it as a stencil with black ink. Lay the cut-out letters over the black ones to create a shadow effect.

Scrapbook Page Title Resources

Photo Tips And Ideas

  • Choose one photo as the star of your page. This is the photo that tells your story. All other photos that you include, just add to the story.
  • You do not have to mat every photo that you include. But your focal point photo should be matted
  • Use different photo sizes for variety. Combine 3×5, 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, and even panoramic shots.
  • Combining black and white photos with color prints is a great way to incorporate multiple shots while keeping the spotlight on your focal photo.
  • Start with recent photos. Don’t jump in using important photos like antique prints passed down from your grandparents or expensive shots like wedding photos, unless you can easily reprint new ones.
  • Avoid cutting your photos into weird shapes. If you want to crop your photos, stick to the classic shapes like squares or ovals.
  • You don’t need to use every photo from an event or vacation on a particular page. Instead, narrow it down to a few of your favorites and focus on only the best memories.
  • You can't use a person's image on a layout if some of their organs are cut so if you can't cut the image fully don't cut it. It is ok to cut a hand or a foot.
  • Consider the size of the photo. Sometimes a photo will be larger than all the other elements on the page. If you need you can always reprint the photo you want to use and change its size to match the page.

Matting Your Photos

Matting photos add dimension and interest to your layouts

Matting photos add dimension and interest to your layouts

It is almost a given that on all your layouts, you will want to matte your photos. Matting is simply a piece of paper that is glued or taped underneath a photo.

It gives the photo more attention. You can matte it multiple times. The more the matte, the more it lifts your photo and gives it the attention it deserves.

If you mat your photos with printed paper, place a piece of colored card stock between the photo and the printed paper. You could also use a piece of vellum between the printed paper and the photo. If you mat the photo on printed card stock alone, the photo will disappear into the printed paper.

Steps To Matting Your Photo

  1. Crop (cut away) any part of the photo that you do not want to use
  2. Gather the pieces of card stock that you will use to mat the photo
  3. Lay the photo on the first piece of card stock that you will mat on
  4. Decide how wide or thin that you will like the border on your first mat to be
  5. Use a ruler and a pencil to measure and mark the mat. For example if you want the mat to 1/2 inch, you would measure the 1/2 inch from the edge of the photo all the way around.
  6. Use a paper trimmer or a pair of scissors to cut on your marks
  7. You can add additional mats as you need to, measuring from the previous mat the same way, choosing the amount of the mat, mark and cut as you
  8. Use photo corners to add more interest. You can by them or make them. They are simply triangles made in equal sizes
Be creative when matting your pictures to add extra interest

Be creative when matting your pictures to add extra interest

More Tips On Matting Photos On Scrap Book Pages

More Layout Tips And Ideas

Here are some of the best scrapbook layout ideas for your pages:

Photo Tips

  1. Use different shades of the same color. This hack is especially useful when you have photos that have multiple colors. Use one color as your base. Then, use lighter and /or darker colors to mat your titles, photos, and embellishments.
  2. Enlarge a photo that has a special meaning for you. Use this enlarged photo as the focal point of your page. This is great for layouts that have one or two photos on them.
  3. Stack your photos. Crop your photos into 3" by 3" squares. Mat each photo with a 1/4 " border. Then stack the photos one on top of another. Journal and title the other side.
  4. Enhance photos with flowers. It draws more attention to the photo that is your focal point.

Paper Tips

  1. Layer paper to add dimension to your layouts.
  2. Tear paper to create a more casual look. Ink the edges of torn paper by rubbing an inkpad along the torn edge. This adds color and heightens the texture.Using distress inks give a more aged look.

Adding Embellishments- Buy Them Or Make Them

Use dies, punches, and images from your electronic cutting machine to create custom embellishments

Use dies, punches, and images from your electronic cutting machine to create custom embellishments

Adding embellishments to your scrapbook pages is like adding jewelry to your outfit. It is so much fun and rewarding to add that bling to your layout.

Embellishments are offered in a wide assortment in your local craft store or online. They can be just about anything. They can be stickers, pearls or gems.ribbons, tags, and so much more. You can often purchase them in a specific color or theme.


there are different categories of stickers for you to chose from. There are letter stickers in all kinds of fonts and sizes. These might be used as titles. There are word stickers that are often used as accents.

There are also image stickers that add so much fun to your pages. They come in books and individual pages. They often come in a specified theme or color. What ever image you can think of is often in a sticker

Another type of sticker is the label sticker where you can write whatever you would like.

