by Debbie Hodge
Since antiquity, patterns have been incorporated into tiles, linens, rugs, wallpaper, dishes, upholstery, clothing, and more. Pattern and texture are wonderful tools for adding interest to scrapbook pages, especially when they’re mixed well.
You’ll find patterned papers for scrapbooking in four types–and these same four types are prevalent in decorating. These are:
- motif, and
With floral patterns, the print contains–you got it: flowers! Floral patterns come in a wide range of styles that work with many page topics. Four pages with floral prints follow. Notice how different the styling of the floral prints is on each. Notice, also, that three of the pages include two floral prints that contrast in color, scale, or density while still having commonalities in styling.
mix common styling with differences in scale
On “Oh Happy Day” I used two floral patterned papers. Their styling has a tropical feel and they work well with outdoor photos.
The background canvas includes large floral motifs in two tones placed in a seemingly random pattern. A large block of a red-on-white floral print backs up the photo. This print features a smaller motif placed in a repeating pattern. While the prints vary in color, scale, and density, they are united by the tropical flower motif in each.
mix colorful florals with tone-on-tone florals
The floral prints on “H” are more formal and remind me of vintage wallpaper. In limited doses, they are great for at-home photos taken in the living room.
The motif on each is a small scale, but the print with yellows and greens is less densely placed that the blue-on-white backing it up. Ledger paper and a damask tone-on-tone print mix well with the eye-catching florals.
mix themed florals
The floral prints on “Fair Day” are bold and holiday-themed, and small blocks complete a blocked composition. One print includes vintage and realistically-styled poinsettias while the other print includes smaller and more playfully styled flowers.
mix florals with abstract motifs
Florals will mix with any motif when you pay attention to color, scale, and density.
On “Embroider Me,” the title sits on a delicate floral print, and a band of a larger-scale abstract motif print spans the width of the page.
Geometric patterns are based upon pure forms of the circle, rectangle, triangle and other basic shapes. Striped, checked, plaid, and polka dot prints are classic patterns that abound and are a part of many coordinated paper collections and are so
Blocked designs offer a great opportunity for using patterned paper. Several of the blocks on “Thanksgiving Moments” are filled with coordinating geometric prints including: circles filled with stripes, a multi-colored vertical stripe, and a tone-on-tone diagonal stripe. The result is a modern and bold page.
geometrics are good “mixers”
Because geometrics are usually “meaning neutral,” they mix will with other prints. On “Our Road” a tone-on-tone stripe patterned is layered with a formal floral print and a map print.
use geometrics to set tone and evoke mood
While stripes, dots, and checks may be meaning neutral, they are not tone-neutral. Consider how largish white dots on a bright color might look clean and lively, while small white dots on a jewel-toned dark color will look more formal.
The multi-colored pastel dots on the print on “Hello Sweet Boy” are playful and light, perfect for a page about a new baby.
use stripes to manipulate space and guide the eye
Vertical stripes will add energy and height (and a formal tone) while horizontal stripes guide the eye across the page horizontally and create a more restful tone.
The radiating (and widening) stripes on “Double-Nickel Birthday” give the page energy and guide the eye right into the page’s focal point photo.
In visual arts a motif refers to an image, often repeated but not necessarily. There are two types of motifs: representational and abstract. The image in a representational motif is something that you recognize from the world around you: shells, clouds, stars–even airplanes and words.
Use representational motifs to support page theme and to create overall unity on the page.
straight-forward meaning with representational motif
The sheet-music print on “Jazzed” is a great complement to a page of photos from a band concert. Using themed or obvious images can immediately cue the viewer to the page subject.
images can evoke abstract associations
I chose the airplane print on “Beauty of Life” to represent the idea of “flying high,” of being happy and moving forward.
text prints are representational motifs
Because the photo on “Pre-Party” wasn’t obviously from Christmas time, I used a text print with Christmas words and motifs.
Abstract motif designs are based on geometrically formed shapes, and they’ve been prevalent in carpets, tilework, and architecture for thousands of years.
While “Turn on the Lights” is a page with outdoor photos, the subject is a power outage. The background pattern is abstract motif that reminds me of home decor and that worked well with the chandelier embellishment. Notice the mix with a geometric striped print as accent.
“Cookie Walk” includes just one patterned paper, an abstract motif resembling a pinwheel or the design you’d find on peppermint candies. Notice the patterns IN the photos: there’s the geometric pattern of the stained glass windows and the floral print of the tablecloths. The three different prints mix well.
Oh, how I remember rooms wallpapered with summer country scenes – in blues and whites. My parents’ bedroom and the dining room at my aunt and uncle’s home had such scenes.
The “pictorial” pattern is similar to the representational motif–but scenic.
In interior decorating these scenic papers and textiles can anchor a style to a particular era and culture.
What about in scrapbooking? I have a large stack of patterned papers with retro images, beach scenes, maps and more that I’ve been collecting for many years. Can’t resist buying them. Can’t seem to use many of them.
On “We Love the Sunny Days of Summer” I used a pictorial print of a tropical beach in very small doses, peeking out from torn corners, to support page theme.