I’m sure you’ve noticed that hexagons are the hottest craze in scrapbooking since chevron. These geometric beauties combine the best of both design worlds – a circular shape with straight lines. But they can be a bit difficult to work with sometimes, since they straddle the line between a circle and square.
After playing around a bit myself, and strolling through the galleries and shops to see how others are using hexagons, I came up with a few tips and ideas ranging from subtle to bold. Try one of these techniques on your next page and you’re guaranteed to be right on trend!
The Subtle Touch
If you want to ease into hexagons, try using them as a subtle accent. Drawn, stamped, or misted hexagons add a fun touch to any page. Use them as you might any other doodle or ink splatter. Valeriapiemonte balanced her page by repeating the drawn hexagons in two areas. I love how the word “play” is emphasized by that perfect placement! If you prefer the misted look, Gennifer Bursett’s Toolbox: Mists Volume 9 includes a hexagon mist you can customize to match any layout.
Ready to take your hexagons to the next level? Try letting them anchor your page as a strong background paper. Whether you choose a small, subtle pattern or a bright, colorful one like ltarbox used in her layout below, hexagons are a versatile pattern. On a very small scale, they can function similar to a grid paper, lending a funkier office vibe. Extra-large hexagons just beg for papers, embellishments, and photos to fill in the spaces across the page. Embellished hexagon papers, with extra doodling or stitching around the shapes, make for center-of-attention backgrounds or the perfect start to a lushly layered page. The next time you reach for a polka-dot or larger pattern paper, try substituting a similar scale hexagon paper instead!
Mastering the Hexagon
So you’ve already drawn a little hexagon pattern on your layout … then moved on to a rockin’ hexagon background paper … and now you’re ready for the ultimate test of hexagon mastery – clipping your photos and papers to this bold shape. No more hiding behind other layers or hanging out in the background, this technique brings the hexagon front and center! If you need a little help to get started, try a template. Fiddle-Dee-Dee Designs and Amy Martin both have fun template sets focusing on hexagons. These shapes fit together so beautifully, like puzzle pieces. I love the sense of order and balance they bring to a page, coupled with the fun of an unexpected shape!
Ready to create your own hexagons? Here’s a quick step-by-step for creating a hexagon shape in Photoshop.
First, click and hold on the Shape Tool until the pop-out menu appears. Select the Polygon Tool.
Your options should look something like this, with “Shape layers” selected, and “Sides” set to 6.
Click and drag on your canvas to create a hexagon. You can always resize later, so don’t worry too much about getting it perfect now. Once you have your shape layer, you can clip a photo or paper to it – shapes work just like any other clipping mask!
Here’s my finished hexagon with a cute paper from One Little Bird and Sahlin Studio’s Fresh kit.
I created my own hexagon shapes for this layout, and stacked them on top of the hexagons that were already part of the background paper to add some dimension.
Want to get that cool punched-out effect on your own layouts? It’s actually super easy. Instead of adding a drop shadow to your shape, add an Inner Shadow (through the Layer Styles palette). I used the following settings for my largest hexagons: Blend Mode Linear Burn at 66%, Angle 45 deg (this should match the angle of your other drop shadows), Distance 10 px, Choke 0%, Size 16 px. For the smaller ones I reduced the distance and size a bit. As with any shadow style, play around to find the settings that suit your layout. You can also use this technique to create “punched-out” circles, squares, triangles, stars, or any other shape!
Here’s a few more hexagonal products I found while browsing the stores, looking for shapely inspiration.
I hope this post has inspired you to add some hexagon style to your next layout! If so, please link us up in the comments, I would love to see how you use these fun shapes!