BACKGROUND IDEAS FOR YOUR PAGE
I know a lot of people struggle to come up with background ideas for their layouts but if you spend a bit of time working with different background techniques you will see how they can give emphasis to the rest of your layout.
The most common way we scrapbookers background our layouts is with scrapbook papers. This may entail using almost a whole sheet of 12 x 12 inch paper as the background or smaller sizes of more than one scrapbook paper design. I admire very arty people their talent for mixing and matching different papers to go with their photos. I would look at these papers and say there is no way you would ever put those together on the same layout! That is a real talent.
The best way to choose your papers (or it may be different colors of card or a mix of card and paper) is to gather your most likely options from your supplies and lay them together with your photos and card, one lot at a time until you find a combination you are happy with.
Some colors are suited to certain pages. For instance, heritage pages will usually be done in muted tones of browns and creams. Birthday and children’s pages will be nice and bright, and wedding layouts are popularly in black and white.
Don’t forget to look at your stash of paper and card off-cuts to see if you have enough pieces to work in with your layout so your left overs don’t mount up and you end up going through your supplies too quickly. Often times you will just want a splash of color to give some interest. The examples below show layouts where just a little paper is used and another where paper is the major part of the background. Looking through my scrapbooks I see that I mainly use different colored card to go with my main page, rather than scrapbook paper. I think that is possibly because I like to play it safe and not try to get too bold with my papers!
Just a little scrapbook paper under my photos.
Scrapbook paper plays a big part in the layout below.
A great background idea for your travel or vacation pages is to use a map of the place you visited as your background. To make it archival safe, copy this onto acid free paper or card. If the map will make your layout too busy, try copying it in black and white, or even scan it into your photo editing program to make the map opaque. It really depends whether you want to feature any area on your map as part of your layout.
Also for your overseas travel and vacation layouts, use a copy of the country’s flag where you visited. Another way of doing this is to use card in the flags colors to build your background. For instance, the flag of France is blue, white and red so use these colors of card in equal quantity to make the flag background.
School & Collage Colors
Similar to the flag theme, if you are doing a page about your School days or your child’s School days, use the School’s colors for the background.
Before you say you are no good at drawing, try having a go. I always say that I can’t even draw good stick figures so I am sure you will be better than me!
For your Halloween page, draw a large cobweb either over the entire page or in one corner. You will be able to find a design by a search of the Internet and maybe even print one of these off and use it to trace the design on your page in black marker pen. You could do the same with an old, creepy looking tree to feature as your background.
For your pet pages draw paw or claw prints as your background. Again there are images on the Internet you can use to trace or it can sometimes look good when you don’t try to get too good…really it’s true! Another alternative is to use rubber stamps which I found very cheap at my local stationery warehouse.
Squares of Color
This is a background idea I rather like. Cut small squares of color. If you are making a 12 x 12 inch layout perhaps cut 2 inch squares. They can be cut from either paper or card and be one or two colors or lots of colors. Then you mount your photos over these squares. Black and white photos would be great with colored background squares.
For the background to a man’s page, hessian is a simple and easy background.
To tone down your background paper you can use vellum paper which comes in a number of different colors and a few thicknesses. Here is an example where vellum has been used. I think it gives a subtlety to the page so the photo becomes the important thing.
Don’t discount off-cuts of material to use on your backgrounds as long as it doesn’t drown out your photos. The picture below is an album cover I did with material.
Doilies, made from either material or paper can be a background to your heritage pages. Sponge them with ink to age them.
Have a wander around your local material shop and see if any of the off-cuts they have for sale would work on your scrapbook layouts.
Brochures, Letters & More
Look at the items you have relating to your page as they could be enlarged to be your background.
What about a letter where you were offered a promotion, or a job offer. Enlarge this and create a page to describe your feelings and all about the job/career.
For a baby layout, enlarge the doctor’s or hospital appointment note to describe the time you found out you were pregnant and had the first appointment.
To do a layout about your newly built house, copy the plan of the house as your background.
On a wedding layout, why not enlarge a copy of the wedding invitation for your background.
Ah, what could be nicer than to use your children’s or grandchildren’s drawings as the background to School layouts. If you are worried about them being acid free, you will need to copy them on to acid free paper.
You might also ask your children to draw you a picture of their teacher.
These should be available in 12 x 12 inch from your local scrapbook store. However, you can quite easily make your own (if you are making a 12 x 12 inch layout you will need a printer to print this size, or print as large as you can and leave a border around your page).
Search for designs for your acetate in MS Word Clipart or SmartArt, or on the Internet. You can then decide whether the design will be in one corner, all corners or take up the entire page (try not to make it too busy).
Hand-sew your background in your choice of pattern (circles, lines, zigzag etc). You could sew circles on your main card to give interest. Diamonds sewn in silver on white or black card would be fantastic for a wedding layout.
Roughly paint your card with a large dry brush. You want the lines that appear when your brush is dry to give effect. In fact if you don’t have enough lines when you have finished, scratch some more in! Believe it or not, a painted background is great for wedding pages (white on black card).
To go with night photos, paint your background black or grey.
Print a large photo on vellum of the main photo you are using and use this as a background to the main colored photo that is the same. Preferably make this more opaque in your photo editing software so it doesn’t distract at all from your main picture.
You will find more background ideas in my Scrapbook Ideas Guide. Print off the pages of my website to add to my Guide, and when you think of other ideas yourself (which you will) add these ideas too.