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Getting Started Guide to Scrapbooking

Getting Started Guide to Scrapbooking
Getting Started Guide to Scrapbooking

If you are a first timer, you may not realize that Scrapbooking is easier than it appears. While some consider Scrapbooking an art, even a beginner can pick up the techniques and skills necessary to create a truly memorable scrapbook. To get started on your first scrapbook, follow these easy steps…


In addition to your photos, you will need an album, paper, and embellishments such as adhesive, scissors, ribbons, rub-ons, stickers, and brads.

There are three basic types of albums :

  • Ring Bound albums are the most basic; you just insert your finished layouts into a top-loading page protector. These are the easiest to rearrange. However, the rings may be distracting on a two page layout.

  • Strap-Bound albums have flexible straps that allow the album to lay flat. Strap bound albums have become less popular so it may be more difficult to find them. However, if you prefer not to work with page protectors, strap bound albums are a good choice as the pages can be bound directly into the album.

  • Post-Bound albums have page protectors bound by screw posts. These also lay flat and work well for two page layouts. They are more difficult to rearrange as the pages either need to be removed from the page protectors or the posts need to be removed and the pages all reset.

  • Albums come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Digital scrapbookers often like 8.5x11 albums as they can create and print their pages without a special printer. Most traditional scrapbookers prefer square albums such as 12” x 12” or 8” x 8”.The 8” x 8”albums make easy inexpensive gifts that are truly customizable for any occasion.

    Scrapbook Paper is a background for your other materials, as well as a potential source of decoration. Cardstock paper is the backbone of the album and is available in a variety of different colors and textures. Scrapbookers use Patterned paper to supplement and decorate the cardstock. Patterned paper is available individually or in color coordinated or themed sets.. Either can be used to mount your photos or decorate your pages. Other types of paper include fabric, cork, metal, transparent, and vellum (semi-translucent.)

    You may already own some of the tools necessary to scrapbook, such as scissors, rulers and pens or markers. There are a variety of adhesives available. Glue sticks and photo tape are inexpensive and easy to use. Photo corners are more traditional and also inexpensive.

    While not a necessity, many people prefer using a razor knife, photo trimmer, or a mini guillotine to crop their pictures more precisely. Decorative scissors can be funJournaling pens and markers allow you to write your own thoughts directly on the pages. Various paints, watercolors, chalks or dyes can be used to draw on your pages too. However, to ensure that your scrapbook lasts, be sure that everything that you use is photo safe, acid and lignin free.

    If all this information seems a little overwhelming and you think you need more guidance as to how to use specific tools or types of materials, there are many websites and scrapbooking guides available.

    Here are some terms often used by scrapbookers to describe what they do:

    “Cropping” means cutting your photos to the correct size and shape for the page.

    “Matting” is the process of actually placing the photographs on a cardstock mat. Scrapbooks are not merely photo albums, the combination of photos, decoration and journaling makes each scrapbookpersonal, enhancing and beautifying a memory.

    “Journaling” means telling the story of the page, describing who/what is in the photo, as well as how you feel. Some people write directly on the page, others use poems, limericks, quotes, rub-ons or stamps to describe their thoughts. Try different fonts like handwriting, layered writing, or dot writing to add variety. You can also type up a description and adhere it to the page.

    Now what?

    Now its time to actually create your scrapbook! To get started, simply choose a few photos and mount them on a page. Then add a few embellishments and some journaling. This is a personal and creative endeavor so take your time, enjoy the process and don't be afraid to express yourself.