Getting Started with Scrapbooking. Tips

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Is it okay to use regular white glue for scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking Adhesive

White glue (Elmer's) is not recommended for a scrapbooking adhesive for a couple of reasons. First, it tends to make the paper buckle or crease. Next, although it is non-toxic and acid-free it tends to get brittle with age. Finally, it is messy and hard to work with.

There are so many kinds of scrapbooking adhesives available at your local scrapbook supply store that you don't have to spend a lot to get a great adhesive for your scrapbooking needs.


Fast and Easy Page Layouts for Beginners

Scrapbooking for beginners should include simple page layouts.

Here are step-by-step instructions for constructing an easy scrapbooking page layout.

Select 1 or 2 pictures for your page.

Pick out 2 or 3 colors of scrapbooking paper that match and accent each other and your photos.

Plan your page by using elements that balance each other.

Add your “Title” or “Header” to your page.

Now crop your photos, by removing unwanted backgrounds and unnecessary space.

Create photo mats and choose your embellishments.

Use your adhesive to glue your photos and accents on your page.

Leave room for journaling.

Finally do your journaling. Record your feelings and tell your story.

Creating a simple, yet appealing page layouts will assist beginners in starting out on “the right foot.” As you become more experienced you can attempt to create more complex designs.


Keeping It Simple Scrapbooking (KISS)

Scrapbooking is meant to be relaxing. It is a time for you to let your creativity go in different directions. If your scrapbooking sessions are stressful then it's time to take another approach.

The best advice for a "stressed out" scrapper is to follow the KISS (keep it simple scrapbooking) technique.

Keep the designs simple and straightforward, particularly in the beginning. Make the your page designs as easy as can be, while telling the story in a nice, clean way.

There are no rules in scrapbooking. Page layouts can be designed however you wish. Remember you are preserving your one-of-kind, unique memories. No one else has the exact same experience. You can tell your story the way you want it to be told.


Scrapbooking Sticker Placement

Scrapbooking stickers can either make a page or ruin it visually. Sticker placement can be tricky and if you put a sticker in the wrong place it may be hard to move it once it is stuck to your paper. When using small stickers you want to refrain from using a large amount. This prevents the page from looking cluttered. You can make a large sticker look neat and more noticeable by outlining it with a solid color of paper that matches your original scrapbooking paper (this can also be done when using letter stickers).

Another sticker placement solution you can try is to cover strip of cardboard with waxed paper. Arrange stickers or letters on it and place it on page to see how it would look and/or fit. Stickers and letters can be easily removed from waxed paper.

Also, with your sticker sheet you can cut each section apart, keeping your backing intact and rearrange the pieces until your get them where you want them. Then, peel off the backing and adhere the sticker to your page layout.


Photograph Suggestions for Scrapbook Pages

Scrapbook photos are used to tell a story. Your scrapbook page layouts tell your story. Photographs are an important part of the storytelling process. Selecting the right photos for your pages is essential to your narrative.

Many photos that are included in scrapbooks are posed pictures. They are either professional pictures from school years, weddings, anniversaries or they are pictures at events and locations where you posed in front of something for the photograph. “Candid” shots are much more inviting. The pictures where the person is not expecting to be photographed tend to tell a more interesting story.

So use these unplanned photos along with the posed pictures to create a fabulous tale of your life. Don't forget to create a valid focal point so you portray the right story ideas.

How can you organize your scrapbooking ideas?

Organize Your Scrapbooking Ideas

Scrapbooking is fun and relaxing for most scrappers. Once in a while you might get a "creative block" and not be able to think of new ideas for your scrapbook pages. In order to combat this downfall you need to organize your ideas in your head or better yet on paper.

Keep a journal of creative or artistic ideas that "pop" into your head at various times during the day. Write down supplies your have on hand and make a list of supplies you need for future pages. Organize your pictures by year or by theme. Organize your supplies before you scrapbook with friends so you make sure you take everything you will need. Scrapbook organization is essential to a productive scrapbooking session. Nothing is more frustrating than to forget an essential item and not be able to finish your page layout. Make a list of the things you will need to complete the pages you want to work on.

