Is the Scrapbook Industry Denying Us Our Outdoor Greenery?

Are you one of many who feels this way?

One frustration I have with the latest papers is that there is virtually no true green in any shade unless you use themed Christmas or St. Patrick’s day paper. All the green is blue-green or yellow-green. Very little that matches the foliage I see outside in the trees or my garden or my grass. Do other scrappers share my desire for papers with the colors of nature ( not photo-realistic paper)? A line that has a range of greens from grass green to forest green, a range of sky blues,. and a range of browns the colors of tree trunks and dirt would be so helpful for scrapping outdoor pictures. Even the recent camping lines had yellow and olive green instead of foliage green. I looked at the summer scrapbooking magazines and found almost no true green used. When I used’s color-matching program it showed products such as green ink and paint, but not much paper. Any ideas?

This was a question for the Roundtable and while I think the green-yellows work well with nature and foliage, I definitely feel this audience member’s pain, as I’ve been on a desperate but futile lookout for true basic reds over the last few years.

Six Ways to Scrapbook Outdoor Greenery

I have a tip at the bottom of this article for those who love and miss pure green. But in addition to that, below are some ways that the other greens can highlight the plant life in your photos, and sometimes do an even better job at it!

1) Make the plant life pop by backing it to a different shade of green.
4 July

This is not my favorite green. At all. But it’s what I had. Still, it works with the green’s in my photos. If I had used a green that matches the green in my pictures, the edges of my photos would have disappeared, and I expect all the greenery in the photos might be lost to the background.

2) Use green-yellow to bring out the highlights and complexities of greenery.
Love Culture
The yellowy green in my patterned paper brings out the yellowy green parts of the trees,their fuller complex mix of greens. A more basic green would likely have brought more of the basic (middle-tone) green shade out. But then, it’s possible the brighter trees would compete with my kid’s faces.

I’d have to try it and see, but like the reader said, I don’t have any of that green to sample with. That’s okay, though, because the yellowy green works great.


Here’s another example of where I used just a touch of green-yellow to bring out the highlights in the greens and show the complexity of green in the plant life.

3) Use green-blue to compliment your greenery while also making it pop.
Swings & Slides
The only greenery on this page is in the bottom right photo. But I think the green-blue background is enough to pull out the green grass and trees in my photos while contrasting with it enough to make it pop from the background instead of fade into it.

4) Use an off-green shade to compliment the greenery while keeping the focus on your non-plant subjects.
Look at all the yellowy-green plant life in my background. My blue doesn’t keep it from glowing. It’s beautiful, but I wanted the background to remain the background so that Izzy and I would be in the forefront of the story.

I used a blue-green paint as the dominant paint color with a few strokes of green-yellow mixed in. It’s enough green to highlight the plant-life, but the true subject remains the subject.

5) Pair a green-yellow color with blue to get the effect of a bluer green.
I backed my photo to a green-yellow + blue. If that blue had been mixed into the green it would be closer to a truer green. But I still get a similar result with them separate. Together, they draw out the yellows, blues, and greens of the plant life in the background!

6) Make a monochromatic green page with off-green backgrounds and true-green foregrounds.
Hyman Tribe 4769
I like that the yellow-spectrum green of my background highlights the yellows in this picture. But would a truer green look prettier? Maybe. If that’s the direction you want to go, but can’t find the green paper you’re looking for, here’s what you can do to compensate:

  1. Choose a mono-chromatic green color palette with the greens that are available.
  2. Ink or paint a “matte” in true green on top of the yellow-green paper.

This will allow you to use the yellowy-greens that are available and still get the true green that seems to only be available in ink, paint, or cardstock.


Here’s a combination of that idea. I used cardstock and paint in true green on my muted green-yellow background. I happen to prefer green-yellow’s over true green, so my color proportions reflect that. You can add a lot more basic green than I do to get the balance of color you love.

Do You Need More Color Help?

I’m passionate about color. It’s one subject I really get. But it’s extremely complex.

I just counted at least 12 different tutorials about color — advanced color — among my 174 episodes of Paperclipping. Click here to see how you can access them!

Paperclipping Membership Information Page

You’ll never have to be stumped again. Not only that, but you’ll learn to really harness the power of color!

  • KiMD

    Noell, I’d never given your topic a thought – I just use the papers I have and what “feels right.”  I went back and looked at some of my LOs with outdoor photos, and here’s what I found. I do have some Bazzill CS in a true green, but I’ve not used much of it. I have a lot of LOs with other color backgrounds including craft, brown, rust, purple, yellow-green, cream and white. I also have some with patterned paper that has bits of true greens in it, but those are few. I guess that was the long answer. The short answer is I don’t feel like I’m missing anything because I can always find something in my stash that works for me.

  • Totally. There was a time years ago when I thought there must be certain colors that were “supposed” to go with the outdoors and somehow I eventually figured out that it’s really actually wide open! I do understand if someone loves basic green that it would be frustrating right now, though.

  • Cbee

    I like to “create” my paper by misting inks in the color of green I do like, using foliage ‘masks’ from die cuts onto white paper.  Then I place the die cuts on also, framing the photos.  Just recently I used a few drops of  Colorbox green reinker plus water, placed into a Ranger Tim Holtz Mister.

