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Using patterned papers

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One of the challenges I have for myself this year is to use multiple patterns in one layout.  Any suggestions? I am weeding through my kits (aren't you glad your supplies reside in a computer and not physically on a shelf) and organizing and realize over the years I have purchased tons of kits but I rarely use the patterned pieces other than one pattern with a solid.  I could use some tips or examples to look at. I'm not sure if it's just my style to like simple backgrounds but thought I would try something different.  I did this with small patterns but are there instructions for lack of a better word on how to use large prints with small prints - mix florals with stripes etc.  ????

Christmas Day

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Here's a fun tutorial that has some tips:   https://scrapgirls.com/newsletter/mixing-patterns   and another one 



And some basic tips I use:

1:  There are no rules!  

2: Pick your main pattern first.  Maybe it's a large floral, or animal print...but I find it easier if I start with that one and then bring in other patterns that work with that.  Also keep in mind with that main one, you don't always have to use it as the background.  Maybe the rest of your patterns are more simple/traditional and you use pieces of that bigger print as a backing to a photo, strip across the top/bottom, etc.  Just because it's the main one you use, doesn't mean it has to be the main thing you see.  It can be an accent.

3: Mix different size patterns.  If you use a large one mix it with smaller, it can even be the same type.  Many people will say "you can't mix 2 floral patterns together"  Sure you can! (go back to my tip #1)  But visually it looks better if you mix a small/large floral rather then 2 large florals.   You will also find some are very versatile:  dots, strips, chevron, herringbone...also don't choose too many.  Just start with a couple, and add more as you get comfortable.  

4: Along with this keep in mind that when your mixing different patterns it can become overwhelming to look at.  So you want to make sure to mix in solids.  This helps gives your eyes a rest when looking at patterns.

5:  Colors - use similar colors helps make the multiple patterns not overwhelming.  I once learned of the 60-30-10 rule   60% dominant color  30% secondary color 10% accent  Also something that I keep in mind when designing kits and layouts vary the tones of that 60%  Think of it this way, if you were to walk into a room and 60% of it was the same shade of green it would be overpowering and boring.  But if you mix the shades and/or texture of those green items then it helps break things up but still look cohesive






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Hi Pat - I like to work with pattern as well. At first I wondered if you meant blending pattern papers or stacking pattern papers. The techniques are a little different, I think. Angie has given you some really nice hints and her backgrounds are always stunning. She has several layered paper templates, and I use them often to help with blending patterned papers. One thing to keep in mind is that playing with opacity is key to mixing patterns as well. For blended backgrounds, it is important to play with the opacity to get the best result, but don't forget to play with opacity if you are using the pattern as a solid background as well. Sometimes just "toning down" or lightening that bold background gives you just the look you want. I have even been known to layer a color or white over a pattern to achieve what I want.

On my Pinterest page, I have pinned all kinds of other people's layouts that inspire me, and I have a whole section called "Pattern-rific." I went to that page to see what kinds of tips for you I could glean from it.

For Blended Pattern Layouts:

  • Use a layered paper template.
  • Sometimes just a hint of pattern is all you need. Fill a mask or brush with a patterned paper and situate it on the edge of your layout or layered behind your main mask or image.
  • Blended border overlays are great to layer with patterned papers as well.

For Grid or Geometric Layouts:

  • If you are using multiple papers in smaller boxes/shapes, try to make sure that the base color is the same (i.e. white or ivory or beige). Using the same base color seems to add a crispness.
  • If using patterns with a lot of mixed color, they pop best against a light and/or solid background.
  • Don't be afraid to enlarge or zoom up the pattern for ideal scale. 
  • Occasionally repeat the same patterned papers on the layout (in other words, don't make every single block or shape a brand new pattern if there are many on the page)

For Stacked Layouts:

  • For variety, use your patterns in shapes and embellishments, like paper cut embellishments or fill for leaves, etc.
  • For super-busy stacked patterns, make sure the patterns closest to your photos don't compete with the the images.
  • You can use a light or mini pattern almost like a solid paper.
  • Pop a patterned paper into a frame.
  • Adding a patterned page border frame or layering two is an easy way to add patterns to your normal style.

I hope these tips are helpful!

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Thanks, Pat for asking this question!   I always struggle with patterns and rarely use them and won't buy collections with mainly patterned papers, but I've learned a lot here.   @Scrapin Pat

Thanks, Angie @angleigh for your tips and pointing out the tutorials, both are great and make me feel better about patterned papers, maybe I'll try.

and Celestine, you added even more helpful information, thanks to you too.  @Celestine 


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