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Layout ideas to stretch your scrapbooking supplies

4 formulas for stretching your scrapbooking supplies
scrapbook page ideas
I’m convinced that whether you have a tiny stash of crafting supplies or a whole room filled with so much paper you’re not sure how you’ll ever use it all, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from stretching our scrapbooking supplies and getting plenty of projects without a refuel. Right? Whether you’re a fan of getting a monthly kit or like me, you like to choose your own supplies to make sure you love everything in the mix, stretching your supplies to multiple layouts can help you get the most for your crafting budget and also help avoid the ongoing struggle of how to practically store all those half-used sheets of patterned paper. Plus it’s a great way to be productive when scrapping with friends, if you find the conversation distracts you from remembering the great plans you had for your scrapbook pages — though that could just me with that problem!

I have four formulas that I love for taking one set of supplies and making a variety of different layouts without needing to unpack any extras. I started with three sheets of cardstock, six sheets of patterned paper, one set of Thickers letter stickers, one sheet of themed stickers and a small selection of journaling cards, adhesive gems and a tiny bit of ribbon. For tools, I added a border punch, a mask (like a stencil, but in negative) and spray ink to the usual line up of paper trimmer, scissors, adhesive and black journaling pen. All the papers are older designs that had been sitting in my stash – I loved the designs but it was time the went from the shelf to the scrapbook, I do believe!

With all that ready to go, I sat down to create four scrapbook pages using easy formulas – all designs you could reinvent with your own style.

scrapbook page ideas
The first formula is Several Strips. It’s just as simple as that really: start with a sheet of cardstock as the background and cut strips of several patterned papers. Trim them into different lengths and overlap them in a group in the middle of the page. One one half of the page, add your photos and journaling; on the other add the title. I love vertical titles for something just a little different, and easy-to-read fonts help them work. And for the record? Shake Shack in NYC serves the best veggie burger possibly ever. Sigh.

scrapbook page ideas
scrapbook page ideas
For one photo, 4×6 or larger, I move away from the strips to go for a Bunch of Blocks. I love scrapbooking with quadrants but sometimes that’s a little too formal or I want to use a bit less of each patterned paper. So for this look, the size of each block is less important, since they will be a bit more haphazard than the equally spaced quadrants. Overlap all the blocks and place the photo on top of the pile. The edge of the patterned papers gives you room to journal and it’s easy to add just a bit of embellishment in three spots around to the photo to hit a balance of look-at-the-photo-but-appreciate-the-crafty. And I love white ink on a dark photo too!

scrapbook page ideas
scrapbook page ideas
If you have three photos – especially printed at a small size – you can stack them up to create a Totem Pole. Just think of how a totem pole is designed: several figures, roughly the same size, stacked on top of one another, with some sort of extra flourish at the top, and usually something somewhere on the sides. So stack up the photos by placing them in a column, and your flourishes can be a title on the side and a journaling card and accents at the top! I like to anchor the totem pole design by placing it in the corner of the page, and use the mask and ink on this page to go just over the edge of the patterned paper so everything sat just right on the cardstock background.

scrapbook page ideas
scrapbook page ideas
As for the last page? Now concentrate. Layouts with a concentrated design style always help to stretch your supplies, because they simply don’t need as many things to be added before you call it done. This is the only layout I didn’t start on a plain cardstock background: instead, I chose my favourite pattern from the six sheets and kept it as a whole sheet, then chose one quarter of the page as the scrapping canvas and just left the rest of the page alone. Admittedly, concentrated designs are a bit of a love/hate issue perhaps – but if you’ve never given it a shot, you might be surprised with the variety they can add to your albums. I wouldn’t want every page to be so sparse but i love the look just now and then.