If you are well organized in your scrapbooking adventures you will be able to relax and let your imagination go!

What kind of pen is safe to write on the backs of pictures with?

Writing on Pictures

If you need to write on the backs of your pictures make sure you are using a memory-safe pen or pencil. There are some pencils that are made for writing on pictures that you can purchase from any scrapbook supplier. You can purchase memory-safe writing tools at scrapbook supply store or craft stores. As long as the ink is acid free and memory-safe you won't ruin your pictures.

Journaling is essential for your scrapbooks so make sure you keep track of dates and ages.


Creating a Focal Point for Your Scrapbooking Layouts

Scrapbook pages and layouts should have a "focal point". Your page should tell a story. A focal point is the easiest way to do tell your story. To check your layout, quickly look at the page, then ask, "What's the first thing I see on this page?" If it's not your most important photo then you need to readjust your focal point.

Here are some suggestions on how to create the correct focal point for your scrapbook pages.

1. Size. In general, large photos make wonderful focal points because they are the first to catch the eye. If you have a photo you especially like, you may want to have the photo enlarged if it is not already the right size.

2. Matting. When matting your photo, be sure to select colors that complement your photo so your focus remains on it. Also, experiment with the sizes of the mats for your focal-point photo. You can try varying the widths of the mat, leaving an uneven mat for journaling, or using patterned paper to enhance the general theme of your layout.

3. Shape. When matting your focal point photo, don't feel limited to the size and shape of the original. Call attention to your focal-point photo by adding a contrasting shape. For example, a circular photo on a square mat or an oval photo on a rectangular mat can make good focal point options.

4. Accents. Enhancements are an easy way to highlight a focal-point photo—especially if you're dealing with a photo that's not all that bright or eye-catching. Adding embellishments to your focal point is a smart way to instantly convey the theme or message of a layout. Make sure that the enhancements don't overshadow the focal point—remember that your photos should be the most important part of the layout.

Portraying the right story or image is extremely important for your memory albums. Focal points are an essential part of your scrapbook pages.

How do you get started with scrapbooking?

Getting Started Scrapbooking

If you read the information on the lifetips scrapbooking website you will find many tips on "getting started scrapbooking", "basic tools for beginners", "scrapbook albums", etc.

The best way to get started is to "dive in with both feet". You need to purchase some necessities like paper, adhesive, embellishments and albums. After you get your supplies and organize your photos you will be ready to start creating.


Shaker Boxes for Your Scrapbooking Pages

Shaker boxes add depth and dimension to your scrapbooking layouts. Create a distinctive design for your scrapbook page with a shaker box.

Supply List:

Cardstock (desired color)



Clear sheet protector (same size as your paper)

Double sided foam tape

“Shakies” – beads, small marbles, die cuts, etc.

1. Cut two pieces of cardstock and 1 sheet protector into your desired shape and size. Note: Both must be the same size.
2. Cut the center of one piece of cardstock to make a frame
3. Glue the protector over the opening to create a frame “window”
4. Line the “window” with foam tape. This will make a container for the “shakies”
5. Add your “shakies” or a small picture if you want a shadow box instead.
6. Remove the backing off the foam tape and secure the plastic protector.


Use vellum as the “window”

Use foam dots in place of tape

Use ready made shaker tags for simplicity


Simple Embellishments to Personalize Your Albums

Scrapbooking has become complicated and confusing. With so many embellishments, paper, scissors and supplies to choose from, how are you supposed to get any scrapbook pages completed?

Here are some ideas for simple embellishments that will personalize your pages.

Use memorabilia to accent your scrapbook pages and photos. For example, you can cut out parts of maps, vacation brochure, save ticket stubs, etc., to use on your pages for embellishments (you don't want to overdue your pages with embellishments because you want your photographs to be the most important).

Use photo sleeves to store items you want to keep. Anything you can tuck in between the pictures that are related to that person or event will accentuate your page immensely.

Stickers, brads, eyelets, fibers and other types of embellishments should be used sparingly.

