Cultural Layouts

My mother’s side of the family hails from Okinawa, Japan. Whereas I’ve incorporated a few Asian touches into generic scrapbook pages, I have yet to design multiple layouts or a mini album dedicated solely to my Japanese heritage. However, after recently viewing a vacation scrapbook made by a friend, who just completed a tour of Japan, I’m in the planning stages of creating a book dedicated to the “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Fortunately, Japan is a popular country, so finding the materials needed to create stunning scenes has not been hard. I’ve collected a litany of Japanese-inspired embellishments and paper with the following designs:

*Cherry blossoms

*Japanese characters



*Bonsai plants


*Geisha girls


I had a harder time finding an actual book that reflected an Asian theme. Fortunately, my mom offered me a large piece of leftover silk she had, which could easily pass as kimono fabric. I plan to use it to cover an inexpensive memory book. One of the ladies in my scrapbook group suggested that I add some Japanese-themed clip art to the outside of my album. Another option is to find a kanji symbol on the Internet, enlarge it, print it and decoupage it to the cover of the book. That same idea could be used if you are a collage fan. Simply, find dozens of Japanese-themed clip art and other photos and create a collage using the images to completely cover the front of your scrapbook.

In regards to embellishments I have been folding origami creations since I was in first grade, so adding a few paper animals, flowers and other objects to my layouts will be no problem. I am also toying with the idea of using textured mulberry paper instead of traditional scrapbook paper to add to the overall theme of the book. In addition, I could create a 12×12 scrapbook page by gluing smaller origami squares together to further enhance the Japanese-inspired style of my layouts.

What other suggestions do you have to enhance my Japanese-themed scrapbook?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.