  • Nashmiller

    I had to laugh–how about accessing my hoard of paper from one, two, three, four, five, or six years ago when there WAS still true green?

  • Bonnie

    Great topic and I’m jumping on the bandwagon for true colors! :)  How about a true red as you mentioned…all the variations of red at Christmas drives me crazy! But it is also great to have so many options so go figure. :) I love the suggestions from you and everyone and your layouts are awesome.

  • KatieK.

    I find that I hardly ever use green green – ?true green meaning like a primary green?. In looking at the pages I do with New England trees, evergreen, foliage, and outdoors – I reach for 2 cardstock colors (by CM) called Evergreen and Olive. Now sadly the Olive is retired and I don’t use the evergreen as much anymore. It now feels too blue to me. Seems the greens popular now (available for purchase) are those green-yellows – pesto’s, cactus, honeydew, etc. When I see primary green or Kelly green, it just says St Patty’s Day or elem. school or Xmas to me.
    As I read the post, I was thinking how does Noell figure it out, how to put it in words, about how we may intuitively pick a color or shade to play up some element on the layout. I never could have written or described the 6 ways… I asked myself, oh, is that why I did that on a page (similar).
    That’s why you Noell are so great at doing what you do!

  • Lucie Hale

    Its so funny you posted this Noell because I use green more than any other color and it’s only my second favorite color (my first being orange).  So naturally I devoured this post!!!!  Thanks so much! 
    Also, I love, love, love to see how you and Izzy care so deeply for each other and the kids.  Truly inspirational.   Be blessed forever!!!  This world needs more people like your family!!!!

  • Ourmariah

    I use colored pencils, mists, & copics, along with cricut cut-outs of foliage on lay-outs to get the colors of choice., But I also have paper from 20 yrs. ago that have pretty basic color to them, so will pull that out as well. I like your lay-outs with the color choices you used– it brought out the photos nicely.

  • This is so funny that you mention this, because I too am always looking for green and can’t find it! I LOVE camping and hiking and scrapbook outdoor photos constantly. I have some older Bazzill cardstock that is a beautiful green (true green but a little lighter) and I’ve been hoarding the scraps because I can’t find it anywhere! My one suggestion is to look at October Afternoon papers. They have had some wonderful green papers in some of their lines, especially the “B” side. I really love the greens in OA papers. I’m pretty sure Modern Homemaker and Road Map lines have nice greens. Campfire is a little yellow-green but I still like it. :)

  • flyer printing

    Those were really gorgeous craft! Thanks for the tip, I’m actually having a hard time combining colors to make a color pop but still wont look solid and pariah to the other light colors. Those were pretty good tips that I’m gonna try for the next weekend..–I’m working on my scrap book. Thanks so much again!

  • Thanks, Bonnie! Yeah, I like all the variation but let’s at least have some basic red, too please! :)

  • Thanks, Katie! I do think hard about why things do and don’t work and it’s nice to be appreciated!

  • Ahhh, thank you!

  • Thanks! Great ideas for other green options I hadn’t thought of!

  • Harrisonquilter

    Noell, this is off topic, but I had a question about the “wonderful beautiful amazing” brush(?) you used on the layout of the same name. I love that layout as well as your use of the brush on the picture. I searched Ali Edwards word art(because it reminded me of her handwriting)  but can’t find it. Do you recall where you might have purchased it or did you make it yourself? Thanks for your tutorials etc. I love being a Paperclipping member!

  • Thank you for sharing some paper sources with us!

  • JJ

    I’m also on the search for the right red… since it seems to be what my son favors wearing…

  • june

    sometimes  it’s fun to take just the jungle green background and then the people in it so you can enlarge the jungle as a background…and put a smaller border or fram around the people picture after placing it.

  • Good luck! I hope this helps. For general layouts where you’re not just working with green here are some other ways to make colors pop:

    1) Put black behind colors


    2) Use the color that you want to pop out. If you have a blue in the photo that you want to pop out, use a blue paper. If you want red to pop out use a red paper.

  • Those are actually two different digital elements that I layered on top of each other, both from Ali Edwards. The word art is in her package called Loving Life Word Art. The circle is actually a 12×12 Text Frame from the Life package. When it’s the regular 12×12 size you can read words around that circle. I wanted an interesting circle to layer under the other word art so I shrunk the text frame way down so you can’t read the text but it’s an interesting textured circle.

  • Joan

    Wow!  Thank you so much, Noell and everyone else who gave me ideas for what to do about the MIA true green (I’m the one who asked the original question).  What I do now is mostly pick up other colors in the photos or use older paper, but I will try some of the techniques suggested.   I’m a fanatic about the right colors–I know, I’ve tried using kraft or white but it’s just not my style.  I really like matching my pp to photo colors.  Thanks for being such a great resource. 

  • Ruth Bonser

    Thanks for the blog Noell. I wanted to suggest that stamping up has (or used to) a paper stack of subtle patterns of each color in the four groups. That includes quite a variety of greens (and a red called real red that I really like).

  • Gab

    Fantastic article, thanks Noell

  • Harrisonquilter

    Thank you Noell !