Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Embellishment

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 -

Simple Scrapbooking Techniques – Chalk

chalk scrapbook Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   Chalk

chalklets Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   Chalk

There are a number of ways to add a bit of color to your scrapbook and personal card projects–chalk happens to be one of them.  The nice thing about chalk is you can add a little splash of color just about anywhere on your layout.

chalk pastels Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   ChalkChalk comes in a wide variety of colors which are often called pastels.  Chalk affords you the opportunity to create delicate accents with a touch of color.  Shading, tinting and aging a layout can be assisted with the use of chalk.

clean workspace Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   ChalkWhen using chalk remember chalk dust can and will attach to most everything.  This caution is not meant to have you avoid using chalk, no, you need to be aware of the nature of chalk to make it a plus for you.  Be sure to use a clean area for applying your colors, and take the extra time to clean your work area after using chalk so the prior project’s chalk doesn’t get on your next page or card project.

Before you go gung-ho with chalk, you may want to make some tests on different scrapbook and card materials: vellum, card stock, photos, etc.  This will give you experience on using chalk, and allow you to see the effect chalk can provide.

For more information on using chalk on your scrapbook and personal card projects, check out these other two articles:

Chalk It Up
Chalking Techniques and Tips

Enjoy this fun and useful scrapbook technique.  Add a little touch of color or elegance to your paper craft projects.

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Ron on April 17th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Buttons

buttons general Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Buttonsbuttons chipboard Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Buttonsbuttons shapes Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Buttons

Even though buttons are one of the most universally familiar objects we see each and every day–buttons on shirts, coats, blouses, dresses, etc.–who would give serious thought to using them in scrapbook and card making efforts.  They have become one of the favored embellishments.

Buttons are simple, easy to attached, versatile and relatively inexpensive.  With a little effort and a creative view you can add new dimensions to your cards and scrapbook pages.  Buttons allow you to add color, shape, texture and accent to any project.  Buttons come in a myriad of sizes, shapes and designs, and a world of colors.

button bellishment Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsButtons can add visual enhancement to your pages and cards.  They can be useful in anchoring other objects–embellishments such as photos, tags or journal cards to your layouts–in-addition to adding color (either in harmony or as a contrast) to your projects theme.

They are lightweight and generally durable.  Buttons can be cloth covered to add a touch of elegance where needed, or soften a page or card.  Metal buttons give an appearance of strength.

button shank removal Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsWhen using buttons on your scrapbook projects you need to be sure they are acid free.  Also, flat back buttons work best.  You may need to remove any shank on the back of a button (not manufactured specifically for crafting) by nipping or sanding the shank.  This is especially important if you are using buttons meant primarily for clothing.

Attaching buttons is relatively easy.  Simply place an adhesive or glue dot on the back of the button and place the button where you desire.

button needle yarn Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsButtons can be hand sewn with thread, yarn, string or floss.  Use a needle with an eye large enough to accommodate your stitching material, and one that will go through the holes in the button.  If you prefer attaching your buttons with adhesive, but want a faux stitched look, simply put your stitching material through the holes and affix the end to the back of the button with an adhesive which may also be used to attach your button to your scrapbook page or card.

button placement layout Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsButtons can be used individually on your projects.  When grouping buttons for effect–color enhancement, etc.  be sure to use odd numbers in the grouping (3, 5, 7 etc.).  Don’t go overboard–a little goes a long ways, but use what you feel you need.

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Ron on April 16th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Brads

brads Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Brads

Most scrapbook and card crafters will easily identify with brads. These versatile implements have been around for a long time.  Brass brads have been used by students for ions of time as the fastener of theme papers and reports.  Today they have been transformed into a very useful art object which paper crafters use in a variety of ways.

In addition to being used to affix items to your cards and scrapbook pages, you can use them to embellish your projects.  While the most common brad is a basic round shape, today these time honored little fasteners are being produced in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes.  Your use of them is only limited by your imagination.

flower with brad center Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Bradsdecorative brads Simple Scrapbook Techniques   BradsYou will see them used as the center of flowers–for decoration and as an attaching element for your flower–dual purpose use.  The more decorative brads can be used on your projects to give either a simple touch of accent, or to affix something else to your page or card.

Brads are extremely beneficial to scrapbook and card crafters because of their versatility and their relative low cost.  Saving money lets you do more of your creative projects.  The fact that they are easy to use, and require no special tools, make them a great tool or decoration to have on hand.

brad tool Simple Scrapbook Techniques   BradsPhoto Courtesy of
We R Memory Keepers

To use a brad is a simple process.  First, make a small hole in your paper or card (use a small pointed object like a pin, nail or paper piercer–but don’t make the hole too big), and anything you may be attaching.  Next, the brad has two prongs on its backside.  Make sure these prongs are together and insert them through the hole(s) you have just made.  Next, with the brad inserted in your whole you can then splay or flare the prongs out flat against your project like a butterfly securing them–and anything you may be attaching.    To keep the prongs flared out and the position of the brad constant simply place a strip of tape over the splayed prongs–which should be on the reverse side of your project.  There you have it.

