Scrapbook Layouts by Color

Welcome to my blog, Paper Crafting With Rebecca!

Today I want to talk about scrapbook layouts and using a color wheel. Sometimes I fall into a creative rut when it comes to designing a scrapbook layout. Oftentimes, I have the picture (or group of pictures) that I want to scrapbook, but I just don’t know what kind of layout to design to compliment the picture(s).

For today’s video I wanted to share with you a little of my thought process using a color wheel that helps to get me creating again. I hope you find this helpful and if you have any ideas or improvements to my suggestions then please share them in the comments below. I want my YouTube channel and this blog to be a community of crafters learning, creating, and sharing together!

So, without further delay… let’s look at some scrapbook layouts inspired by the color wheel…

Recap of video:

Sometimes the pictures I want to scrapbook dictate the colors I will use in the layout. For instance, maybe the pictures have to do with a high school reunion and I want to use the school colors. In this case the color choice has been made for me.

But sometimes, the photographs aren’t telling me what colors would be best for the layout and I draw a mental blank.

 In that case, I turn to my color wheel.

Basically the color wheel consists of the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). Then color wheels have three colors equally spaced between each of the three primary colors. These are called the secondary colors (green, orange, and purple). Lastly, most color wheels will include another six colors spaced between the primary and secondary colors (yup, you figured it out, these are the tertiary colors). They didn’t get real creative in naming the color basics. The tertiary colors are created when you mix a primary color and a secondary color together.  So that would be: yellow-green, yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, and blue-green.

Once you have the color wheel figured out you can do all sorts of layout methodologies with it.

Draw an imaginary line through the center and separate the warm colors (reds, oranges and yellows) from the cool colors (blues, greens, and purples). Now, looking at your picture(s)…. Do the pictures capture a lot of energy and action? If so, you will probably want to choose colors from the warm side of the color wheel.

12"x12" Double Layout - Warm Colors

But perhaps your picture/pictures are all about calmness and serenity. In that case you will want to choose colors from the cool side of the color wheel.

12"x12" Single Layout - Cool Colors

Aside from the "warm vs cool" color scheme,  there are three other basic color schemes… and if you go with this method in your layouts then it simplifies things tremendously.

The first color scheme to look at is the complementary color scheme. This is a fun one to utilize. Simply choose a color off the color wheel and then look at the color that is exactly opposite of that chosen color… those are your two focus colors for your scrapbook layout! These colors provide for a sharper contrast and can really make your page “pop”. Probably the most popular use of the complementary color scheme is Christmas layouts.

8.5"x11" Double Layout - Complementary Colors

The next color scheme is analogous. This means you have chosen three colors that are side by side. This works best if you are working with a color wheel that has no less than 12 colors on it. (In other words, the primary colors, the secondary colors, and the six tertiary colors).

12"x12" Single Layout - Analogous

Sometimes all the colors all happen to be warm or they might all be cool colors…. But they don’t have to be… for instance, the above scrapbook page is analogous but is a mix of warm and cool colors… yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange with a splash of brown thrown in there, too. Often times using an analogous color scheme can be calming for the viewer. The page doesn’t seem so busy which is nice if you don’t want to overpower the pictures you are trying to draw a focus to.

Lastly, let’s look at a triadic color scheme. I use this one often… this simply means you choose three colors equally spaced around the wheel. For instance, the primary colors of red, yellow, blue are a triadic color scheme. Or you could choose purple, green, and orange or perhaps red-purple, yellow-orange, and blue-green!

12"x12" Single Layout - Triadic

Once I choose the main colors I want to use… what is next? Well, first off I must decide if the layout is going to be a single page or double page. This will tell me how many supplies I need to pull out of my stash. Then I start by pulling lots of things from the colors I have chosen. That can be papers, cardstocks, embellishments, inks… all of it. Remember, you can always put things back away if you don’t use them.

Then I start grouping things around together. I don’t worry too much about the patterns on the paper or if the embellishments are flowers or gems… just go for the colors first. Sometimes what will combine with something else will surprise you if you focus on the color and not the object being used.

Once I get this far in the creative process I find that a layout will nearly develop on its own! It is almost magical and it all started because I took time to focus on the color wheel!

12"x12" Single Layout - Triadic

My triadic color scheme layout was inspired by both my color wheel and by a Christmas layout done in the complementary color scheme I saw in a CTMH idea book last year.

Of course, if color isn’t working for you… don’t be afraid to experiment with good ol’ black and white, too!

12"x12" Single Layout - Black & White

Thank you for watching today! I hope you found this video useful and will remember the color wheel as a source of creative inspiration if you ever draw a mind-blank on your next scrapbook page!

Happy Paper Crafting,


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