There is no right or wrong way to lay out your scrapbook page, but there are some basic guidelines that will help ensure your scrapbook layout is the best it can be. Once you have been scrapbooking for awhile, you will find you have your own ideas on how to lay out your page. Until then, here are some basic guidelines to get you started.
Decide on a Theme
Deciding on a theme can be done page by page, or a whole album at a time, depending on how you have grouped your photos. For example, if you are doing a single album about your wedding, then you may want to choose your wedding colours as a theme, and use the same papers and card stock throughout the album. If you were making a birthday album to record all your child’s birthday parties, you may like to theme each individual page to match the theme of that specific party.
Some people like their albums to be consistent throughout, while others like each page to tell its own story. Either way, if you pick a theme before you start, you know where you are heading.
Name Your Page
Not all scrapbook pages have a title, but if you are just starting out, it is a good way to provide a focus. You can use stickers or die cut letters to write your title, or simply print it out from your computer in your chosen font. Decide whether you want to make a feature of your title, or simply have it for reference.
Journal on Scrap Paper First
On a scrap of paper, write out what you want to include in your journaling, so you can see how much space it will take up on the page. How much journaling you want to do will help dictate what types of layouts will fit.
Do a Mock Layout
Once you have chosen your theme and title, plus worked out how much space you will need for journaling, you can do a mock layout with your photographs.
Simply lay the photos on the page, and use scraps of card to represent space for your title and journaling. You will see where your photos need to be cropped and you can mark them with a vanishing ink pen to help you visualise how they will look.
If you have stickers you want to include on your page, cut around them so you can lay them on the page without actually sticking them down. Do the same with other embellishments such as brads, eyelets and fibre.
Once you are happy with your mock layout, you can start mounting things in place.
Things to Consider
When designing your layout, keep in mind the following design points:
Number of Photographs
There is no set number of photos you should have on any one page, but they should all be about the same event, (or aspect of the event if your album is about a single occasion). For example, if you are doing an entire album about your wedding, and only have one photograph of the flowers, then that photo should sit on its own page – all by itself. If however you have several photographs of the cake, then they should be grouped together in a single layout.
Unless your theme is a rainbow, try to limit the amount of colours you have on a page. Generally speaking, two or three colours are enough. Choose a colour which is prominent in your photo as your base colour, and then pick one or two colours which complement, or provide contrast to, your base.
Too many colours on a page can mean your photos fade into the background. Your decorations and embellishments are suppose to enhance your photos, not detract from them.
Cropping should be done as a way to enhance a photograph, not simply to cut it into pretty shapes. The idea is to make a feature of the main purpose of the photo, and to crop out anything that isn’t important. Do that first, and then work those photographs into your layout from there.
If you like the idea of cropping your photographs into fancy shapes, then you should definitely do so. However like colours, you should limit the number of shapes you have on a page to just one or two (unless shapes are a part of your theme of course!). Too many shapes will cause the page to look muddled.
Once you have been scrapbooking for awhile, you will discover some great layout ideas that do not use traditional styled mats. In the early days however, the best way to get a professional looking finish is to mount all of your photographs onto mats.
A mat is simply a piece of card which is cut slightly bigger than your photo. The photo then sits on the mat, and the card creates a border around the outside. To make a double mat, simply place your matted photograph onto a second mat which is slightly bigger again.
Nothing spoils a page like journaling that has been scribbled down in illegible handwriting. While it’s nice to have a personal handwritten touch, consider using your computer if your handwriting is particularly untidy. If you want to have some handwriting included in your album to keep it personal, you could always write a letter to the recipient, and mount it on a welcome page.
The beauty of scrapbooking is that it is such a personal craft. You are creating memories for you and your family, so you should lay out the page in a way which is special for you. These guidelines are simply that – guidelines, so don’t get caught up on doing everything to plan. Let loose, be creative, and have fun!