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Embellishment Basics

Updated on August 31, 2017
linfcor profile image

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Best Ideas For Paper Craft Embellishments

Embellishments are the bling for paper crafters. They are the jewelry of scrapbook pages, the sparkle of card makers and the creative dazzle for all things paper. Adding embellishments brings joy to those that create and those that receive. We can take something that it relatively plain and make it into a piece of artwork, Embellishments bring out our creative side in every project.

So, what are embellishments? It is any decoration or ornament to our paper crafts. You can see this covers a huge amount of products and ideas for sure ! Let's get started talking about paper craft embellishments

They can be used on scrapbook pages, greeting cards, signs and lots of other paper crafting projects.

Careful Use Of Embellishments Enhances Your Scrapbook Pages

A common mistake that is made, is that every scrapbook page has to be entirely covered and filled. Embellishments should make the focal point of your page-usually the photos, shine. So my point is that too many embellishments confuse the eye. You literally don't know where to look first. The correct use of embellishments brings the focal point to life. So using your embellishments with care and consideration make all the difference in the world. Cut the chaos and be selective in your choices.

Make them Or Buy Them

There are so many options when it comes to embellishments. Where to begin is the problem. When I started out in paper crafts and scrapbooking, I would buy a lot of things for my scrapbook pages and my paper craft projects. Now, more and more I tend to make a lot of my own embellishments. I find that I can get exactly what I need and want in the colors I need. Of course there are some things that I still buy, and can't make like rhinestones. I carefully watch for sales and coupons when I need to purchase supplies.

When you get started, stick to the basics when buying any embellishments. By that I mean, stick to basic colors and then build your stash. Be in ribbon, stickles, rhinestones or whatever, stick to the primary colors first and then add on to pastels and other colors.

Use The Right Adhesive

No matter what the embellishment, you need to have the right adhesive to keep it on your project. Flowers and ribbons are often fixed onto projects with glue dots. Other smaller embellishments like rhinestones need a glue pen to give just the right amount of adhesive to the project. Having the right adhesive, makes all the difference in the world

Types Of Embellishments And How To Use Them

  1. Beads I love beads. Usually in scrapbooking we use flat beads. They come in different sizes and all kinds of colors. They are useful for flower centers and to create lines. I also use them at the corners of mats. Unless they have adhesive, you will have to glue them. I like a glue pen to get them fixed to the page
  2. Brads They come in different colors. They can be used as a decoration or to fasten elements together
  3. Buttons I love flat very small buttons on scrapbook pages. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. Glue dots are best to adhere them onto your pages
  4. Charms These of course need to be flat and not very heavy. They can be fun on scrapbook pages. There are lots of choices to enhance almost every subject or idea
  5. Die Cuts You can be oh so creative with die cuts. They let you be very creative. You can take a simple die cut and make it a wow factor with ink, glitter and embossing
  6. Eyelets They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be used to either connect two elements or to give dimension to your page
  7. Foam Shapes It's fun to take a foam shape and add your own touches to them. They come in bags or boxes and are very reasonable in price. Besides the basic shapes, you can often find them with a seasonal or holiday theme. They often have glitter. Many of them have adhesive all ready on them, so you can peel and stick
  8. Glitter Glue Glitter glue is one of my absolute favorites ! You add a lot of texture to your pages with it. You can outline something. You can make free form swirls and shapes. Your imagination can take flight with glitter glue
  9. Journal Tags or Journal Sections You can use premade journal tags or cards, or you can make your own. They add a nice touch to your pages. Telling the story of your page adds interest
  10. Quilling Quilling are very small pieces of paper that are shaped into all kinds of things like flowers, leaves and other designs
  11. Photo Corners And Mats These are readily available. The photo corners come in metallic or flat look. Mats are generally made with cardstock. Using photo corners enables you to remove photos at a later time
  12. Pockets Pockets are great for tucking things like photos, journaling and memorabilia,
  13. Pressed Flowers They can be scattered or designed to use like a bouquet
  14. Punched Embellishments Punches can be used to make all kinds of embellishments. They can make borders, edges, circles and more.
  15. Ribbon Or Twine Using ribbon is lots of fun. There are so many ways to use it. You can make a bow and stick it on a page, You can weave it through a page. You can make all kinds of things like flowers with it. Glue dots are the adhesive of choice for ribbon
  16. Sequins You can use sequins throughout your pages to make a design statement. They can be used as a line design or to enhance flowers. They can be used in a title to light it up. Just don't overdo it.
  17. StickersThere are an unlimited amount of stickers readily available. Or you can make your own !
  18. Words And Titles Words are used throughout scrapbook pages to tell our stories. Journaling is an art in itself. You can add words

Layering embellishments give dimension and depth to all your page. Ground your layers by overlapping them on other page envelopes

