Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Toning Down Busy Paper / My Mind's Eye

Hey there, friends!  I have a very bright and busy layout to share with you today. It's my latest layout for My Mind's Eye, and it focuses on toning down busy patterned paper so it doesn't overpower the photos.  You can see the blog post  HERE.

I love using busy paper as a background because it's a challenge.  And I like a challenge :)  For me, there a few key elements to toning it down.  I like to cover some of it up, like I did here with the black & white stripes and teal papers.  Another easy way is to gesso it up.  Gesso is thick and white, so it fades away some of the pattern.  Or it can completely cover it up if you add enough of it.  I wanted the pattern to still show through a bit, so I made it subtle.  I also added some watercolors & gelatos to add more interest.  I used the Jubliee Wild Berry collection.

This part of my title is from a transparent frame.  I just cut it out.  Everything to the right of my photo (all the words) pop right off the page because of the faded out pattern.  They would've blended right in if I hadn't use gesso to cover up some of those bright diamond shapes.  It creates more of a solid place to put embellishments and titles so they stand out.

Here's a shot of my torn layers...I just LOVE layering :)

Here you can see the gesso and watercolor up close.  The stamped "Hey You!" pops because of the toned down background.

If you haven't tried gesso yet, I highly recommend it.  It not only helps fade out the background pattern, but it also helps anything wet (like watercolors) dry on your paper without it warping a lot.  It acts as a protective layer between the paper and paint.  I really love using and I've found that my finger is the best way to spread it around :)

I hope this inspires you to break out some of those busy papers and tone them down so you're able to use them!  They can sure be intimidating with all those busy patterns and colors.  Just try it! :D

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!


  1. you always rock the bold papers!!! LOVE all the layers and embellies!!!

  2. You did a perfect job of toning down the patterned paper, Missy! There's just the right amount of color coming through, without taking away from your photos!