When I discovered digital scrapbooking, I am just like you. I knew nothing about style, how to start doing a layout, the different techniques, etc. I create my page by simply putting the paper, photos and a few elements together. That’s it! I didn’t care about anything else.
But as I go along and get to meet other scrappers online, joined and actively participated in forums and several galleries, I saw a lot of styles and techniques being used by other scrappers. I was drawn by layouts with lots of flowers, leaves and other embellishments and how they were beautifully clustered, layered and stacked together that it looks marvellously real!
That technique is called – Clustering.
In digital scrapbooking, clustering is putting together several embellishments in one or more spots in a layout. There is really no specific rule as to how many elements you want to use and how you should place them. It is entirely up to the scrappers preference.
It is a fun technique and it’s a great way to make use of the kits your purchased.
Take a look at the samples below:
Beautiful, aren’t they?
Do you want to achieve the same kind of look in your digital layout?
There are several factors that make these pages possible and tomorrow, I’ll be teaching you the essentials of clustering in this 4-part tutorial.
Before we proceed – I want to know 2 things:
1. Do you use clustering in your digital scrapbooking?
2. What part of clustering do you find challenging?
Let me know by leaving a comment. I might just be able to answer them in the upcoming posts.
Likewise, if you’re not yet subscribed to my mailing list, you don’t want to miss on any of this so hop on and join us!
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I do use clustering and like the look on my scrapbook pages. I find it challenging to make sure things are balanced and sized appropriately. I sometimes will grab a part of a template that has clusters and re-use.
Thank you for your input, Lisa. I’m glad that you are happy the way your pages look. That means you’re doing great with it and will probably just need some little tweaks to make it even better 🙂
Can’t wait for this! I’m not always confident my shadows are enough, or the right way. When I try to put things in a cluster I have trouble knowing how far to stick something out, or how much to pile it up. Yours are so beautifully proportioned. I know the priniciples, but get lost in the actual pulling things in and moving them to good places!
Looking forward to learning!
Glad to have you onboard Lori! I’ll try to tackle that in the upcoming posts 🙂
I have made little ones and I do love the look of clusters. But I don’t know what looks good together and how to place them or how many. Mine just seem to look funny. Then of course the big thing is the shadowing. Thanks for helping
Welcome aboard, Dawn! I understand the shadowing problem – yes, i do! We’ll deal with that for sure 🙂
I also currently cluster – but it is a challenge… I want a lot without looking too “junky”. Not to mention the shadowing challenge.
Hi Dawn and I’m happy to see you here! The shadowing concern is very common. The junky thing – we shall find a solution to that 🙂
I guess I am much like the others. Making it pleasing to the eye in shape, shadows reflecting their proper distance from the background or element it sits over, and using the right amount of stuffs, are all problems for me. I try to stick to the ‘threes’ rules, either with color or type of element, but, can’t always decide what is what. Like, does it qualify as the third ‘yellow’ element or the third ‘button’ element, if I was using yellow and buttons. Know what I mean?
I am really looking forward to this. I did a cluster and it’s posted where you can see it, if you want to see what I have been doing. It’s at
It’s the last image. I would love feedback!
I’m on board with this! Thank you for offering it!
Hi Su! I took a look at your site and that word cluster – you are on the right track I should say 🙂 – you’re being too hard on yourself. I’m looking forward to be working with you in this class 🙂
I’m always amazed at other scrappers’ clustering – like Donna’s. I guess clustering is just not my strength, although I love it!
What I find difficult in clustering is making sure that they look ‘right’, and not just a heap of elements piled / thrown on the page haphazardly.
Zakirah – believe it or not, i used to have the same problem and I love love love Donna’s pages! I’m taking your input on the list (like everyone’s) to make sure I’m covering all your queries 🙂
I love clusters and use them often but I find my biggest problems are sizing and shadowing. I don’t feel that mine look realistic enough. I am so excited for this tutorial!!
Hi Janelle! Definitely look forward to the upcoming posts! These will be part of the curriculum 🙂
Ditto to all the above: proportion, how much hangs off, how much is enough!
Hi Lynda and welcome aboard! Glad you could join us in this mini class – i’ll definitely have that taken cared of 🙂
Like so many have mentioned here, I have a problem with shadows. I do cluster and try to get the shadows to look realistic but sometimes I just give up. I do like the look of adding paper shapes to clusters but never know what shape to use so that it will look proper. I am so looking forward to your upcoming tuts. Thank you so much for doing this for those of us with clustering issues.
Hi Marilyn, what a wonderful suggestion – in the layout i will present I added a couple of simple shapes. I will try to add more details into that 🙂
I totally agree with Zakirah. Also how to place the shadows I want to learn more.
Hi Lis and welcome aboard the clustering mini class! Shadows will definitely be discussed so please stay tuned!
I love using clusters but don’t know how to get them right on my own. When I try it myself they look like s/o just dumped out a whole digi kit at random LOL. Really looking forward to learning how to do it right!
Thanks for joining us Stash Empress – I’m happy to hear that despite the growing number of simple scrappers, the clusterers are still around! I’ll be happy to give more tips at the end of the class 🙂
REALLY excited about this tutorial you’ll be doing! I really love the look of clustering, but whenever I try it, it’s an epic fail. I tend to like simplicity in my own layouts, but then I look at the layouts of others who do clustering, and I love it. So then I’ll give it another try only to fail again. I think I have a hard time knowing when is too little and when is too much. And probably the biggest problem for me is shadowing. I’m never sure if shadows should still go all in the same direction, of if the layout of items on top of one another and next to one another affect how a shadow would lay. Another problem for me is figuring out the best order to lay things (ie, should the bow go behind or on top of the flower or flair?).
Hi Stacie – shadowing is one of the topics in this mini class so definitely look forward to it – i’ll take note of your input 🙂
I agree with all the comments above; especially Stacie’s. I am totally new to digi-scrapping, so I need to learn everything! I didn’t do too much clustering on my paper layouts … but the ability to use shadowing has drawn me to try digi-scrapping so that I can incorporate more clustering on a layout with having a lot of bulk in my album & yet have the layout not look so “flat”, but have that dimension & depth — so I am very interested in how to apply shadows.
Welcome to digital scrapbook Pam! I’m happy to made the jump from paper (although the love for paper is something i will probably always have). I believe that topic will be covered in this mini class so stay tuned!
All I’ve learned about clustering in the years I’ve been digiscrapping is that there should be an uneven number of elements. I get confused about how to count if a large cluster is made.
hey Lori! thanks for joining us! i’ll take note of your input and we’ll get more things discussed over the next couple of days 😉
I like clustering but I don’t use it a lot. Maybe because it takes a lot of time to be done.For me, the biggest challenge of clustering is the design itself. I never know if it is looking as a cluster or just a lot of different elements together, one over the other.
Thanks for joining us Juliane! I know how that feels. It can be overwhelming some times. We’ll make sure to answer more questions in the coming days that will eventually help you out on that area. 🙂
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I admit I don’t tend to do much clustering… Partly because I feel it makes the page look too “busy” and cluttered, taking attention away from the photo(s); and also because clustering usually involves flowers (at least in every instance I’ve ever seen clustering) and my boys don’t like flowers on their pages.