3 Tips for using COLOR on scrapbook pages

I was invited to participate on the Paperclipping Roundtable on Monday, for a discussion on color, so I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on color, via a recent layout I created for my Inspired Scrapbooking workshop at Big Picture Classes. The new podcast hasn’t been posted yet, but I’m sure it will go up very soon!


This is the type of page that I LOVE to create. It is a curated story that features photos taken over a period of 20 years, presented in three different pages. Along with the photos, I share a ‘whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts’ perspective in my story.  Note: I realize that color is a very subjective thing, so I’ll share my thoughts/decisions knowing that you do not need to agree!

Color challenge #1: the primary color challenge with this page lies in negotiating my two key elements … the bright, bold current photo of my family AND the small vintage watercolor piece, which have a very different feel.

My Strategy: Two decorative elements are key to this negotiation. Firstly, the stripe that features colors in both photo & watercolor and secondly the cream/white stripe paper and cream/white gingham ribbon. These help the two contrasts “talk” to each other.


Color challenge #2: The orange coat that I’m wearing in this photo is what I call a hot spot. It screams look at me and is not a color that I initially chose as part of my palette, ie. there is no orange in my pattern paper or other decorative elements—there is some pink and red, but no orange. 

My Strategy: Introduce small touches of the hot spot color, to draw the visual attention out. I do this all the time, generally towards the end of my creative process. When I know that I have a hot spot in a photo, I work on my overall design and then at the point of small decorative accents, I introduce the hot spot color—notice the orange brad, the orange washi tape along the bottom and the orange word strip stickers. The cool thing with this strategy is that no one is ever going to say, “I love how you dealt with that hot spot of orange,” rather they aren’t going to notice it at all!

The rest of this post was written AFTER we recorded the show …


We talked briefly on PRT about HOW we use color and while I didn’t really talk about this, I noticed when viewing my albums, that I LOVE colorful titles. I share this simply because there are lots of memory keepers who are a kind of afraid of color. If this describes you, try adding some COLOR to your page via the title! The more you work with color and the more you trust your intuition, the easier it gets!


BONUS: I love to mix black & white with my very colorful layouts. This usually takes the form of bits of ribbon or washi tape or other small decorative accents. Because 99% of the time, I journal with a black pen, these elements always play well off of the journaling. The layout about shows this (note the small loop of ribbon, star rub-ons & star ticket plus the phone accent)


Here’s one last page.

This pattern paper is actually wrapping paper and I LOVE it. It illustrates how beautiful black and white (together) is against bright, happy colors! I repeated the black & white with the tabbed punch and polka-dot mat on one of my journaling cards.

If you are not familiar with The Paperclipping Roundtable, it is a scrapbooking podcast that you can find via iTunes. It is hosted by Noell Hyman and produced by her husband, Izzy. Big Picture Classes is one of the sponsors of this audio show and it is very fun and informative—I would definitely recommend checking it out. By the way, Lisa Dickinson was the other guest and she is one of my very FAVORITE scrapbookers in part because of the way she uses color. Check out this search on Pinterest to see what I mean!

Be Colorful,
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