What to Do When You Get Stuck: Ideas for the Simple Scrapbooker.

by Lain Ehmann on April 18, 2013

Lots of people tell me that they face the “blank page” syndrome.

They have a photo or photos they like, they even know what the story is that they want to tell on their scrapbook page, but they don’t know what to do next.

Here’s a tried-and-true formula I use when I’m at a loss for that “next step” in scrapbooking.

I get my photos together and then…

1. Head over to Pinterest and take a quick scroll through my Scrapbook Inspiration pinboard.

scrapbook inspiration board

2. Stop at the first layout that grabs my eye and seems to fit the photo(s) I have to work with. (I’m not sure about the rules for linking to Pinterest items, so I want to make it absolutely clear that this layout is by this blogger.)

this one

3. Figure out what elements of the original layout I want to “lift.” In the layout above, it’s the circles and strips of patterned papers.

4. Pull out products that go with the color scheme/feel of the photo I’m scrapping.

5.  Start creating! Here’s my result that took about 30 minutes from start to finish:


You can see the circles and patterned paper strips borrowed from the original layout. But if you saw these layouts together — even side-by-side — you would never say, “Wow, these look just alike!”

It really is that simple. I don’t get hung up on “does this go with that” or “where do I put this” or “but I don’t HAVE a pink flower…” I just go with my gut. This approach works for many reasons, including:

  • This approach saves time! I’m not looking for the “perfect” layout to lift; I’m looking for the first one that grabs my eye.
  • Oftentimes I get stuck because of indecision. Finding the “one layout” and then looking at the “one thing” I want to imitate gets me over the hump.
  • I actually interact with my inspiration, not just collect it.
  • I take the time to figure out what it is about a particular layout I like, whether it’s the color scheme or design or picture placement.
  • The resulting layout is still “mine” even though it got its roots in another layout. It’s not an imitation, but an inspired piece.

Now it’s your turn. I challenge you to head over to your favorite gallery, whether it’s Pinterest or somewhere else, and follow these steps.

simple scrapbooking layouts

P.S. If you are the creator of that original lovely layout, please let me know. I’d love to ask your permission directly but there was no way for me to comment on your layout on Tumblr without having a Tumblr account of my own. Plus, you’re an amazing scrapbooker and I’d like to get to know you!


  • amyptucson

    What a great description of your process, and of why it works so well! I have definitely learned from you the benefits of “good enough” instead of “that one perfect solution” — and it’s SO much faster. And frankly, “good enough” often turns out to be every bit as good as “perfect” because there is no one right perfect solution for a page. ;)
    That said, I have also learned to pause for that one extra minute. I pause to reflect and push myself to think of a second or third option for the page — not product options, but how to use them. It’s a short pause but it makes a world of difference in my outcomes! The closest analogy I can make is to writing… you know how you’re supposed to be willing to edit your first draft instead of being so in love with what you wrote that you won’t change it? Well sometimes I need to not be so in love with my very first idea (use all 6 photos! use all 3 papers!) that I’m not willing to edit it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lainehmann Lain Chroust Ehmann

    I love that, Amy! A one-minute pause is always a great check-in. Thanks for sharing.

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