Scrapbook crafting has exploded over the past several years . . . both crafters and suppliers. This trend does not seem to be slowing down. So, if you are new to this special craft of creating books filled with pictures embellished to tell wonderful and heartfelt stories, you would be well to review this common mistakes beginners make when getting started.
Understanding and correcting these common mistakes often made by beginning scrapbook crafters can save you time and money.
Failing To Follow Your Own Style
Too often beginning scrapbook crafters just try to duplicate designs and layouts down by others. “Duplication is the best form of flattery.” This statement holds a great deal of truth, but the benefactor is someone else.
When you create your pages incorporate your own personality: colors, shapes, embellishments that are to your liking–that you feel helps best express the theme of your page or book. You certainly have freedom to use an idea you’ve seen, but always try to add your own little twist or improvement to it.
Not Recognizing “A Little Goes A Long Ways”–Embellishments for Added Decoration
Over doing pages with too many embellishments will detract from the focus of your page–telling the story with your pictures. Colors, embellishment and journaling are important, but use moderation. Each of the enhancing elements should help, not drown-out, the story your trying to share on your page and in your book. Over doing things is easy because there are so many little touches you can purchase to “spruce-up” your pages. Keep it simple, is good counsel as you begin. A couple of accents, some well thought out words to journal are the pure essence of success.
Not Using A Color Scheme–Which Help To Bring Focus To Your Page/Book’s Theme
Too much color, or too many colors can confuse viewers. When selecting your colors follow the basic color scheme (see article on Color) to help you add harmonizing colors. If you’re using color photos pick a color from the picture that best focuses on the story you are telling with your page.
Understand colors help to enhance and focus attention when properly used. They can imply a mood: formal, fun, funny, serious, etc.
Black and white photos basically are neutral–thus most any color will not clash with them. You may want to use colors your perceive items in a black and white photo may be to invoke a specific feeling or look.
Place your photos on several different colors of paper to see which you feel the most comfortable with, and you feel helps you in your story telling. Patterned paper may have a good blend of colors, but can also be too busy for a particular set of photos.
Using Too Many Shapes
As you design and construct your scrapbook pages, like much of the counsel here, be frugal in the types and number of shapes you use. When cropping your photos, simple shapes work well . . . round, ovals, oblong, etc. help break the monotony of sharp cornered squares and rectangles.
Not Following Basic Balance or Symmetry Rules
As you design your pages you’ll want to follow the basic rules of balance and symmetry–the “Rule of Thirds.” For specific guidelines and help in this area check these two articles: “Balancing Your Scrapbook Page Layouts” and “More Information About Symmetry in Scrapbooking.”
Knowing Which Paper To Use–Patterned Paper Versus A Solid Color Paper
There are many wonderful patterned papers available for your use . . . some which are theme oriented. They come in small, medium and large patterns. Be sure to mat your photos–especially when using patterned paper–with a complimentary solid color matting to one of the colors in your patterned paper.
Be sensitive in your selection of a patterned paper. Don’t choose a pattern that is too busy for your there and focus. Sometimes a busy pattern adds to your page’s focus, but more often than not you will overwhelm your photos with too busy a paper selection.
A conservative orientation will always serve you well–especially as you get started in this fun craft. Plain papers would fall into that conservative vain. Color selection would be the significant determining factor in your selection of a plain paper for your page.
Failing To Use Grouping Elements on Your Scrapbook Pages
In the art world there is a rule about “odd numbers.” Following this rule will be helpful. Visually, the eye sees things more comfortably when they are grouped in odd numbers. Whether you are selecting the photos to use on a page or the various embellishments to add keep them in odd number groupings.
In the case of photos, don’t overload your page with too many photos–three works well and allows ample room for journaling and the addition of some embellishment. If you have more than three photos you want to use consider a second page.
Don’t make your pages too garish with an over abundance of buttons, beads, eyelets, etc. As has been noted earlier–a little goes a long ways.
Not Using Modest Repetition Which Can Work Wonders on Your Pages
As you create your scrapbook pages be sure to consider repeating elements and features from your photographs. By doing so you bring greater focus and attention to the theme you are presenting. Colors, as noted previously noted is one element. Consider natural items-dried flowers, leaves, etc., or buttons, pins, etc. These repeated items should be drawn from the photo primarily, and help to add attention to your focus otherwise you could just be adding clutter.
Lack of Journaling
Pictures say a thousand words, but sometimes you still have to say something, and in scrapbooks we do that via journaling. Journal entries should help clarify or add unknown information to your page. Quotes and facts are keys to viewers finding a greater appreciation for the theme and focus of your page. Identifying names, dates, places and other pertinent information about your photos is most helpful. Don’t assume everyone knows what you know about the photos on your page. Any helpful descriptive information will help enhance the value of your page.
When journal entries are made you certainly can use stamps, stickers and other mediums to say what you want to say. Different fonts can also add a touch of elegance to your page.
Failing to journal using your own penmanship is a major mistake. Doing so lends a personal touch. Remember, your pages should be an extension of who you are–not someone else. Just make sure your journaling is legible–printing is best, but cursive will work if viewers can easily read it. If you have to, because your best penmanship lacks, you may want to have someone else do the hand journaling . . . a family member, friend, etc.
Trying To Acquire Too Many Supplies and Tools
This may seem like an odd error to make. Beginners should go from the simple to the complex over time. Real scrapbook creativity comes when you have to work with a small amount of supplies. The biggest factor here is cost. If you rush out and “buy everything under the sun” you will expend a fair amount of cash–which may not be in your budget. There are so many things you may want to have–pace yourself. If for some reason, heaven for bid, you loose interest in creating scrapbook pages, you may have invested a lot of money and little to show for it. Add to your cache of supplies and tools over time. These additions may be more evident after more experience has been gained.
Not Attending Workshops and Classes
Beginning scrapbook crafters would do well to attend as many classes and workshops as time and finances will allow. Expanding your knowledge and experience is very helpful. Being around other fellow scrappers helps build confidence and enthusiasm for your craft. Some of the larger scrapbook suppliers put on programs throughout the year in various places across the country. Your local craft supplies stores may offer “crop days.” There are retreats you can go to. All of these are great sources of information about new products and new techniques.
Failing To Have Fun
If you’re not having fun creating your scrapbook masterpiece then why are you involved? The more fun you have, the better your output will be, both in quantity and quality. Because through scrapbook pages you are telling a story you want to preserve for others, you should have fun sharing your ideas on those pages. If you find this craft to be a drudgery, you may well be served to leave the history and story telling to others in your family. . . share what you have, but let them do the creative work. Be engaged, but be happy!!!
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