When I first started scrapbooking back in 2011 I had no clue how to start. Literally, how to begin the act of scrapbooking. I’d have my relatively small stash of papers and bits, a bunch of photos on my computer ready to print, adhesive and time. I was ready. Except I was not.
In case you tend to struggle with starting I wanted to share my fool proof (Nina proof) method today. Maybe you’re new to scrapbooking. Maybe you’ve lost the mojo, as we call it. Or maybe you’d just like to try something new. Either way, let’s dive in!
Step One: Choose a beautiful photo
This is where we’re gonna get a bit superficial. You want to start with a beautiful photo. Save those flash photos of your flooded basement or the red-eyed, dark and blurry photos of your niece for another time. Instead, pick a beautiful photo that’s easy to scrapbook. Don’t even worry about the motif or story.
Think of your favorite Instagrammers. Think sharp, light and professional-looking. That’s the photo you’ll want to work with.
Tip: I find that photos with white borders (or a white photo mat) are so much easier to work with. They’re easier to put on a page and not clash, simply because the white border separates the photo from the background.
Step Two: Don’t worry about the subject
Don’t think you have to come up with some great story to justify a layout. Don’t worry about the title and journaling and deeper meaning.
Most of the time, with the exception of Project Life, I create because I want to put paper together and make it look good. I’m not on a quest to document everything. I’m notoriously not taking pictures at big events because I’m busy living them and experiencing them instead.
Let it go. Abandoning the pressure of portraying some important subject or theme and doing it justice will help you to just start.
Step Three: Make the Pretty Pile
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘kids respond well to limits’? Fact is, we all respond well to limits. So now comes the fun part (at least for puzzle nerds like me): Putting together a Good Looking Pile of scrapbook stuff that’s gonna serve as your kit.
My theory is this: If you gather a bunch of supplies and they make a Pretty Pile, then they will probably make a pretty layout as well.
Begin by looking at the photo you chose. What’s the vibe here? Is it light, dark, vibrantly colored? Which colors are in it?
In the example below I have a quite light photo with the main colors being greys, whites and dusty greens – with a splash of red. So I start looking for papers to match those colors in my beloved scrap drawer (see the photo at the top of this blog post). I save pretty much all my scraps and put them in that drawer.
But what if you don’t have a scrap drawer? I say, start one now!
My photo is very soft-looking so I make sure to pick mostly papers in lighter shades of green so they compliment instead of compete with the photo. I add a ton of neutrals which is a staple in any scrapper’s stash. Last I pick out a single brand new piece of 12×12 paper and some mists I want to use on my background – because I’m me and I can’t do a layout without mist. :)
These things make up a very Pretty Pile. I’m not even gonna worry about embellishments or title right now ’cause that will just complicate it. It’s time to start scrapping!
Step Four: Commit
Keep your photo close and start building your background.
You have limited options because you made your own kit so don’t go rummaging through the rest of your stash!
I had these long strips of white cardstock in my scrap drawer that were left over from another project. I knew I wanted to use them as panels on my background so I simply started building those and gluing them down immediately. It’s all about committing. When you glue things down as you go you’re less likely to want to move them around again – ’cause you can’t, hah!
I added stitching on my sewing machine and splatters of ink mist.
Next you build the main element of the layout – the photo cluster. Here it’s basically another Pretty Pile, as you can tell.
Build the Pretty Photo Pile separately, away from the layout. This way you won’t feel tied down to placement and making it fit just so.
I always make sure to mat the photo plenty. Here it’s “framed” by soft pink squares that are barely peeking out from beneath, and the black text on the left of the photo combined with the kraft tag on the right kind of sandwich around the photo and makes it center stage. I staple the whole Pretty Photo Pile together, adhere the photo and take it to my background to decide on placement.
Tip: Mount the photo on foam adhesive to make sure it literally pops off the page. If your photo is the tallest element on the layout you’re golden.
Now add a title and journaling, if you feel like it. But don’t feel like you have to! It’s taken me a long time to not feel weird about titling layouts and my journaling is even weaker.
I skipped both journaling and embellishing in this layout. :) Screw convention, my friend!
Whatever you do: Finish it. In one sitting, if you have the time. If you go back and forth too much you’ll have a harder time sticking with the kit and limitations – I know this from experience. You’ll feel like adding stuff and removing other stuff and it just gets messy (and not in a good way).
Step Five: Celebrate!
You did it. :) It’s finished and you can enjoy your lovely layout.
I hope you liked this five step shortcut to getting started on a new layout when you’re just not sure how to even begin. Let me know if you ever try it! It always works for me when I’m in a funk and I’ve started defaulting to this method because it’s just so fast!
Have a great weekend, friend, and thanks for stopping by.
PS. I’ve very sneakily made my very own marsala color ink mist in this project by mixing a bronze brown and dark red mist. Creating a layout using the color marsala just happens to be the January 12 in 15 Challenge still running on my blog. Make sure you enter! You can win a beautiful one-of-a-kind marsala felt fauxdori. And if that sounds like something off a French menu to you go check out what it is right here. :)