Starting a new hobby or craft can be exciting, but it can also be intimidating. If you’ve never done something before, you have to learn every small detail about that craft before you can get started, and that can seem daunting. There are some crafts that are simple enough to pick up supplies and learn, such as scrapbooking.
Scrapbooking has been popular for decades as a way to keep cherished memories alive. They can be about a specific event, like a graduation, birthday, or vacation, or all about a specific person, such as baby books.
There are bound to be moments in each of our lives that we want to preserve and reflect on fondly. Scrapbooking is the best way to help you do that!
So, how do you start scrapbooking? The best way to start scrapbooking is to choose your theme, gather your supplies, and start designing. Scrapbooking is a simply hobby to pick up, and with the help of some online references, will be easy to put together beautifully.
If you have stacks of photos stuffed away on forgotten shelves or boxes, scrapbooking may be the perfect hobby for you. In this article, we’ll give you all the tips and tools you need to dust off those photos and make them a part of a cherished album to look back on forever.
What Is Scrapbooking?
Scrapbooking is a paper craft that involves gluing or taping pictures, captions, and any other paper memorabilia onto colorful or designed paper. These papers are then put into a scrapbook album with plastic sleeves to protect them from damage.
Some people are not sentimental at all and tend to throw away pictures, receipts, event tickets, greeting cards, and all the other little pieces that mark special times in our lives.
Other people, on the other hand, love to keep these things as memories of that time in their lives. While they may seem small, these tokens of special days or periods of life are what help us remember and relive those moments.
Scrapbooking is a way to neatly organize all these little memories into one book that’s easy to grab, fun to flip through, and safe to store.
You can store your scrapbooks on a shelf alongside other books, or choose to put them on display by standing them up with the pages fanned out. You can even lay them out on a coffee table for guests to enjoy.
No matter what you do with the final product, a scrapbook is a fun craft to put together and a nice way to commemorate special moments.
Getting Started With Scrapbooking
Getting started with scrapbooking can seem daunting. There are so many little pieces to get, and it will take hours to put together.
But the time it takes to put together your scrapbook is part of the fun! Picking a theme, choosing your supplies, and laying it all out in fun designs is the best part of scrapbooking.
In the end, you’ll have a completed book to look back on and relive fond memories with those around you.
Although it may seem overwhelming, scrapbooking is a relaxing way to preserve life’s special moments. All you have to do is pick a theme, gather your supplies, and get started!
Picking A Scrapbook Theme
One of the first things you’ll need to decide as you enter the world of scrapbooking is your theme.
Each scrapbook has a theme. Some common ones include:
- Baby milestones
- Special accomplishments (running a marathon, earning a high-level degree or certification, buying a house, achieving a lifetime goal)
You can also have some ordinary, every day themes that don’t commemorate anything special. If you had a great year with your summer garden, you can make a scrapbook devoted to pictures of your progress and harvests.
If you made a new year’s resolution to read 24 books one year, and you actually read all 24 of them, you can make a scrapbook to summarize each book and give little reviews next to cover photos for them.
Even if your theme or idea seems small, it can be great as a scrapbook. There’s no limit to what you can put in your scrapbook, so go wild! Pick anything that has special meaning to you, even if it may seem ordinary to other people.
Some themes may seem too big for one scrapbook. If you want to make a scrapbook all about your relationship with your significant other, but you’ve been together for several years, one scrapbook may not be enough to contain everything.
Instead, try to break down your theme into smaller ideas.
You can make a scrapbook for each year together, or split it up by periods of time like dating, engagement, and marriage, or separate by milestones such as dating, moving in together, buying a house, wedding, etc.
Think about how much you can feasibly fit into one book and go from there.
Supplies For Scrapbooking
Once you’ve chosen your theme, you’ll be able to gather all the supplies you need for scrapbooking. You want to choose your theme first, because it will influence all the other supplies you buy.
For instance, there are several options for scrapbook albums to choose from with different designs on the cover.
If you purchase an album with a tree on the cover and the word “family,” then decide to make the scrapbook about a college graduation, the cover may not be right for that theme.
Your theme will also influence the scrapbook paper and potentially any stickers or washi tape you use.
Scrapbook paper comes in many different designs. You’ll often find packs created with specific themes such as plants, wood patterns, galaxy sky, and even holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas.
When you’ve decided on your theme and understand how it will influence your supplies, you’re ready to start gathering and purchasing. Use our list below to get started:
- Scrapbook album
- Scrapbook paper
- Washi tape (thin or wide)
- Adhesive (tape or glue)
- Stickers (there are plenty of themed packs out there to choose from, but make sure to grab some letter packs too)
- Label maker (optional)
- Printed captions (if you don’t have a label maker)
- Pictures, receipts, tickets, and any other paper memorabilia
The label maker is a good idea if you’re someone who appreciates a neat look, but it’s certainly not necessary.
For your captions to go with any pictures or tickets, you can either write directly on the scrapbook paper or type them up on a document and print them out, then cut them down to size.
