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How to Hide a Story in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith

How to Hide a Story in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith @

Lately I have really been admiring the sheets of patterned paper that are covered in beautiful handwriting and text. They look elegant and make lovely backgrounds. The only downside is that the words aren’t my own. So I set out to put together a page that both features text as a design element and tells a story that is meaningful to me.

The design concept is simple; to fill a 12×12 sheet of white cardstock with writing. This can seem an intimidating, daunting task, but don’t be put off! First of all, you could always type out your words in a favourite font, or copy passages from a favourite book if you prefer. That way, the words can still be personal to you, but you don’t have to sit down and write an epic novel!

How to Hide a Story in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith @

However, I did decide to take the hand-written approach as I had a very special memory to record; it seemed appropriate for the page as I didn’t really have any pictures to go with my tale, and making the text the focus of the page really draws attention to the words.
With your story selected, get writing, get typing…whatever you choose, keep going until the page is filled. A border around the edge of the cardstock is a nice way to draw the design together and if you’re anything like me, a few pencil guidelines will help keep handwriting in straight(ish) lines.

How to Hide in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith @

With the background complete, it’s time to think about the rest of the page. Text as a background can be very striking, especially if you’ve gone for black ink on white paper as I did. So I kept the colour palette simple with pastel yellows, pinks and greys. The design is a classic 2×2 grid comprising a title block, a photograph and two embellishment blocks. Repeating the Polaroid-style element makes the design cohesive and the formality of the grid is softened by little details such as miniature wooden clothes pegs and layers created with tabs, twine and die cut shapes.

How to Hide in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith @

The trick with this design lies in a sheet of 12×12 clear acetate. I adhered each element of the grid design to the acetate and embellished with a few wood veneer hearts. To complete the page, I simply placed the acetate over the top of the handwritten background. The page can then be slipped into a page protector.

How to Hide in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith @

This layout can play two roles in your album. At first glance, the casual reader sees a pretty design mounted over a page of text. However, someone who looks further will be able to slide away the foreground and read the full story that lies beneath, suddenly revealing something very significant.
I hope you’ll try making your own text backgrounds, whether you use a few sentences in large, loopy letters, or pack a page with close-knit phrases, you can fade a lot of story into the background, but still have the memory recorded forever.

Kirsty is a maths teacher living in North London and she loves to scrapbook and drink tea. If you enjoyed this tutorial, you can see more of Kirsty’s projects on her blog Journal of Curious Things and if you’re so inclined, send her an email to Who doesn’t love getting mail?

22 October 2013

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14 Comments for How to Hide a Story in Plain Sight:: A Scrapbook Tutorial by Kirsty Smith

  1. Jen Hart Says:

    Lovely page by Miss Smith. I love the idea of it and to put the acetate over is great.

  2. Mica Says:

    What a great idea! I am going to try it! ♥

  3. LisaE Says:

    This is incredibly clever!

  4. Carrie Knabe Says:

    this is so INCREDIBLE…love love love the personalized text background and the lovely delicate embellishments. truly inspiring!!

  5. Jane Says:

    Brilliant idea, looks absolutely amazing!

  6. Shazza Says:

    wow this is brilliant, love the idea x

  7. Lara Says:

    What a great idea!! I’ve often liked text backgrounds, but this is much more personal. Love it!

  8. Honore Says:

    This is the greatest idea “since sliced bread,” I just did a LO where I could’ve used the technique but just seeing it has sparked another LO…Thanks loads for sharing and inspiring!

  9. youngmi Says:

    wow, this looks amazing! i don’t think i could ever get mine to look this good (crooked lines, misspelled and scratched out words…) but i think i may try it on something smaller like a 4×6 card for PL. thanks for sharing!

  10. Gab Says:

    That looks fantastic!

  11. Lana Bisson Says:

    I think this idea would be perfect to do a layout about my daughter who passed away at 4 months. I have very very few pics of her at the time when we used a 110 instant camera and I was broke.. this is perfect. I just cant seem to write straight. I think my handwriting seems wavy and looks different each time I write.

  12. Rosemarie Lamb Says:

    What a great idea! Loved the web page as well and am “following”! Well done!

  13. Douglas R. Knight Says:

    I am planning to train my children in making scrapbooks this summer because I feel like scrap booking is really important as they can do some creative things. I am happy about this writing service who are providing this tutorial for scrap booking, it is easy and fun and as a parent, I learned a lot of things from here.

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    Great job. it’s an interesting point of view. I would like to read more about this. As well, if some of your readers like games I prepared 2020 video games releases.

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