Pinboard Flexible Template – Paperclipping 169

Creative Habit

What if you could have design prompts that will propel your creative scrapbook flow without actually telling you exactly where to put things the way a sketch does? What if those design prompts were flexible enough to work with different numbers of photos and other items so you don’t have to restrict yourself to prompts that only work with a specific numbers of photos?

Sketches, page maps, or strict templates can give you a framework in which to apply some of your creativity. But they limit your range of creativity if you are at a point in your development when you design (or could design) your own pages. Is it time for you to hold the reins of your own designs?

I started sharing my Flexible Templates because I understand the benefit of having a starting point to get your design going. Creative seeds are good things. But I know how much more I enjoy not having to refer to something else to tell me where to place things. You can use the Flexible Templates as a propeller toward your design, but without having to look at anything specific to get it going.

How do you use Flexible Templates without looking at a visual example?

I base the templates on a visual image, such as three train tracks for the Train Station Flexible template. You should be able to recall the image idea of three parallel train tracks as your starting point. You don’t have to look at a sketch or my own examples to decide where to put your photos and other items, though you can.

The point is to be able to make your own structure from the inspiration of three tracks. You might do any of these ideas or come up with your own…

  • Make your tracks vertical with three columns of vertical photos and long journaling as the trains.
  • Position your tracks at a diagonal to produce a more energetic tone for your story.
  • Make your trains out of twelve different photos by making each photo a 2.5×2.5 square
  • Or make your trains out of just 3 long photos and patterned paper and embellishments.
  • Create a sense of movement by having your photo trains extend all the way to an edge of the page.
  • Or create a sense of stability by centering the trains on the page so they look like they’re stationary on the implied (non-literal) tracks.


Just thinking about these different ways to form my “trains” and “tracks” makes the creativity flow enough that I want to go scrapbook right now!

The video tutorials for each of my templates are just to give you an idea of what I mean by “Pinboard” or “Moving Panels” or “Train Tracks.” They’re also an opportunity to share some of the design principles that might assist you. After you’ve watched a tutorial on a Flexible Template, I recommend you add the template name to a list and refer to the names to generate your own layout designs.

Use the idea of a pinboard to jump-start your scrapbook layout design.

A pinboard is a place to pin up photos, ephemera, memo’s or reminders, and other items. How can you use this visual idea to create a page? In my Pinboard Flexible Template tutorial, I share some ways I’ve used it to display a series of photos, such as the layout at the top. I also assemble a page where I had ephemera from a dance competition program instead of actual pictures.

1st Competition

Pinboard Flexible Template Video Tutorial

You can watch the video trailer for the episode by clicking on the player below.

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If you’re a Paperclipping Member, you can login to the Member’s Area at the upper right-hand corner to watch the tutorial, or you can go to your iTunes library and watch it there.

If you’re not a member and have never seen one of my Flexible Templates videos, you can sign up for my email updates (in the box at the upper right-hand corner) to receive three free videos from our Member’s Archives. All three of them are Flexible Templates tutorials, so you’ll get three different templates with layout examples, and some instruction in design principles.

If you like what you see and want access to the other 166 tutorials that our members enjoy, please visit the Membership Information Page to learn more.


  • KatieK.

    I finally got what you’re meaning by ‘flexible template’ – my lightbulb went off. Yeah! Now I can go back and watch the other 2 videos for applying to my work. I am inspired also by the topics and what photos/stuff you used on the 3 pages you showcased. Can I scraplift your topics as a springboard for my own pages? I had to laugh -> the red patterned paper on the Aiden page – I have too many sheets of that and I think I’ve used it only once – to help me with a page about dressing up as pirates.

  • I would love to know what exactly is your new understanding that you didn’t have before. If you get a chance, please share. It’ll help me with my e-book. :)

    That paper — I LOVE read but didn’t like that actual pattern a whole ton. This was a good way to take advantage of it’s vibrant bold color bit hide most of the pattern lol.

  • So inspiring!

  • AllisonLP

    You know, there are times when I bang my head against the wall trying to come up with a design for my pages. I think I’m going to make a list of all the flexible templates and keep them visible, so I don’t feel like I always have to come up with a layout from scratch. I think this will speed up my process, as sometimes it takes me a good half day to do a layout, and I look at it and wonder why the heck it took so long! Thanks for another great tutorial Noell!

  • I really like your flexible templates and was just thinking I’d like to hear a new one.  You’ve inspired me to go through my layouts and see if there are any patterns of design that I automatically use without knowing it.  Hopefully being aware of my own “flexible templates” will help me create more layouts that I love.

  • KatieK.

    I asked myself why did I get it this time and not when I listened to the previous videos (railroad, circle). So I scrolled up the page here and then it hit me: I’m a visual reader learner. I love to listen to stuff, audio shows, music, etc but only lyrics seem to be the things that stick to my brain. My brain just doesn’t stick glue to the spoken word as well except maybe to conversations in person and lyrics. I always had to read to get my lectures in college. Not that I have to read everything to understand but to make it reallly stick as a ‘learned’ thing. I read it, I think about it, then I visualize it. Now the funny part is that videos are showing me but my brain is focusing more on what I saw then what I heard. So I read your description of what a flexible template is, I visualized what you were describing and I got the concept. I love imagery – my family makes fun of my constant use of word pictures and comparisons but it is how I learn best I guess. I have to constantly ask my family to write things down if they want me to remember a list, a number, a ‘to-do’, etc. My husband is the near opposite…
    I don’t know why I am like this. And I listen to music and taped shows all the time despite this inability to remember it as well as I would like.

  • Im with KatieK, up to a very short time ago, ok, like a week or two, I didn’t understand either. And it boggled my mind how you could used the same idea or template over and over again with out ur album looking odd, too match-ie… For me when they showed them template, and it said journal here, photo here, element here, that was law, and it I messed it up the scrap police were going to come out of the shadows and beat me for my insolence. It wasn’t until I was the “Stretch the sketch” over at two peas, and realized I can do what ever I want! Sense then I have went back and watch all your template shows, and totally get it. I just want to say, Noel, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way u tough it, I know for me, and sometimes, there is just a set number of times and ways something goes into my head before I really get it. Before I have gotten to that number, it dose not matter who tells me or how, I need to feel my dedication requirement, put in my time of ignorance, and then when my sentence it over, its like everything i have been struggling with, becomes crystal clear. 
    Just wanted to give another perspective. 
    PS. Have learned not to space, and I don’t have to sign, my names on top… c, slow learner :)

  • AllisonLP

    Here’s my take on this flexible template.  Off to make a list of them :) 

  • Allison, did you mean to provide a link to a layout? I’d love to see but
    there’s no link here! :)

  • AllisonLP

    it’s attached to my reply.  Or it’s also in the photo galary the Commuity – “Busy Work”.  

  • Oh! When I read the comments from email it doesn’t show me that there’s an
    attachment. I had to go to the website — that’s awesome, I had no idea an
    attachment would show up like that!

    Yeah for your layout! It looks great and your son is a doll! I can’t help
    noticing the yellow and red room, just like my scraproom! :)

  • Kristyn G

    Allison–make sure you join us for the Paperclipping Monthly Challenge over at the Crop Circle (  One of the challenges for June will be to implement the template and we would love to have your layout as an entry!

  • Great episode!  I love the pinboard flexible template and see myself using this idea on some layouts.