Remember simple is better. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many products. Your pages will look their best if they are kept basic and clutter-free.


Newspaper Clippings in Your Scrapbooks

Newspapers may contain stories and memories we want to preserve and include in our scrapbooking albums. Unfortunately, newspapers are made of paper that contains acid and other chemicals that can deteriorate the paper. If your photographs touch untreated newspaper they might be ruined.

Old newspapers get a yellowish color as they decompose, but with a little preventive maintenance, your newspaper clippings will be able to be viewed by future generations.

Here are your options:

1. Use an archival spray called “Archival Mist”. The ingredients in the mist neutralize the acid in the paper and helps restore it back to its original state. Many family history buffs and scrapbookers swear by this product. This product may be somewhat expensive in price. You can buy this mist at scrapbook supply stores.
2. Recently, Krylon a paint company has came out with their own product that neutralizes the acid in paper called "Make It Acid Free". It is reported that Krylon's product is much more cost efficient than the above-mentioned Archival Mist. Check for this product at stores selling spray paint.
3. You can scan your clippings onto acid-free paper and disregard the original. With modern technology scanners can do a good job recreating documents to look just like the original.
4. If you don't have a scanner, you're still in luck. You can take your newspaper clippings to your local print shop and have them copied onto acid-free paper.

These are great options for you to be able to preserve your memories and keep your newspaper clippings in your scrapbook without damaging other materials and photographs

How can I create page layouts in a fast efficient manner?

Scrapbooking Made Simple

Scrapbooking suppliers are getting smarter. They come up with new innovative ideas everyday. One idea that is has become a “hit” is scrapbooking kits. You can purchase kits that are pre-made with all the supplies you will need to complete several page layouts. Some companies are creating pre-printed page layouts so all the consumers have to do is to attach photos and embellish the pages. The kits come in different sizes and usually have a theme. Some of the scrapbooking kits even come with an album to match.

Scrapbooking kits are not all the same. If you are a beginner you need to make sure you are buying quality products. The papers should be manufactured by a reputable company and must be acid-free and lignin-free (this is very important).

Society has become “somewhat” lazy and they like things to be fast and simple. This is where the pre-made kits come in to play. These kits make wonderful “starter sets” and are ideal for quick and easy page layouts. Kids do well with scrapbooking kits too. If you have been "bitten" by the scrapbooking bug and your want to get started on your albums "premade kits" might be a quick solution and may also give some great ideas when creating your own pages from "scratch."


Page Layout Ideas

Brainstorming for new ideas is half the battle when it comes to creating your page layouts. Sometimes your mind can draw a blank when you sit down to have a cropping session. With so many ideas running through your mind during the day it is almost impossible to remember them all. So one suggestion is to keep a notebook near by to jot down your ideas and maybe even draw some design sketches so it will be easy to recall later.

You can also browse magazines and idea books for new designs and page layouts. If you find something you like mark it in the book so you can reference it later.

Another suggestion is to create your layout idea even if you don't have the photos available. You can get everything made and add your photos later.

Keeping track of innovative ideas will help you make the most of your scrapbooking time. If you have the ideas then your will be ready to “pump out” several pages and use your time wisely.


Scrapbook Album Sizes

Scrapbooking albums come in all shapes and sizes. In the late 1980's and early 1990's the scrapbooking industry sort of "recreated" itself. It became "all the rage" and a very popular hobby. Basic albums and pages were 8 1/2" x 11". Today there is more of a variety of sizes available. There are 12 x 12 albums, which have somewhat replaces the 8 1/2" x 11" sizes. Scrapbooking albums come in 9" x 9", 8" x 8" and 6" x 6".

Scrapbooking albums in the 12" x 12" size offer the most room for pictures. It has taken the spot of the “standard size” album. The 9" x 9" or 8" x 8" albums are great for kids to use for school memories or personal scrapbooks. The 6" x 6" size makes a great gift size album and works great for small wedding memory books. Most scrapbooking papers are available in all sizes mentioned above. You have a variety of choices when it comes to the size of you special scrapbooking albums.


