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Shape crop photos for dynamic scrapbook layouts

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Do you have great photos yet feel your scrapbook layouts are lacking luster? You might be stuck in rectangle land. Shape cropping your photos is a fun way to add new life to your scrapbook design layouts. Simple shapes work best, but the possibilities are endless.

For traditional scrapbookers, there are many ways to cut your physical photos into shapes, such as using inexpensive shape templates, cookie cutters or clear die cuts. You might also make your own templates out of cardboard or forget a template altogether and explore freehand.

If using a template, place the template (or cookie cutter) over your photo and trace along the inside of the shape using a photo-safe writing instrument. Cut the photo just inside the line you traced so no marking will be visible. For the final touch, mat the photo by mounting it on solid or patterned paper. Cut around the photo, leaving a small trim border of the solid or patterned paper.

Cookie cutters work great as templates because they are available in many basic shapes, a variety of sizes and are relatively inexpensive. Whether your scrapbook theme is animals, sports, music, baby, holidays or something else entirely, you will probably be able to find cookie cutters to match.

Here are a few ideas of basic shapes for shape cropping that work well for various scrapbooking themes:

  • Holidays: star, tree, present, heart, pumpkin, witch’s hat, 4-leaf clover
  • Birthdays: balloons, party hat, cake
  • Travel: airplane, ticket stub
  • Sports: ball, racket, jersey, hat
  • Outdoors: leaf, sun, tree
  • Baby: rattle, teddy bear
  • Graduations: graduation cap, diploma

Add additional touches to embellish your photos that are now in basic shapes. For example, add a golden star sticker on top of a Christmas tree-shaped photo, add a string to trail your balloon-shaped photo or add puffy cotton ball clouds around your airplane-shaped photo.

When your photos are shape cropped, you might need fewer stickers or other embellishments to invoke the theme of your page because your photos will already be doing that for you. With a little experimentation of shape cropping, you’ll likely find that your pages and photos get an extra pop when they’re in shapes other than the boring rectangle.

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