One last little suggestion: I find it easiest to stretch one set of supplies to multiple pages when the photos have something in common, so the theme looks like a choice rather than turning the pages of my albums and suddenly thinking ‘Oh, and I made all these pages when that paper collection came out’. These photos are all from a trip to New York on the way home for Thanksgiving 2009. These four layouts used the majority of the supplies I started with, but I have some scraps left over so I can carry those into other layouts from that same trip perhaps – and stretch the scraps even further.

Okay, so now I’m curious: what’s your opinion on stretching one set of supplies? Do you love the look you get over multiple pages from one kit of supplies (either purchased as a kit or assembled from your own stash collection) or do you prefer that every page in your albums have a different combination? Like it’s okay for the red polka dot paper to appear on more than one layout, but the next time you used it, it would be with other papers entirely? Is it something you actively think about when you scrap? Ooooh… discussion time! Let me know what you think.


06 January 2011

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29 Comments for Layout ideas to stretch your scrapbooking supplies

  1. Tanya Says:

    I love stretching supplies and I love making LO’s with a set of photos all having some kind of matching theme. For the odd photos, they can have whatever paper and elements. But seriously, whatever you do, it’s all good!

  2. Sue Bone Says:

    I love using home made or shop bought kits for multiple layouts. It feels great to use everything up.

    A quick question – what is yardstick?

  3. wendy Says:

    I have got into the habit of scrapping one book/trip in a set of colours – using only 3 or 4 colours of bazzill that co-ordinate with a set of patterned papers – not sure why- maybe comes from loving the co-ordnated look of my first JYC when I did it this way.

  4. Carol Says:

    The more use I get out of my supplies the better! I do like to use the same supplies with a photo theme but have no problem using the same supplies in a different album.

  5. Natalie Says:

    Yes, I am definitely a supply-stretcher. I generally try to have the same main products (used in different ways) on a series of layouts if those layouts are about the same “event”… and I’m not opposed to using the same supplies on layouts about completely different things…. as long as they’re used so differently that when I see one layout I don’t immediately think of the other (unrelated) one.

    funny that “cardstock” (I think) came out “yardstick”… :)

  6. Jes Says:

    Loved the tips! thank you!!!!
    I usually buy monthly kits… so I don’t have to be buying lots of stuff I probably won’t use.

  7. Krystyn Says:

    Oh great post…I love ALL of those layouts. Thank you for more inspiration. Hope you are enjoying your travels!!

  8. sarah Says:

    I’ve just done a post on my blog about my need to save money and that includes stash and then I read your post. Great ideas, I will definately try your formula as I’m a scrapper who is no good at using my scraps up!!

  9. Linda Says:

    Great post with lots of good tips. I can see how these can be some good “sketches” to work off of.

  10. Lauren Says:

    I bought kits because I got caught up in the ‘getting’ and ‘buying’ excitement of scrapbooking. But I totally have mixed feelings about kits. I don’t like them because they include things I would never buy and I don’t always feel they have ‘enough’ in them (though as I get simpler and simpler in my style maybe I need to reassess this). But I DO like the because it forces me to use supplies and get things done by limiting my choices, it also helps me to use products I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    That said, I no longer get kits. I’ve disassembled all but 6, absorbing them back into my stash. But I must say, I really like the idea of making a mini kit with your own supplies, esp. some old stuff that you still like, and using it up!

    Plus, I LOVE your concrete examples on how to do this! I will have to give it a try and see how it goes!

  11. Shelley Says:

    I love this Shimelle! I always hate to toss pretty paper, but sometimes run out of inspiration. This is a great approach.

  12. Zahra Says:

    I love the tips, thanks Shimelle! I always remember your tip that it’s easier (and more fun) to do another page than tidy up again; often I don’t use coordinating photos or even the same paper combination, but I love this idea for a collection of photos and have several sets of photos crying out for an experiment!!

  13. Nathalie Says:

    I am the kind of scrapper who keeps all her scraps and USES them, so I really appreciate your design tips with scraps :) Your layouts are so awesome that they remind me of why I am such a huge fan of yours :D

  14. Mandy Ford Says:

    Great tips! I actually already use some of those ideas when I scrapbook, partly because I’m on a tight budget and want to get the most of of the supplies I do have, and partly because I’m practical like that. :) I also love to stack photos – never thought of them like a totem poll but that is a great reference.