Using Your Scrapbook Paper Scraps

When you are creating your scrapbook page layouts you are sure to have leftover paper (scraps). Some of the paper will be in strips; it will probably be in various shapes and sizes. You don't need to waste you paper scraps by throwing them away. You can use them for future layouts.

Here are some suggestions for using your scrap pieces to create beautiful designs for your scrapbooking albums.

Make a unique page topper by cutting odd sized/shaped squares and using them to mat your letters. You can magnify your letters with these exclusive mats

Make decorative page accents by using up some scraps with your favorite punches. Scraps are also useful for making confetti, photo corners, mosaic tiles, collages and are great for serendipity squares.

Scraps can also be used to make rare borders and backgrounds.

Your possibilities are endless so don't waste your scraps you could be tossing a beautiful layout idea.


Crayons for Scrapbooking?

One of the most versatile items you can include in your scrapbooking supplies is a stamp. They are fun and easy to use, plus they look wonderful on your pages.

One way you can use your stamps is for the crayon resist technique. Crayon resist is used to enhance stamped images on scrapbook pages, cards, tags etc.

Here is what you will need:

Glossy paper (cardstock that is glossy on one side)

White crayon

Sponge (must be dry and clean)

Ink pad (desired colors)

Stamps (any shape or size)

First, random stamp your image of choice on the glossy paper.

Then, trace around the images with the white crayon exaggerating the outline.

Now, take a sponge and dab it onto an inkpad. In a circular motion swirling the sponge on the glossy paper in various places. Use multiple colors to create a marble effect.

The white crayon will resist the ink from the sponge and show up as a shadow effect for your image.

Successful hints:

Make sure your glossy paper is acid-free, lignin-free and memory safe.

Use a high quality craft sponge so you don't have to worry about it falling apart or not working correctly.

Stamp your images completely. (partial or faded images don't look as good).

Crayon resist can enhance the overall look of your pages and offers variety to your layouts.


Frugal Scrapbooking Tips

Scrapbooking can get expensive and there are so many supplies and items to choose from you can quickly spin “out of control.”

Here are some tips to keep you on track and save yourself some money.

1) You don't need every new tool. Scrapbooking is constantly growing, and if you try to keep up with every new item, your checkbook will suffer the consequences. Sit down and come up with a list of items you must have (for example paper, some type of adhesive, etc.) and a list of items that you want to have, then go from there as your budget permits.

2) Share supplies. If you have even just one other friend who scraps, you can double your access to scrapbooking tools. For example, if you or your friend goes shopping, she can buy one punch and you can buy a different one. You can also do this with scissors, stamps, eyelets and other accessories.

3) Keep your layouts simple. Consider using mostly solid colored papers and cardstock, instead of pattern papers and avoid using stickers (which can be costly).

4) Create your own templates. Instead of buying templates, you can create your own on plastic lids or use craft punch cut outs.

5). If you have Internet access, you have a wealth of information available to you for free. For example, there are many websites, which have ideas for titles for your pages or even poems, so there is no need for you to purchase books that offer these. There are also many sites online that have fonts you can download for free, which can help you add variety to your pages. There are so many layout ideas available online you don't need to purchase idea books either.
6) Swap your extras. If you have extra paper because you purchased too much or maybe a large selection of die cuts, consider swapping them with someone who might have something you could use.

7) Wait for special coupons. In many areas they have crafts store, which occasionally put out 40% off coupons. Wait for these coupons and then go and buy something on your wish list that you could not otherwise afford.

By using these money-saving suggestions you can cut down on your expenses, but still enjoy your scrapbooking hobby.


Scrapbook Page Protectors

Page protectors are essential for your scrapbook pages. These little plastic accessories keep your pages together and offer added protection for your photographs.

Memory albums come equip with bindings that fit most page protectors. There are a couple of different styles to choose from like clear or frosted plastic. Clear sheet protectors look clean and are easy to see through. The frosted protectors add some variety and individuality to your scrapbook pages.

Memory books that do not have page protectors will not last half as long as the books that do contain these wonderful sheets of memory preserving plastic.