Types Of Embellishments And How To Use Them

  1. Beads I love beads. Usually in scrapbooking we use flat beads. They come in different sizes and all kinds of colors. They are useful for flower centers and to create lines. I also use them at the corners of mats. Unless they have adhesive, you will have to glue them. I like a glue pen to get them fixed to the page
  2. Brads They come in different colors. They can be used as a decoration or to fasten elements together
  3. Buttons I love flat very small buttons on scrapbook pages. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors. Glue dots are best to adhere them onto your pages
  4. Charms These of course need to be flat and not very heavy. They can be fun on scrapbook pages. There are lots of choices to enhance almost every subject or idea
  5. Die Cuts You can be oh so creative with die cuts. They let you be very creative. You can take a simple die cut and make it a wow factor with ink, glitter and embossing
  6. Eyelets They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be used to either connect two elements or to give dimension to your page
  7. Foam Shapes It's fun to take a foam shape and add your own touches to them. They come in bags or boxes and are very reasonable in price. Besides the basic shapes, you can often find them with a seasonal or holiday theme. They often have glitter. Many of them have adhesive all ready on them, so you can peel and stick
  8. Glitter Glue Glitter glue is one of my absolute favorites ! You add a lot of texture to your pages with it. You can outline something. You can make free form swirls and shapes. Your imagination can take flight with glitter glue
  9. Journal Tags or Journal Sections You can use premade journal tags or cards, or you can make your own. They add a nice touch to your pages. Telling the story of your page adds interest
  10. Quilling Quilling are very small pieces of paper that are shaped into all kinds of things like flowers, leaves and other designs
  11. Photo Corners And Mats These are readily available. The photo corners come in metallic or flat look. Mats are generally made with cardstock. Using photo corners enables you to remove photos at a later time
  12. Pockets Pockets are great for tucking things like photos, journaling and memorabilia,
  13. Pressed Flowers They can be scattered or designed to use like a bouquet
  14. Punched Embellishments Punches can be used to make all kinds of embellishments. They can make borders, edges, circles and more.
  15. Ribbon Or Twine Using ribbon is lots of fun. There are so many ways to use it. You can make a bow and stick it on a page, You can weave it through a page. You can make all kinds of things like flowers with it. Glue dots are the adhesive of choice for ribbon
  16. Sequins You can use sequins throughout your pages to make a design statement. They can be used as a line design or to enhance flowers. They can be used in a title to light it up. Just don't overdo it
  17. StickersThere are an unlimited amount of stickers readily available. Or you can make your own !
  18. Words And Titles Words are used throughout scrapbook pages to tell our stories. Journaling is an art in itself. You can add words or titles just about anywhere in your designs. There are so many fonts available. You can use letter stickers, words printed from your computer or rub ons. It's up to you

Always use embellishments in sets of three. This will give you a lot more balance to your projects

Rhinestones And Colored Gems

Who doesn't love the glitz of rhinestones and colored gems? You cam use them on just about any paper craft you can think of. The variety of colors and brilliance makes them readily used. They come as singles or in shapes like hearts. They also come as stickers, which of course are easy to handle or as individuals that you glue on yourself. You can also get them as words or titles. One thing to know about rhinestone stickers- once they are applied, they cannot be removed

If you are applying individual rhinestones, you will need a long tipped tweezer and some glue. I prefer glue pens for applying these as the glue is easy to manage. If you are going to make a design like a swirl, I like to outline my design very lightly in pencil and follow my design.

How To Store Rhinestones and Gems

Many of the rhinestones that come on sheets can be easily stored. These are gems that have a glue substance on them and come on a clear plastic sheet. You can store them in baggies or in a box. I would label them. You can keep like colors together or like sizes together. It's up to you, depending on the storage system you use in your craft space.

I use a great many 4mm and 6 mm half beads. I use several of those 7 day pill holders to keep both my acrylic beads and my sequins as well. Each color has it's own container and is labeled. You can also store them in pill bottles or small jewelry bags. These bags are easy to obtain and store.

Custom Your Embellishments

If you have alcohol markers, you can change the colors of your buttons, ribbons lace and more by applying alcohol color to them

Washi Tape - New Papercraft Craze

Washi tape is one of my favorite embellishments ! You can use it to make frames, separate elements and add color. You can cut it to make photo corners. You can use it to add dimension. There is so much you can do. Keeping a rainbow of washi tape is a smart idea because it adds so much for a very economical price. One of the best features is that you can position it and re do it if you want to make a correction.

Use it on scrapbook pages as décor to highlight a title, add a piece of bling to a tag or journal feature. Use it to edge a border. You can also make a shelf by placing photos on top of a piece of tape. You can also use it to outline a frame.

It comes in different widths and lengths. It also comes in flat colors, glitter and patterns. You can buy it as single rolls and in collections. If you are just starting out using washi tape, start out with a collection of different colors. When you are shopping for tape, look at the type of tape. but also look at the amount of tape that you are getting for the price. Some collections may offer a lot of rolls, but the rolls will be short, so carefully read the information.

