Tag Archives: template

Bits and Pieces In a Versatile Template

Need a fresh scrapbooking idea that’s on-trend but also simple and budget-friendly?

I want to share with you one of my favorite videos, which shows the process for some of my favorite layouts.

In the video I share a template for scrapbooking pages with small bits and pieces — whether they’re your leftover scraps or those cute little cut out pieces in your newest patterned papers.

You’ll be able to use this Flexible Template over and over for a totally fresh scrapbook page every time. Just take a look at the layouts below to see what I mean.

Shine On,

P.S.> This video is from the Paperclipping Library. Paperclipping Members get two videos every month in addition to more than 200 videos that currently make up the library.

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Layouts from the video are below…

Continue reading Bits and Pieces In a Versatile Template

Q&A: Do I Use Digital Templates?

After seeing my mostly digital summer album last week, long time Paperclipping Member, Jana, wanted to know if I used a digital template.

Why I Don’t Use Digital Templates

I’m definitely not opposed to templates. I’m sure I’ll eventually use one some day — I’ve seen some by Cathy Zielske that appealed to me. But counter to popular opinion — as I often tend to be — it seems faster and easier to me to devise my own pages than to search for templates and then try to match the numbers and sizes of photos to it.

I have a simple method that has to do with…

  • identifying my individual stories within the larger story
  • knowing which photos I want with each story
  • knowing the basic design principle of dominance

It’s the simplest thing, especially with small page sizes. So here’s how I formed my pages for this 6×6 album just by looking at my photos (instead of using a template):

1) Decide which photos I want to use for each individual story.

  • Story = topic for each page.

The story is the photo(s) + what you have to say.

Some stories get one side and some get the whole two-page spread. For example, these pages are two different stories.


The story on the left: Tuesdays were show production days. At the time we recorded the Roundtable, the Digi Show, and Paperclipping Live! all in one crazy hectic day.

The story on the right: The funny homemade pop-up card that Aiden made for Izzy and me for our wedding anniversary.

Most of my stories have 1-3 photos, but there are a couple of exceptions, which I’ll share below.

Okay, let’s move on to how you can easily decide on your own how to format your pages (’cause I’m all about independent scrapbooking, yo).

2) For single photo stories: decide on square vs. rectangular photos.

If it’s rectangular, you can keep its 4×6 ratio and size. The rest of the page will be paper.

Each of the pages on this two-page spread has its own single-photo story:


If you want it square, crop the photo to 6×6 and it’ll be the entire page.


When it’s time to add journaling, decide whether there is a solid spot on the photo itself for journaling. If so, add it there. If not, add it to the paper part of the page or on a journal block that you’ll place on the facing side of the two-page spread.


See how easy it is? You’re just deciding on the needs of your photos.

  • Some photos crop well to squares. Others don’t.
  • Some have solid areas for journaling. Others don’t.

That’s how to determine your page design. It’s so much easier than trying to make your photos work with a template!

(IMHO — of course!)

3) For 2-photo stories: decide on an up-and-down format or side-by side.

Side-by-side can mean on one single page for vertical pics, or two separate pages for square or horizontal ones.

Is there a dominant photo? Make it slightly larger than the other one if you want them both on the same page.


Or make one photo square and keep the other rectangular if you want them on two separate pages.


4) For 3 or 4 photo stories: decide on photo dominance and hierarchy.

Is there a dominant photo that should be the focal point? You can keep its 4×6 ratio and size, and then re-size two supporting photos to 2×3 to place underneath.

Journaling can go on the opposite page.


If you have 4 photos, you’ll want a dominant photo, a secondary photo, and 2 supporting photos.


Place the secondary photo with its original 4×6 ratio on the opposite page. Journaling can fit in a solid area on a photo or in the remaining paper area on the page of the secondary photo.

For lots of photos: make a grid.

You can fit nine 2×2 pics into a 6×6 grid. Add any remaining photos in 2×2 size to the opposite side.


To keep the spread from being overwhelming, you’ll want contrast and a breathing space. So your opposite page should be mostly white space. If I’d had 2 remaining photos instead of 3, I probably would have designed it the same except with 2 photos in a row instead of 3.

If you do that, don’t stretch your journaling across the whole page. Make your journaling the same width of the two photos, or fit it into a third box where the picture would have been.

