12 July, 2019

Design Team Post for Embellish With Flair (7 July)

Hello Lovelies!

I'm here with the next installment of my Lost Mojo (or Finding Inspiration) series that I've been writing for the Embellish With Flair blog!  If you missed the first installments, you can find them here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 (giveaway here ⬅)

As we continue our journey through the last few examples of getting inspiration from other artists' work,  we have just two more ways to look at.  Well, there are probably a lot more than that, but we have to stop at some point, right? 😂

Today we’re looking at a SKETCH.  A sketch is a (very) much simplified page design with symbols as a guide rather than a completed scrapbook layout to scraplift.  Sort of like the blueprints of a house rather than photographs of a fully furnished and decorated home!

Sketches come in varying levels of detail and there is something for every crafter.  You just need to figure out the level of detail you're after.

Search the same places for “scrapbook sketch” as we looked at in Part 2 of this series and see what comes up.  You can be more specific by adding number of photos etc into the search bar.

Today I’m going a little bit outside of my comfort zone and using a slightly different kind of sketch (for me), but it still has places to put lots of details and layers if so desired.

With this sketch, (like any sketch) you can follow faithfully or change it around. 

The sketch I’m using comes from Cocoa Vanilla Studios and it was used as a challenge for (inter)National Scrapbook Day.  Since I didn’t get around to using it by the challenge deadline I’ll use it today.

Their Face Book page has an album with all the sketch entries on to and I love seeing everyone’s different takes on the sketch.

I’m not sure how it came about, but I decided I was going to do a gaming layout, and I have a seemingly bottomless pile of those photos to scrapbook!  🙈  It was simply what was talking to me at the time! 🤷

I also started looking through paper that might work with the story and ended up in my Cocoa Vanilla section.  Subconscious decision being their sketch perhaps?  🤷  They do incredible boy collections and "Boys Rule" is probably my favourite very closely followed by "You Rock".  I mostly used these lines along with a few bits of the "Imagine That" boy line by Echo Park, a few Bella Blvd papers with gaming motifs and a few other random bits.

What does immediately strike me with the sketch is that there isn’t a designated spot for journaling and since this is critical for me, I need to figure this out before getting carried away with embellishing.

At this point you can decide how literally to take the sketch - to use exactly as many layers as the sketch or more or less?  To use the same number of embellishments (and maybe even the exact same motifs) or more or less?  I went with my typical multiple layers, multiple embellies and instead of girly motifs like butterflies and flowers, you can see how I was able to make this sketch work as a very boyish layout.

I’m going to be a little predictable and keep the photo on the designated photo spot (it looks best here since he is facing a little towards the left), so I can have fun with as many little embellishment boxes as possible!  You could also substitute some of the smaller squares for extra photos if you wanted to.

You could change the position of the boxes, mirror image the sketch, turn it upside down or change it to suit a different size page (eg 9x12 or 8.5 x 11).

The photo is this single, oddball, not-very-great-photo, but I never shy away from using these sorts of photos if they tell a story.  Using a sketch like this one I think slightly distracts from the imperfections of the photo, but I need to take care not to get it lost completely!

I printed the photo in both black and white and in colour.  Initially I preferred the b/w, but i definitely wanted to include red (which was in "You Rock", but not "Boys Rule" and a darker woodgrain since his bed takes up a fair amount of the image and it's a lovely warm brown timber sleigh bed.  "Boys Rule" had a great woodgrain paper which I used as a frame.  In the end I went with the coloured version.

I constructed all the little squares and the larger photo square separately before sticking them to the page (with the exception of a few finishing touches).  They're a great size for housing flair!  Metal flair badges have a great boyish vibe and give me the dimension and texture I crave on a layout.  More texture was added with machine stitching (yes, you can totally stitch right through the thickest chipboard frames and acetate and layers of paper...together even!).  You can also staple right through wood veneer elements! 👍

I do struggle to use the various sized frames that come in embellishment packs or on their own.  I was determined to use as many as I could on this layout since the sketch really lent itself to them.  I pulled out frames in all kinds of finishes from acetate to chipboard to vellum.  I also seem to struggle with acetate embellishments especially those photo overlays by Crate Paper from at least five years ago.  I was determined to work some of those into my layers!

After trimming and adhering the white paper with the faux messy paint around the edge,  I decided I wanted to add some paste through a star stencil.  This necessitated masking off the woodgrain border (since the paste ended up being a bit of an afterthought).  I mixed white and pearlescent embossing pastes together as the pearl ones sometimes dry kinda silvery, but oddly my "franken-paste" dried kinda yellowish!  🤷 I also went to town with ink droplets in co-coordinating colours.  Most would end up covered and toned down.

I opted for embossing paste over modelling paste or texture paste since its the softest and knowing I was going to sew through it, it needed to have a bit of "give".  There was also the added benefit of popping up all my elements a little off the paper. 👍

The down side is that if you're going to adhere anything to mixed media paste, you need a REALLY strong adhesive.  There are a few options, but my personal favourite is Glue Dots.  There are all sorts of Glue Dots for all kinds of purposes.  Permanent squares or dots (in the blue dispenser) are ideal to stick the finished squares to the background and also for adding embellishments on top of them like the flair, chipboard and wood veneer stars etc

Once I had the bones of my layout figured out, I put the sketch aside since there wasn't anything else I needed from it.  You may wish to do this sooner in your process if it distracts or confuses you, or keep it in front of you right to the end.  There isn't a correct approach!

Three of the badges came from the "Gamer" set and I searched high and low for "Words 4" in my stash only to discover I don't have it yet (I think it's on its' way to me as we speak!) so I used one from "I Wanna Rock" to have 2 white and 2 black.

After sticking the layered embellishment clusters and photo cluster to the background,  I came in with the bulky embellishments and then smaller stickers, words stickers and finally a few enamel dots.  The embellishment clusters were so much fun to put together, but they did take a little while to do.

Overall, I'd say I stuck to the sketch reasonably faithfully while still keeping the elements in my pages that make them mine.  I tend to stick to sketches fairly closely when I do use them.  To me it's the whole point of using them, but as I outlined above, there are plenty of other approaches.  Sometimes the way my photo is composed means I mirror image the sketch or rotate it in some other direction to suit the composition better.  

Here's the finished layout!

One Sided Conversation

Do let me know if you have any questions in the comments or want to talk about how you like using sketches!

Embellish With Flair products used:

Love, and Embellish with Flair,


  1. Your interpretation of this sketch ROCKS! I love how your mind works.
    Faith x

    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Faith! That's such a lovely thing to say and I appreciate it very much!

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