How To Generate a New Scrapbook Ideas

Use this four-part formula to analyze layouts and create a lot of new scrapbook ideas.

It’s time to scrap now. You stare at a pile of photos on your scrapbook table. You’re thinking you will never again have a creative thought, so you pull out the latest issue of your favorite scrapbook magazine and begin the hunt for ideas. On one page you see a great layout, but the colors aren’t quite what you’re looking for. Then you see a layout with a technique you love, but the stores are closed and you’re missing the necessary supplies. And none of the layouts is about in-line skating at the park – the subject of the photos sitting in front of you.

What’s a scrapbooker to do? Not to worry. You can gain inspiration from any layout no matter the color, style, or subject. Simply examine a page’s four core elements: theme, photography, design, and technique to see what makes a page work. Then it’s a snap to use the parts you like to inspire your next masterpiece.

1. Themed scrapbook ideas.

The theme of a layout includes the overall subject of the layout as well as specifics related to the journaling and title. Look at how the following features work together to establish a theme.

a) Six essentials. Better known as the who, what, where, when, why, and how, these elements document the theme of the layout. The people, activity, place, time, motivation, and activity depicted in the layout and described in the journaling can inspire ideas for your own pages. Perhaps your family has a similar tradition or participates in a similar activity.

b) Title. Whether a clever play on words or a perfect quotation, the title succinctly presents the topic of the layout to the viewer. Try experimenting with descriptive words. For example, the title “Our Home” takes on new meaning when a descriptive word is added to form “Our Country Home.” Pay special attention to the way layouts incorporate a long title or how they create impact with a one-word title.

c) Communication Style . When you read journaling, observe how the writer conveys her message. Is the journaling written in the first person (I), second person (you), or third person (he or she)? What seems most comfortable to you? Is the journaling written in past tense, or does it project into the future? Do the words make you pause and reflect, or do they make you laugh?

2. Scrapbook photo ideas.

Photographs are the basis of any scrapbook page. They illustrate the theme, and their mood and style should spark the design.

a) Subject. The photos in a layout may remind you of similar photos you’ve taken but have yet to scrap. Or perhaps the action depicted is similar to something a member of your family does and now you’re inspired to capture it for the first time on film.

b) Technical Aspects. Look for photos that interest you from a technical standpoint. Perhaps the angle of the subject in the photograph, the setting, or even the lighting captures your attention. You might even try your own photo shoot to practice skills.

c) Quantity. One photo makes an impression; multiple photos tell a story. Study how designers combine more than one photo to convey their message. Watch for layouts that pull together photographs that reveal little in isolation but tell a compelling story when combined. And remember that multiple photos on a layout need not be from the same event or photo session.

3. Scrapbook design ideas.

The design of a layout encompasses the overall look of the page. The components of a design include the color palette, typography, image size and shape, and placement of elements on the page.

a) Color Palette. Because humans respond so strongly to color, a great palette may be just the thing to inspire your creativity. Examine layouts for pleasing color combinations. Note how designers use colors found in their photographs to devise a color scheme that compliments the images.

b) Typography. The look of the letters you choose for your titles and journaling is key to creating the mood and expressive quality of your page. When you find yourself admiring a title, consider how the font and materials contribute to the effect. How does the choice of font fit the subject? Is it casual or formal, subtle or in-your-face? What emotion does the font evoke?

c) Image size and shape. Note the size and shape of the photographs. Did the designer crop the photo in an unusual way? How does the crop concentrate the eye on the focal point of the photo? If a large photo in a layout inspired you but it’s too late to run to the photo lab, try scanning, enlarging, and printing your photo on textured card stock for a different look. If a layout groups several small photos, you can substitute a larger photograph in their place. Conversely, try replacing one large photo with a grouping of several smaller photos.

d) Placement. How do the photographs relate to journaling blocks and embellishments? Does the title wrap around an element or is it layered onto the layout in a creative way? Remember that embellishments are flexible. You can mimic placement on the layout even if you switch soccer balls to flowers. Or you can increase or decrease the number of embellishments to suit your taste.

4. Scrapbook technique ideas.

Scrapbookers use a wide variety of techniques – and materials – to create their art. The challenge is to take a technique or material and bring it into your layout in a unique way.

a) Scrapbook supplies. Take special note of layouts using products you already have to jump-start your creativity. Or perhaps there’s a product you’re eager to try. Mark layouts that use that product so you can refer to them when you have the supply in hand.

b) Substitutions. If you like a certain patterned paper or embellishment on a layout but don’t have an exact match, dig through your stash. Look for a similar pattern or color family and substitute. If a layout uses jute or string but you don’t have any, try raffia or fibers. Employ torn paper for a fabric’s frayed edge. Substitute clip art for rubber-stamped images and vice versa. If you like the look of ink along the edges of a layout but don’t own any ink pads, use chalk.

c) Alterations. You like the way a certain product was used on a layout, but the color isn’t right. Alter the look of premade cutouts, die cuts, borders, and photo mats by sanding, chalking, inking, tearing or heat-embossing them. Change the color of metal embellishments by inking them with a solvent ink. Paint embellishments and then sand them for a textured look. An extra touch here and there can make a layout your own.

d) Clever fakes. If you’re uncomfortable using bulky elements in your scrapbook, you can still gather ideas from layouts peppered with brads, eyelets, buttons, and other embellishments. Use a hole punch or group of punches to punch circles from metallic and colored papers to create the look of brads and eyelets. Use circle, rectangle, and square punches to create fake metal-rim tags from metallic card stock, tying a string through the tag for an authentic touch. Create a button using a combination of circle and hole punches. To give it added depth and dimension, glaze the top with dimensional glue.

Using the principles outlined here, you can find inspiration to create scrapbook ideas in every layout. It may be a small touch, such as a folded corner on a photo mat, or something big, such as a background design. Any spark that feeds the flame of creativity is worth pursuing.
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