Tag Archives: scraps

3 Ways to Store It: Patterned Paper

So Many Wonderful Passions (closeup)

For years I’ve been recommending scrapbookers organize stuff based on the way they hunt for things. Well, I’ve been refining my own system and this year I’ve hit on one that has revolutionized it all for me in a way that no other organization re-do ever has.

Today I’m excited to share with you my 3-part system for storing patterned paper. I’ve never heard of anyone else who organizes like this so don’t give up on this post if the first two parts of the system seem crazy. The third part will make you feel better and with all three parts together you have every possible way I can think of to organize your paper.

Ready to see how it works?

Part 1 – Store 12×12’s by Mood and Tone
There’s a pretty limited number of emotions and moods. Our patterned papers reflect a good handful of them, both in the colors and in the patterns themselves.

Sort them by mood and put your favorite papers of each mood in the front. When you pull out the photo(s) you want to scrap, ask yourself what the mood is and then go to the patterned papers for that mood.


Paper choice used to be the slowest part of my process after journaling, but now I find my paper within seconds. I keep expecting this to stop working and so far it continues to blow my mind! If you’re skeptical, read what one of the Paperclipping Members said after she watched the related video tutorial I posted to the membership:

Oh my, I think I’m sold. I just reorganized all my papers using this method (I was using by manufacturer before and it was cumbersome to flip through everything every time, but color alone didn’t work for me so I stuck to brand). I feel liberated already. It took me less than an hour (I don’t have too much, maybe 80 full sheets or so) but I think the ease with which it came together indicates something. I started just putting things into piles and at first I had way too many piles, but I started to come up with preliminary categories and tweaking as I went. I found that as I continued I would come upon one or two “ah ha!” pieces that just totally screamed whatever I was trying to say, and then it was easier to put the harder to categorize papers with those obvious ones. I ended up with seven of my own categories that I feel great about.

The real test came when I was done however. I’ve been staring at these two photos on my desk for a couple of weeks now–I wanted to use them with orange and cut part of this truly pretty orange paper with a graphic white pattern. But something was totally off and I was making no progress. I looked at them again tonight after the reorg, and decided they were actually “whimsical/fun” photos and pulled out a large white/orange dot pattern from that folder. There is no comparison, it works now–even though the oranges are basically the same! It just feels better.

Thanks so much, Noell!

PS of course, when my boyfriend asked what I was doing, and I said that was organizing my paper by how it makes me feel, he thought I was crazy. But when he saw how quickly I was done, I think even he was impressed. He is used to seeing me obsess over half-finished organizational schemes for much longer than this took!

Part 2 – Store Scraps Together
All scraps smaller than eight or so inches wide go together in one tray, tin, or other container.

Yes, all of them, together.

Does that idea make you twitch? Well guess what? You will find the most enchanting paper combinations this way — ones you could never have planned, dreamed of, nor found in a store and created by even your favorite designers.

Whenever I go to weed out the scraps I no longer love, serendipity happens. Here are two layouts that have resulted from this…

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And just a note — I store most of my screen-printed transparencies along with my paper. They might be made of a different material but most of them function like patterned paper, so I don’t see any reason they should be separated.

Part 3 – Store 6×6 Paper Pads Together
Do this in a way that you can flip through them and easily see the fronts. Mine are in a wooden box.

Obviously, I’m the last to do this, not the first. But it’s a great part of this system because it allows you to hunt for your papers in some of those other ways we all sometimes do:

  • by color
  • by manufacturer

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This way you won’t be lost if you’re worried about not having your large sheets and your scraps organized by color or manufacturer. Because companies put a sampling of the patterns on the front of the paper pads, you can quickly flip through the pads to see what your options are. Then you can pull from there.

All 3 Parts Working Together
With this 3-part system in place you can now look for papers in all of the possible ways I can think of, not just one:

  1. by mood
  2. by serendipitous scrap accidents
  3. by color
  4. by manufacturer

Paperclipping Members who want to launch a study of topics related to this — organization, mixing and matching patterned papers, and scrapbooking with scraps or by mood through via design principles — can watch these video tutorials:

  • 209 – How to Mix Patterns
  • 192 – Organize Patterned Paper by Design Principles
  • 190 – The Whole Process
  • 172 – Making Backgrounds Out of Scraps
  • 158 – Scrapbooking with Scraps
  • 151 – Embellish with Clusters of Scraps
  • 141 – Organization Tips
  • 119 – Expand a Color Palette
  • 105 – How to Have Endless Ideas
  • 98 – Design Language for Crazy
  • 85 – A Tour of My Scraproom
  • 59 – Mixing Patterned Paper

I also go into a lot of detail about patterns and moods in my design course, Design Your Story from The Ground Up.

