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20 Minute Layout:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Relly Annett-Baker

20 minute layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Do you know how much time I get to scrapbook at the moment? Roughly, 20 minutes around three or four times a week. That is pathetic. It’s so pathetic I might have given up altogether, if I didn’t love it so much. But I do love it, so I’ve found ways to work with it.

It helps that I’m a big believer in managing my calendar and booking myself in, and that you can get pretty much anything done given a 15 minute chunk. I am, you see, not a huge believer in busywork. I like to cut things down right to the bare essentials – what is called the minimum viable product, in product development – and build from there.

In my day job as a content strategist, I help companies and individuals work out how to prioritize creating content for their websites, to keep their business goals ticking over – removing the obstacles that prevent them from committing to a schedule. I applied the same methods to enable me to get back to scrapbooking.

First of all I thought about the ‘blockers’… what stops me from scrapbooking?

1) Organizing supplies. I got pretty ruthless about my amassed collection of pretty stash. I donated almost as much as I kept. I dedicate one of my 15 minute blocks to ordering photos/clearing my desk/checking my essential supplies are full and in the right place.

2) Picking up and putting down layouts. I looked through my layouts and picked out which ones I felt were most successful. Then I noted down what I’d replicate from them. I also watched a video of Shimelles about using a kit from beginning to end and thought about how to get the most out of patterned paper, ink and stickers which are my go-to pieces for layouts. Also, I use Pinterest to save sketches and layouts to refer to.

3) Patterned paper. I had so much patterned paper that I loved to look at but hardly ever cut into. And then I didn’t know what to do with my scraps. So, I took a radical step and it has changed the way I scrapbook. I’m so much faster and happier combining patterns and colours now. Wanna know what it was?

20 minute layout by Relly-Annett Baker @

I cut all my patterned paper. All of it. Into a variety of stripes, squares and rectangles. They live in a plan chest, by colour (with some pieces spread out if they have multiple colours), and the ease of mixing patterns and the serendipity of the combinations is now the basis of my super-quick scrapbooking.

Anyway, Here’s how to make a simple layout (I made) in 20 minutes.

20 minute layout by Relly Annett- Baker @

Choose the photo that you want to scrapbook. Mostly I start with a photo, and I usually have a post-it note attached to them of the story I want to tell. The more time I have the more in-depth a story I’ll choose to tell. This was a quick snap on Christmas Day of the boys playing nicely together (as any mother knows, a moment well worth capturing!) that I wanted to document. I went to my colour drawers and picked out two shades of blue, a royal/navy blue and a green-turquoise, that picked out colours in the photo. I decided a contrasting red-orange would also work, so looked for some strips that had that colour too. A piece of cardstock in faded royal blue, and we’re good to go. Try shopping from your scraps basket for this layout to work with what you have and find combinations you’d not have thought of otherwise.

20 Minute Layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Some quick inking around the pieces with the Tim Holtz sponge tool and some Blue Jeans ink (I use sticky Velcro squares to keep the sponge pieces attached to the ink pads, so they are always there when I need them).

20 minute layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

And we’re ready to place. I was using a portrait photo, so I wanted to place the pieces in a vertical style, with some horizontal lines to inter cut the shapes. Do a rough placement to check the patterns worked together. A handy camera phone snap here is good for reference too.

20 minute layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Stick them down, along with a cardstock mount for the photo, leaving good space for title and journaling.

20 minute layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Title time! I deliberately placed some straight lines on the left, knowing that’s where I wanted my title. I picked out some Amy Tangerine thickers for a colour contrast, dimension and texture. Again, try working with what you have to hand – mix and match can be a great way to use up alphabet sheets.

20 Minute Layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Next, gather up some stickers and embellishment, and draft your journaling. I found a journaling card from my collection to cut up. The orange provided a great horizontal colour pop and focused the eye on the photo.

20 minute Layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Go for bonus marks in your remaining minutes. I try and use something I have either been saving or overlooked on each quick layout. Sometimes they become the focus of the layout as the main embellishment. Here I knew I wanted to use this aqua ink blot Hambly rub-on, that I’d had sat in my ‘must use or donate’ pile for a while.

20 Minute Layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

Create your finishing touches. I had some great chipboard pieces and stickers that I thought would work well. I decided a diagonal embellishment design would pull together the ink blots so that it looked less like an accident with a leaky pen, contrasted with some shiny orange gem drops, and the stickers add some extra layers sliced and interspersed with the paper layers.

The time saving elements here – chopping up patterned paper ahead of time, keeping embellishments to a minimum, and having elements like journalling cards and stickers do double duty – are things I do all the time to try and prevent myself from getting lost in all the possibilities of what I could be scrapping and keep me focused on what I am scrapping.

20 Minute Layout by Relly Annett-Baker @

I stopped the clock at 19 minutes and 47 seconds. Can you beat me?

Relly Annett-Baker is a content strategist, wife, and mother to two small boys. She likes making things with paper but unfortunately it is usually spreadsheets. She blogs sporadically and teaches online classes about creating web content at She tweets enthusiastically, with much CAPSLOCK and swears, as RellyAB.

Her next class, 30 days to done, is to help all (and future) bloggers, site owners and Etsy store keepers get their content in order. It starts July 1st. More at 30 days.

BONUS Relly has a place on her 30 Days to Done online course to give to one of you. Also, she likes Hello Kitty. Leave a comment on this post that includes the magic phrase ‘Hello Kitty’ and Relly will pick a commenter to win the class for free. (And you don’t need to wait if you want to sign up – your class fee will be refunded if you win!) Good luck!

25 June 2013

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41 Comments for 20 Minute Layout:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Relly Annett-Baker

  1. ruth Says:

    Woohoo, first commenter!? Hello Kitty! I love Hello Kitty, it makes me so happy she is still so popular.

