What is Scrapbooking?

Do you remember those days as a kid pasting newspaper clippings onto paper and bundling dozens of papers together with some fancy ribbon or a string? Do you also remember all of your hard work falling apart two months later?

Now there’s a grown-up way to save and preserve your treasures: Scrapbooking.

The concept behind scrapbooking hasn’t changed since grade school. You can still place photographs, newspaper clippings, poems, and tickets into your scrapbook to display and preserve your memories.

However, scrapbooking techniques and tools have matured substantially since you were a kid. Scrapbooking albums have replaced the messy bundles of paper. These albums are generally bound or placed in a three-ring binder. In this way, your hard work won’t fall apart. Furthermore, new specialized covers allow protection from the outside elements.

Paste is also a thing of the past. Specialized glue dots and two-sided tape makes mounting your treasures simple and mess-free. Many of these products are so strong that you can now decorate your scrapbook pages with ribbons, feathers, flowers, or even metal charms.

Due to these new techniques and tools, the uses of scrapbooking have expanded drastically. Scrapbooking is still used to hold personal keepsakes and for gift giving.

However, now scrapbooking techniques can be used to make baby announcements, grandparent books, gift cards, artwork for kid’s rooms, recipe books, and even educational tools.

What Do I Need to Start Scrapbooking?

The best thing about scrapbooking is that although there are a plethora of scrapbooking supplies available on the market, you really don’t need a lot to make your very first scrapbook. Basically, all you need to scrapbook is an album, some glue, a pair of scissors, and some photographs or newspaper clippings. Any fabric, ribbon, or bits of leftovers from other projects can be used to embellish your scrapbook.

As you get more acquainted with scrapbooking, you will find products that save you time and frustration. Many of these products are well worth the extra cost. At the top of this list is an exacto knife. This strong and versatile blade allows you to cut almost anything into any shape. When the blade is dull, the end is simply broken off to reveal another sharp tip. Just be sure to place the object you plan to cut onto a mat or wad or newspaper before using the exacto knife. Otherwise, the knife will cut right through your picture and into your scrapbook page or dining room table.

The next best tool is a pair of tweezers. Trying to pick up and place small gluey pieces is a hassle. Tweezers, though not very high tech, allow you to move pieces without touching them.

Speaking of gluey pieces, various glues and affixing options are available. These quick and less messy options include glue dots, two-sided tape, Xyron, acid free photo tabs, and polypropylene corners.

To increase the preservation of your scrapbook and your treasures, look for albums with acid free, lignin free pages. Both acid and lignin accelerate photo fading and general deterioration. Lignin is a chemical found naturally in the cell walls of plants. If the lignin is not removed in the paper manufacturing process, the chemical will cause the paper product to gradually yellow and crumble. Lignin and acid free products come in virtually any color and texture.

What Next?

The rest of this book is dedicated to the how-tos of scrapbooking. For your convenience and easy reference, each how-to is divided into easy to understand tips. As the name of this book suggests, there are a total of 101 tips. The first fifteen tips focus on the basics of how to do scrapbooking.

The remaining tips discuss various techniques and additions that you can use to make your scrapbook page even better. These tips gradually lead you from simple and easy beginner tips to more complex and advanced scrapbooking techniques.

Get Scrapbooking!

  1. Theme

The theme of your scrapbook can be simple or complex. Your theme could be a special event such as a birthday, a baby shower, a wedding, Christmas, or Halloween. Themes can also be personalized to the scrapbook recipient’s special interests. Special interests themes include favorite colors, sports, favorite television programs, music, the outdoors, or cultural influences.

What is the overall purpose for your scrapbook?

Who is the scrapbook for?

Who is the scrapbook about?

The answers to these three questions are all factors in selecting an appropriate theme. For instance, the scrapbook you are giving your nephew as he graduates from medical school is probably completely different than the grandparent book you send your mother. Your nephew will probably appreciate a scrapbook with photographs, poems, journals, and more masculine embellishments. Perhaps, the theme of the scrapbook could be medicine. You could create embellishments that looked like scalpels and tweezers around various pictures of your nephew during his college years.

Your mother, on the other hand, will love a multitude of baby pictures fancifully embellished with flowers, ribbon, and baby fingerprints. The theme of this book will probably be your baby. Photographs could include baby and grandma with the baby. A nice journal about your baby’s day could also add a nice touch

  1. Title

Don’t forget to create a title for your scrapbook page. Though adding a title might seem to be obvious or unimportant, a title defines the whole basis of your scrapbook. The title instantly tells the viewer what your page is all about. In one word or one short phrase, the title tells the reader the theme and purpose of your scrapbook.

Titles can be as basic as the date of an event, the name of an individual, or a specific event.

Titles can also be more interesting and exciting. These can include quotes, sayings, fillers, or simple phrases. The best places to look for title inspiration are in greeting cards, advertisements, and commercials.

  1. Color

Color coordination and contrast will highlight and accent your scrapbook. A well thought out color scheme can help define the theme of a page, attract attention to specific items, or detract away from mistakes. Poorly chosen color schemes, on the other hand, can cause your scrapbook page to look gaudy or mismatched.

