How do you actually start?

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Posted 5/3/2013 by capegina in General Scrappin'


PeaNut 544,425
February 2012
Posts: 234
Layouts: 0
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 5/3/2013 9:59:20 AM
When you're starting a new page / project, once you've picked out photos and some paper, how do you actually get started? I'm so impressed with the the GG videos and how most of the time they know sort of where the photo or photos are going to go on the page and then they go about cutting & layering etc. They dont show their thought process to get there though. Do you look at layouts for inspiration and put your own spin on it, sketches, completely scraplift (which for me is sometimes the only way I'm happy with my result) or just get past sitting staring at a pile of pretty paper and photos? I know there has been a glitter girl cider on this but I have such a HARD time just getting started sometimes! Im thinking i just have to make a decision and say this time im going to mat the photos or start with a horizontal grounding line. Thoughts?
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PeaNut 562,539
August 2012
Posts: 166
Layouts: 112
Loc: Arizona

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:04:36 AM
I usually have a vague idea of what I'm doing. Usually I'll get an idea going through online galleries and finding an idea I like and then I'll run from there. So whether that's using a certain technique or a layout "sketch", I just let one thing jump start my thoughts.

In general though I build my layers from the top (the photo) down and then add layers.


PeaNut 997
July 1999
Posts: 4,441
Layouts: 12
Loc: Kansas City, MO

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:08:50 AM
Funny --- I once started a double page spread by ripping a sheet of pattern paper in half, placing each 1/2 on the outside edge of the two pieces coordinating color of cardstock and announced to my crop buddies -- "2 pages done!" Of course, they weren't but with my minimal embellishment and the addition of photos and journaling, they were.

So -- I'd suggest a grand gesture -- ripping paper in half and placing it on the cardstock!

Sugar Snap Pea

PeaNut 257,999
April 2006
Posts: 13,934
Layouts: 3

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:16:37 AM
Sometimes I have a vague idea in mind, like a technique I have seen on a video or just something really vague I want to do (like I want to add a lot of layers, or I want to have a lot of white space). Then I start playing with the photo on the papers. At some point, I have to cut into something, take a risk and start, or I can be shuffling papers all day. Embellishments come afterwards, though I may have pulled them earlier.


PeaNut 256,534
April 2006
Posts: 3,577
Layouts: 0

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:27:35 AM
This is an interesting topic to me. I have always wondered how I really "start" the whole shebang. It's really a question as to where my brain is at the moment I start.

What makes one layout start with two torn pieces of pp and another start with a border? Why do I pick relatively flat embellishments for one layout and pack them on to the next one? Why do I go to my ribbons for one layout and the next one has no ribbon on it?

Lots of pondering as to why. I am just glad I have options.

Thanks for this thread. I'm curious as to the process others use.


PeaNut 344,026
October 2007
Posts: 3,695
Layouts: 3

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:41:59 AM
I think it starts with the pictures - that will determine the color palette and the mood of the page. From there, I will find pp, cardstock, embellishments to go with it and then I just start playing. Somehow, it comes together.

California Dreaming

PeaNut 153,156
June 2004
Posts: 12,226
Layouts: 39

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:52:15 AM
I can't rely on my own thought process because it's full of indecision. I look for inspiration or a sketch and start cutting away!

Completed layouts & projects
December: 14
2012 total layouts: 62
mini albums: 4

January: 23
April: 8
May: 19
June: 8
August: 3
October: 23
November: 24
mini albums: 2

Jeepers PEApers

PeaNut 54,155
October 2002
Posts: 2,628
Layouts: 465
Loc: River Ridge, Louisiana

Posted: 5/3/2013 11:10:00 AM
I sometimes have an idea of what I want to do based on the paper I pick out. I'll pretty much know what I want for the background, and then choose what I want in large or small doses. Then it's a lot of shuffling around to figure out which paper looks good layered over another, or which ones look good sitting next to each other.

Then I decide whether I want blocks or banners or special elements cut from the papers. The hardest part is making that first cut! Then I'm committed! It does get easier once a few sheets are cut, and from there it flows OK pretty much of the time.

Oh, and when really stumped, looking at sketches help me figure out a general design. Even if I don't follow a sketch, looking at them and realizing all the different ways I can base a page helps me with my own thought process.

My blog:
Paper Gumbo
Designing for:
Scraptastic Club
American Crafts

Pea with a Pen

PeaNut 70,644
February 2003
Posts: 19,346
Layouts: 785
Loc: Southern California

Posted: 5/3/2013 11:20:47 AM
I usually start with a sketch. In fact, the sketch might influence my paper choices too.


