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By Amy Sorensen

Terrific Two-Pagers

Stylish ideas for double-page scrapbook layouts
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How many digital photos are sitting on your hard drive right now? (I have 37,036, which means I average 350 a month. Holy cow!)

We scrapbooking enthusiasts take a lot of photos, and we want to get them scrapped—but 37,000 photos makes a lot of layouts. Multiple-photo, double-page layouts to the rescue! They are the perfect way to get a bunch of memories down in one space. Plenty of photos on a scrapbook layout means plenty of stories getting told. 

But sometimes it gets a little tricky, making all those photos visually appealing. How do you fit them all in, or best arrange them, or keep them from becoming overwhelming?The seven scrapbooking layout ideas below (preceded by two tips for narrowing down your photos) will help you create multiple-photo layouts with style.


Narrowing Down: Choose Your Photos Wisely

two-page scrapbooking layout idea featuring nine photos

Grandma's Party layout

Supplies: patterned paper (Fancy Pants, Bo Bunny) • alphabet stickers (American Crafts) • rub on letters (Doodlebug) • Prissy Frat Boy font • 12x12 double-page layout by Amy Sorensen

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I took 27 photos at the party, but I chose 12 to print and then just nine to scrapbook. The photos with the grandmas were essential, as they are the focus of the story; the cake, table, and gift-related photos add more details, and the pictures of the birthday boy with me and with his brother add emotion. Even though I had different perspectives of the cake, the table, and the gifts, adding them would only add redundancy.


Narrowing Down: Plan While You're Processing

two-page digital scrapbooking layout idea featuring seven photos

All-Star digital layout

Digital Supplies: layered template (Cathy Zielske) • alphabet strips (Katie Pertiet) • jelly alphabet (Maplebrook Studios) • hand-drawn words (Ali Edwards) • stitched circle (Anna Aspnes) • 12x12 double-page digital layout by Paula Gilarde

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When you’re making a multiple-photo layout, space is the obvious limitation. The 12x24 canvas of a double-page spread gives you a quite a bit, but still: you can’t fit twelve 4x6 prints and a title and a chunk of journaling and some embellishments all on one layout. Try working around the space limitations by considering the size you get your photos printed.

Pick a folder of photos that you want to make a double page layout with. As you view the pictures, decide which photos are the primary ones—the ones that tell the most important story, or are the most expressive, well-composed, or notable in any other way—and the secondary ones—those you need to include to tell the entire story, or that you simply want to include but aren’t as important. Now, when you print, get 4x6 prints (or larger!) of the primary photos and 3.5x5 or wallet-sized (3x4) prints of the secondary ones. Or any smaller size, really. Paula Gilarde used four 2.5x2.5 photos in her layout above.

Not sure how to print small photos? See How to Make Your Own Wallet-Sized Prints at the end of this article!


Double-Page Design Tips

Once you’ve got some groupings of photos to work with, it’s time to start designing layouts! Some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Include a focal point photo. This is the one picture (or sometimes a grouping) you want viewers to notice first. It can be the strongest picture technically (great focus or light or perspective) or emotionally (a photo that catches a magical expression). Use size, embellishments, color, or lines to draw attention to the focal point photo.
  • Include as much white space as you can. White space means places on your layout without photos, embellishments, or journaling. It can be any color; it simply acts as a place for your eye to rest. Resist the temptation to fill every empty spot with another photo or embellishment—it’s good to have a little bit of emptiness with everything else that’s going on.
  • Include journaling. Of course your photos tell quite a bit of the story, so it’s tempting to think you don’t need to write anything. But even with a dozen photos, you still need words to tell the complete tale. Eliminate a photo or an embellishment if you have to!
  • Include mellow embellishments. With lots of photos comes lots of visual variety, so chose your embellishments with an eye for enhancing your theme rather than overpowering the layout.

Look for these suggestions being implemented in the following seven multiple photo scrapbooking layout ideas. They’ll each help you create layouts with lots of pictures and emotional impact.



1. Group Similar Items Together

two-page Halloween layout featuring 7 photos

Totally Tricked

Supplies: patterned paper (My Mind’s Eye) • alphabet stickers (Echo Park) • alphabet stamps and ink (Close to my Heart) • orange and black pens (American Crafts) • Century Gothic font • 12x12 double-page layout by Amy Sorensen

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I grouped photos by theme (the three photos of costume details) and by size (I trimmed down a vertical 4x6 to 2x6 to create the 10x6 grouping). The focal point photo—Jake posing in his costume—also feels like a grouping because of its size.


2. Build Out from the Center Line

double-page scrapbooking layout featuring 12 photos

Yellowstone layout

Supplies: patterned paper (Basic Grey, Crate Paper) • alphabet stickers (Authentique, My Mind’s Eye, Studio Calico) • Calluna Font • 12x12 layout by Amy Sorensen

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Put two sheets of cardstock or patterned paper side by side on your work space. Then start organizing your photos by placing the largest two or three (or one or two groupings) along the right and left side of the center line. Build out from there, using photos and embellishments that grow smaller as they move toward the edges.

For the above layout, I started with the 4x8 shot of Old Faithful, simply because I love the photo and couldn’t leave it out, even though it is larger than normal. Then I moved to 4x6 prints, and then played around with the rest of the photos until everything fit into place. This layout, which includes 12 pictures, shows that you can use a larger print and still fit plenty of others on a double-page spread.