Remember, once you place a sticker, it will be hard to remove. You may want to place the sticker on a piece of wax paper. Decide where you would like it on your page, then remove from the wax paper and place it.

Die Cut Pieces

One of my favorite elements for my pages are the die cuts. They come on sets, one large pages, and in loose packages. Sometimes they are on perforated sheets. They can be card stock or chipboard. There are also acrylic pieces in shapes, words and pieces that add a lot of dimensions to your layouts.

You can create your own die cut embellishments with a die cutting machine and some dies. There are lots of different options and this is a good investment for a hobbyist who is an avid scrapbooker.

Another option to consider is an electronic cutting machine. Many of the computer programs associated with these types of machines have scrapbook elements in them.

Washi Tape

Washi tape comes in hundreds of patterns and colors. You can use it to create borders on your pages, as a shelf on your page or just to decorate. You can buy it by the roll or in sets.


. Ribbon comes in every color of the rainbow and even some patterns. You can purchase it as a single roll or in sets. There is also themed ribbon to a specific season or day. Ribbon is reasonably priced, you can often find it on sale. It also comes in different widths. You will find heavier ribbons like grosgrain all the way down to a very transparent ribbon.

  • Ribbons can be adhered with double sided tape, glue dots or brads at each end
  • Wrap ribbon around the focal point photo to create a focal point.
  • Punch holes on your base page so that you can thread ribbon through the holes.
  • Use a soda can tab as a buckle on your ribbon


Use a sewing machine to create a design with simple or intricate design. You can create borders or accents. If you do not have a machine, you can use hand sewn stitches.

  • Take one needle that you dedicate to sewing on your paper crafts.
  • If you do not have a sewing machine, create sewn lines with a fine tipped pen.


Flowers have always been a popular embellishment. They come in almost every size and shape. The choices in colors are endless. They can be simple flat flowers or have multiple layers. You can purchase pre-made flowers or make them yourself.

  • If you make flowers from die cuts or craft a flower made on an electronic machine, add either a brad or a flat backed rhinestone to add interest. You can also use a button.

Embellishment Tips

  • Unused or vintage buttons make great, low-cost embellishments.

Journaling Tips

Journaling your scrapbook pages does not have to be a dreaded chore. Telling the story of your life can be pleasant and easy. Here are some ideas to help you journal creatively

  • Journal Like You Are Talking To Your Family Or A Good Friend Tell your story from the perspective of talking to someone you know well and care about. After all, these are the people who will read your journaling.
  • Keep Your Journaling Close To The Picture You don't want your words lost in the layout. Remember, your journaling tells the story of the picture and adds more information. So it makes sense to keep it near the source.
  • Keep scrap paper on your desk so you can jot down your thoughts
  • Create a pocket on your page to hold your journaling. You can use an envelope or create an envelope
  • Use poems, sayings. quotes and parts of songs as part of your journaling.
  • Keep a notebook with your thoughts so that you can journal later.
  • Use bullet points instead of sentences
  • Add an envelope to your layout. You can add extra journal pages.
  • Cut journaling into strips. stack them up or add them randomly.
  • Use staples to adhere your journaling to your page. Gives a nice casual look
  • Ink around the edges of journaling to add interest
  • Make your page more personal by using your own handwriting
  • Type and print a journal section on your computer. Be creative with fonts and color

Final Thoughts On Scrapbook Layouts

Scrapbook pages are like spaghetti sauce. Everyone starts out with the same basics, but no two taste the same. Each of us has our own styles and creative process. And that is perfectly ok ! Your pages can be as simple or as ornate as you want them to be.

And you can always go back later and add more to the page if you want. There are no right or wrong scrapbook pages. These are your memories and you can preserve them any way that is pleasing to you and those you love.

This is the story of your family's lives. And you can tell the story in a way that is unique to you. I wish you well on your journey.

© 2019 Linda F Correa

Tell Us About Your Thoughts On Making Scrapbook Pages

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on May 24, 2020:

There are no specific rules about color, I teach folks to start by using two different hues in the same color range. There are so many color variations in the same color. Print your self up a color wheel and that will help. Another idea is no pick colors from the pictures that you are using. Take some different colors of paper and overlap them and see if the color works well. Use what colors make you happy. That is part of the process. Enjoy the process, and Happy Crafting !

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 24, 2020:

Great hub !

I am lousy at contrasting colors. How do you judge the colors that contrast well?

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