Interactive Scrapbook Layouts

Interactive Scrapbook Layouts main article image
Posted on April 17, 2021 by Lisa-Jane Johnson
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Changes in Photography

Hands up if you’re a scrapbooker with a teeter-tottering pile of photos to document?  That would definitely be me.  Digital photography and the low cost pf printing means we can snap merrily away and then, if we want, we can ping them all off to a website for printing, leaving us with potentially piles of photos to deal with! 

The way we print photographs has come a long way in the last 20 years, in part because of the changes in the way we take them.  The photos in this project are 20 years old and are definitely pre-digital.  They were taken on a point and shoot camera where we had no idea if everything looked okay or not.  We had to wait until we had taken each of the precious 31 images available on the roll before sending the film off to be developed and for the photos to return 3 weeks later, only to find a finger over the lens had ruined some of the shots.  There was no viewing the photo to see if it needed taking again, no phone cameras, and certainly no ‘cloud’ to upload to.  If you forgot to take your camera, ran out of film, lost the negatives, or something went wrong with the processing, you had no photos.  In this project, which documents a story that covers a few days, we only have poor quality photos from one small part of it.  My husband and I were on a mini break in Wales and we were exploring the castle in the photos.  That day, September 11th 2001, was a catalyst for a decision that we made 2 days later, to go travelling around the world.  Obviously, neither of those two things have appropriate photos but they are all linked together by this trip to the castle so I wanted to find a way to document the story with a lot of words on one page, along with several photos that didn’t need their own separate layout.  This story called for an interactive page!

The Need for Space

I wanted to remember all those thoughts and discussions but not necessarily have them on show in my albums so using an interactive page allowed me to keep some of the journaling hidden.  I started with the idea of using a simple flap (sometimes called a tip-in in the planner world) where your photo lifts up on a paper hinge to reveal another photo or journaling space.  I needed more real estate than one flap so here I’ve used a belly band device to tuck a double flap around so the whole piece pulls out.  I’ve used the full width of the page for mine and folded it to 1.25 inches – this gives me a home for another little interactive element and is tall enough to make a feature of the paper in the band.  I was using single sided paper from the Crate Paper Magical Forest collection so I needed to fold my band twice to make it strong enough, plus an overlap for the adhesive.  You need to make sure that the edge is well stuck down and preferably folded from the top to prevent snagging when the elements are in use.  The band is held in place by large brads but you could use eyelets or stitching or even a really strong adhesive.

The Main Elements

The extra wide band gave me a home for another little interactive element which is paper clip holding another photo and journaling tag.  The back of the photo on the paperclip element is kept flat and fairly plain to keep the bulk to a minimum and I’ve only added a small piece of patterned paper to the top of the tag for the same reason.  It is always important with any interactive element, to keep in mind how the layers will work together.  Adding too many layers or bulky items in the same area can prevent things from laying flat.  Similarly, any edges need careful positioning to avoid snagging where elements slide together.  Throughout the construction process you need to keep operating all the elements to make sure everything continues to work together as you add embellishments and layers.  I ‘auditioned’ each piece before sticking them down to make sure everything worked together in their intended position, for example, the title needed to sit above the band but still on the yellow paper, but the main flip-flap element also needed to stay within the yellow paper.  Once that positioning was finalised, I could add the heart embellishments at the bottom leaving enough clearance so they wouldn’t be hidden or prevent the flip-flap from sitting snugly on the band.

The large base piece for the interactive element worked best as a square here because I had photos in both portrait and landscape orientation.  Luckily with the older photos, they were printed at a smaller size than they are these days so the base piece didn’t even need to be half of a 12” sheet folded in half.

More or less layers

My main flip-flap element opens up to reveal another 2 spaces for documenting.  I’ve then created another flap from the photo which lifts up for more journaling space and a die cut of a map of the world.  The tab pull on the photograph clearly indicates that there is more to see here but you can include more personal journaling by included areas that take a little bit of effort to get to, such as tucked away inside the scrap-a-lope on the top flap.  This whole flip-flap piece can be removed so that you can turn it over to see the back side.  If you don’t need this area then you can also do away with the band idea and just adhere this back face to the main layout. 

