the art of layering featured image

Tip of the Week: The Art of Layering…or Layering to Make Art?

Good morning, everyone!  Good news…I am making some changes to my blog, and I’ve decided that I have to do more posts geared towards “learning” rather than just “sharing” projects.  So…starting today, I will be publishing a new tip, trick, technique or tutorial for you every single Thursday 🙂  Last week, I recommended a couple of different glues to use with your ButterBeeScraps metal embellishments.  Not only did I offer my recommendations, I told you exactly why I recommended them and when it was appropriate to use the different glues.  If you missed that post, you can find it HERE 🙂

Today, I’m going to build on that and talk a little bit about layering.

Why bother layering?

So…why even bother layering?  I mean, filigrees are gorg on their own, right?  Well, layering can make those filigrees look even better by adding more texture, dimension and visual interest to your cards, scrapbook pages, mixed media art projects and jewelry.

…but it’s all just so overwhelming!…

The thought of layering can be intimidating to alot of people…heck, when I first start a project, it is common for me to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. This is where I take a deep breath and start with my design “process”, and I find myself relaxed and having fun in no time 🙂

Now, everyone has their own “process”, but the one that works for me…I just start grabbing goodies and lay it all out. I start with the paper I’m in the mood for at the time, then start grabbing coordinating paints, inks, flowers, doilies, ribbon, embellies and even stamps. I am a very visual person…I cannot design in my head and never know what a project is going to turn out like when I start, but once I have all that colorful goodness laid out in front of me, I am suddenly inspired 🙂

…what’s your point?

I think I know what you are thinking…what is your point, Monique? …my point is that if you find you’re one of those people who just doesn’t know where to start when it comes to layering, try grabbing a few items to work with and mix and match your layers until you find something you like 🙂 I usually try several different layering combinations until I find the one I like at that moment.

There are several different ways of layering, so this is where we get to the good stuff and I (hopefully) inspire you to go create and break out of your box the next time you start working with layers…

1. Layering Using Similar Metals

Why would you want to layer similar metals…it sounds so boring, right? Not at all! I like to layer in this way if I want to add dimension to a flower, for example. I sometimes use 2 to 3 of the same flower filigree, and alternate the petals on each layer. For the top layer, I may even bend the petals up a bit.

Other times, I may use a range of flower filigrees that get progressively smaller with each layer I add. Here are a few examples:

layering of similar metals

2. Layering Using Mixed Metals

Sometimes I find that some of the filigrees kinda get lost when layering with similar metals, so I like to use different metals on different layers. It makes every single filigree stand out and “sing” (did you hear me sing that word?) …plus, I just like the way mixed metals look together 🙂

I tend to use this method on my jewelry pieces, or to create a focal point around a card sentiment. Kinda like this…

layering with mixed metals

3. Layering Metals With Fabric and Doilies

Okay…this is my absolute favorite method of layering! I’m not sure you could beat the way that doilies work with metal…it’s a marriage made in heaven! Not only does the contrast in color really make each and every layer pop…so does the change in texture.

…and you don’t need to stop at doilies! There are many great flower dies out there that you can use to make layers using fabric that coordinate with your project. …or try adding a ruffle of fabric on one side of a flower instead of a leaf. …how about adding a series of small filigrees alongside a piece of ribbon or trim border on a card or mini album page? …your options are endless!

I love making dimensional flowers using this method, but you could do some interesting things using part of a larger doily and layered metal to frame a picture on a scrapbook layout. Here’s a few more perty pictures for you to look at so you see what I’m talking about:

layering metal with fabrics

4. Layering Metals With Paper

If you don’t have any crocheted doilies, don’t fret…paper doilies also look great when layered with metal filigrees. I also like to layer mulberry paper flowers with my metal. Small dimensional mulberry paper flowers also make for a great flower center 🙂

Like with dissimilar metals, I also use this method alot on the front of cards to frame a large sentiment.

Try experimenting with different colors…I love the way deep red looks with bronze! What will be your favorite?

layering metal with paper

5. Layering Different Shapes

Let’s not forget that layering doesn’t only mean layering different materials. Layering different shapes can add alot of interest to your project, too.

Here’s a bit of fun I had using different shapes. I laid out all the filigrees I used in the combination on the left just so you could see the range of shapes and sizes I used 🙂

layering different shapes

Well, that’s my brain dump for the day. I hope you found some inspiration here and decide to break out a bunch of your different papers, fabrics and metals and try out some layering for yourself…you won’t regret it 😉

Cheers and thanks for popping by today!

Reader Interactions


  1. Sharon says

    Monique thank you for this insperational post. I am just starting to do some crafting and having trouble getting started like you said, so I will try what you mentioned here. ?