Project Life Tip to Reduce Chaos

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Do you ever have Project Life pages that become too chaotic when you add the cute journaling cards?

This happens to me all the time. I also find that some of the cutest cards look the most chaotic with my writing. But I stumbled on a solution that I expect to use a lot. I found it while I was putting together my December pages (I work Project Life monthly instead of weekly).

Here’s what happened, and the solution I found…

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(click on the images to see a larger version)

I love Christmas red as the dominant color for the Christmas season, but I don’t own any Project Life (PL) journal cards with red. I did have a roll of red polka dot washi tape sitting on my counter, though, and I was using it to tape my smaller photos into 4×6 spaces to keep the photos from looking like they’re floating in that larger space (above).

Since I very often use the PL grid cards for my journaling to keep my page from getting chaotic, it occurred to me that I could dress up the gridded cards with my red washi tape.

The page above was my first solution. See the journaling card at the bottom of the page?

Add a strip of tape just below the curved corner. Then add a little wood veneer snow flake. Cute, right?

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Then all of the next pages had more side-by-side pockets for multiple journaling cards.

At this point I decided to line the tape up with the top of the card instead, wrap the tape all the way around, front to back so I could use the same card on the opposite side, and then trim away the excess corners so they would be rounded like the card.

Look how well that washi tape unifies the page!

I love how it also unifies the entire month. I won’t do this all the time for every month, but I think I will once in a while. Especially for a month like December when the entire 31 days is a period of celebration, and most of the photos go well with one specific color.

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The spread above needed a starting point for the eye. I don’t need every single one of these cards to journal on, so I added the red rectangle piece with the Santa mustache. Because it’s red like the washi, the page feels unified.

The two lines of red lead your eye across the spread.

To give the pages some interest, and to keep it from being too flat and boring, I added a handful of wood veneer Christmas trees to intersect with the bottom edge of the washi.


All of the items in this last spread for December are different from each other. There are Christmas cards with very different colors and looks, there is a part of a Starbucks gift back, there is a screen capture from Facebook, and then an everyday photo.

Notice how the same red washi tape unifies the page, so the parts and pieces don’t look so random.

It also gives the eye a place to go, while the white cards give the eye a place to rest. Together the cards become the grounding focal point amid what would otherwise be chaos, since no single photo is dominant.

December brought me the solution to one the biggest problem I run into while doing Project Life — the often chaotic look of many of the pages. Is that a problem you have, too? This is all you need:

I love how simple this is. Once you’ve chosen your tape, you hardly have to think about another thing. I’ll use my regular printed 3×4 cards, too, but I’m excited to combine the washi tape + journaling grid cards again with different color and pattern soon! How about you?

  • Sherrie Mannion

    Such a GREAT idea Noell! Looks so nice with the red washi! Will have to try that though what will I do with all my different styles of journaling cards now?!?! :)
    And let me also give you a BIG THANKS for the CHA coverage and even more for the q&a wrapup….that was awesome for us who are sitting in on the sidelines. We all really appreciate the work and thought you put into everything you do here.

  • great tip on unity! I think the key is to use something similar across spreads… it somehow cues our brains and puts them together nicely and neatly. :)

  • Heather McD

    Thanks for the great tip. I’m going to try it. (Might have to buy some more washi tape!)

  • Lorna S.

    Your solution is very similar to Stacy Julian’s “Finish-Line Scrapbooking”where she uses black accents, embellishments, etc., to coordinate an album.

  • Leigh Berger Serrie

    Really like this- great idea!

  • Becky

    Great Great idea! Thanks!

  • Cathy184

    Thanks so much for this! I literally just started PL yesterday for the first time and I’m not a scrapbooker (I’m a card maker). After I put my journaling cards with pictures for the first few pages I thought it looked ok but I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t think it looked quite right. I think you’ve helped me to understand what was wrong and how I can fix it. Perfect timing!!

  • I love it when things come at the right time! :)

    Welcome to scrapbooking and good luck with your new Project Life!!!

  • Tracey

    Love this tip and pinned it! I do like how with Project Life I can sort of ditch the rules and “anything goes”, but I find that I DO enjoy looking at my finished layouts when there’s a unifying element — especially (like you said) when there’s a seasonal feel.

  • Erica Hettwer

    I love this! I’ve done something like that to make my plain grid cards coordinate better with my filler/printed journaling cards.

  • JDKelly

    Just a simple but awesome solution! It always amazes me how the simply answer is usually the best.