Tuesday, 1 August 2017


Our monthly theme for August is clustering. Over the next month our creative teams layouts and blog posts will all feature clustering in some way.

In today's joint post the team are discussing how we use clustering on our layouts...

Lisa-Jane: I love creating clusters on my pages - it gives me a ‘home’ for some gorgeous embellishments and lots of texture. I tend to start with a few larger flatter items and then gradually scale things down by size, allowing me to layer up lots of different items to add interest and dimension. I usually place three clusters around the photos to create a visual triangle leading the eye towards the main focus. Sometimes though I'll use a string of smaller clusters across or down the page, often in a diagonal line. I like to keep to an odd number of repeated elements as this is apparently more pleasing to the eye - psychologists and designers will tell you that if you use an even number then the mind's eye subconsciously looks for another item. That's ‘odd’ isn't it?! 

Pol:  I love a good cluster, the more the better! The best thing is, there are no hard and fast rules to clustering, just go with the flow of whatever you like the look of. If you're struggling where to start, odd numbers of clusters tend to look best, as does an accent colour in each cluster that maybe you've picked out from your photo. Clusters lead your eye around the page whilst keeping your photo as the focal point. The photos below show firstly a page with three clear clusters, and then a page with no clusters.

Maria: Clustering is an art that I haven’t mastered yet. I know the theory, but in practice I always second guess myself and I don’t know if I am doing it “properly”. Yes, yes ... I know that there is no right and wrong in scrapbooking, however, clustering can look a bit of a mess sometimes.

Roxy: I love clustering. I find myself using small clusters most often as it looks good to the eye. You first look at the photo then your eye is drawn to these two or three other points that have things to do with the photo! The photo below shows three clusters around the photo. 
If you find clustering hard, maybe pre-make some embellishments. Have a look on our blog or our Pinterest for inspiration! 

Kirsteen: As a self confessed embellishment junkie and firm believer in more is more, I love to cluster. Clustering allows you to add lots of your favourite embellishments to a layout, creating a pretty focal point, or two, or three  ...

Jess: Looking back at some of my recent layouts I don't do a lot of clustering. I tend to go a bit embellishment crazy and fill in all the spaces. However when I do add clusters I go for balance. In this example I have added clusters along a diagonal line. I have small clusters of flowers in the corners and clusters with labels along the corners of the photos. This diagonal line gives your eye something to follow and adding clusters to the corners kind of closes everything in. 

Terri-Ann: Clustering is something I do on a regular basis. I generally try to stick to the rule of odd numbers so will often go with 3 or 5 clusters depending on my design. I like to start with larger items and then layer on top smaller items, finishing with enamel dots or something similar. 

Sarah: I love to cluster embellishments along with other crafty bits to add texture. Doilies, gauze/cheesecloth, tissue and ribbon all work well. 

Susan: I can totally understand why some scrapbookers might be apprehensive about clustering - especially if you like a lot of white space on your pages. To cluster successfully you need to find just the right quantity, size and colour of elements to fit in a small space and yet, make sure it does not appear as a jumbled mess.  The secret, I think, is to only add a cluster (or two) if it serves a purpose and enhances your page. I am a fan of clustering as a way of ‘finishing off’ a page that I feel is missing something. This is usually because the page is in need of the eye-pleasing ‘triangle’ shape mentioned by other teamies here. You can see this in my page G’day Joey. There are two reasons why I love a cluster - one they are a great way of using up bits of leftover papers and they also make use of the ‘just-a-few’ little dies I have that go through my beloved Diamond Press machine. I like to repeat elements from the main area of the page in the clusters, like the little yellow die-cut banner in my Too Kool for Skool page here to try to avoid a ‘thrown in as an afterthought’ effect, even though they often are!

Gemma: I like to use clustering on a page and I try to focus on using lots of different sized embellishments and dimensions when I do. I start with the bigger die cuts and then add my favourite bit which is tiny wood veneer, buttons and enamel dots. Although I may not use an odd number of clusters every time I do like to work on the diagonal or work them around my photo. 

Michelle: Until recently I’ve not really been an ‘over embellisher’, preferring  the look of stamps on a page than I do a cluster of embellishments; that was until I started to binge watch YouTube. I always thought that too many embellishments would make my page look cluttered and too busy but its actually a really good way of drawing your eye through the layout, its definitely something that I am going to be trying more of from now on!

Thank you for sharing your ideas and tips guys! I hope we've helped and inspired you to have a go at this months new challenge and cluster away!

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