Creative Photo Corners

Photo corners can be a wonderful addition to your scrapbook page layouts. Add variety and originality to your photos. Jolees offers many kinds of unique photo corners, such as daisies in assorted colors, pearl centered flowers, bumble bees and more. EK Success also produces a variety of photo corner in several different shapes and styles, They have baseballs, Mickey Mouse heads, lady bugs, etc. There are several types of decorative corners available for purchase at scrapbooking supplies retailers.

You can also make your own original photo corners to hold your photographs on your pages.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Cut a 3"-4" round paper doily into four pieces leaving you with four quarter-pieces. Fold the long edges in to the center to create decorative photo corners for your photos. For antique photos try cream-colored doilies that will accent you're the colors in your photographs.
  • You can use rubber stamps to create photo corners. Place the picture on the page and mark the four corners very lightly with a pencil. Set the photo aside. Stamp over the marks with your stamps. Using a craft knife, cut around the inside of the stamped image (not around the whole image). Slide the corners of your photos in the four small slots created by partially cutting around the inside of the stamped image.
  • Use Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids as corners for pictures of "ouches." Johnson's plain band-aids are acid-free. This will add a creative twist to a children's scrapbook page layout.

Whether you purchase photo corners or make your own, you will be able to off set your page with these handy embellishments.


Using Extra Photos

You may not use all your photographs in your scrapbook albums. What can you do with those extra “photo memories” so they don't go to waste?

Here are some ideas about how to use your “extra” photos:

Give them away. You can give the photos you don't use to grandmas, friends or other individuals that might be interested in using them in their albums.

Make some “mini” albums for grandparents, aunts, uncles or other interested parties and use your pictures in those scrapbooks.

Let your children use the extra pictures to make their own scrapbooking albums. They can experiment with the leftover pictures and if they get ruined you won't be out anything.

You can never have enough photos to share. Even if you don't use every single picture you take in your personal scrapbook album, there will surely be many people willing to take them off your hands and enjoy your special photo memories.


Index Prints

If you print your photos at a photo shop, grocery or drug stores then you usually get index prints with your photos. The index card with little photo captions is great for reference when you first get you photos back, but what do you do with the index prints after you layout all your photos?

Since many of us don't like to let things go to waste here is an idea for those little index prints. You can cut the strips and use them as a border for your page layouts and/or pictures. By using your index prints you are creating a “summary” or “collage” of the events and photographs on the current page and the next series of pages.

I'm looking for basic ideas on how to scrapbook?

Photo Cropping

A basic rule to live by in scrapbooking is to crop your photos. Why waste good space on a photo whose subject is in the corner of the photograph? Instead lop off excess by considering what no one would miss. Is anyone really going to miss that huge view of the ceiling over your heads? Or the trash can in the background? You can buy stencils to make this easier. If you want to make straight lines, the human eye is terrible at this. Use a ruler. Also, if you are cutting off a landscaping view you may want to keep it in a scrap pile for a later purpose.


Simple Shadow Boxes

Scrapbook pages can be created using many techniques. If you love shadow boxes, why not make one on your scrapbook page? You can create a simple shadow box look by using a few scrapbooking embellishments and some scrapbooking paper.

Simply cut out the shape of your box (usually a square or rectangle shape). Next, put your embellishments on a larger square of cardstock. Then add some Pop Dots to all four sides and adhere it to the back of your paper. Your embellishments will show through, adding dimension to your page.

Shadow boxes are wonderful for memorabilia and photo memories. Make one-of-a-kind pages by adding a shadow box design to some of your layouts.


Mini Albums Offer Endless Possibilities

Mini albums are fun for kids make as well as adults. Small scrapbooking books are easier for little hands to handle. You can buy mini albums or make your own in a 3" x 3" size, perfect for small pictures. These books can be turned into "brag books" for grandma since they are easy to keep in her purse.

“Matchbook” size albums are also becoming popular. These “tiny treasures” can be embellished and decorated with a small amount of supplies (use your scraps). Tie them together with some ribbon and you have a wonderful gift for a new mom or a teacher.