PeaNut 577,699
January 2013
Posts: 412
Layouts: 14

Posted: 5/3/2013 11:55:21 AM
Go check out shimelle's blog at She does a lot of starting points as well as sketches that r very helpful. Most of her videos both on her blog and on glitter girl she is really good about explaining her whole process from start to finish
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PeaNut 463,295
April 2010
Posts: 4,172
Layouts: 3
Loc: New York City

Posted: 5/3/2013 2:11:37 PM
I start with a photo then start pulling papers and embellishments that go with the photo. Usually something I have pulled inspires me on its own. For example, yesterday I pulled out 3 tags that fit the color scheme and they ended up the main part of the layout. As I decided on them I saw I needed a green shade so I pulled a green paper, and then found a transparency that worked and somehow the LO just came together.
A disclaimer - I do use a lot of layered bits under my photos so I sort of always have an idea of how to start but it is a challenge on how to make each layout look different from the rest. Not all clusters are the same.



PeaNut 515,147
July 2011
Posts: 739
Layouts: 0
Loc: MS

Posted: 5/3/2013 2:58:31 PM
I usually mat my photos and choose a title. Then I just stick stuff down after I get it where I want it and then add my journaling block last. For me the time consuming part is choosing my papers. I LOVE patterned paper but sometimes I have trouble getting my photos to pop without adding colors I don't want to include. Like black mat behind a color to make it show up against a lighter pp background. I don't want black mats in a lot of my dd's baby album. Scrappy dilemmas



PeaNut 298,188
February 2007
Posts: 2,648
Layouts: 668

Posted: 5/3/2013 3:03:23 PM
I always start with the photo. After I have the photo, I think of what I want to journal and come up with a title first. Once I have determined the two, I start moving papers around etc.


PeaNut 261,868
May 2006
Posts: 1,079
Layouts: 34
Loc: NoVa

Posted: 5/3/2013 3:03:51 PM
Yeah - I have trouble starting and trouble committing. I'm in awe of how the GGs seem to instantly know what's going to work and then just paste it down and keep moving. I'm great with the photos, the title and the journaling. I love writing.

But I agonize over choosing papers and adding embellishments. Embellishing is such an issue for me that many times I don't even bother with it. Yet many, if not most scrappers love that part. Go figure


PeaNut 298,188
February 2007
Posts: 2,648
Layouts: 668

Posted: 5/3/2013 3:04:46 PM
Sometimes, I will use magazine articles to help me get ideas on a design. I'm not talking about scrappy magazines, I'm talking about everyday magazines. I let the colors, article format and design of the article inspire me.


PeaNut 407,397
January 2009
Posts: 1,520
Layouts: 614
Loc: Sunny Florida

Posted: 5/3/2013 3:48:07 PM
I make videos where I just press play without a plan and I talk through my entire process - I make scrapbook layouts on ustream (kissandtellscrapbooking) and they are in real time. They aren't as edited or well made as the GG videos but they do show my real time process and I'm prone to talking a lot about Scrapbooking and all sorts of tangents if you like that sort of thing - I imagine if you like to scrap and listen and occasionally look up you might like them;

Katie Scott
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PeaNut 154,875
June 2004
Posts: 603
Layouts: 176
Loc: Houston, TX

Posted: 5/3/2013 4:58:24 PM
For me there usually seems to be at least one thing that sort of "speaks" to me. Maybe it's the number and size of photos, so they have to be arranged a particular way, or maybe the subject of the photo is facing in one direction - so that will tell me where on the page the photo will look best. Another time it might be product that is speaking to me - especially with directional things like stripes or arrows. I like arrows to point *into* the layout or at something important. I like horizontal stripes in vertical strips, and vertical stripes in horizontal strips. Or maybe the background has something printed on it that I want to make sure to not cover up - or make sure that I do cover it up!

As far as the GGs go, I think they seem very confident because they are very comfortable in their own styles and know what they like - and they don't fight it, they just go with it. There may also be some pre-planning behind the scenes that we don't get to see.

I think your idea of just making a decision is a great one - start with a design concept like a horizontal grounding you mentioned and then just do it! See how you feel as you do it. And if it's comfortable for you to work that way, add it to your repertoire! And if you don't like it... Do something else next time, and don't worry about it!