Want to know more about a Paperclipping Membership? Click here!

Making Backgrounds Out of Scraps – Paperclipping 172

Once upon a time there was a scrapbooker named, Noell. Her favorite color for backgrounds was cream. Noell used cream so often as her background that she was always running out of awesome patterned cream papers.

One day she was rifling through her tray of patterned scraps and mourning the fact that there was such an abundance of perfect, beautiful cream-colored scraps of varying sizes, but a total lack of suitable whole sheets to use as a background.

And then she got an idea…

Collaged Background from Scraps

Gathering Items Together Gives Them Power

Have you noticed that as you remove and use items from packages of multiples — packages of brads or stickers, for example — that the appeal of the items tend to diminish? The more brads I remove from a package, the less interest I feel in the remaining brads.

Sometimes it’s because we use our favorites first.

But much of it has to do with the packaging. Items look attractive in big numbers. They look less attractive on their own.

This is something to remember when you’re dealing with any leftovers of any kind. Gather a whole bunch of them together on your layout to give them more power and create immediate impact.

I’ve done this with…

  • paper tags
  • letter stickers
  • metal framed tags
  • stickers and rub-on’s

My latest gathering adventure has been with scraps of patterned papers! You can gather your scraps to create collage backgrounds!

It’s my newest favorite technique and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check.

One of the cool things about collage’d backgrounds is the resulting lines that become the structure of your layouts — anchoring lines and compartments are inherent because they are edges of the different scraps!

You can use them to…

  • place your focal point photos — notice how mine is in the mostly solid compartment
  • lead the eye — notice the blue floral line leading up to the photos
  • place embelishments — see all the lines on which the embellishments gather?

Pigtails? Check. Hyper? Check.

Love Culture

I’ve created a tutorial for Paperclipping Members this week that will share…

  • Design concepts that will help you create totally awesome collage backgrounds
  • Examples of three different collage’d backgrounds
  • My step-by-step assembly of a collage background as I talk through the process
  • How I begin the set-up of actual layouts on top of these backgrounds

Click on the player below to see the trailer for this tutorial. If you’re a Paperclipping Member, you can watch the entire tutorial in the Member’s Area or on iTunes.

If you’re not a member, take a look here and decide whether you still want to keep missing out on all that a membership will give you!

Loading the player …

The Rest of the Fairy Tale

… After collaging a few different backgrounds, Noell realized she might never experience a patterned background deficiency problem again! As long as she has her tray of scraps, Noell will live happily ever after.

And so can you. :)

Storing Scraps

Get your Paperclipping Membership here!

Tiny Worthless Scraps? Or Bits & Pieces of Beauty?

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I had to cut the excess off of this tag for a project I’m making.

Would you toss that tiny little bit in the recycle bin if it was you?

Not me!

I don’t keep all of my little tiny scraps like this, but I do keep the ones that have a particular beauty to them, like the one above — which I did keep.

I haven’t used it yet, but here are some some examples and reasons why you might want to keep the most attractive of your tiniest scraps…

Cluster Tags
At the top…

At the sides…
Our Family

Edge Gatherings
At the right side…

At the top and bottom of both the page and the photo…

Journal Footers and Headers
At the bottom of the journaling…

Accents for a Focal Point to Lead the Eye
Screen-printed transparency piece directly on the first top photo…
In My Car. Outside His Apartment. Steering Wheel in my Hands.

Need more ideas for your leftover scraps?

If so, and if you’re not a member, I highly recommend jumping on board now.


The next episode for the Paperclipping Members will share my newest idea for scraps. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this one, so keep your eye out for its release in about a week or so, and be sure you have your membership set up.

In the meantime, Members can review these tutorials for using leftovers:

#151 Embellish with Clusters of Scraps
#158 Scrapbooking with Scraps

Stash-Busting – Get Half Off

Want a whole month-long course on stash-busting? Last month I was a guest teacher in the Masterful Scrapbook Design issue on the topic of stash-busting, including ideas from me on how to use your scraps and less-than-loved products! For a limited time, Debbie is offering this course to Paperclipping Members for 20% off, which makes it only $12.80!

Better than that, though — she’s made a second exclusive offer to the Paperclipping audience for half off the nine archived issues, including the Stash-Busting issue with me.

Some of the other topics are Patterned Paper, Titles, Events, and many more!

Debbie has allowed me to go through all of these issues myself and I love them! They helped me get out of a bit of a rut recently!

Click here to find out more about these issues, including the Stash-Busting issue I guest-taught, and the great Paperclipping discounts before they go away!

(affiliate link above).

My Most Common Source for Color Combinations

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

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