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How to Balance Color Across the Page – Paperclipping 226

Monday, September 30th, 2013

paperclipping 226

There are so many reasons a layout might feel off.

A common one is that the color is not balanced across the page.

Any time you add an item to your page, you need to repeat that color in a couple different ways:

  1. across the page
  2. up-and-down the layers

How do you do that?

Well, let’s say you have aqua on the side of your page. You need to add aqua somewhere across the page at least once, though often twice. And if you add multiple layers of other colors on top of the aqua, then your aqua is in that bottom layer and you’ll need to add more aqua somewhere in a top layer.

If the various colors aren’t spread out in multiple places, then items look random and call way too much attention to themselves. When you find yourself continuously drawn to an item and you feel the slightest hint of discomfort, then you know that the item isn’t fitting in with the rest of the page in a balanced way.

Want to see how it all works in action? Want to see how to tell when it’s all balanced, and when it’s not?

I made a single page layout and a two-page layout step-by-step in a video. You’ll get to see how color can get off-balance and then balanced again with every additional item. You’ll see ways to fix a color balance problem. You’ll see the difference between getting it and not getting it, and you’ll be better able to spot the problems next time.

This video is now in the Member’s Area and in the Member’s iTunes feed.

If you’re not a Paperclipping Member, click here for info!

Here are Embellishments to Match Any Scrapbook Paper

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Sous Chef (closeup)

Ever have a hard time finding the embellishments that match your paper choices AND your story?

Click here to see more…

Tim Holtz Full Demo of Distress Paint and Rock Candy Dry Glitter at CHA 2013

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

This is a longer, more extensive video than the private one Tim did for us the first morning. Ranger invited us to join a small group of their biggest retailers before the trade show opened on the second morning, and that’s what this video is.

So if you want to see and learn even more about the Distress Paint, check out this video! You’ll also see how to color the Rock Candy Dry Glitter!

CHA 2012 – Dyan Reavely Art Journals With Her Ranger Dylusions Inks, Stamps, and TCW Stencils

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

We’re so lucky to see Dyan Reavely art journal a complete page, start to finish! She’s a new signature designer for Ranger and shares with us the fantastic new supplies she designed!

Is the Scrapbook Industry Denying Us Our Outdoor Greenery?

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

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 Scrapbook.com’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!

Found Color Schemes

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Here’s my first project with the color scheme I found in a pile of leftover pieces.
I say first because I still want to do something more with the larger pieces. But I had this photo-less page to make for my class assignment in Ali Edwards’s Yesterday & Today class and it needed something at the top.

(Need to see a smaller or larger version? Click here, then click Actions > View All Sizes).

This layout is very much like Ali’s with just a few changes to suit my style and story needs.

  • Instead of the wider block and horizontal word art that Ali used, I made a narrow journal column and used digital word out that would further emphasize the vertical shape. Paperclipping Members will soon receive their free Design Course where they’ll learn what vertical and horizontal lines and shapes tend to communicate!
  • The longer journaling left me with a smaller area for patterns at the top than what Ali had. I just used the smallest scrap pieces I had in my pile of leftovers. Then I added the embellishments to that area (Ali’s had only the patterned paper plus stitching).
  • I highlighted the paragraph that is the turning point of my story by making it pink.


For years I’ve used the butterfly to symbolize myself and my personality — particularly the part of my personality that feels a desperate need to be free and independent and do my own thing. I started doing that after reading a picture book to my daughter about a sheep and a butterfly.

The sheep was upset to know that the butterfly didn’t need to be with its mother. The sheep wanted the butterfly to anchor down with her flock and be stable and steady. But the butterfly needed to be free and on her own. She needed to wander and jump from flower to flower, from one experience and adventure to the next.

I identified with the butterfly. Powerfully. But over the last few years I’ve learned how to give my children the benefits of being a sheep while still maintaining my need to fly from flower to flower.


Now you know why I chose the butterfly pieces on this page. I chose the colors because they were the colors I wanted to use. That’s it! If it hadn’t been for that beautiful pile of leftovers, I would have chosen orange instead of pink. Orange is my color — a mix of happy yellow and bold red that results in an energetic, playful, confident (if not a bit wacky) hue.

