Scrapbooking – What You Should Know Before Getting Started
Scrapbooking is a wonderful hobby that helps you preserve your photographs, keepsakes and mementos all while creating beautiful pages using layouts that enhance your photos and bring your story to life. In this article you will find out what scrapbooking is really all about and the supplies that you need to get started.
What is scrapbooking exactly?
According to wikipedia, Scrapbooking is a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of photographs, printed media, and memorabilia contained in decorated albums, or scrapbooks. Scrapbooking, in a way, is the visual and physical form of storytelling. Through embellishments and enhancements, your once boring box of photographs, stored unlovingly in a shoebox in your closet, are transformed into beautiful works of art that you would be proud to show off to friends and family members.
Why should you scrapbook?
When you create a scrapbook, you are not only creating something to share with others, you are preserving your photographs and keepsakes and preventing them from being destroyed by time. Think about photographs and newspaper clippings from years ago. Often, the newspaper becomes yellowed and brittle and the photographs fade, crack, crease or tear, especially if they’ve been stored in unfavorable conditions. Much of the damage is caused either by light or by acid within the photograph itself, memorabilia stored with the photographs and even acids from your hands. By using scrapbooking supplies that are acid and lignin free, you are helping slow time from destroying your memories all while creating a beautiful work of art.
What do I need to start scrapbooking?
To get started on your scrapbooking project you need to first decide what size and type of scrapbook you will use. Most scrapbooks are either 12″ x 12″ or 8.5″ x 11″, but can also be found in smaller sizes, such as 7″ x 7″ square. There are two types of scrapbooks currently on the market which allow for insertion of additional pages; strap hinge and post bound. Like the names suggest, the hinges on a strap hinge scrapbook are straps. The double sided pages have two staples on the side which slip over the strap and when the strap is secured it holds the pages in place. The post bound scrapbook uses small posts that screw together, increasing the thickness of the book. The clear plastic top loading pages have holes, much like the holes in paper in a three ring binder, which slip over the posts. The posts are then secured, holding the pages together. Scrapbooks can be purchased in craft stores like Joann’s or Michael’s and even big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. If you are looking for a well made book that will hold up well over time you may want to consider seeking out a Creative Memories (CM) Consultant and purchasing a book through him or her. CM books are pricier, (strap hinge only) but I have found, having used both CM books and store bought books, that you get what you pay for. Personally, I prefer to use post bound books as I like the fact that the pages are clear top loading page protectors which allows me to use my own colored background pages rather than a plain white page. Page refills are also available. With the strap hinge books, in addition to page refills, you should purchase page protectors which slip over your completed page to protect it from finger prints and dust. With post bound refill pages, there is no need to purchase additional page protectors as they are built in.
One of the most important supplies to have when scrapbooking, aside from the scrapbook itself, is of course, photographs. Dig around in your closet for that old beat up shoebox or in hope chests for those static cling “magnetic” photo albums. Those photographs, those snapshots of times past, hold a story, one that you should want to remember and preserve for future generations. Can you only scrapbook photographs? No, you can scrapbook most mementos that you may have kept; the ticket stub from your first concert or movie, plane or train tickets from your favorite vacation, the first love letter you ever received, programs from a performance you were in, newspaper clippings, pictures your children or grandchildren have drawn, school work and report cards. All those things can easily be scrapbooked and saved. It may be worthwhile to attempt to organize your photographs before starting on a scrapbooking project. Place photographs taken on the same date together and sort them by date and year. You can also make scrapbooks with themes such as vacations/travel, holidays, or family. I prefer to do my scrapbooks by year. Scrapbooks also make great gifts. Mothers (who are often the most sentimental) love scrapbooks for Mother’s Day, Birthdays and even Christmas.
In most situations, when scrapbooking, the photographs are cut. I know this may sound harsh, but by cutting your photographs you are directing the attention to the main focus of the picture. When you took your photograph, you were focused on your subject, but there may be things in the background that you wish were not there; like the stranger standing in the background, the dirty laundry on the floor or the random body part that someone had in frame when you snapped the photo. There are many ways to cut your photographs. If your scrapbooking budget is small, you may want to just consider buying a pair of good scissors (to use only for cutting paper so they stay sharp) and some decorative edging scissors (Fiskars is one brand available) to create decorative edges. If you have a larger scrapbooking budget you may want to consider purchasing a Personal Trimmer and Custom Cutting System from Creative Memories. The Personal Trimmer is a essentially miniature paper cutter with a storage drawer underneath. The Custom Cutting System allows you to cut your photos in to shapes (circles, ovals, hexagons, etc) in various sizes to fit your photograph (cutting mat and blade are included). Corner Rounders are also available to create rounded corners on photos with straight cut edges, giving your photos a finished or softer look.
The most fun part of scrapbooking is laying out your photographs on your page (called a layout) and adding embellishments and journaling. There are many ways to layout your photos from the “neat and tidy” approach where all your photographs are neatly spaced and placed around the page with a place for journaling to the “more is more” approach when photographs and mementos are closely placed and even in some cases overlapping. The way your page is designed is totally up to you and your style. You may even notice that as you have been scrapbooking longer and longer, your style changes.
Your embellishments are also reflections of your style. There are many different styles and types of embellishments that can be purchased, ranging from colored background pages that you place your layout directly on (which can be purchased in sizes to match your scrapbook), to colored cardstock in strips and shapes, standard flat stickers to 3-D stickers that are raised off the page and even buttons, ribbons, die cuts and metal brads. That’s just naming a few options. You can also leave room for journaling. Journaling is when you write a “story” about the photographs on your layout. It can be something as simple as a label or name under each photo or something a little more in depth like a quote or a paragraph or two.
You will also need adhesive to attach your photographs and mementos to your pages. There are a number of adhesives on the market to fit your needs. You can choose between acid/lignin free glues, small and large double sided tape squares (tape runners) and even clear double sided “tape.” If you like the look of old photograph books your grandparents had with the black corner pockets that secured the photos in place, you are in luck as they are still available. From personal experience, I recommend the double sided tape that comes in a reusable dispenser (refills are available) for easy application. Glues often cause your photographs and mementos to crinkle and warp when they dry, in many cases ruining your photographs and the look of your layout.
When purchasing embellishments, page refills, and adhesive remember to look for ones that are acid and lignin free. There are also many options for journaling pens from ones that create thin lines or thick lines to calligraphy pens. Most pens for use in scrapbooking are acid free or archival quality and can be bought separately or in sets.
You do not have to have a large budget to start scrapbooking. Often you can find scrapbooking kits which contain an album, pages, embellishment (often stickers), and adhesive for one low price. Scissors and journaling pens are often sold separately, but are inexpensive. Take advantage of discount coupons provided by craft stores
If you are having trouble taking the step toward scrapbooking, find a friend who scrapbooks, check with your local craft store to see if they hold scrapbooking sessions to learn about the supplies and the process or seek out a Creative Memories Consultant for a scrapbooking party. The latter is how I first became interested in scrapbooking. How ever you get involved you will be glad you did when you see your photos become fabulous works of art that are preserved for years to come.