Technique #4: Mostly Monochrome–Keep the focus on your photo!

Color is one of my most challenging aspects of scrapbooking.  I usually wind up doing fine, but I feel like it doesn’t come as naturally to me as it does to others.  My ex-sister-in-law, Roe, could walk in a room and have a new color scheme picked out within seconds.  No matter what her photo, she comes up with the perfect colors for a layout seemingly with ease.  I, on the other hand can pore through magazines for hours and not come to a decision about colors at all.  So for most of my life, I’ve stuck with the old stand-bys–black, white, cream, green.  There’s a green for everything, I’m convinced.   You just have to find the right family of greens and you have it made.  We will talk more about color one of these days, but for today I wanted to share with you a layout I did this morning, the subject of which is my adorable one-year-old nephew.  I loved the page and when it was finished I wanted to share it with you, so I tried to come up with the best possible topic to pair it with.

After the page was finished, I looked for a technique to write about and my first thought was “bling,” but there’s just not enough there to really say I focused on that.  The challenge issued to create this one was to make it sparkle, and I did in several ways, but it still doesn’t really count as enough bling focus.  Then I looked again and it hit me:  As I was working on it, I did consciously try to keep all the actual color around the area of the photo.  The rest of the layout was black, white and silver.  Despite my penchant for simple color schemes, I rarely use a monochromatic scheme, much less black and white only.  My norm would be one color and a neutral, or one color and a complementary color (I can handle complementary).  This black and white and metallic combination, though a step outside of my comfort zone, struck my eye and I will definitely be filing it in the “KEEPER” section of my brain.  Monochromatic doesn’t have to be black and white, it can be any light and dark shades of the same color.  I just happened to be in a B&W mood when I saw this photo of Alex.  I couldn’t bear to detract from his little face with splashes of color all over the place.   Notice how your eyes automatically look at the photo, because everything around it, though sparkly and swirly, is all very similar?  I did that on purpose, haha!  It’s just like a very colorful layout with a B&W photo on it.  Your eye notices what’s different and hones in on it first, making the rest the background.

Baby Cuzint Baby Alex


First of all I love this background paper.  Colorbok, English Moss collection is where I found it.  You can see the metallic has reflected other colors in the room (me, and my camera, I guess), but it is just a black and white grid with silver embossing.  I used the lighter green from the Shimmer Stack DCWV as the photo mat, and glass microbeads from Martha Stewart in White Gold.  I’m not sure of the rest, I’m still working on knowing who makes the stuff in my stash!

I tried to keep the whole page elegant and simple, using the green mat to draw the eye to the photo, as it is the most important part.  The letters I wrote on the page with glue (Tombow Mono Aqua Liquid Glue, if you’re interested) and sprinkled with the tiny beads.  I made sure to do this in a shallow baking pan (with sides) so I could shake off the extra and put them back into the container.  The grid pattern made it super easy to line up the photo, the bling, and the vellum saying.

About the vellum, one tip:  If you’re using vellum over a dark background, and you don’t want to see the adhesive, you may as well forget it.  I’ve tried a million different adhesives, even those made for vellum and nothing seems to keep from showing through the vellum if it’s over a dark paper.  However, the special vellum adhesives DO seem to work when it’s attached to light paper, so I’ve taken to mounting my vellum on a lighter paper first and then gluing that down to my background.  This particular one had a space big enough for a white strip, so I used vellum adhesive to glue the vellum to the white, and then only put glue on the underside of the white paper to attach it to the black.  Most of the time, I pick a light shade of coordinating paper and mount the whole thing before attaching it to my dark background.  I hope this tip helps, because it’s a shame to see dark glue lines under your vellum paper, and when you try to tear it back off, the dark paper rips off and stays on the back of the vellum half the time, so you’re out of luck!



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