Choosing Patterned Paper

The variety of scrapbooking papers is amazing! You can choose from delicate collage designs to bright and cheerful papers, from papers patterned with borders to all-over prints to faux textures and more.

Patterned paper is a tool to enhance a very important part of your scrapbook: Your photos. There’s something unifying about a patterned background paper, as it pulls together the page elements and presents a complete and easy-to-read page.

How to pick the perfect patterned paper? Try these tested-and-true methods:

Picking patterned papers

There are three basic guidelines to picking papers: Paper based on the clothing color in the photo, the background color in the photo or the theme of the photo.

  • Match the clothing in the photo, either the color or the pattern. For example, if a person in the photo is wearing pink, opt for pink paper.
  • Match the background of the photo. A photo taken in a garden is perfect on floral paper.
  • Match the theme of the photo. Red, white and blue flag paper for the Fourth of July, holly paper for Christmas photos, pumpkin paper for Halloween...you get the picture!

Following the golden rule: Matting your photos

"Won't patterned papers overwhelm my photos?" you might ask. Not unless you let them! The Golden Rule of Patterned Papers says that matting your photos with a solid paper or cardstock will provide a visual space between the photo and the background paper. Matting will make each photo "pop" off the page. Think of it like framing a picture before hanging it on a wallpapered wall.

Experiment with potential patterned background papers, always slipping a coordinating solid paper underneath the photo to act as a mat. Hold two or three different papers together—then stand up and get a different perspective on your page. You might be surprised at what works well together.

The most important trick to working with patterned papers is trusting your instincts. What paper combination looks best to you? What appeals to your eye? If you think the paper is too bright or bold, give your photos a double or a wider mat. Experiment and let your personality touch every page you make.