Without the benefit of embellishment, personal cards and scrapbook pages would generally be passe or unattractive–plain.   So, with a little attention to or flourish of embellishment you can turn an otherwise bland looking card or scrapbook page into something of interest with elegance or pizazz.

As each scrapbook and personal card is crafted careful attention is placed on the amount and type of embellishment used.  Judicious care should be directed in the construction of your project.  Consider the gathering of photographs focused on your theme or subject; identify a focus or specific theme for your project; make a careful selection of the colors you plan to use;  the appropriate paper or card stock to be used should be ordered around your theme and color scheme.  Lastly, direct your attention to the types and quantity of embellishments you feel you need to complete your page or card.

When selecting your embellishments take into account these three elements:  1) Can I make it myself, or do I have to purchase it?  2) Is there an item I can use that has another purpose, but would work well for my project?  3) What embellishment best meets my need that has been produced for that purpose?

When selecting things that you make or has been manufactured for another purpose, be sensitive to the item’s thickness.  As a general rule, try not to use things thicker than a 1/4″.  Eliminate pointed aspects of the item to keep them from harming your page or card–poking holes in them.  Standing your completed scrapbooks up will help keep unwanted weight from becoming a damaging agent.

Also, be aware that things made for another purpose may be harmful to your project because of acid or lignin.  These selected items need to be neutralized wrapping them in plastic or putting them in small plastic bags will help.

The first rule in the use of embellishments is:  “a little goes a long way.”  Over use of embellishments can cause clutter, create a page or card that looks too busy or garish.  Keep in mind the photo is the prime element of scrapbooks, and the statement or quote is most important for a card . . . everything else should help accentuate them.

Below are some embellishments you may want to consider. This is not a comprehensive list, but one to get your creative mind going. They are not listed in any order of priority:

brads1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Brads

Brads come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. They can easily add a touch of elegance to pages and cards. They are easy to apply. Brads are often used to attach other items to your cards and pages as well as for their pure decorative value. See article on “Brads” for more helpful information.

buttons shapes1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Buttons
(and sewing notions) 

Buttons need no introduction. We all use them–mostly for clothing–each and every day. Given the vast array of variety, sizes and colors available, they make a great addition to scrapbook pages and cards. See article on “Buttons” for more helpful information.

chalk pastels1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Chalk
(or Pastels) 

What a great way to add color, texture and some depth to your paper projects. They can be used as accent or shading to die-cuts and letters. Chalk can liven up otherwise dull looking elements. One thing to be aware of when using chalk is that it can be messy. Be sure to use a clean area, and be sure to clean the area thoroughly after use or you’ll add chalk to other projects where you may not have wanted it. See article on “Chalk” for more helpful information.

charms scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Charms

Charms like buttons and brads can add variety and interest to your cards and scrapbook pages. These little tidbits come in a vast array of subject material–finding one that meet a theme can be just the ticket you need to say something or add emphasis.

Charms are small machine pressed imprints of items. Some are painted to add detail or emphasis. Most have a small hole so they can be attached to bracelets or necklaces, but today, many are produce exclusively for the paper crafter.

Charms can be attached to your project with glue dots, or maybe a brad, or stitched . . . to this end you can be a bit creative.

Like the warning giving so often when adding things to a scrapbook page, be sure the item is acid free–doesn’t have sharp points or edges which could damage your pages. Take the necessary precautions to protect your project from these potential problems.

Loveland Die cut Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Die-cuts

If you want a quick infusion of interest and focus on your card or scrapbook page you should use die-cuts. Die-cuts are available in thematic packets, individually or you can have your own cut at your favorite scrapbook store. For those who are believers in the value of die-cuts, and who have the capital resource, will be investors in a personal die-cut machine. There are several different models in various price ranges available to the paper crafter.

Die-cuts can be made from various materials–mostly card stock–but there are other mediums you can use.

eyelets decorative Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Eyelets

Eyelets are little rings generally made from metal provide both a visual touch on their own, or can be used as holes to thread other material such as yarn or ribbon through. Eyelets come in the colors of the metals they are made from (typically aluminum or brass), or they may be color coated. These decorative facets can also be used to attach other elements to personal cards and scrapbook pages. Eyelets do need to be set and may require the use of a setter to bend the flanges back to secure them to your project.

scraps of fabric Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Fabric

Fabric, like buttons, is something you see every day. Using fabric with your personal cards and scrapbooks can add texture, dimension, focus, elegance and warmth to name a few attributes. The only additional tools needed to work with fabric are spray adhesive or iron-on transfer paper and scissors or pinking shears (to help keep ends from fraying).

What fabrics can you use? Try denim, satin, corduroy, twill, linen, tulle, burlap, leather, cotton in a myriad of patterns. You can attach your fabric with eyelets, brads, stitching, spray adhesive or iron-on transfer paper. With shear or transparent fabric you may have to experiment on attaching to your projects, but spray adhesive may be your best bet.