Now you have another useful and decorative tool in your crafting tool bag!

With brads you have a versatile and easy way to enhance pages and cards as well at attaching other embellishments.  They help you expand your creative capabilities.

If you’re not currently using brads in your scrapbook page and personal card creations, you may want to invest a little money and some time to give them a try.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Ron on April 15th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Paper Tearing

tearing scrapbook paper Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Paper Tearing

Scrapbook and personal card crafters are always looking for ways to enhance the quality and uniqueness of their finished creations.  Paper tearing is one of those simple, yet very effective ways to add that uniqueness to their cards and pages.

The reason this technique is so popular is because of its simplicity, and there are not tools required to make your creations–just paper and your fingers.  In a matter of just a few minutes you can turn your cardstock, photos, vellum and other papers in to useful and interesting additions to your projects . . . adding varied dimensions, textures and interest as you go.

torn scrapbook paper samples Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Paper TearingPhoto Courtesy of

Digital Scrapbook Previews


As you begin this simple technique you may want to experiment on scrap pieces of paper to see what effect your tear will have, and that this effect is what you’re looking for.   Tearing gives you two separate textures:  a smoother side and a rougher side.  You get the smoother side by tearing the paper towards you, and the rougher look by tearing away from you.

Some papers have different colored cores–some card stock for instance.  If you are looking to reveal that core you may want a more rough looking tear, so tear the paper away from you.  Remember to experiment a bit with some scraps to see what the end result will be, and if that results is what you want.

A controlled jagged edge can best be made by placing the paper you wish to tear on a flat hard surface.  With one hand hold your paper on the hard surface, and with the other hand–using only your thumb and index finger–begin the tear  in small sections working down the paper to what ever length you wish.  This slow small tear approach allows you to control the size and length of the tear.

For a wide tear effect, hold your paper with both hands and tear in opposite directions with each hand.   The speed of your tearing will help determine how much control you have on the width of the tear.  This techniques is best suited for longer paper tears.

If you’re looking for a more soft, fuzzy and delicate tear you’ll need to crease your paper where you want the tear to be.  Then add a bit of moisture to the creased area using your finger moistened with water, or use a soaked cotton swab, or a sponge (not overly wet).  Wipe the creased area to add a bit of moisture to the paper.  With the crease moistened begin your tear–on a solid flat surface to help control the tear.  Tear the paper down and towards you.  The completed tear, when dry, will have a soft fuzzy appearance.

tearing paper with straight edge Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Paper Tearingpaper tearing guides Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Paper TearingAnother soft tear technique is to use a straight edge down on your paper and pull the paper towards you.  The end product will be similar to the wet method above with a soft straight tear line.  There are tearing guides that will also give your a patterned tear like the deckle or scallop edge.

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Ron on April 14th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Scrapbook Paper, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Card Stock


cardstock display Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Card Stock

Courtesy of Oriental Trading

In the beginning years of scrapbook crafting, card stock was the prime paper available and used by most crafters.  With the coming of printed papers many paper crafters abandoned the plain color card stock offerings.  Nothing against patterned papers, but there is a place–a significant one–for plain colored paper.

As you acquire your scrapbook and personal card making supplies, paper will obviously be a staple.  When choosing the primary papers you want to work with, and there are tons of choices out there, be sure to have ample supplies of card stock.

Beginning scrappers may be well served to “cut their teeth” using plain colored card stock on their initial scrapbook projects.  Card stock offers you a simple clean and fresh looking paper to begin your layout.  There is less time and focus needed to select accents and embellishments that won’t clash with a printed or patterned paper.  A beginning crafter need only concern themselves with an appropriate color, selected photographs, some journal entries and an accent or two to bring our your page’s theme.

With time and experience, paper crafters can expand their horizon.  They will learn balance, symmetry and color schemes that will allow them to begin mixing textures and patterns in their creations–but in the beginning they will do well to stay with simple elements.

cardstock scrap cutouts Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Card Stockcardstock photo frames Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Card StockCard stock holds a great deal of versatility.  In addition to being the backdrop of your scrapbook’s pages, with the help of scissors and die cuts, scraps of card stock can be the embellishment you need for a particular project.  This also extends the cost value of the card stock itself by making more use of the whole sheet for other than your page’s background.  Consider, too, using card stock for photo mats, journaling strips and blocks, tags and borders.  You’ll find more uses for this important material as your effort and experience increases.