  2. kazoulis Says:

    19 minutes and 47 seconds? Wow! I don’t think Hello Kitty would make it faster)
    I tend to spend 1 hour 19 minutes and 47 seconds just choosing papers…

  3. Maria Says:

    Me and all my Hello Kitty supplies would love a place on this course!

  4. Dogmatix Says:

    Wow, it takes me all that time to pick a picture lol. A little bit of advice from Hello Kitty is what I need I guess :-)

  5. Diana K Says:

    Hello Kitty… Sound like a great course.

  6. stephanie kaye Says:

    I barely have time to scrap anymore. having a baby, working nights and roller derby all get in the way!

  7. Scrappyjen Says:

    Cutting up ALL your papers that is so drastic! Not sure i could do it but maybe if I had 15 minutes and some Hello Kitty scissors I might just find the gumption.

  8. Michelle Says:

    So amazed at how you fearlessly cut all your paper, Hello Kitty! :)

  9. Kristin Says:

    Genius to precut paper to save time and get it used up. I was like “Hello Kitty, that makes so much sense!”

  10. Julia Says:

    Hello, Kitty. I would like to scrap with you :)

  11. Lisa Flaherty Says:

    We love Hello Kitty (and Badtz Maru) in this house!! Love those tips for faster scrapping, and your bold move of cutting ALL of your paper up! I can only imagine that your 30 Days course will be full of no-nonsense, step-it-up motivation that I could use in my pursuits! Thank you!

  12. Carol Says:

    Really Relly? Even I could get myself in order with your course? Sounds great to me. And I thought that you dropped aqua paint on your layout…those Hambly ink splatter rub-ons look fabulous.
    Here’s the magic: HELLO KITTY!

  13. marianne Says:

    Oh Hello Kitty! I love your process and your finished pages!!

  14. MeganM. Says:

    You’re braver than Hello Kitty to cut up your favorite papers like that! I don’t think I could do that…what if I needed the whole sheet?! Or a different size?! or…. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Mikki Says:

    Great post. Your layout makes me miss Hambly more than ever.

  16. ConnieC Says:

    You’re a brave soul. Cutting up those papers ahead of time is scary to me. I’m sure Hello Kitty would be just as brave.

  17. Kristin O. Says:

    I would love to win this! My sister loves Hello Kitty and even has a tattoo! :)

  18. Wens Says:

    Maybe I could do a “hello Kitty” page of my daughter (which she still loves at 10 yrs old) in 19 mins 47 secs with your help.

  19. Kathy W Says:

    I could never cut up all my paper ahead of time. But maybe Hello Kitty could give me some courage.

  20. rt in GA Says:

    “Hello Kitty” thinks this class would be great for me ;-)

  21. Emily Todd Says:

    Hello Kitty is definitely a fixture in my house! Thank goodness for Hello Kitty scrapbook products!

  22. Maureen Says:

    hello kitty! And I love love love this idea!

  23. Kate aka stinkydudette Says:

    Does Hello Kitty ever eat? She doesn’t have a mouth!! lol..

  24. Sophia Says:

    We love Hello Kitty as well. Great LO and tips

  25. Sheryl Says:

    Cutting up all that lovely paper – how bold! Surely that will distract me from stroking my hoarded papers! Sounds like your course is just what I need to actually get on and just do it – I too have small chunks of time. Hello Kitty rules!

  26. crystal Says:

    I love the LO,but I don’t think I could cut all my paper…..Hello Kitty

  27. Mary M. Says:

    WOW. Looking at the finished layout, I would have guessed it took hours to complete. Clearly this magic process really works! =)

  28. Rosann Says:

    Hello Kitty,
    I would love to take your class on organizing my blog content. :)*

  29. Lisa M. Zepponi Says:

    Hello Kitty!
    Amazed: LO in under 20 min
    U cut up ALL ur PP!!! Wow!! Thx for the chance to win a spot in ur class!

  30. Simone Says:

    I would love to meet Hello Kitty and learn how to make more web content. Thanks for the chance to win!

  31. Victoria Says:

    hello kitty, and what a great way to start the summer holidays – with good intentions! Would love to win this place.

  32. tanja Says:

    Hello Kitty! I love your layout :)

  33. Sharon T Says:

    Hello! Thanks for the inspiring tutorial. I love the idea of cutting up patterened paper. Something I just may be trying. Thanks for the chance to win a spot in this class. And…who doesn’t love Hello Kitty?

  34. JC Says:

    Hello Kitty! :)
    Great tips — thank you!!

  35. Nikki P. Says:

    What a fun layout! I really like the color scheme. I probably have half those papers myself with all my boy stuff. Hello Kitty!!!!

  36. Anna Bradshaw Says:

    I have a little kitten candle holder that I love to take to friend’s house. I open up my purse and pretend to be surprised, saying, : “Well Hello, Kitty! How did you get in there?” Its always good for a pre-ambiance laugh.
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  37. Dana C Says:

    Wow! Hello Kitty sure has some good ideas!

  38. Laurie Says:

    This is a great tutorial! Always looking for ways to make scrapbooking more efficient b/c I (like you & Hello Kitty) don’t always have hours and hours to spend scrapping.

  39. scrappinlk Says:

    The thoughtof completing any LO in 20 minutes sounds like heaven to me.When I get to the extras phase, I spend hours trying to finish. 20 minutes! Hip Hip Hurray!! scrappinlk

  40. Sharon Says:

    Hello Kitty please help me scrap pages in less than 30 min!

  41. ARC Says:

    We are big Hello Kitty fans here, too! Would love to win a spot in your class. And love the 20 min page!!!

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