FUN WITH FASTENERS

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Nail by Kristin Aagard (on the farm), note by Katie the Scrapbook Lady, Fontologie Giggles font.

Want to know one of the best secrets for giving a digital scrapbook page a finished look? Fasteners! The little additions of buttons, staples, brads, clips, and stitching bits, all add visual interest to a scrapbook page. They also help the eye anchor the elements onto the page. I (Katie) get some of my best ideas for using fasteners from looking at paper-based layouts, which is I guess why I prefer buttons with stitched centers. When I was a paper scrapper, I never just placed a button on the page without tying a little string or ribbon through the middle first. Of course, I love that with digital scrapbooking, I’m not limited by space (or depth) to include as many fasteners as I want to. Here’s a page I would have never attempted back in my paper days:

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Layout by Katie. Hazel Olive Sew Lovely kit, buttons by Jen Wilson, Janet Phillips template collection 43.

Whether you use buttons and brads as a major design element on your page, or add a subtle staple to the corner of a special photo, these little embellishments can make a big difference!

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Layout by Jenn. Credits: My Charming Boy by Becca, Benjamin alpha by Jeni Hopewell, Stamped Dates by Simply Scraps, Fall Dating by Anna BV Font: Designer Notes

Jenn says: “I love all sorts of fasteners, and hardly every create a layout without including them.” Here are some of her great tips for using fasteners:

When placing curly ribbons, look for areas where it appears to be closest to the paper, to place fasteners so that it appears that they’re attached to the layout. In this particular one, I’ve placed the metal rivet elements on several areas of the ribbon to create a sense that it’s grounded to the layout. I tend to reduce the size of the original fastener elements (staples and brads especially) to a much smaller scale than their original size, in order to keep their overall realism more believable. I consider what the size relationship of the elements would be like “in real life” if I were using the same items on a paper layout, and then adjust the size of each element accordingly.

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Layout by Jenn. Credits: Love Me by Dilo, Lucky by Amanda Heimann, Ruby alpha by Lauraskathi Font: Pea Noodles, Small Typewriting


I often use brads not only for scattered accents throughout layouts, but also in the center of bows to act as a fastener. Simply resize the brad to be just large enough to completely cover the center knot of the bow. The brad should have a slightly smaller drop shadow than the bow itself, which gives the illusion that the center of the bow is pushed into the page, and actually attached to it.
By far my favorite type of fastener is a staple. If I’m using the staple more than once in the layout, I always rotate the staple copies slightly so they don’t all look the same.

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Layout by Jenn. Credits: Template from Reloaded Vol. 1 set by Sya’s Blueprints, Wild Hearts by Michelle Coleman, Everyday by Megan Turnidge, Explore, Learn, Grow by Sahlin Studio Font: CK Jot

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New team member Tara used some fasteners to dress up a simple invite for my son’s first birthday. “Here I used the pin and the fasteners to make it look like that was how the paper frame was held down onto the photograph. To be able to give it a little more depth than just the paper mat.”

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Layout by Tara. credits: the luck one page kit by Danielle Young Designs

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Layout by Melissa S. End of Summer by Trish H designs

Melissa says: I use reversed staples and rotated them. I also split apart a row of stitching, by just selecting the stitches I wanted and pressing Ctrl+J and used them to secure the letters

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Jenn’s favorite staple comes from this kit. My “go to” staple is in this kit by Sahlin Studio. I think I like it so much because it’s more of a brass/copper, versus being silver. It’s also got a great weight to it, if that makes sense.

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For basic brads, rivets, buttons, etc, I’ve purchased some CU packs that I pull from if a kit I’m using doesn’t have quite what I need as a fastener, or if I’m combining kits for a LO sometimes it’s just easier to pull in a couple of CU items and recolor as needed, versus searching hundreds of kits for brads, etc.

Don’t be afraid to purchase CU items for your own personal stash. They’re a great way to add some fundamental elements that you’ll find yourself using again and again.

Here’s a couple versatile CU packs that I love having in my stash:

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If you listened to episode 8 (The Well Rounded Mama) of the Paperclipping Digi Show podcast, you might remember Steph talking about her favorite staple found in the Modish Boy and Modish Girl kits by Shabby Princess.

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On that same show, Janet talked about her favorite staple which is found in this Painted Summer kit (also from Shabby Princess)

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While there are often great fasteners included with many digital scrabooking kits, you might also enjoy using some element packs to boost your stash. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Next time you are digi scrapping, pull out some fasteners and add a few finishing touches to your layout. You will be pleased at what a big impact a little fastener can have!

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