Thursday, January 19, 2012

Using Heavily Patterned Paper as a Background

Many times, I have struggled with how to use a beautiful patterned paper without either overpowering the rest of the project or losing the effect of the images on the paper.  I've found what I think is a good way to solve this issue, and wanted to share  it here.

Yes, I made this beautiful layout for pics of our cat!  
 This is the type of paper I struggle with - oversized images, beautiful "scenes", etc.  The images on this paper are so large, I didn't want to cut it down and use parts of it because it would lose the effect.  Solution: use it as the background.  HOWEVER, it's difficult to do this without it overpowering your photos, so there are tricks to use to BALANCE everything out.

First, a note.  I had two sheets of this awesome paper because this is from the Dreamin' collection from Close To My Heart; their paper packs always come with 2 of each pattern.  If you are working with another brand that has only single sheets, I will let you know how to work with that...

OK, how do we achieve balance?  In art, we talk about the visual "weight" of images.  This patterned paper is "heavy", so we need to balance it with a large chunk of solid color.  This is achieved by using a large block of cardstock as a mat for the entire area where we will have pictures, embellishments, etc. The color of the cardstock should be a color that is not heavily used in the pattern, but is there.  This is why I chose the orange/gold color as opposed to a blue shade.  (If you have only one sheet of pattern, you won't make an actual mat.  You will cut the pattern vertically into two pieces, like 8" and 4" wide.  Then layer them on a full sheet cardstock at the outer edges making the center your "mat.)

Next, to prevent a hard line, you want to transition from the solid to the large pattern for a smoother, softer feel.  This is accomplished by the introduction of some smaller patterns in coordinating colors.  Because my pattern was very dark on one side ad very light on the other, I introduced a small bit of the dark color on the light side by using a small strip of blue pattern.  Again, this helps to achieve balance because dark colors appear "heavier" than lighter colors.  Finally I framed in my mat with the same pattern on both sides.  The circles pattern is actually from a "zip strip" from one of the papers in the Dreamin' collection, and the scalloped piece is from the coordinating MyStickease cardstock stickers.  (If you are using one sheet of pattered paper cut down, make sure you leave these strips the full 12" length instead of cutting them down like I did.)

Now, when adding your photos, you can give even more weight to your matted area by matting the photos in a complementary color that will also help your photos stand out.  I also used some dark, coppery embellishments to pull in more of the brown from the pattern and to help pull the eye across the page.   One quick word about color - because my photos were rather monochromatic, I chose this simple blue/orange/neutral color scheme.  I knew I would want blue photo mats to help my golden-toned photos stand out more, so I chose the patterned paper from there.  It's much easier to get the effect you want if you start with your photos and work your way to the patterns last.

Supplies used in this project from Provocraft:
  • Cricut Expression
  • Opposites Attract cartridge
  • Cricut Gypsy (to weld letters)
Supplies used in this project from Close To My Heart:
  • Dreamin' collection Paper Pack and MyStickease  (available only until January 31)
  • Harvest Charms (available only until January 31)
  • Canvas Badge Buttons
  • Cork Color-Ready Alphabets (I left mine plain)
  • stamp pads in Goldrush, Chocolate, and Outdoor Denim
  • On This Day stamp set (date on lower left)
  • Treasure Life stamp set (flowers on badge button)
  • copper frame & corners (no longer available)
Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope to see you here again soon!

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