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Scrapbooking Layouts With Black Backgrounds

Dana Hinders
black scrapbook page

Black scrapbook backgrounds can add a modern look to a variety of layout themes and allow you to use some supplies and techniques that you might not otherwise try with lighter backgrounds. However, there are some important design considerations if you decide to take this approach.

Making a Scrapbook Page With a Black Background

When designing a scrapbook layout that features a black background, you'll want to think carefully about the use of texture, pattern, and color throughout your project.

Texture

Texture helps keep a scrapbook page with a black background from looking too flat. Black Magic cardstock from Core'dinations has a colored inner core that is revealed when:

  • The paper is sanded with a fine grain sheet of sandpaper
  • Torn to create a rough edge
  • Embossed using letter stencils such as the ones from Martha Stewart Crafts
black scrapbook page

This adds visual interest to your layout without overwhelming the design. You can also purchase a package of black textured cardstock from Colorbok that has a subtle linen-like texture.

Digital scrapbookers can add texture to their pages through the use of filters or special patterned papers, such as those in the Black Denim kit from Etsy seller Sea Norway or the Gray Linen kit from Etsy seller DigiWorkshop. If desired, several different textured papers can be combined in a grid formation to make a collage style background for a multi-photo layout.

Pattern

If you're a traditional paper scrapbooker, Washi tape and ribbon make it easy to add small stripes of colorful patterns to your scrapbook layout. A starter pack of Washi tape with a nice assortment of patterns can be found on the Washi Lane website. If you need ribbon, American Crafts has a value pack that provides a versatile range of colors.

black scrapbook page

If you're a digital scrapbooker, keep in mind that the digital versions of these supplies can easily be customized to fit any color scheme. Use your image editing software's eyedropper tool to pick a color that is a perfect match for your photos.

When you need a bigger pattern to add to your page, consider using a Zentangle. Zentangles are miniature pieces of abstract black and white art. You can learn how to draw your own Zentangle patterns by following the tutorial on the Tiny Rotten Peanuts website. If you don't have the patience to draw patterns by hand, you can download the free DigiTangle Zentangle-inspired scrapbook kit from Daisy Trail or purchase Zentangle stickers from Redbubble.

Color

Since black is a neutral, you can use whatever color scheme you'd like for your embellishments. However, brighter colors tend to offer more contrast on a black background. For maximum impact, place colored embellishments in any three of the following areas: top, bottom, middle, left side, right side, left corner, or right corner.

black scrapbook page

You can work with different color schemes to compliment your background and photos by using the color wheel:

color wheel
  • Create a monochromatic color scheme by choosing colors that are slightly lighter or darker than the dominant colors in your photos
  • Create a complementary color scheme by picking a color that is directly across from the main color of your photos on the color wheel
  • Create an analogous color scheme by choosing colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.

To make your photos "pop" off the page, double mat them with a white or cream colored inner mat and an outer mat that matches one of the other colors in your page. This technique works especially well for layouts with a single photo or the focal point image on a multi-picture layout. If desired, you can create a slight 3D effect by mounting the photo using foam adhesive squares or by applying a drop shadow in your digital scrapbooking software.

If you're a traditional paper scrapbooker, layouts with black backgrounds provide a great canvas for experimenting with shine and shimmer. Use a foam paintbrush to brush a bit of gold or silver glitter glue over your cardstock to add a subtle sparkle to your layout. Use metallic gel pens with archival quality ink, such as those from Sakura, to write your journaling or decorate a colorful page title.

Common Pitfalls

Although many scrapbook pages with black backgrounds are artfully done, a black background isn't always the right choice. Here are some potential pitfalls to consider if you're trying to decide whether a black background is the best option for your layout:

  • Photos that are underexposed or have very dark backgrounds will blend into a black scrapbook page.
  • Computer fonts with thin letter strokes can be difficult to read on a black background.
  • If you do not add color to your page through the use of embellishments or patterned papers, your layout might give off a "depressing" vibe.
  • If you're making a digital scrapbook page and don't have a full ink cartridge, your black background may come out gray when you try to print it.

Black Is Back

Making scrapbook pages with black backgrounds is a simple way to add interest to your family album. Since black is so versatile, there's no reason not to stock up on black cardstock and patterned papers for your supply stash!

Scrapbooking Layouts With Black Backgrounds