PeaNut 563,248
August 2012
Posts: 2,663
Layouts: 0
Loc: Florida

Posted: 5/3/2013 6:17:13 PM
I always start with a sketch! I have to know where I am going to start. the layout may not look exactly like the sketch but I have to have a place to start. I wish I could wing it


PeaNut 154,780
June 2004
Posts: 1,353
Layouts: 162
Loc: Poland

Posted: 5/3/2013 10:16:34 PM
After I pull out my photos and paper, I decide which papers will be the main pieces and start cutting. Once I lay out some paper and photos, I start glueing.

formerly ExpatInIndia
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PeaNut 462,628
March 2010
Posts: 296
Layouts: 29
Loc: London, UK

Posted: 5/3/2013 11:23:02 PM
I have two starting points, which run in parallel.
When I buy new patterned papers I usually put them straight into a kit format, so I always know that I have something ready to work with. I have found that this leads to me actually using the paper, rather than just stroking it
Then I will have a sketch in mind to start a particular LO. Usually the final page will only have a slight resemblance to the sketch, but I find it helps to get things started. The sketch may either be one I have come across, or be one I have drawn myself. This is the point at which I think about the photos. So they do not really influence my choice of papers that much, in fact it is almost the other way around for me; the papers I have chosen will influence which photos I use. But I always have lots of photos ready to scrap and have them in mind when I buy the paper.
If I have a very specific set of photos to scrap, then I will pull a kit together with those in mind. So as an example, I went on the Harry Potter Studio Tour just outside London (took about 350 pictures in four hours!) and needed papers to scrap Professor Umbridge's costumes and office, so pulled together lots of pink papers. I don't do a lot of pink, but as all the pages for this album have black card stock either as the background or as photo mats, it worked.
After years of scrapping and spending hours trying to find the perfect paper and embellishments, this process of starting with a kit has really helped.
Sorry this is a bit of a ramble, it is 5am here.

Who says playing with paper and glue is not for grown ups?
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PeaNut 147,333
May 2004
Posts: 1,077
Layouts: 77

Posted: 5/4/2013 12:12:28 AM
I am going to be honest. First I am not that creative. I feel I use to be when I only had a few supplies and no computer( 12 years ago) to get ideas from. Now since I have so little time to scrapbook I do a lot of scrap-lifting because I don't have the time to waste trying to figure out a layout. I Glitter Girl's style among some others here and I pick a project and then go with making some adjustments because of size of photos, products, etc. It doesn't hold a candle to the artist's original design. For me this is also helping me to get use to layering which I am really trying to master so it comes second nature for me, but since I am lucky if I get a layout done once a month, only time will tell if I master it or not.

Don't be to hard on yourself. A lot of people scrap lift. These girls have had a lot of experience and that is why they are here to encourage us and to become master scrapbookers like them.

Frozen Pea as of 11/15/2013 Goal: Complete 100 pages & 50 cards before purchasing SB items.
Projects accomplished while being frozen:
Layouts = 3
Cards = 6


PeaNut 188,256
January 2005
Posts: 898
Layouts: 0
Loc: Northern New Jersey

Posted: 5/4/2013 6:05:27 AM
I start with my pictures and pick out my papers with a theme and title in mind. Usually a sketch gets me thinking but I more than likely switch it up to make it mine. Then add embellishments and journaling.

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PeaNut 544,425
February 2012
Posts: 234
Layouts: 0
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 5/5/2013 10:00:58 AM
Great ideas here & always nice to know I'm not alone in my thinking! Of course there is no "answer" but great ideas. Katie, I'm going to check out your videos. I want to be able to come up with my own layouts but have that block between choosing the photos/paper and coming up with a design.

pynk E

PeaNut 48,314
September 2002
Posts: 13,303
Layouts: 295

Posted: 5/5/2013 11:08:40 AM
I have a basic idea of how the pictures will lay and have printed off the right sizes. I will lay out the pics and the paper and then I start the real task of what to add.


PeaNut 520,709
September 2011
Posts: 265
Layouts: 52

Posted: 5/5/2013 4:02:40 PM
Most of the times I start with a photo and then choose papers or start with a sketch and choose photos and papers. I spend half the time choosing supplies Usually if I have an idea (sketch, color scheme) it helps me decide what I want, and that's why I like challenges.


PeaNut 404,811
December 2008
Posts: 1,425
Layouts: 1
Loc: Southern Oregon

Posted: 5/5/2013 4:59:50 PM
I have a few ways I get started.

I sometimes use a picture to start

I sometimes have ideas just pop into my head... The bad thing about this is most of the time it is the middle of the night that this happens so I have to get up and either start scrapping or write it down so I don't forget it.

I love challenges... any challenge.... the harder the better.

I can take en embellishment of any kind and start with it and off I go...

Then there is the title. I can think of a title of a page and then run with it.

Happy scrapping

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