by Debbie Hodge

Think about racing stripes on a car, earrings on a woman, roses on china. Each of these are embellishments. Wikipedia defines an embellishment as something that enhances appearance without having any functional purpose. I say “not so” when it comes to embellishing scrapbook pages.

embellishments can deepen and support your page subject

While themed embellishments are the quickest way to add an embellishment that supports your page topic, motifs, words, and even textures can also be used–either to signal an obvious connection or subtly evoke a sense of your page subject.

This vacation page uses a travel-themed "vacation" license plate with a ticket and coin to support the subject of shopping for souvenirs while on vacation.



Don’t have themed products? “Usurping the Throne” includes a crown cut from glitter paper (the crown is a shape in Photoshop that you could print to the back of paper and cut out) and a flourish covered with gold glitter paper. Even the glittery journaling tag contributes to the fun title and juxtaposition of a sick child in the family throne: Dad’s chair.


embellishments add charm and design interest

  • Use embellishments colored to match important items in your photos OR to provide contrast.
  • Use shape to carry through a repetition in your design or to provide eye-catching contrast.
  • Add interest by using embellishments with texture and depth.

Go-to embellishments that work with most subjects include: photo-turns, ribbon, buttons, brads, staples, clips, and tags.



“Removed From Circulation” uses general purpose embellishments. They’re placed in a visual triangle. Each spot has at least two of these three colors: green, blue, brown. A blue photo turn tied with blue ribbon is placed next to the title at top left. Brown and blue string tied around a paper strip sits at bottom right. Three buttons and a word sticker finish the triangle at bottom left.




The embellishments in “Neighborhood Contender” are not themed but they’re chosen to support the theme and add to the tone of this page about girl power on the baseball field. Flower sequins repeat the flowers in the paper and hint at pretty things. The starburst repeats the comic-book “pow” of the title background, and the flourishes add both elegance and energy.