Using Templates

One of the nice things about scrapbookers is that they LOVE to share their work. And, consequently, they share templates for other scrapbookers to make a similar page! For example, this weekend is Easter and, if you celebrate this holiday, you might take some pictures of kids or grandkids on an Easter egg hunt, digging through an Easter basket, or wearing Easter outfits. Now you want to put those prints into an album…how can you lay them out so they will be pretty and make you think “Easter!” when you look at the page?

One great source of ideas is If you search “Easter scrapbook layouts,” you will find a wealth of ideas! Take a look!

Some layouts are rather complicated and, if you are just getting started, you may think, “How do I DO that page? Where do I start?”


This is where using a project template can be really helpful. Project templates break a page down into simpler pieces, helping you to create progressively more intricate and complicated pages.  Let’s look at an example:scrapbook template sample

This layout by Kelly Holifield (Thanks, Kelly!) uses four different printed papers (green, yellow, pink and purple dotted paper) and one plain paper (the light purple). It displays three pictures in vertical format, and a few Easter stickers (eggs and bird).

Let’s break it down. To do a similar page, you need:

  • 4 strips of paper, about 1 ¼ or 1 ½ inches wide, and 12 inches long. If you are not sure how to measure and cut strips of scrapbooking paper, see my earlier blog.
  • They can be a mix of patterned and plain paper…whatever YOU like! They don’t all have to be different but I would try to have at least two different patterns or colors. So you need at least 2-3 sheets of 12 x 12 pattered or plain paper
  • 1 strip of paper about 11 inches long and 2 inches wide (the pink dotted rectangle in the sample)
  • 1 strip of paper about 10 inches long and 3.5 to 4 inches wide (the yellow dotted rectangle in the sample)
  • 1 circle of paper about 7-8 inches across (don’t have a circle cutter? See below) Want to make it a little more “Easter-eggy”? Cut it as a fat oval to be more egg-shaped.
  • A couple of stickers (optional)
  • A sheet of background paper or your scrapbook page
  • Adhesive to attach the paper and pictures to the page
  • An acid-free pen to write a title and journal

How do you assemble a page like this?

  • Always lay it out FIRST before you attach anything!
  • Work from the back to the front in laying out the pieces. In this case
    • Layout the four long strips in the back
    • Add the circle
    • Add the large (yellow dot) rectangle
    • Add the pink rectangle
    • Add the photos

This layout has some really good features for the beginner:

  • The first long strip, the yellow rectangle, pink rectangle and circle are all right justified, that is they touch the right hand border. This makes lining them up much easier.
  • Note that the circle touches both the right side and the top…easy layout!
  • It does not require tools other than those for basic measuring and cutting. The biggest challenge is cutting a circle. Use a bowl, lid, or bottle as a guide to draw a circle. There also are circle cutters that you can use for pictures or paper. I  use the Creative Memories Circle Custom Cutting System Patterns but there are lots of circle cutters (see Amazon search!)

Now LOOK at your layout.

  • Do you like it?
  • Do you want a little more or less space between the four strips?
  • Is there room for the title?
  • Is there room for the journaling (if not…consider cutting that circle across the middle and pulling the two halves apart a bit…the yellow dot rectangle will cover it!)
  • Do you like the order of the your pictures left to right?
  • Do you like the pictures tilted?

Once you have it the way you want it, you can use a No. 2 pencil to make a small dot where you want the four strips to be, where you want the yellow and pink rectangles to be, etc. Mark lightly so you can use your white eraser to remove the mark when you are done.

Remove each piece and then start using the adhesive. Again, start at the back and add layers. When you are done with the adhesive, you can add your title, journaling and stickers. Presto! You just made a great layout using a template. AND you can the idea over and over! This would be a great layout for Halloween, a birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other event. For Spring, think pastels. For fall, think browns, tans, and rusts. For Winter, think blues and grays or reds and greens. For Summer, intense colors like deep pinks, blues, greens, reds, oranges, etc.

Many times you will see templates offered as a black and white drawing. For example look at this sample template from the Creative Memories blog :storytime_layout3_sketch-2 

What do you see?

  •  This appears to be a square layout, probably 12 x 12
  • Two 4 x 6 photos
  •  Two large squares of paper serving as background.
  • Some little paper strips for highlight.

But what are all those flowers, circles and asterisks? Am I supposed to cut out all of those?

No! You will often see clusters of flower shaped figures on a template. You may see stars or circles. These “clusters” tell you where the creator of the layout thought embellishments like stickers or sayings should be placed. WHAT those embellishments are is up to YOU! So, for Halloween, you might have pumpkins, apples, ghosts, etc. For a snowball fight, snowflakes. You get the idea. Don’t be thrown by the “flower cluster!”

Last week, Creative Memories hosted the first Worldwide Virtual Crop and sent out 12 different challenges (templates). People came up with HUNDREDS of ways to use them. Here is my take on Challenge #4. Note that I followed the general idea: 2 vertical pics, three circles across the middle, title and bottom border, and an embellishment on the top right corner. But I added another wide pic and moved the title up and didn’t have any embellishment on the upper left corner.

Important: Think about the number of pictures you want on a page and their orientation.

Trying to use a template where your pictures are VASTLY different from the orientation and size on the template makes it hard (but not impossible) to use the template. Remember that the point is sharing your pictures…not replicating a template!

Now it’s YOUR turn:

Challenge #12 is straightforward, uses three pictures, and 3-4 colors of paper. The embellishments are up to you! See the link below and scroll down for a couple of ideas (remembering that these were done by CM consultants so they put quite a bit into them!).

Challenge on!

Comment and share your finished products!

Happy Scrapping!



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