What can you do with fabric to spice up your scrapbook pages and personal cards? Consider sewing items on your fabric; Use iron on transfers to add a touch of something to your fabric, or in place of putting it through your printer; tear sections into strips; use them as photo corners; add words–stencils, hand written, rub-ons, stamp or print; use fabric as a stencil backing that can be seen through cut out openings; you can stamp or paint images or lettering on the fabric; make die-cut or punched images or create your own tags. These are just a few ideas to help you consider ways to use fabric.

Fabric will give you a means of adding several elements to your pages and cards. Your own creativity will be a big boost to your finished products.

fibers scrapbook1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Fiber

Fibers, like fabric and buttons, can provide you with an added dimension to your cards and pages. They are varied and versatile. Consider yarns, string, waxy flax or linen, embroidery thread, fancy fibers, cording, etc. The various colors and textures of these fibers will add utility and dimension to any paper craft project. Fibers can be single strands from wide woven fabric.

What are some of the ways you can use fibers in your scrapbook and card projects? Consider using them as borders on photos and other embellishments; as a means of creating a dangling effect–like hanging charms;
stitching around items or attaching other embellishments; sew on fancy buttons, or add beads and sequins threaded on fiber; make decorative bows; lace through pre-punched holes. Fibers can be affixed to your projects by stitching, weaving, wrapped around eyelets and brads, and with adhesive or glue dots. Any way you use fiber you will find a fun and easy way to add texture and interest to your scrapbook and cards.

silk flowers Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Flowers

Flowers are such a natural addition that can add a touch of elegance to any scrapbook or card project. The first impression would be to use real flowers. They are delicate and will dry out. Dried flowers are even more delicate, and will require some extra care and attention when using them. Putting them in plastic will help keep any material that may break-off from going all over your page or book. Also, the plastic will help eliminate the worry about damage to your pages from the lignin which plants are made of. Use flowers wisely.

When project’s layout calls for flowers you may want to consider using silk ones. Silk flowers will get rid of most of the problems noted above.

You may also want to consider paper flowers. They can be purchased or you can make your own.

washers hardware store items Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Hardware Store Things

The hardware store has a lot of “non-traditional” things you could use in your card and scrapbook layouts. Consider sandpaper to give the appearance of sand. Washers–painted or plain–offer a variety of uses where circles may be needed. Wire or plastic mess or screening. Plastic electrical tape in various colors. Wire–steel, aluminum or copper–coated or uncoated. These suggestions should get your creative mind going . . . hardware stores have a lot to offer in this non-traditional effort.

metal sheets decorative Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Metal

Be sure to take advantage of metal in your card and scrapbook layouts. Metal can be in many different forms from sheets: aluminum foil, steel, copper are the most common, but others can be used. There are many high quality die-cast embellishments you can purchase through your favorite scrapbook outlet.

When using metal sheets, be aware that thin sheets can be torn . . . while thicker sheets can be sharp or too heavy if you use too much. Where the material is sharp you may consider bending over the edges or sanding them with emery cloth.

paper clips decorative Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Office Supplies

When cost is a serious consideration, you may want to check out your local office supply store. These outlets have a number of items you could use in your card and scrapbook efforts. Things like: paper clips–including colors and various sizes; staples (in colors); address labels–self adhesive and in different sizes (great for journal entries); tags–in various sizes; brads; small envelopes (make great pockets).

crepe paper ruffled Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Paper

One of the most versatile elements you can use for embellishing your scrapbook pages and personal cards is paper. Paper comes in many different weights (thickness); textures and certainly colors. Consider crape paper, tissue paper, corrugated paper (cardboard), card stock, etc. Add a pair of scissors or a die-cutter and you have an almost limitless array of opportunities–along with your own creative juices. You can cut, tear, shred, color, layer, etc. paper to give you unique pieces to add to your pages and cards. You can layer paper or add shading with paper. Let your creative imagination go wild!

scrapbook punches Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Punches

Punches are simply single purpose small die-cuts. They come in a wide array of shapes–some are big, some smaller. Punches can be used for borders or as free standing elements. Small scraps of paper that otherwise might be thrown away can be used to make cut-outs.

Punches can be used two ways: 1) from the punched out piece being affixed to your card or page; 2) the punched out design in the page or card (add a color backing for an additional affect). See article on “Scrapbooking Punches” for more information.

ribbon dispenser Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Ribbon

Ribbon can be used in a number of different ways–similar to those for fiber noted above. The finished nature of ribbon can give a little touch of elegance to your project. The right type and color of ribbon can equally give a more masculine look. An extra wide ribbon can be punched for the benefits noted in the “punches” ideas–either for the punched item or for the punched hole affect.

rub on Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Rub-ons

Rub-on or transfers as they are sometimes referred to are similar to stickers. They started out as alphabet transfers; phrases came next, and graphic designs were added. So now rub-ons come in a wide array of choices for varied uses in your scrapbook and personal card creations.

