The 5-7 Formula Layout System to Create Scrapbook Pages Quickly and Easily

A few years ago, I became completely obsessed with the concept of Phi.  Some people call it the ratio of beauty, some call it an emerging property, some call it the Golden Ratio.

It’s a ratio that appears repeatedly in nature, in things like seashells and flower petals.  It’s connected to the Fibonacci sequence.  Basically, Phi is to lines what Pi is to circles.  It’s a special number found by dividing a line into two parts so that the longer part divided by the smaller part is also equal to the whole length divided by the longer part.

What I learned from my obsessive reading is that the ratio results in sections and spaces that are uniquely appealing to the human eye and I knew I could apply it loosely (very loosely) to scrapbooking layouts.

Take 12″ and divide it by 1.618 and you have 7.41″  The remaining section is roughly 4.65.” I trimmed a piece of pattern paper down to 5″  (remember, I said I applied the concept of Phi quite loosely) and laid it along the bottom of a 12″ piece of pattern paper.   That gave a good space for photos, a nice clean horizontal line for photos or a border, and it was appealing to look at.

I discovered I could rotate the page for a different look, but the same use of overall space.  I put the 5″ strip directly in the center of the 12″ page and found that it gave a completely different look again, but again, the same use of space.  In other words, the 7″ space visible of one pattern was the same no matter where I placed the 5″ strip of the second pattern.

I quickly put together 5 different layouts, without photos or titles.  Just the 5″ strip over the 12×12 background paper, in various configurations. At the top.  Along the bottom.  On the right.  On the left. Directly in the center.

What I discovered was that even though I used different papers on each layout, because the layouts were similarly balanced with 5″ showing of one pattern and 7″ showing of the other pattern, the five layouts seemed to work nicely together.  I started calling it my 5-7 Formula. I created a baby album and used variations of the 5-7 Formula for all the monthly, double page spreads.  I used two different collection packs.  The resulting album went together very quickly and created a sense of continuity throughout the album. I used it again….and again. Because it’s worked so well for me, I thought I would share the basic principles with you in this video:


I now use the 5-7 Formula often and have for several years.

  • When I’m short one time but have some photos I want to get scrapbooked.
  • When I’m not feeling particularly creative but have time set aside to scrapbook.
  • When I have a lot of photos that represent a progression of time, like school pictures or the first 12 month’s in a baby’s life.
  • I also use it when I have pictures in which my child or grandchild isn’t necessarily the focal point: school field trips, class group pictures, etc.  Those are the photos that I want to include in my scrapbook, but I don’t want to necessarily want to take the same amount of time as I would for, say, a beloved candid shot of a toddler asleep in a swing.  (I have one of those.  I love it.  It’s been scrapbooked.  Twice.)

Please let me know in the comments below if you try the 5-7 Formula and how it worked for you.  I’d love to get your feedback.