  15. Madeline Says:

    Great tips Shimelle. I like doing a few LO with same supplies, for the same album so it looks like it is supposed to match. Love the column idea, I’ve done that a few time

  16. Jennifer L.S. Says:

    LOVED this post and layouts, Shimelle! Thanks for the great tips! Off to organize my scraps now! :)

  17. LisaE Says:

    I really loved all the layout formats. These would work well for our travel photos as well as I usually start with a paper collection. The challenge for me would be to work with smaller photos. Thanks for the tips!

  18. heather Says:

    Love these ideas! I buy kits although I’m not really into matchy matchy albums. I tend to have several albums on the go so often would do layouts for different albums but don’t mind using same supplies in the same album as long as,like your LOs, they have quite different looks to them. will definitely use the ideas especially if at a crop where I always TRY to limit my supplies and end up taking everything!

  19. Denise Says:

    I’m all over the place with my stuff, but if I get some papers in a pack that I really like, I’ll use them up quickly.

  20. Amber Says:

    Such great ideas! I have to admit, I do waste a lot of paper. But I use my extras for cards and smaller projects.

  21. Alison Says:

    I like the idea of using a ‘make-your-own’kit for pages where the pics are from one event …will be trying that!

  22. Natalie Elphinstone Says:

    I have to admit I don’t really like it when lots of my pages look the same. But I very commonly work within the confines of a kit and love doing so! I think you’ve just got to be crafty enough to use the supplies in various ways, or else add different mediums. For example, the same paper will look totally different once you add some spray-ink or paint.

  23. Victoria B Says:

    Hi Shimelle, What great photos of your travels! Really enjoying your travel posts too. I do keep all my offcuts and use them on later pages in later albums. But I shall be VERY interested to see how you scrap these current travels, particularly as I have picked up that you tend to scrap fewer rather than more photos per layout, and you prefer singles to doubles, I would predict. I am struggling to scrap a four week trip with hundreds of photos. How can I use your ideas of one/two photos a page! Not a complaint, just a comment and wondering how you plan to scrap this trip. A photobox book perhaps? Stay well, best wishes.

  24. j.leija Says:

    i’m a fan of random-inity! even if it’s forced. i don’t like back to back layouts done with similar products, if they aren’t the same events. so yes, that red polka dot could reappear in the album, but it’d have to be several pages along. great ideas! i’m so going to use this “flexible template”. cheers!

  25. HelenW Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this post, I’ve not tried the ‘concentrated’ LO idea so I’ll definately be using that. It is interesting to see your ideas (and everybody else’s) about kits, I have an ‘everyday’ album where any stash I’ve got can be used, then I have seperate albums for each holiday and I’ve nearly finished my wedding one. I put my own kits together for these seperate albums and store them in seperate ‘pizza’ boxes so they are easier to work with. Not quite sure about putting a kit together for my 3 month trip around S E Asia yet! (5000 photos!)

  26. Sandy Says:

    Being a crafter of ‘smaller’ projects, I usually have the opposite problem. Too much supplies left after a piece is done. Must have been 10yrs ago when I took the sleeper train from S’pore to KL – that journey seemed to take forever as it stopped everywhere.

  27. Anne Wilson Says:

    Love this – the pages look great. I am mixed about kits too, they can make me feel too structured but sometimes that suits and gets the job done and other times I like to be more eclectic.

  28. Mel Says:

    Thanks, Shimelle – I loved this post and bookmarked it immediately :-) I’ve now made one layout based on one of yours, and have ‘page kits’ put together ready for 3 more layouts – full credit to you! The first layout is on my blog here x

  29. Kathy Rogers Says:

    I loved this post, I made a page based on this <A HREF=> here </A>

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