Embellishment Clusters Made Easy

Do you want to add embellishment clusters to your layouts, but don’t know where to start?  This article will help you get started creating your own embellishment clusters.

Water Photography for Scrapbookers


What to use to create an embellishment cluster

Scrapbook a special day

You can use any scrapbook supply in the your embellishment cluster.  Paper, fussy cut images, chipboard elements, brads, washi tape – you name it it can be added to a cluster.  But be sure to mix it up.  And don’t limit yourself to only things you can buy in a scrapbook store.

Add memorabilia and things around your house

By expanding the embellishments you use to memorabilia, ticket stubs, buttons, and other things you have around the house you’ll be adding even more interest to your page.  For example, in the cluster above I flattened a bottle cap to use as part of the embellishment cluster.

Handmade embellishments

Remember to not overlook the embellishments you can make yourself.  I often make my own embellishments.  As a matter of fact one of my favorite things to add to a cluster are fussy cut images from scraps of paper.  Another favorite of mine are stamped images that I have colored and fussy cut as illustrated above.  Not to mention all the flags I have cut from scraps of paper and added to my clusters.


Key things to remember when creating an embellishment cluster

Some things to keep in mind as you build your embellishment clusters.

Create dimension

Flattering photographs. Look thinner

Layering embellishments to create clusters is a favorite of mine.  Not only does layering unify the embellishment, but it also creates dimension on your layout.

In addition to layering, you can create dimension by using things like brads, buttons and chipboard that already have dimension.

Use a variety of materials

Hand lettering for your scrapbook layout.

While you can create an embellishment cluster by simply layering stickers or paper in all honesty adding just one different texture will add pizazz to your cluster.  For instance the cluster above is composed of 3 paper elements and 2 chipboard ones.  The 3 paper elements made a very nice embellishment cluster, but by adding some chipboard the cluster is even more appealing.

Use a variety of embellishment sizes

Using Washi Tape on a Scrapbook Layout

Think small, medium and large!   While you can create a cluster with all the same size embellishments, I think embellishment clusters look best when you vary the size of the embellishments used.

Vary the shape

Flattering photographs. Look thinner

Even though we all have our favorite shape, it’s best to vary the shapes used in an embellishment cluster.  For instance the above cluster contains a flower, banner with a phrase, round brad, heart and camera.  Because I used so many different shapes the cluster looks really interesting.


Embellishment Clusters

When creating a cluster try to have all the elements you use touch each other.  In the example cluster above I overlapped the word banner and the heart, and the flower overlaps both the heart and banner.  By having the individual pieces that make up the embellishment cluster touch each other they look like one cohesive embellishment.

Not only should you overlap embellishments within the cluster, you should also overlap elements on the page.  For example in the above photo the embellishment cluster overlaps the photo, background paper and the blue paper frame.  Thus the cluster is grounded rather than floating on the page.

Use an odd number

Photography Tips and Techniques

The number of embellishments you use in a cluster is also important.  Specifically an odd number of items generally look better and are easier to arrange than an even number.  As illustrated in this cluster which contains 5 different embellishments.  I made it by layering an owl (that I stamped and fussy cut), 3 different fussy cut flowers and a wood veneer leaf.

Granted I’m not saying you must use an odd number, nor am I saying that it’s impossible to make an even number of embellishments look great, but you’ll find it’s simpler to group an odd number of items.  Thus if you are just starting to make your own clusters you’ll find it easier to use an odd number of embellishments in each cluster.

Repeat shapes & colors

Embellishment Clusters

Repeating the same shape in different places on a layout helps to unify the overall look.  For this reason I often repeat the same shape in each embellishment cluster on a layout.  In particular on this layout each cluster contains a heart, a rectangular shape (most of which have a phrase on them), and something else (flower, camera or scalloped circle).  The result is a cohesive look to my clusters and my layout.

Furthermore, repeating the same colors in each embellishment cluster brings balance to my layout.  For this layout each cluster contains white, navy, yellow and just a touch of green.  Repeating these colors in each cluster resulted in a balanced layout.

By using this technique the embellishments enhance my photos, rather than drawing too much attention to themselves.  After all the whole idea is for the photos to be the star of my layout, not my embellishment clusters.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve looked at a layout and actually had to search for the photos!  By repeating shapes and colors in the clusters my photos take center stage.

Start Small

Embellishment Clusters

You don’t have to place a whole bunch of embellishments together to make an effective cluster.  For instance the cluster above looks great and I made it with only 3 embellishments – a chipboard heart, a word sticker cut into a banner, and a flower.  Often simple clusters are the most effective.


Give it a try

Embellishment clusters add so much to a layout.  They give a layout a pulled together look and help your photographs to shine.  If you start small and follow the tips I’ve listed here you’ll be making your own embellishment clusters in no time!