Be sure the card stock you purchase is lignin and acid free.  If you purchase your paper from reputable scrapbook and craft supply stores or outlets (online), you should be comfortable their providing you with reliable card stock.

Scrapping can be tons of fun, but costly, if you let it.  Use these tips to help you enjoy your crafting and help reduce your expenses.

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Ron on April 13th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Scrapbook Paper, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Tecniques – Handmade Embellishments

handmade embellishments Simple Scrapbook Tecniques   Handmade Embellishments

Courtesy SRM Stickers

No scrapbook is complete without the addition of well thought out touches of color, accents or embellishment and some chosen journal words. Otherwise you just have a plain old bland looking photo album. Scrapbook crafters are all about providing those special touches to their pages to give feeling, dimension and tell a story along with the photographs.

Each scrapbook page is unique in their stories. The addition of embellishments certainly helps bring them to life. Personal cards, too, say something special with the right embellishments and comment(s). You can easily buy hundreds of embellishments from professional producers at your favorite craft or scrapbook supply store. The real creme de la creme embellishments are those created by your own hands.

Handcrafted embellishments are well thought out additions to your project–along with your page’s basic layout. The selected pictures are there to help tell your story. The words you choose to journal have personal meaning. These aspects of your crafting a scrapbook page or a personal card are priceless. Many handmade elements you add or use in your page or card creations don’t take a great deal of effort or expense. In fact the expense part may be one of the real benefits because you can, and should, use leftovers and other things about your house and craft area.

handmade embellishments card Simple Scrapbook Tecniques   Handmade Embellishments

Courtesy Sherry Cheever -

handmade embellishments ribbons Simple Scrapbook Tecniques   Handmade Embellishments

Courtesy My Mommy's Bracelets

Consider some of these items as you look at adding those special treatments to your pages and cards. These special items can add a touch of elegance where needed, or give the page some levity or whimsical flare . . . you’re the judge: yarn (knitted or crocheted items), lace, beads, ribbon, paper, silk or plastic flowers (don’t forget dried flowers–but remember they’re very dedicated, so use some of the more hardy items like leaves and stems, etc.). Be sure to check your magazines for pictures, letters and phrases. Certainly this list is not all inclusive, but a guide to get your creative juices flowing. Maybe a bit of your own art work (see article on “Theorem Painting with Scrapbook Pages”) or tole painting.

When considering creating your own embellishments–especially for scrapbooks–be sure the items you use are acid and lignin free. You don’t want your creative enhancements to be harmful to your pages. Also be sensitive to sharp or jagged edges which can cut your pages and cards, and items of extra thickness. You want to make your pages uniform in their look and thickness where possible.

Use good judgment and remember that a lot goes a long ways. Don’t try to over due any page with accents that over whelm or detract from your overall page’s theme and feeling . . . that said, hand made embellishments add a great deal of feeling and focus. Use them wisely because they’re “one of a kind.”

handmade embellishments quilling Simple Scrapbook Tecniques   Handmade Embellishmentshandmade embellishments crochet Simple Scrapbook Tecniques   Handmade EmbellishmentsHere are some more examples of handmade embellishments you could consider making and using yourself.

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Ron on April 12th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Sanding

sanding scrapbook pages Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Sanding

imaginise d stress Simple Scrapbook Techniques   SandingSanding is a simple inexpensive yet very effective way to add a worn or aged look to your scrapbook pages.  With the aid of an abrasive such as sandpaper, sanding block, emery board, wire brush and steel wool you can create a totally different look to an embellishment or space on your scrapbook page.  You also may want to consider using a distressing tool like Imaginisce’s d-stress cordless hand-held sanding tool.

Like many techniques scrapbook crafters can and do use, limiting them to a few pages enhances there usefulness.  Over doing one technique can reduce the desired affect you are seeking to get.

sanded embossed scrapbook page Simple Scrapbook Techniques   SandingSanding offers a quick and easy way to make a new item or element look old, worn and used.  You add a dullness, a softening and aging to an otherwise new item.  This change of texture on paper or an embellishment can create an awesome feeling of nostalgia.

With little effort you can create new looks on such items as: photos,  chipboard, paper, card stock, metal and other embellishments.   A few rubbing strokes on these elements can do wonders to their overall look.

distressing abrasive tools Simple Scrapbook Techniques   SandingTo get that distressed look all you need to do is begin by lightly rubbing your desired element with your choice of  abrasive–some experimentation may be needed to ensure the abrasive you use gives the desired affect you’re after.

Sanding can be a messy task as you remove color and material from your objects.  You should work in an area away from your scrapbook pages so the unwanted removed material doesn’t get on your pages.  Cover the work area where you do your sanding with paper to help in keeping the work area clean.

