Several years ago I was sitting at my table working on a scrapbook page about my son. I had my basic design constructed and was ready to begin embellishing my page. I remember feeling frustrated at the products I had in my stash and the items available at the scrapbook store. I felt like everything was geared more towards girls . . .the colors were girly, the shapes were girly, embellishments were mainly flowers, ribbons, trims, fluorishes, scallops, jewels, glitter, etc. I felt like screaming, "Where is all the stuff for boys?!" The scrapbooking industry has come a long way since then, but at the time I began making a list of embellishment ideas that I could refer to whenever I felt stuck for an idea for a boy page.
Here are some of those ideas.
Overall Design and Page Elements
Use Masculine colors. Ignore the pattern and go for a color scheme that screams testosterone. :D Browns, blues, yellows, oranges, reds, greens.
These colors and patterns may seem feminine on their own, but combined in a "boyish" color scheme they work perfectly fine for this baby boy page.
Use patterns that are more generic or geometric. Dots, stripes, plaids, checks, diamonds, woodgrain, etc. Use them alone or combine them with "feminine" papers to keep the page feeling more masculine.
Use a Neutral background color. Patterns and colors will seem more masculine when combined on a background of black, white, grey, cream, tan, or Kraft.
Use a large circular element on your page. This obviously works for all kinds of pages, but can be especially helpful when would like to include a large page element on your layout for a boy.
Use office/school inspired patterned papers. Notebook paper, maps, ledger paper, book paper, music paper, invoices, telephone message paper, graph paper . . . mixing these in with your other patterned papers on your layout can give it a more masculine feel.
Distress! Paint splotches, swashes or drips look interesting. Change the color of something by using paint or ink. You can also ink and distress edges of paper, chipboard, etc.. Sand your paper, stickers or embellishments for a time-worn, rustic look. Crumpling. Rolling edges. Walnut Inks. Dyes. Etc. The list goes on and on.
Build your layout on a sheet of cardboard. Pulling off the top layer in spots reveals the corrugated layer underneath adding a great "boyish" feel.
Use background stamps. There are all kinds of background stamps available. Use these to add an interesting layer to your page or to alter something that is typically considered "feminine" . . . like a flower. Imagine a flower with a graph pattern stamped on it! Cool!
Accents and Embellishments
Ribbon. When I think of ribbon, I immediately think of big fluffy bows tied in little girls' ponytails or around a pretty package. But ribbons can be masculine, too! Tie a ribbon in a knot around a photo or journaling block. Tie a length of ribbon in several knots and use it as a border. Weave a length of ribbon in and out of holes leaving the ends loose and cut at an angle. Staple the ends of ribbon to your page for a masculine feel.Pleat it. Fray the ends.
Flowers. Cut the rounded ends of of flower petals for a more spiky flower. Paint it. Grungy them up with ink. Stamp a pattern on them.
Use Geometric chipboard shapes as page accents. You can also arrange them in a grid, or in rows.
Try using a large descriptive word as a page accent. Or how about the date . . . really big! 1/11/2009 A row of numbers is cool, too!
Tags, tickets or bookplates.
Strips of patterned paper. Cut them straight or uneven.
Mini Envelopes or a torn larger envelope.
Large monogram or number. Try the person's initial, age or jersey number.
All kinds of hardware . . . hinges, washers, picture hangers, etc.
Metals and Office Inspired embellishments. Brads, paper clips, binder clips, staples, labels, File Folder tabs, safety pins, stick pins, etc.
Try printing out a quote or poem to fill that empty space.
How about a bunch of messy stitching to add that final touch?
Bare chipboard. Or give it a messy coat of paint.
Zig-zags and ric rac.
Arrows, leaves, trees, stars, animals, bugs, tools, etc.
I hope this gives you some new ideas to try! If you have any other ideas, I would LOVE it if you would share it with us in the comment box, so I can add it to my list! ;)