Then again, maybe the pink and cream work to represent the fact that I’ve learned to calm down and allow myself to make some roots. I do think there is something to be said about our urges and our gut instincts and how they can represent what we want or who we are at an sub-conscious level.

My Most Common Source for Color Combinations

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

After finishing my last mini-book I looked at the leftovers I needed to put away and saw this pile . . .
Feb2011 3021

What you see is my tray of patterned paper scraps. I keep them all together and pick from there. But what is on top of my tray are the leftovers from my mini-book: old cream-colored screen-printed Hambly transparencies, an even older sheet of pink stickers by Creative Imaginations, and a new white sheet of pockets pockets and envelopes by Teresa Collins.

These are the items that didn’t make it into my mini-book, except for one small square of the Hambly transparency. The transparency and the stickers have been in my stash for years — maybe four years or more. These pieces need to go back into the plastic envelopes in which I store whole 12×12 sheets.

But that pile of leftovers is stunning! Because of the stark white, this is a very different color-scheme from my mini-book, which had a bold red, a soft pink, and different shades of browns. And it’s not just the colors. Look how well the patterns compliment each other!

Feb2011 3020

The pile of leftovers reminded me how much I love cream with white. Cream and white are not colors I see together all that much, especially on scrapbooks. But it’s one I’ve loved for years. It looks especially beautiful and feminine (and it’s more energetic) with the dark shades of pink in the stickers.

Here’s a cream and white page I made in 2007 with some black accents and some light pink . . .

2nd Grade

I don’t yet know what I’ll do with the stash of beautiful whites, pinks, and creams on my tray, or when I’ll have an opportunity to use that palette, but I hope it’s soon!

Update from the Future: I’ve now put together that layout and you can find it if you scroll down this article. Just look for the white, cream, and pink.

Inspiration from Leftovers

And this is the number one most common way I come up with my color schemes — by looking at my leftovers. Sometimes they are the leftovers I’ve tossed into my scrap tray. Other times they’re the leftovers on my scrap table: the unused pieces that, once left on their own and separated from the stuff I used on my project, suddenly look brilliant together. These are palettes I never would have thought to go looking for.

Instead, they find me.

I know there is a lot of inspiration online, but looking at my leftovers works so much better for me. The supplies are right there staring at me. I don’t have to go looking for them, and most especially, I don’t have to go to the store to buy them.

Do you need help learning how to identify colors and patterns that can work together so you can use more of your leftover stash? If you have a Paperclipping Membership, you can watch these tutorials in the archives:

  • Mixing Patterned Paper - How to build a color palette and choose a group of unrelated patterned papers with what you have.
  • Expand a Color Palette - How to build an expanded color palette by starting with one piece of patterned paper of your choice.
  • Build a Color Palette from Pink - How to recognize the variations of a single color (like the temperature and the intensity) to build a color palette from one color of your choice.
  • Red and Green - How to build a color palette with patterned papers from complimentary colors and avoid the common pitfalls.
  • Clashing Papers - Why do some papers and colors work together and some don’t? There’s a secret! If you understand the principles of color that I shared in Mixing Patterned Paper and Mix Your Own Paint Colors then you’ll be able to identify when and why a color scheme isn’t working.
  • Mix Your Own Paint Colors - If you’re not interested in paint then you might be tempted to skip over this episode. But even if you never paint, this episode is invaluable for learning about color. I learned everything I know about the complex intricacies of color by learning to mix my own colors of paint from the most basic of hues. I share these principles with you in this episode.

(Need a Paperclipping Membership to watch the tutorials? Click here for information!)

What leftovers do you have sitting on your table right now? Together, are they different from the the pieces you used in your most recent project? Do you like how they look together? What potential do you see in them as a group? If you’re ready for a challenge, try putting the together in a layout!

* * *

What You Might Have Missed at Paperclipping

Paperclipping 163 – Layer and Texture with Color

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I’m excited to share some art and color techniques that you can use to add depth and sophistication to your scrapbook, mini-book, and art journal projects! Please click on the trailer above to see a preview of this week’s episode of Paperclipping. You can also download it if you prefer.

This tutorial is available in the Paperclipping Member’s Area. Not a member? Did you know you’ll get instant access to 163 video tutorials, and then you’ll get two new video tutorials every month for the price of a single scrapbook class? Click here to learn more!

