Scrapbooking, it seems, has become the latest great American past time,
at least for a lot of MOMS I know. For those of you who have seen your
friends' beautiful albums and wish you could do it to, I've got some
great news for you-you can! So, let's get started!
that seemingly mountainous stack of photos can seem like a daunting
task, but organizing your photos and memorabilia is your first step
in getting your photos into safe scrapbook albums. Here are a few tips:
- Gather all your photos and memorabilia into one place.
- Decide on album themes. While you are gathering your photographs,
begin thinking about what kind of album(s) to make. Some examples
include Baby, Wedding, Toddler Years, School Years, Vacation, Anniversary,
Sports, Reunion, Grandparents, ABC… The list is endless!
- Sort your photographs and memorabilia based on the album themes
you have chosen.
- Commit to working on your album! Find a couple hours at least once
a month to work on your album(s). Workshops held at local scrapbook
supply stores, by your Creative Memories Consultant, or with a couple
of other scrapbook enthusiasts are a great way to get some uninterrupted
Now that you're organized-or at least organized enough to start on
your first album-what do you need to get started? The sheer number of
scrapbooking products available is enough to overwhelm even the experienced
scrapper. All these wonderful products can be broken into just a few
Albums: There are numerous sizes
and types of albums available. The most common sizes are 5x7, 8x10,
8½ x11 and 12x12. The size you choose is dependent on your album theme
and how many photos/memorabilia you have for the album. There are also
various types of albums, including Strap-Hinge, Post Bound, Spiral,
and 3-Ring. Again, the type of album you choose will depend on your
theme and whether or not you need to add or rearrange pages in your
album. Whatever you choose, there are a few things you should keep in
mind about the safety and quality of your album.
- Use only ACID-FREE products. Acid is the substance that will
eventually turn paper and photographs to dust. When photographs are
exposed to acidic environments such as magnetic photo albums, some
pocket page albums, and construction paper, they will fade and deteriorate
at a faster rate.
- Choose pages and paper that are 100% LIGNEN-FREE. Lignin,
which is naturally found in paper pulp, causes paper to turn yellow.
An interesting tidbit of information-newspaper is 96% lignin-free
and we all know how quickly newspapers yellow!
- Always use page protectors. The page protector is essential
in protecting your photographs from fingerprints, dust, moisture,
- Choose albums that are guaranteed by the manufacturer. Your
photographs and memories are precious to you. You want to be sure
that the time and effort you put into your album isn't in vain should
your album start to fall apart. Some manufacturers (such as Creative
Memories) offer guarantees on their albums so that if you ever have
a problem with it, you can have it repaired or replaced free of charge.
To make the most of
the scrapping space provided by the album of your choice, you may want
to crop your photographs to get rid of unnecessary background images.
I've also found that cropping photographs is a great way to shave pounds
off my thighs, hips, butt… Some must-have cutting tools include:
- A "personal" paper trimmer of some sort. This is generally
a portable trimmer that allows you to easily crop up to a 5x7 photograph.
Creative Memories and other companies make what looks like a miniature
version of the standard-issue grade school paper cutter. The cutting
table is approximately 4½ x 6½ and it has a finger guide which keeps
your photograph from slipping when cutting (about $14). Fiskars also
makes a flat trimmer with a sliding blade that allows you to cut a
photo or piece of paper up to 8½ inches ($12-$15).
- Corner Rounder. A corner rounder is a quick easy way to add a little
softness and variety to the shape of your photographs. You can get
the basic rounder or decorative rounders. Start with the plain rounder.
You can always add more decorative corners later if you decide you
really like the look. If the idea of picking up all those clipped
corners seems a little tedious, consider a rounder with a nifty built-in
- Other Cutters to Add Later: If you are going to be mounting photographs
or cutting paper larger than 8½ inches, you will need to have a larger
paper cutter. The 12" trimmer from Fiskars (again, flat with
a sliding blade) is great. They normally sell for about $20. Watch
for the 40% off coupon at Michaels and pick one up for about $12.
It also comes with a scoring blade for all you stamping enthusiasts.
Of course you can use the larger trimmer for photographs too. NOTE:
I can't live without mine. I was at the store purchasing my second
12" trimmer the day after dropping it on the floor and breaking
it-it was a Saturday evening and I had to wait for the 40% off coupon
(and the store to open) otherwise I would have replaced it the same
- Circle/Oval Cutter or Templates. To add even more variety to your
photographs, you can purchase circle cutters, oval cutters, or the
more economical trace and cut templates. Be careful-once you use a
circle or oval cutter, you will never want to go back to the tedious
templates! I believe you can get circle cutters and oval cutters for
about $20-$25 (each). Creative Memories has a cutting system that
allows you to purchase a cutting mat, 2 blades, and either circle
(12 size options) or oval patterns (16 size options) for $33.50. The
additional patterns (circles, ovals, or a 12" straight edge)
can be added for another $14.
- Decorative Scissors. The options here are endless. Many scrapbook
supply stores will allow you to try their decorative scissors before
purchasing them. Michaels usually has the best prices on scissors.
Things to look for in adhesives
include photo safety, permanence and ease of use. Adhesives to stay away
from: scotch tape (cracks and yellows) and glue sticks (not permanent
and the colored glue can bleed through your photograph). Try a couple
and use what works best for you.
Pens: Let's face it, the most
important part of scrapbooking is the journaling-telling the stories
behind the photographs. If you're not telling the stories, you could
just as well put those photographs in an acid-free, photo-safe pocket
photo album or photo box. When journaling in your album, you want to
make sure the pens you use are permanent, fade resistant and waterproof.
To ensure that the words you write will still be there long after you're
not, choose pens that are made with PIGMA ink (not pigment). At a minimum,
you will want to purchase a black fine-tip PIGMA ink pen/marker. You
can always add more colors and tip widths to your collection as you
Enhancers: Enhancers include photo
mounting paper, stickers (decorative and ABC), page toppers, die cuts-anything
to enhance the look of your page. I always say that half the fun of
scrapbooking is shopping for supplies-and believe me, the sky is the
limit when it comes to enhancers! Creative You (on West Broadway) and
Archivers in Maple Grove have an excellent selection of individual colored
and patterned papers (both 8½x11 and 12x12), stickers and diecuts. Buying
paper, stickers and diecuts in packs tends to be slightly more economical-and
a great way to get "stuff" quickly without agonizing too much
about what to get. Creative Memories is a great source for paper packs
(both solid and printed--$10.50 for 34 sheets of 10x12), themed sticker
packs (15 strips for $5.50) and themed diecut packs ($4.50).
Putting Your Page Together
OK. You're organized. You've got your supplies. Now what?
- Select. Select your best photos-no duplicates or blurred photos
necessary. Then select the best part of your photos-this is where
the cropping comes in.
- Mount your photographs and memorabilia.
- Journal-don't forget to tell the stories behind the pictures.
- Enhance your page with stickers and/or diecuts. Be careful-you
don't want to detract from your photos by adding too many stickers.
For some hands-on learning, you can always attend (or host your own)
Creative Memories home class, or check out class schedules at your
local scrapbook store.
Where Can You Get All This Great Stuff?
- Creative You (West Broadway and 85th Avenue in Brooklyn Park)
- Archivers (Maple Grove, in the Kohls/Old Navy strip mall)
- Past and Present (Maple Grove, across from the strip mall by the
- Michael's (not as good a selection, but the 40% off coupon found
in the Sunday paper is great!)
- Creative Memories Consultants