When it comes to putting these layouts in a page protector you have a number of options.  You can either create the entire layout as it is and just pull the page up out of the protector just enough to get to the interactive elements, all the way out if you prefer.  With the belly band device, you could add it to the front of the page protector instead and push the brads through the band and then through the front of the page protector.  If you use a D Ring album then you can just move the page with the protector if you need to but if you use post bound you need to make sure that that is the layout’s final home.  Another option, and one that works well if you adhere the flip-flap to the background is to mark the front of the page protector and then slice a line to poke the front of the flap through so that only the front part is on the outside of the protector.  There are lots of options depending on your preference for how much you like to keep things inside the page protectors, or by employing some creative thinking to get to the hidden elements.

Adding Embellishments, and More Layers!

I’ve added a few coordinating die-cuts to my journalling spaces and photographs and I’ve kept them on the theme of new adventures and being brave where possible.  Pops of colour come from very thin stickers and of course the Bramble Fox perspex hearts and title.  Because the whole layout ends up being chunky, the interactive elements themselves create the texture and dimension.  And if you need even more space you can even make pockets out of the photos, as I did with the front photo.  Here I’ve tucked 2 cute die cuts behind the photo mat, which is adhered only at the bottom and sides.  It’s not obvious that these pull out so again it’s a good place to hide some more heart felt journalling. 

The few days we were away were a really big part of our story and they deserve a really big layout to document it.  The page still looks great in the album just as it is, and this is really important to keep in mind as you’re creating, but there’s a lot more to see if you look and lift and investigate further.

Other Examples

In this layout that I created for UK Scrap Addicts a few years ago, the photos are all the same size and orientation.  The idea can be turned to create a landscape version too.  In the album it looks like there is just 2 photos on this layout but one of them folds out in a concertina style to reveal spaces for a total of 8 photos or journalling spots.  You could of course do the same on the other side for even more space.

Here, the photos are all standard 6×4 so the fold out base has to be slightly larger than this to allow for your photo mat.  The concertina is created from two pieces of 6.5” cardstock, folded at intervals of 4.5 inches.  The last fold on both pieces will be just short of that measurement but this is where you overlap and adhere them together to give you a long enough fold out.  You can still create your visual triangle of 3 clusters but it’s best to keep them away from the fold out so that this lays flat. 

This final example is actually taken from our Round The World trip that I mentioned in the first project!  Digital photography was still in its very early infancy so we stuck with our trusty point and shoot camera but we still ended up with packets of photos, I dread to think how many we would have taken if we had been digital!  We certainly wouldn’t have ended up with circular photos from the new fish eye lens, or date stamped with the wrong date, like here.  This project has 9 photos and a little room for journaling but it’s still easy to access in the page protector.  I’ve created a pocket across the bottom of the layout made from printed acetate, with washi tape stitched along the top edge for contrast.  The 2 pull out sheets have space for 2 photos on each side and these are only partly visible behind the main photo on the front of the pocket.   (These two examples are older pages I created as part of a class by Shimelle Laine called ‘4×6 photo love’.)

With film cameras, every single shot was precious because you had a finite number of images on each roll and you had to pay to develop it to find out if it was any good.  Now we can take hundreds of shots but even with the power of editing software, we can still end up with important photos that just aren’t that good (if you’ve ever tried to take photos at a children’s part in poor lighting you’ll know the pain of trying to get images that are well lit, not blurred and everyone’s eyes are open!)  Using hidden or interactive elements on your page allows the best photos to shine while keeping other photos or personal journaling tucked away for those who seek it out.  I love how playful the layout becomes when you add interactive elements and tuck things in different places – almost like a crafty game of hide and seek!   They are fun to make and there are so many ways you can incorporate interactive elements to help you document your memories 

I hope you have been inspired to create some interactive pages and if so, I’d love to see your ideas!  You can find me on social media as @PrettyMyPage.

Happy documenting!


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