As you use this simple technique try or experiment with different abrasives and materials to be sanded.  Try using different ways of sanding:  against the grain, circular or directional (all in the same direction or across–in two directions at ninety degree angles).  With sandpaper and steel wool try different coarseness of each to see their individual benefits.

sanding cardstock before Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Sanding

Cardstock Before Sanding

sanding cardstock after Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Sanding

Cardstock After Sanding

Areas that can be rubbed or sanded might include: edges of paper, card stock (try color core) and photos; stickers and embellishments; lettering, patterned paper.  Always begin your sanding on a lighter basis first and heavier as you try to get the look you are after.

This sanding technique works equally well on personal cards  and invitations you may also be creating.

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Ron on April 9th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Custom Made Toppers/Titles

home sweet home lettering Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Custom Made Toppers/Titles

What is a “topper” you may ask–simply put: the notation or title you make for your scrapbook page.  A good topper will set the tone for your entire page.  Before anything is viewed one can determine what your theme is for the page from your topper.

thanksgiving toppers Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Custom Made Toppers/TitlesToppers are frequently, and more easily, provided by  using a professionally produced rub-on, clip art, or other embellished statement.  There is nothing wrong with using one of these store bought helps.

However, a topper which is hand made often speaks as much about the creator of the page as it does about the page’s theme itself.  A well handcrafted topper or title to your scrapbook page can become an additional accent of it’s own.

What differentiates a topper from a page title?  Well, a page title is simply a descriptive notation of your pages theme.  A topper, on the other hand, is both descriptive and decorative.  Some additional creativity and art goes into a good topper.  Toppers easily add a flare or sense of elegance to your pages.  They may be whimsical, formal or something in between.

hand lettered scrapbook topper Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Custom Made Toppers/TitlesFree hand toppers allow you to show your artistic talents–we all have them, some more so than others, but we all have them.  These hand created (in many cases just lettered) toppers don’t have to be elaborate.

sketched scrapbook layout title Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Custom Made Toppers/TitlesWhen creating a free hand topper begin doing so as part of your pages layout before you begin cutting and pasting photos and embellishments.  Determine what your topper will say–your title, and where at the top of your page you it will be located.

Lightly rough-in or sketch what you topper will say and how it will look using a pencil.  Light pencil marks can be removed later.  Be sure to leave ample space between letters if you plan to use block style lettering.  Once you are comfortable with your design or topper creation, using markers, paint, etc. outline and  fill in the  areas where you want color and definition.  You can use any of your embellishing techniques to help, such as adding glitter, etc.  You be the judge on how you want your topper to be decorated.  Once you have completed the stylish decoration of your topper you can erase any pencil marks you don’t want to show.

letter stencil cutout Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Custom Made Toppers/TitlesYou could use a stencil or template to cut out the letters and designs you want to use for your topper.  You can also simply trace them onto your page.  Color and/or decorate them as you wish.  Affix them to your page in a formal order or a random order.

Like many new techniques you may try, you may want to do a dry run on a scrap piece of paper to help you learn and visualize what you can and can not do to create your topper.

You’ll find fun and a special feeling for your custom/hand crafter scrapbook page toppers.  You can use commercial titles too, but your own creations will always standout more!

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Ron on April 8th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Tags

scrapbook tag Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Tags


scrapbook tag handmade Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Tags The use of tags has become a chosen embellishment for use on scrapbook pages by many scrapbook crafters.  Tags represent a great way to extend and enhance the function ability of your pages.  They can become their own mini-page on your page.  Tags allow for the addition of photographs, captions, decorative mats, journaling, page titles and much more . . . let your creative juices flow.

Tags can be purchased ready made, or you can cut them from templates–as well as create them freehand.  There are die-cuts too to help you make needed tags.scrapbook tag ready made Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Tags They can be made from paper, wood, fabric, card stock, metal, sponge, press-board, or other craft materials you can easily cut.

Shapes of tags are primarily: rectangle, square, oval and round, but are not limited by these boundaries.  Your own imagination will create the right tag for the right project.  Tags can be various sizes: small, medium and large–depending on what your specific need is.  They should be so large as to overpower your page, however.

Pre-cut tags can be purchased and your favorite craft or scrapbook outlet, or from a supplier online.  There is a myriad of colors, shapes and sizes to choose from.  You’ll just have to do some looking.

scrapbook tag fasteners Simple Scrapbook Techniques   TagsTags are easy to attach to your scrapbook page projects.  Use staples, fibers, ribbons and brads to name a few special ways to affix your tags to your pages.

You can keep them plain–for journaling, or gussy them up some to add to a photo you may be using, or as a simple embellishment of its own.  The uses for tags is limited mostly by your own imagination.

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Ron on April 6th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -