I scrap almost exclusively with templates.
I feel like I say that over and over again, but the truth of the matter is, I don’t scrap without a template any longer. Could I? Sure… Why don’t I then? Mainly, I don’t want to spend the time trying to figure out what looks “just right.” When I have time for scrapping, I just want to get a few pages done. Templates allow me to do that. Especially when they are good templates (Want some ideas for good template designers? Check this post).
Sometimes, though, even the best templates can limit your scrapping. You sit there, looking at the template, thinking “this template is great, except for XYZ. That’s not working for me.” My gut reaction when this happens, is to always go back and look for another template. What I’ve learned is that when I do this, when I go back and look for a different template, I am missing out on a huge opportunity. This is the perfect oppotunity to take this layout and make it my own.
I ran into this problem over the weekend while I was scrapping. I had picked a photo, a kit, and a great template by Cindy Schneider from her Half Pack Number 3. Here’s the template I started with:
Great, right? That’s what I thought! It was perfect, too, because I wanted to scrap one photo, and this template only had one photo. I thought I was golden.
Cut to me starting to put the background papers on. It was a nightmare. Looking at this, there is one background paper, two scalloped edges, and then the middle strip and the mat for the middle strip. I was working with the new kit Adorableness by Traci Reed and there were plenty of great papers to use. I couldn’t get them to work together on the background though. I tried all kinds of combinations, and almost all of the papers in the kit. I was just about to trash the layout and go look for a new template, when I stopped. What if I took all those background layers off? What if it was only one paper? I took the solid white from the kit, put it on top of the background layers. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough to get my layout going.
As I started layering the elements on the page, I started liking the white background more and more. I was even able to use these super cool paint splotches that are in the kit. As I neared finishing the clustering and layering, I was pretty sure that I would keep the white background…but it was missing something. I started thinking about what I could add. I didn’t really want to do a doodled border, so what I tried was layering a blue solid under the white, and shrinking the white to show the blue just a little bit. Then, for a final touch I went a took a set of stitches from Traci’s Bad Sewing Machine: Don’t be A Square and used the white ones to add just a little more, without adding another color.
This is my finished layout. You can see the basic elements of the original template, but you can also see where I made changes to fit what I was working with.
The lesson to be learned: templates are great to use, but you have to be willing to make changes to the template when you need to. If you aren’t, you’re cheating yourself of the opportunity to add your own flair to the template.
What do you think? Do you use templates? How do you make them work for you? Let us know in the comments below.