Layering 101: Keepin' it Simple

Layering 101: Keepin' it Simple

Jul 07, 2024Jacqualine Hart

Layering is a technique used to add dimension and texture to our creations. By combining different papers, textures, and embellishments, layering can guide a viewer’s eye by creating visual cues that strategically highlight focal points. Layering can transform one- or two-dimensional items into three-dimensional creations, sometimes referred to as off-the-page designs.
There is no right or wrong way to layer. To help you get started or refresh your skills, I’ve outlined some helpful tips and tricks. The important thing to remember is to do what looks and feels good to you.

An easy way to get started is by copying. As you come across layering examples that you like, try to re-create what you see. Identify the different layers, how they are placed, and the shapes, colors and sizes of elements. Here’s a few simple steps:
  • Select a Paper Collection: Paper collections are designed to work together, so you already know the patterns and ephemera will coordinate.
  • Select Your Base Piece: This could be pattern paper, cardstock, chipboard or other items.
  • Start Building: Layer different papers, ephemera, or elements on top of each other.
  • Adhere the Items: Use wet glue and/or foam adhesive to secure the layers together.
  • Add Final Embellishments: Finish off the design with any final touches like enamel dots.
  • Remember, you do not have to use the same materials to get the same effect.

Be sure to watch the monthly printable challenge video to see these steps in action. Click the image below to go directly to the blog post.



  • Use adhesive foam to add dimension to your layers. Adhesive foam comes in different sizes, colors, and thicknesses.
  • Glue cardboard or chipboard on the back of elements, in place of foam adhesive, to create dimension.
  • To be able to tuck items between the layers, don’t glue the layers completely down.
  • Create a mix of flat and dimensional layers for depth.
  • Use corresponding elements when layering. For example, selecting elements from the same or complimentary color family will create balance.
  • Mixing patterns will keep the eye engaged. Try adding a floral pattern or ephemera piece with a geometric pattern, such as a stripe.
  • Use complex patterns carefully. While they can add interest, too many can overwhelm the design. Balance these with simpler, solid-colored elements to provide visual rest and prevent the design from becoming too busy.
  • Overlap multiple layers in a way where one layer is shorter than the one underneath it, creating a cascade or staggered effect.
  • Create layers by using overlays. Acetate and vellum are fun layering materials that can be placed on top of or underneath items. For example:
  • Place acetate with sentiments or patterns over photos, patterned or solid paper.
  • Place vellum on top of an image, words, or patterns to soften the item and/or reduce its color intensity.
  • Add vellum underneath an ephemera piece when it gets lost in the pattern paper. This allows the bottom pattern to show through while making the item on top stand out more.


  • Add texture in between the layers for interest. This could be flowers, thread, ribbon, or fabric. Even adding a simple staple or paper clip can add dimension.
  • We typically think of texture as something that can be seen and felt. However, texture can also be implied, such as with mark-marking or drawing.
  • Embossing folders and heat embossing also add texture.


Layering allows crafters to personalize their projects. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes. This process will help you find your own unique way to express creativity. Start by copying what you see, get a feel for the basics of the technique, and continue to hone your skills. Happy crafting!

For a PDF of this article, click here.


Click the image below to be taken to a variety of adhesive foam to use in your layering projects.


This article is part of the July Issue of Country Corner Newsletter. Click here for the latest issue. Sign up using the link below to receive the monthly newsletter and notification of new blog posts delivered to your inbox.

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