Day 23: Clustering Tutorial by LisaInRe

The totally non-patented, nothing new here, Lisa method of clustering!”

A lot of people comment on my clusters and since I really started to get to grips with all that layering (thanks to BPC classes with Nic H), I hardly do a layout without some sort of cluster or grouping – no matter what the topic.

To help explain my way of doing things I took some photos of my developing cluster when I was making my 19th October layout.

(The photo quality is not good as I was scrapping in the evening & the light is really bad.)

1. I layered up some papers across the middle of the page, inking all the edges to give definition. I realised there would be a perfect cluster spot on the left hand side, under the photos

2. Before anything else, I added my twine around the layout and tied it in a simple knot. This way, it will peek out from under the cluster.

3. Then I laid out some fussy cutting that I’d done from the tropical flower print BasicGrey paper as well as some ribbon roses to roughly see how the main elements would work.

4. First down are the flat, larger pieces – directly attached to the background paper.

5. Then come the rest of the flowers raised using foam squares, and in some places, double foam squares (my layouts are very rarely flat LOL). I carefully place all these elements and adjust them before giving them a press to attach them.

6. I attached the ribbon rose strip along the bottom of the photos, bordering the fussy cut flowers. Now I have dimension, texture, contrast. Next up were a couple of word strips just placed to peek out of the flowers. A sparkly button finished off with a bow filled a little empty looking spot.

7. And just to finish this part off, I remembered some word strips and I made a small banner out of the word “dream” which I then nestled into the flowers.

8. Next up, I also wanted to add one of my “signature” (not sure if this is really so but one or two people have commented on it!) bows to extend the clustering across the page. I cut a small piece of ribbon and a smaller piece of jute type ribbon (which I actually bought in the Philippines which is the reason I HAD to put it down on this layout.) and then squeezed them together in the middle so that they formed a bow effect. I tied this off first.

9. Then I ran the loose ends of the twine through a button and pulled really tight to gather up that centre point. Another knot and bow to make sure its secure. At this point, I sometimes apply a glue dot or just liquid glue to keep it in place.

10. A swirly rub-on fills in some of the space above my bow.

11. And to finish, I picked out a couple of the colours from my photos with pins stuck under the button.

12. It’s at this stage that I might have a rummage through my embellishments and take a few things out to see if they have a place. Or I might notice a corner which doesn’t look balanced and need something to place there. Or I might decide that I want to enhance one of the elements or colours. I do a lot of button, brad or bling sprinkling too. In the case of this cluster, I left it as it was.

As you can see by the completed layout it takes up quite a lot of the bottom third of my page & I think even for me, that’s probably enough.

Here are a couple more examples of some clusters I’ve done recently:

As you can see, some of my clusters are much flatter or simpler than others, just a few items layered up and some are much more extravagant and complex. But the principle remains the same – biggest, flattest pieces first, followed by smaller, more dimensional items, finishing off with the very small buttons or bling or whatever last, on top, peeking out or in the middle. Remember to start small and build up. Don’t be afraid of repurposing/cutting/altering items, fussy cutting or looking in your local haberdashery for suitable items so that you have a lot of possibilities when building your cluster. There is no perfect way to cluster, it’s really just a matter of try it on and see if you like it, then practice until you establish what works for you.

So why not find out what your cluster style is & try one today!

Leave a Comment:

(15) comments

Cathy (luckysmom)

Beautiful clusters Lisa! Thanks for the tutorial. I’m searching for the perfect photo to use on a page with a cluster.

    Lisa H

    Thanks Cathy! I look forward to seeing your cluster – you know how I love all your pages! 😉

Sherrie Breese

Thank you, Lisa, for breaking down the process.

Deborah Pearce

Hi Lisa, It was wonderful to see how you create your clusters, they are just beautiful. Your clusters are very inspiring and I look for to seeing more of your amazing work. The tutorial is easy to follow and now I just for to sit a have a go. Thanks for sharing your work, it is greatly appreciated.

Jenny McGee

LIsa, Great tutorial. I love clustering, but you gave me a few helpful hints as to the order of doing this. Thanks.


Bravo! This was great. I wondered how you got those really big flowers…they were just cut from the paper! And they way you built them up with the pop dots adds so much dimension. I love this look and now as I shop I am looking for more doo-dads to build up my stash for clustering. Thanks for this…it’s exactly what I wanted you to do :)


thank you, thank you, thank you! Your clustering is so amazing!


Have a full days ahead for the next several days – drat! So guess I’m gonna have to try this in fits & starts. Thanks for the tutorial.


Thanks for sharing your process, your clustering is always gorgeous!

Lisa H

Everyone! Thanks so much for your lovely comments! Glad you liked the tutorial – it was a lot of fun to think about how I do things and what my thought process is!


This is amazing! Your layout is gorgeous and your descriptions are fabulous! Thank you so much for ‘walking’ us through your layout process! I hadn’t thought of using foam dots in stacks to prop up my clusters! Don’t know why but you led me to my ‘Aha!’ moment! Thank you!!

Kelli Panique

Thank you, Lisa! Love reading about your process. I remember this page and this cluster. What’s amazing is that the cluster is so cohesive that many of the elements I didn’t even notice until you pointed them out in your tutorial. It all works together so well! Thanks for letting us pick your brain!


I have a hard time layering since you are covering up whatever pretty thing you placed on the bottom. I’d be more likely to not have any paper adhered down on the left and then put my fancy stuff down.

    Lisa H

    Ah yes, but Tracy it peeks out from underneath! I an still see bits of all three papers over in that corner!

Heidi (aka move4life)

Lisa, I was just now getting a minute to look at this since I was sort of missing from the fold 😉 when you did this tutorial! LOVELY. Love the description & photos. I have NO IDEA how I scrapbook. I should pay attention more 😉 lol. In honour of you, I am going to work on a LO later tonight (very very different than this) with clustering. I can’t wait to see how it turns out :) :) :) xoxoxo Miss you already! Heidi P.S. Absolutely LOVE that BG flower PP on the right (of the main LO “boracay” that you used. I’ll have to look at it again in the gallery. You know I’m not very flowery but I absolutely ADORE that paper and can’t believe I don’t have it! :) )

Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: