layout 2 - 3 inch“What is a scrapbooking template and how do I use it?” I was asked recently.

A scrapbooking sketch or template is the blueprint from which your design is built. Read on for more suggestions and to view a layout using this template.

Where do I find scrapbooking sketches?
There are many websites, books and magazines with free sketches. Find a style you like and use it. You may find you naturally gravitate to a particular designer’s style. That’s fine. For variation you can try other sources.

To use one from our site go to our sketches.

Why bother using a template?
The first thing that comes to mind is that it saves a lot of time to use a template. It’s like a jump start when the engine’s cold.

To continue with the car analogy, you don’t get anywhere fast if the engine won’t start; but with help – the jump or the sketch – you will get from 0-60 in a fraction of the time.

It can be the same viewing someone’s layout: the creative juices will often start flowing with a tiny bit of encouragement.

How do I get the template?

When you find a sketch you like a right click of your mouse will usually allow you to save it, add to your favorites, or copy it to a file you can store on your hard drive and print it when you want to. The size of the file will vary: some will only print a small image others larger. You can copy the template by hand, too.

At digital scrapbooking sites you will be able to download the files to allow you to make your digital layout. You may have to pay for these.

Where do I start when I find a sketch?

When you find a sketch you like you can use it ‘as is’ or you can turn it on its side or upside down, back to front or use a mirror image.

Then you can dress it up with your favorite papers, embellishments, ribbons, etc. And, of course, your photographs.

Are there any restrictions I should watch out for?

Most sites will have their own layouts you can copy. When you copy scrapbooking layouts it is considered courteous to acknowledge whose idea it is. Most times these cannot be used for publishing or in competitions.

A tip to remember whose layout you copied is to write the details of the design lightly on the back of your layout: who’s design it was, where you found it, and what products you used. Then if you submit it to a gallery at a later stage you have the details for the credits to hand. If there are restrictions about its use then write those here, too. Alternately you could have an index page with all the information for each layout in your album.

How do I store the sketches?
Store your sketch ideas either online or in a notebook specially for the purpose. Some people carry a small sketch pad all the time and jot down ideas as they come to them or as they find them.

So, how do I use a scrapbooking layout template?

A good sketch leaves plenty of room for your creativity.

The easiest way is to show you an example, so …