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Clustering Elements | All About the Boys

Good morning scrappers! Last week, Mye began a series of lessons based on clustering elements. She asked me to stop by today to talk a little bit about clustering layouts for boys as it seems that not EVERYONE was blessed with as many girls as me. I do happen to have one boy in my life along with three very handsome nephews that are often subjects in my layouts, so I DO understand the problems that accompany clustering a layout for boys. First and foremost…to flower or not to flower??
I am often asked if, when clustering a boys layout, do I use flowers? The short answer is yes, I see nothing wrong with using flowers.  Not only do I use flowers, but I  use stars and hearts and whatever else I WANT in order to create the feel of the layout that I am creating. I have even been known to use the color pink! Creating a boys layout doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to look tough. In fact, I created a layout about my son entering into the Navy (one of the TOUGHEST and MANLIEST jobs around) and I used flowers. He loves the layout. Flowers are a part of life. Little boys pick handfuls and present them lovingly to their momma’s and men present them to the women in their lives. Flowers are manly, so I use flowers.  Take a look at a few samples layouts from my personal scrapbook where I used flowers as a predominant element in my clustering.


In the above layout, by using flowers that matched the coloring of the photos, they stand out less, but fill the layout. Since the pictures of him are outside and there is greenery behind him, the leaves and flowers are a natural element to use to create the feel of the layout I was looking for.


The flowers in the above layout don’t make it less about a boy, they just help to illustrate the feeling of the layout. The central theme is love and I am expressing my feelings to my son. The dark colors are manly…but the flowers add a touch of mom. This is one of my very favorite layouts of my son.

Another question I am often asked when clustering a boys layout is should I just use BOY colors? Oh heck no I say! I don’t use just pink for girls, why should I use just blue for boys?? The world is a colorful place…add color to your memories! It is a proven fact that different colors invoke different feelings in each of us.  The color blue is calming, the color red is passionate. Use color in your layout to help tell the story and create a mood….don’t just stick to a “boy” color!


These two layouts are of my youngest nephew who also happens to be just five months younger than my youngest daughter. They are very close and it is because of this that I know that Ryan can pull off pink!  Pink is spunky and so is Ryan! If you limit your colors, you limit your kit choices. Expand your horizons and free your mind of all those things you have been told about color!


I LOOOVE the above layout of Ryan I made just last year. Yellow could be considered a girl color, but it sure doesn’t make him look any less of a boy! I love that piece of grass he has stuck in his mouth, so I added the branches to the layout to make it feel like we plucked them up on our nature walk.  The combination of rocks and flowers and gears makes this a very boyish layout…despite the use of flowers and bright colors!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, not only do I use flowers, but I use stars and hearts as well. Many kit designers will include stars as an option for a boys kit…if you just can’t get past the flower thing. Another element that I adore in a layout for either sex is the journal cards…what a wonderful way to journal a layout when the words or memories just aren’t there anymore. Take a look.


Adding bold patterns, bright colors and stars to a layout about boys is sure to catch an eye!


Paint splatters add a bit of messiness to the layout and that ALWAYS reminds me of a boy!


One thing for sure that I do for almost ALL my boy layouts is to BE BOLD, whether it is with color or elements or patterns or a mixture of all three.

Finally, when clustering a layout about BABY boys, forget everything I just said about colors and boldness, and just make it soft and sweet…like your baby!


Smaller, softer patterns, pastel colors and tiny elements create the feel of a baby. This is the time when following the gender rules about color is recommended in my book….but I am still OK with the use of flowers 🙂


Tiny elements help the focus stay on that sweet baby face, and soft muted colors often compliment the new baby clothes! Tiny baby=Tiny clusters.

I hope that helps all you scrappers out there that have boys! If you have any other questions, please feel free to add a comment and I will be happy to answer them the best I can!

I will close today with a few more of my very favorite boy layouts.  Don’t forget to think outside the box, use color, be bold and have fun!






Happy scrapping!


comments +

  1. Pat Maloney says:

    Being the mother of three boys I greatly appreciate your addition to Mye’s clustering class. I sometimes feel uncomfortable using flowers in layouts of my boys. I really like your suggestions of bright and bold colors and stars and gears for their layouts. I’m so inspired by your layouts! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Lori B says:

    FANTASTIC article, and your layouts are AMAZING! I need to make sure I refer back to this page as the inspiration here for my two grandsons will be SO useful!!!!!

  3. lizanne says:

    Your article was nice, Tamara… However, my boys HATE flowers. (I put that in all caps, because they feel that strongly about the subject) When I’ve put flowers on pages that they’re in, they’ve been blunt about it & told me to my face that they hate them (esp. my teenage son). They’ve asked me to remove them from their pages. Since I’m making these pages for them, I try to respect that. As a result, clustering doesn’t work for me. I was hoping you would give tips, for people like me, on how to cluster WITHOUT the use of flowers. Also, I use PSP if that helps (not Photoshop)….

    • Tamara says:

      I understand your wanting to respect your sons wishes but I would like to add that clustering does NOT have to have flowers in it….and I think I referenced that in my tutorial. Many designers create what would be considered more boyish elements like stars and gears and those can be used on a layout INSTEAD of the flowers. Rocks, leaves, paint splatters and buttons are also good alternatives to flowers. Instead of ribbon…try tape. Instead of butterflies…try dragonflies. There are always alternatives to scrapping with what your guys might consider more “manly” elements. If you are needing something circular, but don’t want a flower, layer with several different circular shapes…stack them together decreasing the size just a tad as you go…and add a cute button or flair in the middle. Check the kit and instead of looking at the elements look at their shapes…can they be used to replace a flower shape?? Think outside the box…clustering CAN be done without flowers, you just have to be a little more creative with it! As far as PSP…I can’t help you there, but I feel sure that the ideas that I gave you can be used in any program and any layout you want to create! Good Luck!

    • Mye says:

      I totally agree with Tamara, Lizanne 🙂
      I have a boy and I, for one am a designer who minimize flowers when I do boy kit and instead replace them with gears and more masculine elements.

      Don’t limit yourself to what the elements in a kit shows you. You can create other shapes from your papers too! Draw shapes in your program and clip your papers to them and add them to your pages. Those will make a cute, layered and clustered effect 🙂

      Hope this helps

      • lizanne says:

        @ Tamara & Mye: Thank you for expanding it some more. Do you have any examples without flowers that you could show? Sometimes I need to see something visually to understand how it can be done… 😉 (I’m not very artistic by nature – I’m more technical – so the ideas don’t always come naturally) I’ve avoided doing any clustering because of the no flower rule, and have basically stuck to a minimalist look in the pages I’ve made… If I can finally grasp how it can be done, maybe I can finally give this technique a try….
        And yeah, I know about the PSP – I get that answer a lot… (don’t worry, I’m not offended) I often feel like I’m living on an alternate planet at times because I use that & not Photoshop. I rarely run into other people that use PSP so knowing where to get help/tutorials/classes like the ones a lot of you offer can be frustrating at times… And then there’s all the lovely options you have that I can’t use (like styles & actions)… Makes me envious at times….. But despite all that I’m still determined to make a go of it with PSP… It’s affordable, I have the latest version and, IMHO, it would be a waste not to give it the best shot that I can.

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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.