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Using Wildlife as Inspiration for Scrapbook Layouts

Updated on August 23, 2013

Paper pieced zebra from wildlife photograph

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Using Wildlife as Inspiration for Scrapbook Layouts.

Oh, for the love of art.

It started when I was a young girl, picking up seashells on the seashore here in my hometown, small town, USA.

The shells were old snail shells that had made their way empty by the dozens to the edge of the town beach clam bed where my grandfather brought me to skip rocks. I carefully observed each one as I placed one right after another in a beach pail brought from home.

I knew exactly what I would do with the snail shells. My elementary school was having a fundraiser. They were asking people to donate baked goods for the craft fair the following week.

Right away, I planned the perfect craft to present to the fundraiser.

After bringing home the snail shells, I filled the bathroom sink half full and emptied the shells carefully not to break them against the hard surface. I washed each one by hand. Then set them on a cookie sheet to dry.

After a day or so, I began decorating each shell. First painting the delicate round shells in different colors. Then gluing on ever so tiny wiggly eyes. I completed each shell with antennas from pieces of pipe cleaners to match each different paint color. All from my imagination and own creation.

I carefully carried the tray of finished snails down the long hallway from my bedroom to the enclosed weather-proof porch where I set them on a table to dry.

The next day I went to school. I couldn't wait to get back home and bag each snail shell in a lunch bag and mark 25 cents per snail on the outer of each bag. Much to my dismay, the shells were gone. All of my hard work was nowhere to be found. Frantically racing from room to room, I started to cry. I didn't know what had happened.

My grandmother found me and told me ever so cold-heartedly, that she didn't want those stinky stupid pieces of junk laying around the house. So she threw them out where they belonged, in the garbage.

My creativity blossomed after the death of my grandmother.

It's no wonder when my grandmother passed away in 2007, all of my grief went in to art. My creative soul opened up like a fire set ablaze on a cold winter night.

I started making greeting cards. Then people started noticing. Offers started rolling in for my work.

Through my grief, my creative side became.

I miss my grandmother so much to this day, but she was one reason I never allowed myself to go the next step with art. I didn't want to disappoint her.

Paper pieced wardrobe.

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Paper piecing for scrapbook layouts.

Paper piecing was originally a term used in quilting. It has become a regular technique by paper artists such as those that make greeting cards and scrapbook layouts.

Basically paper piecing means combining several parts of an image to create one.

This can be achieved using rubber stamps or die cut shapes.

For example, I made a paper pieced wardrobe for a prom scrapbook I created.

The wardrobe was cut from a few die cuts. Then I pieced them together to create the look of an actual wardrobe by adding some embossing to "antique" the top of the "wood". I added die cut hinges on each side of the doors. Then I cut a thin strip of matching cardstock and adhered it inside to which I hung the paper hangers I created for the hanging dress.

Tearing paper to create a desired design.

For the wildlife scrapbook page, I created the zebra by paper piecing torn pieces of paper. It was challenging to get each stripe universally correct based on the photo I used as a visual template.

The zebra was photographed in Africa. I printed a copy of the photo and traced the stripes on to tracing paper. That gave me the basic template.

I traced the zebra's stripes from a photograph on to tracing paper for a template.

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Using color in wildlife scenes.

We all know that zebras are normally black and whited striped, elephants are gray, and some animals have spots.

A lot of times, paper artists will use a coordinating background for their layout in green, gray, brown, etc., to match the forest or habitat where the animal usually lives.

When I think of wild, I think of color. I think of rain forests. I think of flowers. I think of water and beautiful trees.

While the African plains might not have tropical hibiscus plants growing everywhere, most people probably would meet their first wild animal at a zoo where colorful flowers will decorate the landscape.

Using chalk.

Chalk works very well for highlighting and making images look more natural. I used a brown chalk to highlight some of the white on the zebra to make it look more natural.

I do like colored pencil and copic markers as well, but not for shading and highlighting. Ink from stamp pads work great for highlighting the edges of greeting cards.

Do you use chalk to accent images on your scrapbook layouts or greeting cards?

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Using tags offer the user more journaling space.

Tags serve several purposes in a scrapbook page. They offer the user to place extra photos or to journal memories.

Hidden tags are revealed when removed from behind photo mats.


Creating tags for your scrapbook layouts.

I like to hide tags behind larger scrapbook mats. A scrapbook mat is a place to put a photo. It's made from archival quality products to protect photos and to increase longevity of the layout.

Tags come in many shapes and sizes. I happen to have a few die cuts that do a nice job cutting tags in the perfect size for my layouts.


The ribbon helps guide the tag out from behind the photo mat.

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A photo mat on page 2.

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Coordinating two scrapbook pages to make one layout.

Sometimes it can be very challenging coming up with a two page layout versus a single page layout.

  • I like to make my own flower embellishments. It helps keep the layout coordinated. There are some lovely commercial flower companies such as Prima Flowers that make coordinating flowers as well. Mixing flower materials such as paper and fabric flowers is one way to add interest.
  • It's fun to incorporate a theme. One time I made an Easter layout. One page was a treehouse. The second page showed a path with a rabbit walking through a bed of home grown Easter eggs. The background on both pages was blue sky and green grass.
  • Sometimes it's also appropriate to stick with a basic scrapbook layout such as two photo mats per page and little embellishing.


Considerations for creating a two page scrapbook layout.

Coordination.
The pages have to line up.
The paper has to be trimmed to size for both pages.
The color scheme has to follow through on both pages.
Photo mats should be trimmed to sizes that all fit without interfering with the artwork.
The background paper doesn't always have to match but should coordinate.
Techniques should carry over from one side to the other so the pages mirror each other.
Any decorative embellishments such as flowers, die cuts, or stickers should coordinate well with each other.

Conclusion.

Sometimes two page layouts are mainly for photos.

But here's the thing. All art is subjective to a creative mind. Page two of the zebra layout offers plenty of photo mats and hidden tags for extra photos and journaling.

The large paper pieced zebra doesn't take away from the real photo to be placed on page 2. I don't think there is a limit to scrapbooking, and I hope you enjoyed this presentation about how to incorporate wildlife and color in to a scrapbook theme.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, so here's the truth: I don't have a crafty bone in my body. Having said that, I am in awe of people who do have, thus I am in awe of this craft project....and as a side note, I loved the introduction.

      Have a great weekend!

      bill

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
      Author

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Billy! In my opinion, writing as an art. And you have style, my friend! Thank you!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Beautifully done and explained perfectly. I have the tools to make greeting cards and scrapbooks, but I just haven't found the time to full delve into it. I'm not sure if I can make them look as pretty as the ones you've shown us here, but it's definitely worth a try!!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
      Author

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi EP! I have an entire craft studio in a loft room. You'd think I would want to do nothing else but sit here and do crafts. And I really do. But part of my problem is motivation. I get craft block like writer's block. As much as I want to sit here and make cards all day, I can't think of a simple design. I think the stress in my life is the cause for the block.

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