Get Flexible! One Template, Four Ways

Have you ever looked at a template and thought, that’s not really my style? Or wondered what to do with all those flower spots when you only have boys? What if a template you love has four photo spots, but you only want to use one or two photos? The beauty of layered templates is in their complete versatility and ability to be customized to fit your needs. Recently, I sent one template, Fuss Free FreeBee 1, graciously donated by Cheryl of Fiddle-Dee-Dee Designs, to three different scrappers and scrapped with it myself, to show you how the same template can be fiddled and tweaked to make four very different layouts. I also asked each scrapper to share a few tips and tricks about how she made the template her own. Here's the original template for your reference:
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Fiddle Dee-Dee's Fuss Free FreeBee 1 template.

Cade’s Cove by Jennifer Creek
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Jennifer Creek rotated the template and adjusted the number of photos to create her layout, Cade's Cove.

“What I did with the template was I rotated it 180 degrees,” says Jennifer. “This template already had shadows on it so I then had to change the shadowing on it to 45 degrees. It originally had a spot for four pictures. Since I only had one picture I wanted to use, I made one [photo-spot] a box for the date and one a journal box.  [I used] one for the photo and the fourth I just took off. I replaced the elements with my own elements and split my title: half on top and half on bottom.”Jennifer makes a good point about shadows: if the template you’re using already has shadows, make sure any shadows you add to your own elements match. (You can double-click on the layer to see details of any layer styles, including shadows, applied and change them if necessary.) If you rotate elements like Jennifer did, make sure to change the shadowing appropriately, too!
Stronger With Time by Rachel McPeek
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Rachel McPeek's layout, Stronger with Time, features a creative substitution of elements.

Rachel shares that “with the exception of photos, I work a template from back to front, starting with the background and moving forward. I try to work with papers and then elements. If I'm feeling like there are too many elements, or not enough, I change them to suit my mood. I rotated the whole template to suit my large photo. I moved the small paper mat below the main photo. I wanted to use only two photos, so I turned two of the smaller photo spaces into journaling areas. I used the vines from the kit instead of a straight element in place of the vertical stripes because I wanted a more organic line up the page. I also added a pom-pom border to the edge of the long paper piece and added some elements along with my title (which I also moved). Just because there is nothing noted in the template, doesn't mean you can't add it in!”
My Girl by Leah Loy
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By rotating the template and enlarging one of the photo spots, Leah Loy created her layout, My Girl.

Leah says, "This was an amazing template but it didn't really fit exactly what I was picturing so I rotated it 90 degrees counter-clockwise.  I also removed one of the photo spots and the clusters on either side.  I enlarged the lower photo and the upper photo just a little bit so I could have a better look at the picture I inserted.  I then added my photos and embellished the layout with Hello Daydream by Allison Pennington.  This was a very versatile template and I will definitely use it again." I love the tree on Leah's layout, and how she freely interpreted the element clusters!
Painting the Deck by Michelle Huegel
Painting the Deck by Michelle Huegel1 300x300 Get Flexible!  One Template, Four Ways

Michelle Heugel removed template embellishments, adapting it more to her scrapping style, to create Paint the Deck.

I kept things pretty simple.  I stuck with the original orientation, but I stripped off most of the embellishments and only kept two photo spots. I’m not a good clusterer, but I loved the shaped mats and general style of the layout, so this made it fit my scrapping style better. I also changed the placement of the title, since I needed room for a bigger, painted-looking title.
My favorite tip is from Rachel, and it bears repeating. Just because something isn’t in the original template doesn’t mean you can’t add it! Add more photos, more paper strips, different elements, anything you want. I also love how Rachel substituted the organic, flowing flower vines for the straight paper strip, changing the whole feel of the page. Think of the elements on a template more as guidelines than rules. For example, try thinking of a paper strip as a “long vertical (or horizontal) element,” which could mean a twisty ribbon, a branch or a piece of paper. I hope these four very different layouts inspire you to look at your template collection with a fresh perspective, and help you breathe new life into templates you've used already. Consider templates a jumping-off point, not necessarily a set-in-stone model that you have to follow exactly. Use them to inspire your creativity, and have fun! Want to try your hand at making this template your own?  Cheryl of Fiddle-Dee-Dee Designs is giving her Fuss Free FreeBee 1 template FREE to DST Insider readers.  Get it here {this download is no longer available}.  Thanks, Cheryl!    Send article as PDF   
  • Sharon Kay

    Love the template. Thanks so much and thanks for the info on how to use them.