How To Choose A Scrapbook Album Size
When you start shopping around for the perfect scrapbook album, you may quickly learn that there are several different sizes to choose from.
There are full-size scrapbook albums in two options: 12” x 12” or 8.5” x 11”. There are also mini scrapbook albums, usually 6” x 6”.
These are not the only scrapbook album sizes available, but they are the most common. You’ll be able to easily purchase scrapbook paper for these sizes, which is one consideration when choosing a scrapbook album.
One thing you may want to try to help you choose a size is to go to the scrapbook paper section first. Sometimes there are theme packs available in a specific size, but not available in the other sizes.
If you fall in love with a vintage-themed scrapbook paper pack that’s 12” x 12” and you know it’s the paper you want to use, then you’ll have to find a 12” x 12” scrapbook album to go with it.
You also want to consider how many materials you have to fill the scrapbook. If the scrapbook theme is an occasion with less pictures and no receipts or tickets, such as a graduation or birthday party, you may want to choose a smaller album.
Mini albums, the 6” x 6” ones, are perfect for events like this.
If you want to do a scrapbook devoted to each individual detail and moment of a wedding, however, that will take a lot more space to do properly. You may want to choose a larger album.
Also think about where the scrapbook album will be going. Are you going to display the scrapbook on a shelf? Lay it on a coffee table? Give it to a friend?
Make sure your scrapbook will fit in whatever space you intend to store it. Think about the loved one you might be making the scrapbook for and consider what size they may like the best.
Preparing Your Pictures And Paper For Scrapbooking
After you’ve chosen your theme and gathered your supplies, it’s time to cut and prepare any pictures or paper memorabilia you plan to add to your scrapbook.
While you can certainly put in any pictures or other papers exactly as they are, you may find yourself running out of room faster than you’d think. To fit in as many pictures and other paper scraps as possible, you’ll likely need to crop some or trim them down to get them to fit.
One way is to cut around the corners of a photo, simply making it a rectangle with rounded corners instead of sharp corners. This can save more room than you might imagine while still maintaining the majority of the photo.
If it’s a photo of a person or object, try cutting out all the background and just having it be the person or object. Don’t be afraid to use pictures that aren’t exact squares or rectangles! They can be cut to whatever shape they need to be in order to fit best.
You can also trim down receipts or event tickets, though you’ll need to be careful to keep the important information.
With a receipt, you likely don’t need your payment method or the extra survey information at the bottom. Cut the receipt off after the itemized list of purchases you want to remember.
Event tickets also have extraneous information you don’t need. Don’t be afraid to clip off any extra information that you don’t want to include!
If you have extra receipts or event tickets that you want to include, but they don’t fit all laid out on the pages, try including a small envelope on one page to store them in.
You can do this with specific day trips where you went to several different places and bought multiple things. Gather all the receipts for that trip and put them all in a small envelope, then attach the envelope to the page.
This includes an interactive feature for your scrapbook and helps you keep all the memories you want without having to throw extras away.
Keep in mind that you’re not limited to just the photos and paper memorabilia you have on hand. You can cut out pictures from magazines to add a fun flair to your scrapbook.
Choosing A Layout For Scrapbooking
Deciding on a layout for each page, and how to organize the book overall, can be one of the hardest parts of scrapbooking.
There are several different ways you can organize a scrapbook, such as chronologically, by milestone, or by person (if the theme is members of the family).
Before you tape or glue down any of your photos or captions, lay them out in various configurations to see what looks best. You want to be absolutely sure you love the layout before everything is attached to the paper background permanently.
Sometimes layouts come naturally. When you decide what photos are going to appear on a certain page, it may seem like they have a layout that just makes sense for the photos.
Other times, it’s not that easy. The pictures don’t seem to fall together in any sort of natural way, and you can’t quite seem to get a grasp of where the captions would fit best. In those instances, you can use online resources to help.
One resource is the PageMaps website. On it, you will find lots of different scrapbook layout ideas. They can help you figure out the best way to configure all of your photos, captions, titles, and other information you want to keep on the page.
They’ll also help you figure out the sizes you need your photos to be by specifying the photo size for each layout. You can choose the layout based on your photo sizes, or cut them down to size to fit the layout you like the best.
What If I Don’t Have Enough Pictures For A Scrapbook?
If you want to commemorate a special memory but don’t have many pictures to show for it, you can add in other decorations that tie into the memory.
We mentioned earlier that you can use receipts and event tickets as one way to do this, and magazine clippings as another way. You can also use photos you find online, decorative stickers, and washi tape to add a little pizzazz.
If you don’t have enough pictures and don’t want to include extra images from magazines or the Internet, you could switch gears and add lots of captions and information.
With only one photo on the page, you’ll have plenty of room to write your heart out! Recount every detail of the memory that you can remember and type it all up or write it all out in a summary.
Including lots of written details is another great way to keep the memories in your scrapbook alive.
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