You could also keep the center square on the left empty and add an embellishment to that space.

Add Lines

Once you’ve gotten all of your photos onto their spreads, you can go back and add lines the way I showed you how to do in Paperclipping episode 164.

Add Embellishing

When it’s time for embellishing, add your elements…

  • alongside lines
  • on top of lines
  • in corners between lines and page edges
  • as frames around a picture
  • one-third the way in from an edge of the page

Look at my pages above for examples of each type of embellishment placement.

Tutorials on Concepts You Should Know for This Post

For help on all of the concepts and techniques in this post you can watch the following tutorials:

You must be a Paperclipping Member to watch these.


You’re still not a member? Look at all those tutorials topics you’re missing — and those are just for one type of project! To get immediate access to 172 video tutorials, plus 2 more every month, join now!

Or just click here to learn more.

Like I said — I don’t see anything wrong with using templates. I just don’t think they’re easier than simply looking at your story needs and your photos. Give it a shot!

You have what it takes to tell the stories of your life. Hopefully with all the concepts we share at Paperclipping you’re finding yourself to be more and more self-reliant as a scrapbooker!

Pinboard Flexible Template – Paperclipping 169

Creative Habit

What if you could have design prompts that will propel your creative scrapbook flow without actually telling you exactly where to put things the way a sketch does? What if those design prompts were flexible enough to work with different numbers of photos and other items so you don’t have to restrict yourself to prompts that only work with a specific numbers of photos?

Sketches, page maps, or strict templates can give you a framework in which to apply some of your creativity. But they limit your range of creativity if you are at a point in your development when you design (or could design) your own pages. Is it time for you to hold the reins of your own designs?

I started sharing my Flexible Templates because I understand the benefit of having a starting point to get your design going. Creative seeds are good things. But I know how much more I enjoy not having to refer to something else to tell me where to place things. You can use the Flexible Templates as a propeller toward your design, but without having to look at anything specific to get it going.

How do you use Flexible Templates without looking at a visual example?

I base the templates on a visual image, such as three train tracks for the Train Station Flexible template. You should be able to recall the image idea of three parallel train tracks as your starting point. You don’t have to look at a sketch or my own examples to decide where to put your photos and other items, though you can.

The point is to be able to make your own structure from the inspiration of three tracks. You might do any of these ideas or come up with your own…

  • Make your tracks vertical with three columns of vertical photos and long journaling as the trains.
  • Position your tracks at a diagonal to produce a more energetic tone for your story.
  • Make your trains out of twelve different photos by making each photo a 2.5×2.5 square
  • Or make your trains out of just 3 long photos and patterned paper and embellishments.
  • Create a sense of movement by having your photo trains extend all the way to an edge of the page.
  • Or create a sense of stability by centering the trains on the page so they look like they’re stationary on the implied (non-literal) tracks.


Just thinking about these different ways to form my “trains” and “tracks” makes the creativity flow enough that I want to go scrapbook right now!

The video tutorials for each of my templates are just to give you an idea of what I mean by “Pinboard” or “Moving Panels” or “Train Tracks.” They’re also an opportunity to share some of the design principles that might assist you. After you’ve watched a tutorial on a Flexible Template, I recommend you add the template name to a list and refer to the names to generate your own layout designs.

Use the idea of a pinboard to jump-start your scrapbook layout design.

A pinboard is a place to pin up photos, ephemera, memo’s or reminders, and other items. How can you use this visual idea to create a page? In my Pinboard Flexible Template tutorial, I share some ways I’ve used it to display a series of photos, such as the layout at the top. I also assemble a page where I had ephemera from a dance competition program instead of actual pictures.

1st Competition

Pinboard Flexible Template Video Tutorial

You can watch the video trailer for the episode by clicking on the player below.

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If you’re a Paperclipping Member, you can login to the Member’s Area at the upper right-hand corner to watch the tutorial, or you can go to your iTunes library and watch it there.

If you’re not a member and have never seen one of my Flexible Templates videos, you can sign up for my email updates (in the box at the upper right-hand corner) to receive three free videos from our Member’s Archives. All three of them are Flexible Templates tutorials, so you’ll get three different templates with layout examples, and some instruction in design principles.

If you like what you see and want access to the other 166 tutorials that our members enjoy, please visit the Membership Information Page to learn more.