Tips for Busy Background Papers

Often in a kit, you can stumble upon beautiful papers that you may struggle to use. They may have big bold patterns. They may be simply works of art on their own. Usually, they are the reason that your eye drew you in and why you bought the kit!

So, how to use them? Today, we have a few of the Etc team members share their secrets for using patterns on a layout. These ladies are some of the most amazing creative page artists, so these observations may be just the help you didn’t even know you needed!

Cottage No2 is an example of a kit with beautiful primarily bold papers that we will us for this post.



Laurie used 4 different papers on her simple white space layout:


She explains:

I typically struggle with patterned papers, especially when using multiples on a layout, I just can’t seem to make them look natural or right next to each other.  But, one thing I do feel comfortable with, is when I blend the papers together.  (I secretly dream I’m a designer, when I use blending. Heeee! Heeee!) On my layout I layered four different pieces of papers, playing with the blending mode and opacity.  Here is where they ended up:

Green (Background Paper) Solid 3:  As is.
Patterned No. 1: As is, but resized to be a bit smaller to give the layer effect.
Tan Paper-Sold 5: As is, but the edges erased at an Opacity of 32%
Patterned Pink Paper – Heart: Blending Mode at Darker and Opacity at 100%

Jude used 5 different papers on this layout:


Here’s is what Jude said:

I added patterned papers in four different ways.  First, I used watercolor brushes to brush on patterned papers in the background.  Second, I added patterned paper to two triangle elements that I created for the page.  Third, I added pattern by painting it on with edge brushes. Fourth, I stacked the background papers and used a bold pattern on the bottom.I used the following patterned papers with brushes in the background:

Pattern 4
Pattern 8
Pattern 9
Pattern 1 (set to darken so that only the grid was visible)
I used pattern 5 on the triangles and with edge brushes.
I used pattern 4 on the very bottom background layer.
Jenn has a great tip to go with her page:
This is how Jenn shows her bold paper love:
I rarely shy away from a bold, patterned paper. The key for me is to choose the right photo. I view it as a great opportunity to scrap a selfie or a portrait without a lot going on in the background. As you can see with my page, the uncluttered photo still takes center stage even with the bold pattern background and the clusters.
What are your favorite ways to use beautiful bold patterns?

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