Using Patterned Papers With Your Layouts

So if you have spent any time at all looking at my scrapbooking pages, you will notice that I LOVE using patterned background pages. I started doing so in earnest after reading a blog post about it. (That designer/scrapper no longer has a design blog otherwise I would link it.) It’s to the point now where I don’t think I physically COULD just use a solid colored background paper. One time when I wanted a second opinion on a layout I was working on, I asked Cheryl (aka GoneWithTheWind) how to improve the persnickety layout I was working on, and she suggested using a solid background paper. Now, I had a lot caffeine that day, so the heart palpitation I had at that moment may well have been a coincidence, but I don’t think so.

I LOVE patterns.

So today I am going to walk you through using a patterned background and even MIXING patterns. I know this causes hear palpitations in some scrappers, but seriously, if you follow the rules, you will be fine.

You may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, hold the phone, there are rules?”

My husband adores me more than some people find plausible. But when he asks me why we have to do something a certain way and I mutter, “It’s in the rules,” he just sighs and does what I ask him. Yes, there are rules. Some of them are unspoken, some of them are standard visual layout rules, and some of them I am seriously just making up on the fly from the seat of my pants.

1. Patterns, papers, and heck even font types like to hang out in odd numbers. Choose, 1,3,5, or 7 papers to work with. For whatever reason, this REALLY helps things to be more visually pleasing. I don’t know why it does, but this is seriously in the rules. (The real ones, not just the ones I am making up on the fly.)

2. Mix your papers up as you please, but you need a visual break between your patterned paper and your photo to draw your eye to the photo.

Bug Town by the Scrap Orchard Designers and Number Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Bug Town by the Scrap Orchard Designers and Number Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Amber Shaw’s Call Me Sweetheart and Fuss Free: Shake It 5 by Fiddle Dee Dee

Notice that even though Alton’s First Birthday layout uses 5 (odd number 5!) different papers, it doesn’t look too busy? It’s because the star burst paper on the edges draws your eye in to the adorable photos. The photos which I used a white stroke on to break up the patterned paper and the photos. Same thing on Lottie’s 52 Weeks layout. The white Polaroid frames set the pictures off nicely.

3. Be aware of the scale or the patterns you are mixing. Sometimes big and little patterns can play nicely together. Sometimes they don’t.

Sweet Ride by Down This Road Designs and Folded Templates by Scrapping with Liz

Sweet Ride by Down This Road Designs and Folded Templates by Scrapping with Liz

See how the polka dot and the stripes are about the same size-ishness, and the arrow circles and the diamond papers are about the same? They all kinda go, and the shapes compliment each other nicely. (And for those of you counting right now, my 5th paper is the turned corner teal on the right there. ;) )

4. When in doubt of what to mix with what, go with the classics. They are classic for a reason.

If you are unsure what patterns play well, here is a list of my suggested pairings:
Florals with stripes
Plaids with polka dots
Chevrons with polka dots
Damasks with stripes or diamonds

These would be some of those unspoken rules I was talking about earlier. I am not sure if they were written down anywhere before, but now they are here. :)

The bottom line is, don’t forget to have fun. These are YOUR MEMORIES. And if mixing an argyle paper with chevrons makes you happy, DO IT! Just make sure you scrap often and journal well, because someday, your grandkids will look at your scrapbooks, and they won’t care what background paper you used, they just want to see pictures of their mommy or daddy wearing naught but a bunch of birthday cake and their birthday suit. Go forth and scrap!

If you found any of this humorous or even helpful, leave a comment. I LOVE comments!mysiggie-1