While your photos are the focus of your layout, the embellishments add the final touch of flair to the story. Embellishing is typically the last step in the layout process, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It is often a struggle to get the perfect placement to compliment, not overwhelm the layout. Here are some tips to help.
1. Cluster Embellishments
The biggest game changer, or, I should say layout changer, for me was when I started clustering embellishments. Another way to think about clustering is layering. Clustering can be piecing several embellishments together as in the layout below on the left. However, it can also be as simple as tucking two chipboard phrases behind a knot in the ribbon, as in the layout above.
Clustering or layering embellishments help them and the layout to feel grounded, not scattered. To see what a big difference it makes, compare the two layouts below. With the exception of the title, both layouts have the same embellishments. However, the layout on the left feels polished and grounded while the layout on the right feels scattered and chaotic.
To start, play around with the pieces to see how they fit together. Move them around on the layout. Try different locations and different cluster mixes. Mix different types of embellishments such as bits & pieces/ephemera pieces, chipboard and brads. Even stickers. (Tip: Use the powder tool on the adhesive side of stickers to remove the stick – it’s awesome and now you can layer it with other embellishments or slide photos behind it!) You can even cut parts off of embellishments to add to a different grouping. Don’t forget about journaling blocks, element cards and the tiny word stickers – they can all be added to clusters.
One more tip – vary the size of clusters. Balance larger clusters with smaller clusters. You want to enhance, not overwhelm the layout.
2. Create a Visual Triangle
Placing embellishments so they form a visual triangle helps to bring balance to your layout while guiding your focus through the layout. This works on both layouts as a whole and also to draw your attention to the featured photo in the layout. Also, keep the visual triangle in mind when determining photo placement.
3. Let them Flow
Place embellishments so they flow in a loose, weaving pattern. Your eyes will casually follow the path. This works best for smaller embellishments such as gems, jewels and small flowers. Also, use odd numbers and put the bigger ones towards the center so they get smaller as they reach the ends.
4. Create a Scene
Use die cuts or embellishments to create a scene which helps to tell the story. In this layout, a roaring campfire welcomed the bear who was checking out the tent. Carry the scene across the page. Notice how the trees are mixed in with the title?
5. Break up Photo Strips with Embellishments
Add element cards or create your own by attaching embellishments to cardstock pieces. It creates visual white space, or a resting spot, in a photo heavy layout.