Printable Images

So Many Free Options For Scrapbooks

There are a huge store of free printable images on the internet that you can use for your scrapbooks as embellishments. Think about things like coloring pages that you can use. You can color them with markers, water colors and colored pencils. There are tons of free icons, and images available for your use just for the cost of the paper and ink to print them. There are all kinds of borders, sayings and titles available for your use. Just do a search in your computer browser being very specific, You are going to be very surprised at what you find. Make sure that you print them on lignin free paper and just cut and color to the size that you need Look for free digital scrapbooking images. I have found these to be excellent. They are already colored and can be sized

Clip art is another option for scrapbook artists. There are so many free resources on the internet, that it is sure that you will be able to find what you need.

Scrapbook Stickers

The Easiest Embellishment For Scrapbooks

Stickers are the easiest of the embellishments. Stickers are readily available in just about every design and subject matter. Look in your local craft store and you will find rows of stickers. You can get border stickers, titles, words, and so much more. You can layer them with other elements and create an eye catching design. These are perfect for beginning scrapbook artists and require no additional adhesives or glues

Making Your Own Embellishments - Save Money And Use Those Scraps Of Paper

As everyone knows, who know me, I throw nothing away. When I am done with a sheet of paper, it is really used. Every scrap of paper can be used again and again. So making my own embellishments became an obsession for me. Party because there were times when I could not find what I wanted. Sometimes, I did not like the prices for some things that I found. Though I love my cricut and my cuttlebug, you don't have to have these machines to make your own embellishments. Here are some of my favorite ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Think out of the box and start creating your own embellishments

Stamping your own embellishments is fun and very economical. You can just use ink on colored cardstock or you can color them in with all kinds of terrific markers. No matter how you decide to use them, stamped images makes a mark on your paper crafts that is original and yours . Of course you can glue your stamped images to your pages. Or you can use a machine like a xyron to make your stamped images into stickers

Flower Embellishments - Flowers Are Everywhere In Paper Crafts

We all love our flowers. We use them on our scrapbook pages and on our cards. There are so many choices in flowers. They can be premade, be stickers or rub ons. THey can be paper or silk. There are as many options with flowers as there are flowers. You can use them singly or as a group. There are so many colors to chose from. Flowers have tp be one of my favorite embellishments

Theme Your Embellishments

Embellishments add interest to your projects. They also tie the theme of your project together You can use similar colors or contrasting ones. The best thing about them is that you use them like an artist uses paint to create your own artwork

Die Cut Images

Die cut images are pre cut images done on cardstock or scrapbook paper. They are cut with a special machine that cuts images from forms or a computer program that has preloaded images. Some of the newer machines allow you to scan your own images into them and cut from those images. You purchase the machine and the dies are extra. If you do decide to purchase one of these machines, buy the best one you can. As you think about the dies that you want, think about buying general use ones or those that you will get the most use from

Grouping Embellishments

Cluster embellishments of different types in a shape to make an interesting statement. Make sure that they are not floating, but anchored securely. Groups of three clustered together is the most simple example of clustering

A List Of Other Embellishments - To Wet Your Creative Appetite

We could not cover in detail all the types of embellishments that are available. But here is a list of things to consider when you are thinking about your paper craft designs.

  • Buttons They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I look for them especially at yard sales, where you can often find boxes of them at good prices. Check out your local thrift stores, where you can find them very reasonably. Glue dots are perfect for fixing buttons on your projects
  • EyeletsEyelets are little metal rings that are used to reinforce holes in paper, so that the project does not rip, You need to have special tools to fix the eyelets into holes. They come in a variety of colors and shapes.
  • Lace Light lace or paper lace doilies are very effective on paper crafts when you want to add a feminine effect or a vintage look. They can be fixed with a tape runner. Some come with adhesive on them, which makes them easier to work with
  • Tags Tags also come in all kinds of sizes. They can be used for journaling, for a title, and even to hold a picture. You can easily cut your own tags in just about any shape or size. You can also use a die cut machine or a punch to cut these

Tags enhance Your scrapbook pages
Tags enhance Your scrapbook pages

Less is more Don't let your embellishments compete against your page or photos. They should enhance your other elements

Weigh in with your thoughts on this topic ! How do you use embellishments? What are your favorite types of embellishments? How do you use them? We would love to hear from you

Where And How Do You Use Embellishments On Your Scrapbook Pages?

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    • linfcor profile image
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      Linda F Correa 5 months ago from Spring Hill Florida

      I love adding "bling " to my pages. Embellishments are the jewelry to our stories. Glad you enjoyed the article

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love your suggestions. I create scrapbooks, though I don't have as much time to work on them as I would like. I find it very satisfying to choose the right embellishments to decorate and enhance a page. You've given me some great ideas!