The prime differences are in their application and permanency. Rub-ons are hard to remove once you’ve applied them to your project–covering them with something else is a good way to hide a rub-on mistake. Like stickers, rub-ons have an adhesive backing, but are applied by rubbing over the item with a stylus (a Popsicle stick is ofter used as the stylus). They can be used on most any clean flat surface . . . textured surfaces may cause distortion to the look of the transfer.

Rub-ons (alphabetical and word phrases) are often used for page titles, or in place of hand written journal entries. Don’t be shy in trying something new. They are a great help to scrappers who take the time to used them, and they’re not overly expensive compared to other embellishments.

To help eliminate errors from rubbing a part of an unwanted transfer from a sheet (usually how they are produced), before transferring, cut the desired item from the sheet–ensuring both the backing and overlay are cut at the same time. Then rub-on the individual item to your project.

rubber stamp collage Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamps are another of the very versatile tools available to scrapbook and personal card crafters to help provide exciting embellishments. Crafters can purchase ready made stamps in a wide variety of designs, or you can have personally designed stamps fabricated for your use.

Using rubber stamps is easy. Simply load or our rubber stamp with a thin layer of ink or Acrylic paint (the most preferred medium now) using a foam paintbrush (or a clean make-up sponge). Inks come in a wide broad range of colors. Stamp pads are not the preferred method because you don’t often get a fully loaded or covered stamp. A poorly layered stamp will provide a poor result–one lacking detail and clarity. Once the stamp is adequately inked press the stamp straight down on your project with firm even pressure, and lift straight up after the impression has been affixed to your page or card. Rocking your stamp as you lift it off will give the stamp a slight distressed look–you may want that.

After each use be sure to thoroughly clean your stamp pad. This allows you to use your stamp with new colors and with out ink build-up which can cause poor future impression and add color you may not want on other impressions. See article on “Basics of Rubber Stamping” for more helpful information.

stitching scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Stitching

Stitching is a fantastic way to add a special look to your cards and scrapbook pages. Crafters can hand stitch their projects or use a craft sewing machine.

Stitching can be done with thread, embroidery thread, waxy flax, fancy fibers and ribbon (small sizes usually). Hand stitching may require pre-punching or piercing your project to allow the fiber material to be sewn. Stitching is most often used to border or outline other elements. It can also be used to attach items to your pages and cards. See article on “Hand Stitching Scrapbook Pages” for more helpful information and“Machine Stitching Scrapbook Pages”

stickers scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Stickers

Stickers have become one of the favorite embellishments for paper crafters. They are readily available in a myriad of colors, shapes and sizes. If you needed to, you could create your own, but their is a probably a commercially produced one already available. Stickers come in sheets, rolls and individually. Using stickers is a simple as finding the sticker you want or need peeling it from its backing and placing it where you want it on your project. Most stickers are forgiving and will allow you to lift and replace them as needed. Their versatility of use only requires a bit of a creative mind. See article on “A Scrapbook Sticker Technique To Use” for more helpful information.

tags scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Tags

Tags are a draw from shipping tags found at the office supply store. Tags can be found in many shapes and sizes. They can be hand made–best with the help of a template, or purchased from your local paper-craft store. Scrapbook crafters have a number of innovative ways to used them.

Here are a few suggestions: As a photo mat if the tag is large enough for the photo; One of the most used ideas is as a journal medium–including stuffing them in a pocket as a hidden journal note; As a title with the addition of other embellishments; When arranged properly they can be a unique border to a page or an element on a page; Use them as a quote caption; Mini-scrapbooks could be made from them; For the card makers in the crowd, you could create a personal card from a tag. See article on “Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Tags” for more information.

template scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Templates

Templates are a useful tool when creating your scrapbook pages or personal cards. The template is a “blueprint” for what you want your page to look like, and how the page is laid out. They are a guide to follow. You can make your own template or utilize the designs created by others.

Templates are also useful in making elements for your project–tags, photo frames, embellishments, cards, etc. These templates help you follow a pattern to make your item. Each succeeding items created from your template should be identical.

chipboard naked Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Wood/Chipboard

Chipboard and pressed wood are useful in scrapbook designs because they are thicker material and present a nice dimensional look. Most often you find these items already die-cut and ready to use. Some tags come ready to use with adhesive already on their backs. Another nice feature about them is they can be larger in size because of their thickness. They are durable and less flexible.

Wood and chipboard that has not been produced with a design–called “naked”–can be made into most anything you would like. They can be die-cut, but require equipment designed to handle these thicker pieces. You can paint or cover them in many different material. They can be attached with glue, large stapes, brads and eyelets. Chipboard and wood present a great way to expand your embellishing efforts. For information on die cut machines see article on “Scrapbook Die Machine – Cut and Embossing” for more information.

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Ron on May 11th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -