Slice, Snip and Scootch
When I started scrapbooking, I loved doing 8.5"x11" pages. The paper was so easy to find, there were so many more styles available and it was cheaper, why would I ever make the switch to 12"x12"?
Well, I did make the switch, a few months ago, and it's great! Except for one thing: my files are full of 8.5"x11" paper. I began to wonder how I could use all this great paper now, because it sure doesn't fit on my 12"x12" pages.
Or does it? Pick up your scissors and glue, because we're going to talk about some of the fun things you can do with a piece of 8.5"x11" paper. By slicing, snipping, and scootching, you can do more with this paper than you thought.
Go ahead and slice a strip off that lovely piece of 8.5"x11" paper. Make it skinny, wide, or downright fat. There you go? instant border. If that's too boring for you, mount the strip on a contrasting piece of cardstock and slice that too, to make a mat for the border. An 11" strip of paper, matted, makes a terrific border centered on the left or right edge of a 12"x12" page.
To break things up a little, use a wavy, or scalloped-edge ruler to shape your strip and cut it out. (Okay, technically it's not slicing, but we'll let it go just this once.) The strip doesn't have to be huge to be effective; see how just a little Patterned Paper peeking out adds a little pizzazz to a page . See Example 1 Niagara border.
Now that you've made a border for one side of your layout, how about slicing yourself a mat for the other side? A Patterned Paper mat is a very effective way to showcase a focal point picture --a picture you want to draw attention to. Using the paper twice (or three times) also helps establish repetition , which is a very eye-pleasing thing to do in a layout. I like to do what some of my friends call a "thin-fat-thin mat" on my focal point picture: thin (1/8" or so) mat right up next to the picture, fat (1/4" or so) Patterned Paper mat next, and finally, another thin mat in another coordinating color. Here's an example of a thin-fat-thin mat. See Example 2 Mauve mat.
Using paper in smaller amounts in this way is a great way to use some of those papers that, upon inspection, prove to be just a little too loud or bright or distracting to go head-to-head with your pictures. The paper gets to peek out here and there, never overpowering the photos.
One type of Patterned Paper that lends itself well to being sliced is paper with some sort of a square pattern on it. See Example 3 Erebus . You can find many of these--papers with checkerboard squares, patchwork squares, or squares with motifs, like leaves or Christmas images. Slice yourself off a row three to five squares wide for a border, then slice off a few more squares to scatter around the page. See Example 4 Fall.
Many papers have elements that can be snipped out with a scissors and rearranged on your page. Ever see those pretty stationery papers with a border all around the edge? Take your scissors and look at the papers with a critical eye. It's easy to cut all around the border, inside and out, to create a sort of frame. Now the frame needs to be divided into fourths and spread out around the edges of the 12"x12" page. Look for logical places to cut it apart.
At the top and bottom of the page, the gap will be bigger, and you can fill this with title boxes, journaling boxes, die cuts, stickers, even a photo or two. If you mount the border onto paper that's the same color as the paper you cut it from, your cutting doesn't even need to be too precise, as the edges will just melt into the background paper and disappear. See Example 5 Easter.
Some types of Patterned Paper have very large motifs ?big flowers, leaves, or other shapes. If you snip several of these out of the paper, they become your own custom embellishment , and you can arrange them around your page as you would stickers or die cuts. Leave some alone and cluster others to create a little variety. On this page, you may notice I used a coordinating Patterned Paper to make a thin-fat-thin mat around my focal point photo. See Example 6 Sisters.
Oh, I can hear the cries now?"But I don't like to cut things out! I'm bad with scissors! My paper trimmer scares me!" All perfectly legitimate complaints (except maybe that last one)! For you, the scissors-challenged, there's still fun to be had. Take that piece of 8.5"x11" paper and plop it down onto your 12"x12" page. Now scootch it to the right. You have a place to put your photos, and now you also have a nifty empty space in which to title, journal, or put even more pictures or embellishments . Scootch the paper to the left and you've just designed yourself a double-page spread, where the Patterned Paper s are bracketed by an empty space on either end. See Example 7 Cupid.
But wait, there's more: turn your paper lengthwise and scootch it to the top of the page. Now your space is at the bottom. Scootch the paper one more time, to the bottom, and you have a lovely space at the top.
How to fill this space? One thing I like to do is to pick an element from the Patterned Paper and repeat it in my empty space. See how the paper in Example 7 above has primitive hearts on it? I cut out some bigger primitive hearts and arranged them in the space as a border. Then I threw some letter stickers on top of them to make a title. I repeated just a couple if more hearts on the other side for balance.
If you are looking to jazz things up a little, how about running a line of Punches along the edge of your Patterned Paper where it meets the empty space? This covers that sharp edge and helps to unify the page a bit. I did this with an ivy paper, pushed it to the bottom of the page, and then covered the edge with ivy Punches. There's that repetition idea again, where I am taking something that appears in one place on the page and repeating it elsewhere on the page. See Example 8 Our Family.
Another cool thing to do is to get a strip of cardstock and tear one edge. Now place it right over that empty space, butting it up against the edge of the page, and letting the torn part hang over the edge of the Patterned Paper . Again, you're softening that sharp edge and creating a little texture to go with your pattern. See Example 9 Outer Banks.
My filing cabinet of 8.5"x11" paper is getting a little more of a workout since I started thinking about how I could slice, snip and scootch it onto my pages. I hope some of these ideas will help you use up some of your stash, too! Patterned Paper is one embellishment that is inexpensive and easy to find?it pays to make use of it creatively!