How to Use Repetition in Your Scrapbooking – Paperclipping 166

Sometimes choosing from a lot of really great-looking products can make it hard to decide what to put on your page. Other times we just have no ideas to start with. One of the reasons I enjoy employing design principles so much is that it helps me make quicker decisions.

Actually, it helps me make decisions in general! For the Swingset layout below I used the principle of repetition to help me decide between different products I loved! For the Atlantis layout, repetition was the key principle for the entire design and it helped me decide on every single product I used! I used repetition in two different ways for these layouts.

The best part, though, is how repetition unifies your page so it feels whole and complete, and in this episode I’ll share with you ways to do it without becoming boring.

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If you’re a Paperclipping Member, today’s episode is waiting for you, either in the Member’s Area (login at the upper right-hand corner) or in iTunes. You’ll get to see the difference repetition can make.

If you’re not a Paperclipping Member, you can watch the trailer above and enjoy the layouts below for ideas. If you would like to…

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Scrapbook Layouts That Use Repetition

Ready to see some examples? Here are the layouts I used in the episode to demonstrate…

Swingsets & Slides

2-page layout: 6×12 + 12×12
Swings & Slides

To see a larger version so you can read the journaling, please click on the layout, click on the Actions menu > View All Sizes.

The Glitz Design Hoopla Polka Dot paper is a current fave and it’s on clearance! Unfortunately, I can only find the Jenni Bowlin Studio buttons in red and black, but not orange. I do love red, though!!

Other favorites: The My Mind’s Eye Lush journaling pad and flocked orange flower paper.

Digi: The Then & Now stamps came with Ali Edwards’s Yesterday & Today class at Big Picture Classes. I designed the photo header for the bottom section of the journaling myself.

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2-page layout: 12×12

Hello Kitty

This is the right side of a 2-page layout. It’s 12×12.

Silly Random Thoughts

12×12 layout

Ready to learn how to better use repetition in your scrapbook pages? Join us now with your new membership and get instant access to this video tutorial and 165 more!

  • Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  • Interesting info.
    Sometimes we use repetition but are not aware of it. This way, we’ll know how to use it intentionally :)

  • Karen Bierdeman


    Great point! Becoming intentional about it. Now, how to do that?

    I am one of those people who learn something, internalize it, and then follow my gut. It doesn’t work for me to sit down and take a logical, linear approach to design. I allow the design principles to work through me so I can stay “in the flow,” and then go back and tweak as necessary. :)


  • It’s a kind of organic thing for me. Much of the time I’m doing things from
    my gut, but because of my position, I need to explain it, so I go back and
    analyze why it was that I wanted to do something. Then I go — “Oh yeah, it
    uses such-and-such principle!”

    Other times it’s an intentional decision — I want to accomplish z, and I
    know the principle that says x+y=z, so I’ll choose to do x+y if it feels
    good to me.

    And then there are the times when I’m trying to make a decision. I loved
    that first journaling block but something was keeping me from committing to
    it. I happened to be working on my design course at the time that I was
    making that page and I was thinking about the principle of repetition when
    suddenly it occurred to me that the other one would accomplish repetition.
    So I tried it and it made the page feel complete for me, so I did it!

    I think I go from my gut a little more often than starting from a specific

  • Karen Bierdeman

    Noell–your response to me was so helpful to know–thank you. I always knew I loved learning the design principles in isolation because I wanted to know WHY a page or layout worked. That said, as a non-linear thinker and creator, I wasn’t always sure HOW to put them together. Remember how I’ve posted over the years about not trusting myself to create and then getting stressed? Well, it wasn’t just getting overloaded with ideas from magazines–it was also starting a page by thinking, “Okay–I need to have balance and unity…hmmmm…is there flow? Did I do the rule of thirds?” I’d just get bogged down in sequencing design principles and that didn’t let itself to any sort of creativity. Now I TRUST that I really have internalized them after a few years of studying them. I asked myself, “What works for me to start a layout? What’s my process?” Once I figured out my starting point, which is where to place the photos, that made a big difference because other decisions flowed from there. I just am so excited to create from this place–this place of trusting myself and knowing that I can tweak along the way.

    So when you asked on your blog, “What do you know want to know about design?” I wasn’t sure how to answer. I was thinking, “I want to know how to put it all together….without thinking about it too much and stifling my creativity but still being mindful.” But that seemed a bit jumbled. I am really aiming for mindfullness in my scrapbooking–paying attention to the process without being attached to the outcome. I’m on my way….:)

  • Kristyn G

    great tutorial Noell!! Start working on your layouts with repetition ladies because you can bet this will be a Challenge Topic for April! :) I’m off to work on my sample layout now!!

  • Yay!

  • I’m glad that was helpful. I think I’m going to copy our conversation into a
    post because I think it’s hard to understand that you need to find that
    balance between desiging from your gut and incorporating design principles.

    The more you practice and internalize design, the more it certain things
    become a part of your gut instinct, too.

    Also, I can’t emphasize enough the one most important thing — know what
    your story is before you start making any choices. Just knowing the story —
    including the mood, feelings, tone — is all you need to do to be in the
    frame of mind to choose design principles that will help you tell the story.