Top 5 Tips for Layering

When I started scrapbooking back in college, it was all about cleanly mounted photos and cutesy stickers (not to mention all the perfectly themed paper that went with every occasion). In fact, I am pretty sure I took a trip to the zoo simply because I had already discovered the cutest zoo paper and wanted to use it.  Come on, admit it, we’ve all been there!

As I mentioned in my intro post (Leap!), I took a break from scrapbooking because life was so hectic and I felt like I was falling hopelessly behind.  However, this past fall, I rediscovered scrapbooking in a new format…traveler’s notebooks! One of the ways I love to unwind is to watch crafty gals on YouTube.  No judgement, we all have our little secrets!  A few of my favorite are RetroHipMama (Andrea Gray), LindseyDecor (Lindsey Lanning), and My Little Journal (Heba Alsibai).  Well, when I watched them working in the traveler’s notebook size, it felt so approachable, so I decided to give it a try.  And, since September, I’ve created a TN for every month, documenting the sweet everyday moments that I always hope to remember.


As I’ve been experimenting and growing in this new format, I’ve discovered that layering photos is one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts to creating a page that I fall in love with.  So, I thought I would share my 5 tips as you begin to layer photos to add more interest to your page!

Tip #1 – Let it Rip!

That’s right, you heard me.  Take that beautiful piece of paper that you have been hoarding and rip it up!  Torn edges behind crisp photos are so organic and natural.  They add a beautiful texture to your page without having to reach for something that adds too much bulk.  Plus, most quality scrapbook paper has a bright white core, which almost looks like an additional layer when the strips are torn.


Tip #2 – Collection Consistency

This might seem obvious to a seasoned pro, but collections from designers are made TO GO TOGETHER!  If you are having trouble combining different papers to mat and layer your photos, stick to one single collection.  The colors, patterns, and designs will coordinate beautifully because all of the hard work has been done!  Below are some layouts using Felicity Jane materials which flow together beautifully and let me play with multiple pattens at once.


Tip #3 – Mix it up!

This sounds like the opposite of tip #2, but try mixing it up as far as paper, ephemera, texture, and material.  Incorporating doilies, small pieces of fabric, old ephemera pieces in the back of your storage bins are all great finds for adding interest to a layered photo.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Also, because it is a layering piece, it doesn’t necessarily have to match the theme of a page.  Want to put a sweet bug on a winter page?  Why not?!?  A huge tip I learned was keeping a stash of black & white florals on hand for backing photos…what a great idea!


Tip #4 – Create Movement

When I used to scrapbook back in the day, I focused on balance.  Two pictures on one side of the spread, meant two pictures on the other side.  Everything had to be balanced, often symmetrical.  Now, I find that I really enjoy pages that have “movement”.  Basically, that means that the design of the page guides your eyes in a certain direction, allowing you to take note of key features in a certain way.  In the same way, layering does not always have to be symmetrical.  The photo may be placed off-center with an increased amount of layers on one side for added emphasis.  This helps increase the visual interest and guide the eyes to where you want them to focus.


Tip #5 – Scrap Your Stash!

This is a big tip I picked up from Heba Alsibai!  I have started saving every little bit of scrap paper, especially from collections that I love.  I put it all in a big container, and when I sit down to work in my traveler’s notebook, I set the container on the floor next to me.  There are tons of gorgeous paper pieces that are too small for a full page or even for mounting a photo, but work great for layering pieces.  This way, you are really getting the most out of your investment in the high-quality papers that you so enjoy!


I hope these tips help you get started with layering your photos!  It really is a unique touch to add to your page, and is a fun addition to any traveler’s notebook.  Let me know in the comments below if you are a fan of the layering technique!

Keep it creative,

-The Scrappy Wife

Published by Elisa

I'm a mom of 3 who loves all things creative! My current passion is bible journaling, a creative outlet that has really shaped my faith journey. I'm also excited about diving into some memory-keeping projects and dabbling in a bit of art journaling.

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