Picking paper can be a little tricky, and we just wanted to share a few tips…some tricks that have helped us put together the right combination of patterns and colors for our page layouts. Keep in mind that the goal is for you to choose what fits your individual styles and tastes, and these simple suggestions should help you along the way.
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If you are designing a page with pictures already in mind it is generally a good idea to bring a picture with you as a reference. Print out at least one picture that you feel best represents the colors, shapes, and themes of your project. With this in hand browse the aisles or your paper stash and pull out the paper that you feel fits the scheme of the page. Having a photo as a design reference really helps!
If you are creating a page design without pictures in mind, having a list of pages that you need to get done can be helpful if you are buying new paper. Just use the themes as your reference. If you are shopping for your personal paper stash, you could start by looking for colors, patterns or paper collections that catch your eye. It really depends on you.
When you’re ready to start picking paper, you’re going to need a surface to spread out on. If you can’t find a shelf or display table with enough room, the floor is always an option! People may look at you like you’re crazy if you’re at the store (and they may be right!) but don’t let that stop you!
Main Pattern – 1 Sheet
To start off you will want to look for that “main” paper. You should look for:
- Theme that matches your memories
- Colors that match your pictures and mood
- Or a paper that just catches your eye and style
Once you have a sheet of paper in hand you’re ready to start the picking process!
Background Paper – 1-2 Sheets
Once you have chosen some patterns then it’s time to decide what paper will work best for your background paper. This will be the base of your layout that you will play-to-create on top of. You will want to choose a subtle pattern or solid color for your background so that your other layers, embellishments and pictures will stand out.
Against the background paper that you have chosen, layer your main and supporting patterns on top of it, to test it. Layering each sheet on top of the others will help you visualize what they will look like together.
Layers and Embellishments – 1-2 Sheets
Next you will want to pick one to two patterns to use as your supporting patterns for your layers and embellishments. Using double-sided paper (make sure you like the patterns on both sides!) will decrease the amount of sheets that you will need to purchase. You may want to choose some busier patterns and some that aren’t quite as busy. Keep in mind contrasting patterns, with coordinating colors. This will help make each layer pop, because none of my patterns look too alike.
But this depends on your style and taste and the theme of your page. Regardless though, you will probably want to use your favorite patterns for layers and embellishments.
Photo Mats – 1 Sheet
Lastly (and this is optional) you will need one sheet for your photo mattes. A solid color or subtle pattern will work great to matte your photos. Most of the matte will be hidden, so it will act as an accent for your pictures and a bold pattern or color may draw attention away from your photos.
- Two sheets for your background.
- Use simple and subtle patterns, something that allows your pictures to stand out and that makes it easy to build your layers on.
- One double-sided sheet for your main border.
- Look for the pattern you love the most and that preferably has all the colors included in the pattern. This pattern will help set the mood for your layout.
- One or two double-sided sheets for your layers and accessories.
- If you’re using single-sided paper, you will need two to four different coordinating patterns to work with.
- One sheet to mat your photos.
- Feel free to pull in some coordinating cardstock where needed.
Paper: An Un-expendable Resource
Hopefully, these tips have been helpful. Whether for backgrounds, borders, or embellishments, paper is one of our most inexpensive and versatile resources for creating gorgeous scrapbooking layouts. Every sheet is a 12×12 masterpiece of color and pattern.
At Kiwi Lane, we love and adore paper and have spent years analyzing what makes paper easy to use, lovable, and inspiring. For more about this, check out this post about the science of Kiwi Lane Paper.
Last but not least, remember to save your scraps! You can also use your scraps along with our Tiny Templates to make adorable cards for your friends and family! For ideas on how to store and organize your paper scraps, check out this post!
Other Paper Picking Posts:
The time long struggle for scrapbookers has always been with picking and using paper, whether that be using up that horde of a paper stash or simply picking paper to use on your next layout. These two struggles work hand in hand and I hope that the rules I’m about to share with you will help you use up your paper stash by giving you guidelines on how to pick it out more effectively.
I love paper but It has been a journey, that’s for certain! There have been two parts of this journey; 1. defining my relationship with paper and 2. managing it, and in between the two I’ve had to simplify the process of using it. Before I go into how I’ve managed my paper stash, I wanted to talk about my relationship with paper and how it has evolved over the years. From single sheet paper to Double Layout Kits, there has been something to be learned from all of it.
Our job as designers of paper is to make your job as the designer of your page as simple, fun, fulfilling, effective, and practical as possible. That’s why we spend many hours analyzing our paper and spending our time getting it right so when you use it, it comes together simply. We thought it was about time we share what we think about when we design paper so that you can effectively use your paper!