3. Create a Block of Photographs

two-page scrapbooking layout idea featuring four photos

Snow Monsters layout

Supplies: alphabet stickers (Creative Club) • stickers (Making Memories) • camera stamp (Photojojo) • snowflakes (Panduro Hobby) • black ink • cardstock pennants • 8 ½ x 11 double page layout by Lisa Ottosson

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Don’t be afraid to mass all of your photographs into just one space, bumping edges up to edges. This creates an undeniable visual appeal: eyes are immediately drawn to the photos because as a block they are cohesive. You’ll notice in Lisa Ottosson’s layout that your eyes move immediately to the four photos. It’s only after you’ve admired them all that you notice other items.


4. Use the Space in the Photographs

two-page scrapbooking layout idea featuring nine photos

Extraordinary layout

Supplies: patterned paper (Little Yellow Bicycle) • accent card (Authentique) • die cut tags and letters (Silhouette) • brads (scooped out of my green and blue bins) • vellum • Paramond font • 12x12 double page layout by Amy Sorensen

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Look at your photos with a critical eye: Is there any empty space you can cover with something else? Try overlapping design elements, journaling, or even other photographs. Use a photo as the background for the title or as a spot to include the date. In my Extraordinary layout, I used the sky in my three photos of the view from the top as a spot for my journaling.

I wanted the layout to replicate the emotional impact I felt that day, watching the storm hit across the lake—but those three photos are also fairly similar. Using the sky for the journaling keeps the emotional and the visual impact strong.


5. Use Products to Create Unity

two-page scrapbooking layout idea featuring five photos

Major Dad layout

Supplies: patterned paper (Basic Grey, Cosmo Cricket, October Afternoon, Studio Calico) • alphabet stickers (Basic Grey, October Afternoon) • stickers (Crate Paper, Studio Calico) • wood veneer, stamp (Studio Calico) • journaling card (K and Co) • punches (EK Success, Fiskars) • paint (Making Memories) • 8 ½ x 11 double page layout by Christa Paustenbaugh

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Look closely at this layout by Christa Paustenbaugh. Notice how the photos on the left side are grouped together on one sheet of patterned paper, while the photos on the right are grouped on a different sheet? This makes the layout feel cohesive. Even though the papers are different, the colors are the same, as well as the shape; they each have a decorative edge, too. Each grouping uses a contrasting strip of paper as well as star-shaped embellishments. The similarities make what is not similar (colors, fonts, and sizes) still work together.


6. Break the Story into Chunks

two-page scrapbooking layout featuring ten photos

Apple for Christmas

patterned paper (Fancy Pants, Basic Grey) • alphabet stickers (Basic Grey, American Crafts) • border strips (Close to my Heart) • tag and corner rounder punches (EK Success) • twine • Serifa Thin font • 12x12 double-page layout by Amy Sorensen

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When I sat down to write about our most recent Christmas, there was one big story to be told about my son Nathan’s experiences, the drama behind him getting an iPod. But there were also other, smaller stories about the day that I didn’t want to forget. Rather than including an enormous journaling space, I told the big story, and then I printed the smaller stories on tags.


7. Reuse the Same Design

two-page scrapbooking layout featuring six photos

Two Cute Boys

Supplies: patterned paper (Bella Blvd and Bo Bunny) • large alphabet stickers (October Afternoon) • tiny alphabet stickers (Cosmo Cricket) • rub on (Fancy Pants) • Eras Demi font • 12x12 double-page layout by Amy Sorensen

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One of my favorite things to do on a multiple-photo layout is to line up six vertical 4x6 prints across the width of two 12x12 pages. Then I use the space underneath or on top of this long line for strips of journaling. Sometimes I add more photos in the white space; I change the placing of the title and mix up the spots for embellishments. But the basic scrapbooking layout idea is the same.

Why reinvent the wheel with every single layout? When you find a design scheme you love, make a note of it and reinterpret it on other scrapbooking layouts. To help you build your library of multiple-photo, double-page layout designs, here’s a bonus: click here to download a 3-page PDF featuring sketches of each of the layouts you’ve seen here.



BONUS Tutorial!
How to Make Your Own Wallet-Sized Prints

It’s easy to create one 4x6 print with two photos, using Photoshop and a few extra clicks:
1. Create a new, blank 4x6 image.
2. Process your photo using your usual work flow.
3. When you get to the cropping step, crop your photo to 4x3.
4. Select the entire photo (Ctrl/Command + A).
5. Copy the selection (Ctrl/Command + C).
6. Switch to the new 4x6 image you created in step 1, then paste the photo there (Ctrl/Command + V).
7. Move the photo to the left side by clicking on the Move tool (or just push V) and then dragging it.
8. Repeat steps 2-5 on the second photo.
9. Switch to the 4x6 image. Create a new layer (Ctrl/Command + J), then paste the second photo.
10. Move this photo to the right side.
11. Flatten the layers and then save.


For more terriffic tips for designing two-page layout, check out Double-Page Design by the members of Write.Click.Scrapbook. (including Amy Sorensen), which is on sale for the month of January for just $3.99 (regularly $5.99).


Amy Sorensen has been scrapbooking for the past 15 years. A teacher at Big Picture Classes, she also writes for Write. Click. Scrapbook. Plus she’s a mom to four, librarian, runner, and aspiring writer. She blogs at The English Geek.

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