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Layouts – Where do I start?

Layouts – Where Do I Start?

For a lot of paper crafters, it all started with creating photo albums. Perhaps adding a sticker here and a sticker there, and suddenly it kind of took off a bit. I have added photos in albums and added a sticker here and there as long as I can remember. In the beginning, my layouts were simple. Then, as I was on several design teams that created layout, it kind of developed to my own style. Now, I like creating layout with lots of dimension and details, and with the use of different materials and techniques.  Here are some tips to start creating layouts and how to develop it and starting to challenge yourself. If you are finished with something, you have truly finished. Always develop and try to learn something new.

What is a layout – LO?

An LO or a layout, is an album page that can be put in an album, in a frame on the wall or be stuck on a canvas. A layout can have one or several pictures, and might have more or less decoration like flowers, stenciling, patterned paper and washi tape.


What do I need to think about?


The photos you use are important for the layout. Choose your photos first. If you wish to publish your layout, but not the photo, then have a backup photo that you put over your photo before you take the images you are going to publish. Do you want to use one or several photos? Find photos with the same context and that fit together.  Choose patterned paper that go with your photos. This can be contrast in the photo, patterns or one of the main colours in the photo.

If you think it is difficult with choosing colours, bring the photos to a craft shop, and they might be able to help you.

Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

You do have to figure out if this is a layout that is private for you photo album or your wall at home, or if it’s going to be a more “public” layout, where you focus on products and techniques. If this is a layout you are going to feature online, enter competitions, DT application or DT work, the photos are important. You can not automatically publish photos of others or others photos online. Do think about using another photo just for publishing online, and you can use your own photo afterwords. The image above is a good example. This is a photo I have taken myself, and edited it in photoshop to get the flowers and butterfly in strong colours, but the background in black and white. This is a good type of photo to use for such “publivic” layouts.


Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

A lot of paper crafters like to use sketches as a base for their layouts. This layout has been created after one of Kaisercraft Sketches a few years back. These sketches can also be used for cards. If you would like to see more, here are some ideas:

The set of a layout

Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

There are really no rules on how to create a layout. Having said this, there are some basic rules that may make your layout look more professional.  The first is the rule of thirds. Divide your layout into three parts horizontally and vertically with imaginary lines. The main focus should be along one of these lines. The image should look into the centre of the page. Then you should make a little decoration on the diagonally opposite side of the page, to avoid it “tipping over to the side”.



There are so many papers and so many styles and colours. Here, you really have to see what you like and how it works with your photos. Sometimes you choose the photo and add papers that fit with the photo. Other times, you might find a paper that you really like or that you have to use, and you may find a photo to match the paper. Asking for a friend, is it really going to far to try to colour coordinate the entire family with outfits to match the paper (:D) ?

You don’t even need to use patterned paper for the background. You may use card stock and decorate with washi tape, stencils, sprays and ink.

If you are going to fight for a place on a design team, make sure you show how to use their papers and products in good time in advance.


Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

When you are going to create layouts that are a bit more advanced, it would be important how you work with a background. This is especially important in mixed media layouts. Learn from other, watch tutorials, take classes, copy to learn and try out new things on your own. Important equipment is gesso, pastes, sprayes, mistes and powdered colours.You can find some examples here:

Different styles

CAS – Clean and Simple

Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

CAS is the Clean and Simple style. This is compleatly sinple layouts, very often without a lot of stuff going on in the background. Eaven though they are Clean and Simple, does not mean they are simple to make. I find Clean and Simple difficult to make. The layout above is CAS, and was created for Creativation in the USA in 2007 for Kaisercraft. The photo is my dog, with some die cuts and papers from Kaisercraft. I have also been sewing the lines for the balls with a sewing machine.

Fussy cutting photos

You don’t really need to use the complete photo, but you may fussy cut the people or animals in the photos and create a scene around your figures.  Britt Sviggum is well known for this style. All the above layouts was made for Kaisercraft a few years back.

Layered layouts

Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

There are a lot of artists and designers that create layouts with papers, die cuts and flowers in layers on layers with 3D foam tape inbetween the layers, to create a 3D feel. Some of these layouts have to much volume to go into albums, and is better to frame in 3D frames and have on your wall. If you are carefull with the 3D tape, you might make these flat enough for the albums. When you see some of these layouts with lots of expensive flowers and expensive details, remember that a lot of these are made by designer that get most of the products they show on the layouts free. With 3D tape, hand made diecuts (with dies or cutting files), stamps, stencils, sprays and gesso, and hand made flowers in between the expensive flowers, you can get the cost of these layout down to a minimum. The layout to the right is made on acetate as a background, which gives it a nice see through effect.

Mixed media style

Layout: Bilder, skisser, oppsett, papir, bakgrunn og stil

A lot of people are creating mixed media style layouts. Here, you add diecuts, metal, lace, washitape and flowers in layers with metal and beads. Very often the backgrounds are sprayed and stenciled. Techniques are important in these types of layouts. Watch you tube tutorials, copy, learn og try out new things. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.


Washi tape on layouts

I often like to use wasi tape on several of my backgrounds for the layouts. Washi tape is something most crafters have a lot of, without really using it at much as they think they will. At least, I bay a lot of washi tape, just because it is pretty. Although I do use it on cards and layouts for the backgrounds.

Project life – Pocket scrapbooking

Project life is layouts created on small cards that fits in plastic envelopes. You can bay special plastic envelopes and cards for this, and you create them to go in an album. You may also use normal scrapbooking paper or left overs. A lot of scrapbookers mix these with normal layouts for their albums. They can be made really simple, and you can have cards with your own text.

For more information on Project life, look out for Becky Higgins on sosial media.

Digital scrapbooking

A few have also ventured into digital scrapbooking. This is both for normal layouts and pocket scrapbooking/ Project life. This is different from the techniques and the mediums used in real life scrapbooking. But it is worth a go. If you would like to try, Becky Higgins LLC has got good Project Life apps for this and is recommended.

Good luck with creating layouts!