Tips on Mixing Patterns

BeachBaby800

Not only is mixing different patterns used in scrapbooking, but it also relates to other areas of our lives:  home decorating, clothing choices, etc.  People often ask me how I determine which papers to coordinate when scrap booking. Here’s a few steps that I follow when mixing patterns:

1) Rule of Three:
This rule can be found all around us:  architecture, photography, interior design, graphic design.  So it’s not surprising that we see it in scrapbooking.  The idea behind this rule is that when items are grouped in threes, or odd numbers, the result is more aesthetic and effective.  So when choosing papers, try to choose at least three different papers; if you want more patterns, then choose an odd number.

2) Pattern:
Before you choose the number of papers you will use, you should also consider pattern.  The key to mixing patterns is to properly coordinate the “weight” of the pattern.  Choosing too many “busy” patterns will create havoc on a page and leave the viewer’s eyes desperately seeking a quiet place to land.  A good rule of thumb is to choose one heavy weight (think large floral or pattern), one medium weight (perhaps a plaid or striped) and one light weight (tiny polka dots or small florals work best).

3)  Colour:
When using coordinating lines, it’s easy to mix patterns because the manufacturer has done all the work for you!  When creating your own “coordinating lines”, remember to keep the patterns of the same “intensity”.  That is to say, do not mix pale pastels with a bubblegum pop palette, or rich, regal colours with muted tones.

Something else to consider when choosing patterned papers – the NUMBER of colours.  The Rule of Three comes into play here as well – choose patterns with at least three colours in all, but each pattern does not have to include all three.  For example, your heaviest weighted paper (i.e. floral) can include a blue, yellow, white and green while your medium weight (i.e. plaid) may be in the same blue, but with an orange colour as well.  Then when choosing the light weight paper, you have the option of including a paper with any mix of the five previous colours (blue, green, yellow, white or orange).

Hope that helps!

Cheers,
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