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Clustering Elements | Elements of a Layout & Layering


Hi everyone and I’m happy to be back today as we officially begin Day 1’s lesson. Today we are going to learn about the Basic Elements of a Layout and Layering – which are both essential to creating a beautiful clustered page.

If you are new to digital scrapbooking, these 2 topics are a must so pay attention to it.

Basic Elements of a Layout

  1. Subject – most of the time, this is your photo or photos.
  2. Colors – consider your photos and the kit that should go along with it. If you are not sure about the photo but like to use a particular kit, you can always turn the photos to black and white.
  3. Background – this is something you can always change as you progress in your creation.
  4. Embellishments – these are your digital elements from your chosen kit
  5. Title – it can be optional
  6. Journaling – your story

Each scrapbooker has a different style to start their layout. Some chose to select their photo/s and then choose a matching kit. Others, pick a kit to work with and then dig for pictures that will be best for the layout. This part is totally up to you, the key is:

Do NOT Overthink, go with whatever works for you

I work on both methods, but for the purpose of this tutorial,  I have this photo of my twin daughters that I have scrapped for I think 4-5 times already and is still waiting for the perfect kit. So basically, I have a kit and then I got a photo that I know will perfectly go along with it.

Taking into consideration the elements of a layout. Here are the first few things I considered before I started the layout.

Subject – i knew it was a photo of my daughters wearing a pink and yellow gown.

Colors – Elysia was wearing a pink gown while Scieszka was wearing a yellow one. The kit I chose was One Heart – which has pink but NO yellow in it. So I recolored the twins’ photo using this black and white tutorial.

Background – I chose a random paper and went with a solid brown one.

Then, have an overview of what kind of look you want to achieve. You can follow a set of rules or choose to just go with whatever you want. For this lesson, I followed the Triangle Rule.

I placed my photo in a transparent 12×12 canvas. My photo is too big and almost occupied half of my page so I had to resize it. When I am happy about the size of the photo, I added my chosen background paper (which most of the time, gets changed as I go along)


Embellishments – Check your elements and identify which ones you want to use. Then choose your base element.  The base will be your starting point in placing your embellishments together in the layout. It can be a leaf branch, a frame or anything you want. For my layout, I used a frame, resized it so the photo fits perfectly in it.


And whenever you’re ready, go to your digital stash and select the elements you want to add to decorate your page. My initial go to elements are flowers and leaves since they are the easiest to cluster.

Your elements vary in sizes, so depending on the page you are working; you have to resize your elements if you want to achieve a more realistic touch to your layout. Imagine having a button bigger than your frame. It will look awful, isn’t it?


Take a look at the flower and leaves I added. You don’t want that humongous leaf to cover your entire page right? Yes, it needs to be resized along with the rolled flower. Some may think the flower size is enough. But take a closer look. Is it really “that” proportionate to the size of the photo and the frame?

I highly encourage you to play with the sizes! The best thing about digital scrapbooking is that you can redo everything without wasting any of your stash.


Here’s how it looks like after resizing and a little rotating of the leaf.



I resized my leaves and flowers into smaller proportions, duplicated both and scattered it on my base element (the frame) forming a triangle. These 3 flowers will be my focal point and these is where I will start placing my elements.


Now, don’t be afraid. Put more flowers and leaves on those focal points. Remember to resize as you see fit. Rotate/flip your objects if needed (like the leaves). I added a few different flowers and more leaves. We are slowly getting there.

The Layers

To create a beautiful cluster, you must understand that it is not just throwing all the elements together. Your layers will play a vital role in making it more appealing and fuller.


If you are using Photoshop, go toWindow>Layers to rearrange your layers. You should be able to see something like this.


Play around each of the element layers by dragging it up or down, moving your elements around, rotating and flipping them. I dragged some of the flowers and leaves down the frame and left some on top of it to get this look.

Are you getting the gist so far?

Now, here’s what I want you to do  before we proceed to the next lesson.

  1. Start building your layout following the procedures on this post only.
  2. Focus on keeping your elements together and keep them proportionate.

Do not worry about the shadows for now, we will get there. If you prefer, you can copy the layout and even the kit I used in this tutorial.

FINALLY, upload and link us up in the comments.

I will personally take a look at your starting pages and will give you all a feedback. I can’t wait to see them!

And if you haven’t joined my mailing list, be sure to sign up now so you don’t miss any update like this mini class. And if you know someone who might find this tutorial helpful, please feel free to share this post to them!

comments +

  1. Lori B says:

    So far so good, this is a start I can handle! You’ve already shown me some layering that I haven’t thought to do. Tonight I hope to have time to play some!

  2. […] we learned about the Elements of a Layout and Layering. If you haven’t read it, make sure you do so can fully understand the […]

  3. StacieM says:

    FINALLY–some really clear and concise instructions on how to cluster! I feel like I really got what you were explaining, and I’m excited to go give it a try and start my layout. Thank you so much!

  4. […] this is your first time in this class, be sure to check our Introduction, Lesson 1 and Lesson 2 […]

  5. Lis says:

    Thanks for this very useful tutorial!

  6. Su Hall says:

    I’m behind, as usual. I did do this the other day, but, life got busy about then! LOL
    here is my layout

    I’m not sure which link you need, but, one of these should work for you! I hope!

    Thank you, again, for you guys’ expertise!


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I'm Mye De Leon

I'm a mom with a desire to give the best for her family and turned a lettering hobby into a multi6-figure business. These days, I eat strategy for breakfast and turn other businesses into successful empires.

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I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.

I'm Mye


My business is to help your business generate more revenue so you can be who you want to be.