scrapbook projectLayout of the Month: Christmas

This holiday layout might look complicated, but it's actually very simple to do—especially with a few tricks from LeNae!

About This Page: LeNae used a sheet of blue Christmas Tidings paper as her background (or bottom) sheet, then accented a torn strip of blue Snowflakes & Swirls paper with Metallic Silver paper and placed this piece on top. LeNae's photos are also matted on silver paper, matching the embossed paper charms that decorate the page. A bit of blue chalk on the white journaling paper ties the colors together.

Paper Picking Tip: Why did LeNae pick these papers? For the simple reason that they're Christmas-themed to match the theme of her photos.

Notice that she chose two blue papers. LeNae frequently uses monochromatic color combinations on her pages, like this one. A "monochromatic combination" means using more than one shade of a certain color on the same page (the two blues used here are slightly different shades). And blue is always a good, no-fail color choice. Here, it contrasts with the red and green touches in each photo but also picks up the blue in Chris' shirt.

scrapbook projectLeNae's Tip of the Month: Matting

Whenever you use patterned papers, be sure to mat your photos and your journaling onto a solid paper. It's like framing a picture before hanging it on the wall—it "finishes" the photo and guarantees the photo won't compete with the paper.

To mat a photo: Place adhesive on the backside of your photo, positioning it at each corner and in the center. You can use stick glue, photo tabs or other adhesive. Choose a paper to mat with (LeNae generally uses a solid color). Place the photo on the matting paper and cut the paper around the photo leaving about 1/8"-1/2" of paper showing on all sides. Cut with scissors or a paper trimmer.

Here's a tip to save time and paper: Place the photo in one corner of your matting paper about 1/8"-1/2" from each of the two edges. This saves time because you only have to trim the remaining two sides.

LeNae's Steps for the Christmas Layout

  1. Tear the Snowflakes & Swirls Strip: Tear a 7"x12" piece of Snowflakes & Swirls paper. To do this, place the 12"x12" paper flat on your work surface. Place your palm on the paper and gently tear one edge, pulling the paper toward you to get a white edge. Measure 7" from the torn edge and tear, again tearing to get a white edge.
  2. Edge the Snowflakes & Swirls Strip: Tear two 2"x12" strips of Metallic Silver paper. Glue one behind each torn edge of the Snowflakes & Swirls paper so about 1/2" of silver shows.
  3. Create the Basic Layout: Glue this swirls-and-silver piece to the top of the Christmas Tidings paper, leaving about 1" of Christmas Tidings paper showing at the top of the page.
  4. Mat Your Photos: Mat each photo on Metallic Silver paper, leaving a thin (1/8") border. Glue them evenly spaced across the Snowflakes & Swirls paper.
  5. Cut Out Embossed Charms: Cut out the charms, cutting just next to the raised edge. You don't need to cut into each and every crevice—just gently cut around each shape. Use adhesive to attach the holly charm to the top left of one photo.
  6. Decorate with Embossed Charms: Poke holes at the top of three charms (LeNae picked the "Tis the Season" tag, the stocking and the Joy circle tag). You can do by using a 1/8" hole punch or a needle. If you use a needle, place the charm flat on your work surface, then poke your hole with the needle. Be sure to protect your tabletop by placing a cutting mat or a computer mouse pad under the charm, foam side up, before poking. String silver embroidery thread through the charms, then tuck the ends under the swirls-and-silver paper piece. Use regular adhesive to glue the charms to the paper.
  7. Journal: LeNae discovered she had to print out her journaling on white computer paper first to determine the spaces she would need to leave for the embossed paper charms. When you have the spacing the way you want, print the journaling on acid-free white paper then attach the charms to the paper with adhesive.
  8. Chalk Your Journaling: Use blue decorating chalk to lightly color the white paper. LeNae applies the chalk with her fingers; after touching the chalk she "blots" her fingertip on scrap paper, then swirls the chalk over the outer edges of the paper. A swirly, circular motion will help prevent a blotchy look,
  9. Mat Your Journaling: Mat your journaling piece onto blue paper, leaving a 1/16" mat, then on Metallic Silver with a 1/4" mat. Tear the Metallic Silver paper, then attach to the lower left hand side of the page.

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LeNae's Special Tips:

Cutting embossed paper charms: It helps to have scissors with a short blade (like Fiskars SoftTouch or Cutter Bee) to cut around the charms. If you're using regular scissors, though, just make sure you hold the scissors still in one hand and turn the charm with the other hand.

Creating dangles on a page: You really only want to create the illusion of dangles on a page—you don't actually want your charms flopping around and getting tangled. So don't forget to attach the charms to the paper with adhesive.

Chalking: Chalks are a fun and easy way to add a little soft color to your scrapbook pages. Craf-T makes acid-free chalks that have extra, concentrated pigment. Don't use your kids' sidewalk chalk or artists' chalks—they're not acid-free and will damage your pages over time.

First, test the color out on a piece of scrap paper before applying it to your page. If you make a mistake or apply too much color, chalk can be erased with an artist's white eraser.

LeNae's Last Tip: I often keep my layouts very simple so I can play with embellishments like the charms. That's what makes this basic layout (torn paper, three vertical photos, journaling block in the lower left corner, embellishments in the lower right corner) so easy to adapt to other layout themes. For example, I can change the paper and the embellishments to make an Easter page or a Valentine's Day layout.

LeNae Gerig is the author of LeNae's Scrapbooking Basics. She considers herself to be a "realistic" scrapbooker who wants to create great layouts quickly and easily.

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