Scrapbooking 101

By Jill Spotz

As holiday decorations and memories are literally and figuratively packed away, we look forward to spring and warmer weather. But what is a crafter to do when the cold winter still lingers? There is no better time than now to start a scrapbooking project. If you have holiday pictures still resting in their Snapfish or Shutterfly delivery envelopes, or worse, in a box at the back of your closet, grab those photos and a warm cup of tea or coffee and let’s get scrappin.’

If you have never tried scrapbooking before, you will need to gather a few essential tools, most of which are already in your home: photos, scissors, embellishments and mementos. You will need to purchase acid-free decorative paper and adhesive such as glue dots or a glue stick. Note: your child’s school glue is not an option for this project. Choosing scrapbooking products that are labeled “acid-free” or “archival-quality” will preserve your most treasured memories and prohibit the disintegration of photos over time.

Whether you create your scrapbook the old-fashioned way and have to clean the gluey mess from your hands or digitally create lasting memories from a computer, you will have a family heirloom to pass down for years to come.

According to Amy Musser, scrapbooking expert and owner of Scrapbooking’s Inn in Hellertown, there are many scrapbooking styles. “A scrapbooker’s design should reflect their personal flair,” she explains. “‘Vintage’ is the use of lace and pearls, cranberry and off-white colors. ‘Hip and trendy’ is more modern, featuring wavy lines and contemporary colors, while ‘shabby’ is a distressed look with frayed pages.” One of Musser’s friends is a shabby scrapper who rolled over her son’s truck-themed page with her car to create a perfect tire mark!. So, how you achieve your page designs (and the tools involved) are limitless.

If you follow these basic steps, you will soon be on your way to creating a lasting memory for family and friends.

Getting Started
1. Choose your theme and photos. Organize the photos that you want to use in your scrapbook and place them in order according to your desired pages. There are both one-page layouts and two so keep this in mind when arranging your photos.

2. Select your scrapbook. The most popular size is 12” x 12”, but you can create an 8” x 8” or smaller, or use the premade chipboard scrapbooks that are available in craft stores. Most albums contain rings so you can insert your scrapbook pages into acid-free sheet protectors and then arrange them in the album.

3. Embrace paper. Paper is your friend and like many scrappers you may begin to hoard it like there are few trees left on Earth. This is ok. A professional scrapper also saves their scraps or leftover paper for other projects so it will all go to good use.

4. Got buttons? We all have a box of unused buttons. This is the perfect opportunity to use them in a creative way. Buttons, along with beads, string and mementos make excellent additions to scrapbook pages.

5. Mat your photos. Scrappers rarely use a single sheet of patterned paper. Glue photos to solid paper in complementary colors and then cut a small border around the photo.

6. Design your page. Look online for ideas, or seek out inspiration from friends. As Musser states, “’Scraplifting’ or stealing a friend’s design idea is acceptable.” Arrange your photos, borders and embellishments on the page and then glue them with adhesive. If you are seeking a three dimensional look, use double-sided foam squares and your pictures will “pop.”

7. Become a writer. Journaling is one of the most important components of scrapbooking. Have you ever looked through an old family photo album and wondered who the people were? Journaling provides a story for future generations. You can journal anywhere in your layout: directly on the page or on a piece of colored paper that you cut and glue to the page. Or, glue an unsealed envelope to the page and insert your journal into the envelope. However you decide to journal does not matter; what is important is that the story is there for years to come.

Scrapbooking Supplies
The supplies and tools available for scrapbooking are endless. Large craft stores devote entire aisles to the hobby. If you want to expand your scrapbooking supplies beyond the minimum, there are some items that will be helpful: a paper cutter, punches (tools that punch designs out of paper), die cuts (pre-fabricated paper cut outs), and rubber stamps. If you wish to consult with an expert while you shop, Scrapbooking’s Inn sells a wide variety of products. They stock paper from Little Yellow Bicycle, BoBunny, and Bazzill and other manufacturers, as well as a full range of project kits and page layouts.

Scrapbooking can be an expensive hobby. There are many items available that have all the bells and whistles of the latest Wii. The Cuddlebug by Provo Craft, die cuts and embosses paper with ease and retails for $89. The Cricut® personal cutting system takes away the tediousness of hand cutting intricate designs and letters (retail $179.00 – $399.00). With the touch of a button, the Cricut® will cut out shapes, pictures, and words in hundreds of font options and sizes up to 24.” The Cricut® works with cartridges and is expandable with the addition of the Jukebox, which stores up to six cartridges. For those who prefer portability, the Gypsy™ is a handheld design studio (DS for the scrapper) that stores all Cricut® cartridges and allows you to design from anywhere (retail $159.00).

Attend a Crop
A “crop” is a scrapbooking party hosted at someone’s home or at a craft or scrapbook store. Crops are a great way to socialize with friends, learn techniques, “scraplift” ideas and complete projects. The benefit of attending a crop at a local business is that they usually provide free use of their scrapbooking tools. If you want to test out the Cricut®, this is a great opportunity to use the machine. Or, you could attend a home demonstration by direct sales companies Stampin’ Up! and Creative Memories (you can find a local demonstrator by searching on the companies’ websites). Both sell rubber stamps, craft and scrapbooking supplies.

Go Digital
For computer-savvy scrappers, Dan’s Camera City in Allentown offers digital scrapbooking. Bring your memory stick or a CD containing your digital photos to the store and use one of their many kiosks that walk you through the process. “We offer scrapbooking pages with many themes and pre-designed layouts,” says Amy Kinnon, business development coordinator at Dan’s Camera City. “Customers can zoom, choose between black and white and color and add text boxes for journaling.” Scrapbook pages are ready in one business day. Creative Memories also offers digital scrapbooking.

Whether you create your scrapbook the old-fashioned way and have to clean the gluey mess from your hands or digitally create lasting memories from a computer, you will have a family heirloom to pass down for years to come.

Resources for e-zine:
Dan’s Camera City
1439 W. Fairmont St.
(610) 434-2313

Scrapbooking’s Inn
403 Main Street
(484) 895-7090

Creative Memories

Stampin’ Up

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