Below are the photos of the mini-book I made to demonstrate these color techniques…


Kiss 1

Kiss 9

Kiss 2

Kiss 3

Kiss 4

Kiss 5

Kiss 6

Kiss 7

Kiss 8

Kiss 10<

Caged Bird Die Cut by Tim Holtz
Chain Link from Tim Holtz Idea-ology
Metal Word Sticks from Tim Holtz Idea-ology
Distress Inks – Old Paper * Barn Door * Aged Mahogany * Walnut Stain
Heart Wings Die Cut by Tim Holtz
Stickles – Christmas Red (for the heart)
Glossy Accents
Metal Adornment Charms by Tim Holtz Idea-ology
Making Memories Shimmer Alphabet Stickers in Metallique and Sienne.

(Links lead to my affiliate store. I make a small commission if you purchase something after clicking on a link. Thank you!)

Kiss Paint Cloeup

Want to know how to get richly layered colors and textures with your paints, inks, and color mists? Get your Paperclipping Membership to get the video now!

Kiss Texture Closeup

Paperclipping 139 – Build a Color Palette from Pink

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
You need the free Flash Player to view this video.

This is a members-only edition of Paperclipping.

You can watch the video by using the player above, or you can right-click here to save the video to your computer.

Below are the layouts that appear in the episode…


12×12 layout
Journaling to Trinity reads: Your 9th birthday. Game night with pizza and banana splits. Your closest friends plus some of the neighborhood girls.

Supplies: Making Memories BigDot Rouge Paperie * Theresa Collins Take Note journal block * Basic Grey brads * Tim Holtz + 7 Gypsies metal numbers

Your New Bike

12zx12 layout
Journaling reads: Trinity, You had definitely outgrown your first bike so for your 9th birthday we called a whole bunch of sellers on Craig’s List until we found two sellers that might have a bike for you. We drove — you and me — to the seller who had 2 bikes first, and you knew instantly. You test-drove both, but you knew this was it. You didn’t even want to try the other seller to make sure. You went for the smooth-riding pink and purple one. Good choice. <3 Mom.

Supplies: Teresa Collins Journal-It Girl pink damask paper + journal boxes * Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist for the colored backgrounds of the flowers and circles: Lavender Fields, S.W.A.K. and Pumpkin Pie, blended with the Tim Holtz Blending Tool.

Riding With Grandpa

2-page 12×12 layout
Journaling reads: A regular treat…going to Grandpa’s house on the farm, him taking you all for a ride and a little tour. In a couple of years this wagon will be full of a different set of grandkids!

Bazzill Cardstock Cream Puff * Glimmer Mist Coffee Shop * Creative Imaginations Polka Sunshine orange scalloped paper on clearance at the link at time of posting this * Letters R + G Thickers Jewelry Box Chestnut * Jenni Bowlin Studios orange buttons * Prima Novella Gallery Roses

More December Daily Album pages: Days 14-17

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Day 14:

This page was all about color balance. The reds in the patterned paper were too warm for the cooler red and blue tones in the photo. To make the photo work with the paper I added red Stickles glitter to three of the flowers in a triangle around the photo. That red glitter matches the ornament (it might be hard to see the glitter in the photo) and now the warms and cools like totally fine.

I also wanted to bring the cream color from the sticker, and the white from the flourish and #14, over to the other side. That’s why I chose the white trim for the floral chipboard page and the cream colored tag. Here’s what the page looked like before I added the content:

Day 15:


This day was all about finishing up a huge day of work before letting go (mostly) and taking a long holiday break. I wrote a note about it and inserted a printed up version of part of the work I did that day, which was to finish up my Holiday Photography Email Course for the Paperclipping Members.

Day 16 & 17


The Day 16 page is cut from one of those page protectors from Becky Higgins’s Project 365 album last year.

On the 17th, Izzy and I finished the bulk of the Christmas shopping so I wrote a little note about that and stuck the kids’ Christmas lists inside. They were actually pretty telling lists. Trinity requested all kinds of stuff like “lots of love” and “a delicious breakfast.”

Coming Soon

This week’s Paperclipping episode will be available by the end of the day today (hopefully sooner than that). Please watch for the newsletter soon if you’re signed up. Also, keep an eye open for some hints about our new upcoming show, The Paperclipping Roundtable.