Background colors can either be matched, coordinated, or contrasted with the colors in your photographs, mementos, or embellishments. Matching colors add to the continuity of the color scheme. Coordinated colors add depth to scrapbook pages. Contrasted colors focus the eye. In this way, color can be used to create the effect you desire.

A great way to see how colors look together is to collect and compare color wheels from your local paint or hardware store.  Paint wheels are usually available free for the taking in nearly any paint department.

  1. Photographs

Most scrapbooks will contain photographs. Even the most disinterested reader of your scrapbook will glance at the photographs. Pictures really are worth a thousand words. Therefore, it is important to choose photographs that are of good quality and clearly illustrate your scrapbook theme.

Any photograph can be used in a scrapbook. Even instant photographs can be used in scrapbooking. Just be careful that the chemicals within the photograph do not spill out on the rest of your scrapbook. Digital pictures can easily be printed right onto lignin-free and acid -free paper.

Always keep in mind that scrapbooking is permanent. Therefore, it is probably preferable to use copies of your only picture of Great Grandma rather than risk ruining the photograph forever. Simply scan the picture on your computer scanner and print the image on lignin free and acid free paper.

  1. Cutting and Cropping

Often photographs aren’t quite the right shape and size or the photographic image is improperly centered. Having oversized or off centered photographs creates an air of unprofessionalism. Carefully cropped and sized photographs, on the other hand, enhances the overall look and feel of your scrapbook.

There are two ways to solve these problems. The low tech way to solve these problems are to manually crop and shape the photograph using a pair of scissors or an exacto knife. If you are manually cropping and cutting pictures, make sure that you mark the outline you want with chalk (or eye shadow if you don’t have chalk) before you cut. Remember the old saying, measure twice and cut once.

To manually change a distracting or cluttered background simply cut out the background and replace it with a with a new paper background. This allows the eye to focus on the people instead of the clutter behind them.

The high tech solution to your photograph woes is to use modern computer programs such as Photo Editor. Using these programs, photographs can be magically darkened, brightened, sharpened, enlarged, and cropped without ruining your original photograph. Some programs even allow you to change the background of the photograph.

  1. Order

There are no specific rules stating that all photographs or mementos must be placed in chronological order. Therefore, it is completely up you the order you wish to place your items and embellishments. You can place your items in a formal chronological order. You can also group items into formal or informal categories such as similar colors, events, activities, individuals, or families. Items can also be placed into random, abstract, or collages.

Each order has its own place in scrapbooking. For instance, chronological order might be useful for an anniversary scrapbook. Pictures and mementos of the couple’s years together could be placed from the first day they met through the wedding day to the present day with each time period on a different page. This presents a feel of as time goes by.

However, a scrapbook for a parent might just have a collage of pictures and drawings. In this case, a collage lends to a feeling of overwhelmingly being loved.

  1. Text

You may or may not want to add text to your scrapbook page. You may want to just write captions below the pictures. You may want to add your own stories or poems.  You may want to add journals describing the day to day life of your baby or your child’s accomplishments. Text can be used as either a focal point or simply as a supporting piece.

Text may be hand written. Alternately, computer fonts, letters, text, or three-dimensional images can also be printed or cut and pasted onto the page.  In this way, various styles, colors, textures, and visual text effects are possible.

  1. Tags

Tags are a little added touch of professionalism that adds to the overall well thought out look to your scrapbook. Tags can be used for accents, captions, and thought bubbles as well as dedications. The design of your tags will depend entirely on your personal needs and desires.

Thus, tags can be big or small, square or specially shaped, white or colored, plain or textured.

Furthermore, tags need not be made of paper. Some of the most interesting tags are made from fabric, wood, and furniture odds and ends found around the house. Be creative.

Pre-made tags are available at most craft or office supply stores.

  1. Embellishments

Your own unique embellishments add a special personal touch to your scrapbook pages. Embellishments can be used as the main focus of your page, to highlight items, or as borders. Embellishments can range from simple items such as stickers and ribbon to more complex techniques such as adding faux beads and silver accenting. Use your imagination and creativity.

Embellishments need not be expensive. Odds and ends that you have from other craft projects work just fine. Be on the lookout for sales on fabric, plastic flowers, lace, beads, and whatever else takes your fancy. These items will no doubt come in handy on your next scrapbook project. Also keep a sharp eye out for deals in second hand stores and garage sales. Often used items can be ripped apart and the pieces reused literally for only pennies.

  1. Patterning

How can you arrange your scrapbook page to best show off your mementos and embellishments? You can place everything in the center of your page, place a single focus item in the center, or divide the page into sections adding items to each section. You may also choose to lay the items out in a standard recipe or calendar layout.

Shapes also make interesting placement patterns. Common shapes include circles, squares, hearts, and stars. However, you can also place items in object patterns such as mountains, trains, or Christmas trees.

The shape you choose for your scrapbook will depend entirely on your theme. For instance, a logical shape for a wedding or Valentines Day scrapbook is a heart. A nice shape for a Christmas scrapbook is a Christmas tree. You might make a cake pattern for you niece the pastry cook. Let your imagination and creativity be your guide.

Various ready made patterning templates are available on the market.

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