I am new at this and don’t know where to start. I have lots of school photos of my daughter from various grades. Some grades I have approximately 5 to 10 of the same photo but of different sizes. How can I use these in my scrapbook? I do not want to discard of my photos but I only seem to find t

Scrapping Photos, Even Duplicates

"School Days" layouts are some of the most fun to create. If you want to use duplicate photographs in different sizes then create layouts that will allow you to do so.

Try using the small pictures as a border for your page or you can create a collage with your photos. A checkerboard border where you alternate your photos with squares of patterned paper or cardstock would make a cute, unique page outline. You can also cut the pictures into different shapes for an attractive photo collage. If you have the same photo on different pages and combine it with other photographs and designs it probably won't even be noticeable. This way you will be able to use your pictures (instead of disregarding them).


Mini School Album Idea

Mini scrapbooks are simple to make and easy to store. Smaller albums are great for kids so they don't get overwhelmed with large pages and complicated page layouts. School albums are a perfect gift and the “mini” size is easy to assemble.

One idea for a school album is to allot 2 or 3 pages per grade and put mats for at least one picture on each page.

You can include a list for each grade with topics like: My Teachers Name, My favorite Class, My Friends, and Extra Curricular Activities.

You should also leave some extra journaling space for the student to record their thoughts and feeling for the year. As the student writes their information they will be able to see how their handwriting changes from grade to grade.

Some size suggestions for scrapbooking albums are 4 x 6, 6 x 6 or if you want a deluxe mini you can do a 9 x 9.


Buying Your Scrapbooking Supplies at a Discount

Scrapbooking supplies can be expensive. Keeping your scrapbook up-to-date requires a lot of materials. If you are on a tight budget it is hard to justify buying these supplies when you family has other needs.

There are suppliers who offer discount scrapbook supplies. You can find a variety of stores online who have discounted scrapbooking products. Wholesale craft stores may carry scrapbooking items, too. If you shop around and buy your products from a wholesaler or discount outlet you are sure to save lots of money on your memory book items.

Some more money saving suggestions is as follows:

  • Shop the sales at scrapbook retail store and various craft stores.
  • Clip coupons and use them to buy scrapbook supplies.
  • Use unique, cost effective items to embellish your pages.

Watercolor Pencils for Scrapbooking

You can use watercolor pencils wet or dry. These pencils give you professional looking results with the benefits of being easy to use, providing lots of pigment, having a reasonable price, and the a fine point to use for coloring small areas.

Here are some suggestions for using your watercolor pencils on your scrapbooking pages:

Rub your pencil tip on a piece of paper (using it as a palette), building up pigment. Use a damp brush, water pen or blender pen to pick up pigment and add to your art. This is a great way to mix colors.

For bright bold colors, take the pigment directly from your pencil tip. Dip your brush in water and press to the tip of the pencil. This will give you undiluted pigment for bold colors.

You can achieve a thick opaque look by dipping the tip of your pencil in water and applying the color wet.

Dry use of watercolor pencils to color stamped images on dark paper or on velour paper gives beautiful results for scrapbooking needs.

Watercolor pencils can be a great addition to your scrapbooking collection. These coloring tools can be used to enhance several elements on your scrapbook pages. Watercolor pencils can be purchased with other discount scrapbook supplies or at most craft stores.

How do I do scrapbook journaling?

Journaling On You Photos

The point of scrapbook journaling is to help preserve memories. But what if one of the photos happens to fall out of an album? Brief journaling directly onto the back of your photos ensures that even if a photo comes out of the album, it can still be identified. Make sure you include the basic, who, what and when. Never write on the back of your photos with a ball point pen. It can seep through to the front of the photo and will probably emboss it as well. Instead, choose a very soft acid free pencil or an acid free, fast drying, felt tip pen.

How can I find scrapbook supplies?

Finding a Scrapbook Supplier

There are several places you can purchase your scrapbooking supplies. Most craft stores have a scrapbook section and there are several specialty scrapbook supplier stores out there. If you live in an area that is sparse in both of these, try shopping online. There are several great online scrapbook suppliers for you to choose from.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran
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