Back to Basics

I’m so lucky! I get to spend my days doing one of my favorite things—scrapbooking! But as much as I love scrapbooking, I have to admit it can be an intimidating hobby to start. For one thing, it has its own terms and definitions. Then there are all of the different techniques and baffling tricks that seem to be required to produce the scrapbook pages you see on websites or in magazines. Don’t let these things overwhelm you, I’ve collected my favorite tips for beginners and am here to help!

What You Need
You don’t have to make a big financial investment to start scrapbooking. All you really need is paper, a pair of sharp scissors, photo-safe adhesive and your pictures. I love vintage themed papers because they’ll work well with almost any photo. My favorite are Busy Scrapper’s Solution Vintage. These papers are perfect because they have a ton of tags and other paper embellishments right in the same book, so it’s all coordinated for me.

scrapbook project
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Keep It Simple
When I first started scrapbooking I was blown away by all of the embellishments I could play wilth. The ribbons, brads, stickers and flowers—I just wanted to use them all! Looking back on those early pages, the embellishments completely take over the page. Scrapbooking is about your photos and the stories that go with them. Too many embellishments can take away from the story you’re trying to tell, and while you can always add more embellishments, it’s much harder to remove them.

scrapbook project
Click to enlarge

Start Small
Creating an entire album can be daunting. That’s why I love 8"x8" albums. 8x8 albums let you focus on a smaller, more manageable project. My family album will never be complete, and that’s okay, but sometimes I like to focus on a specific theme, like a family vacation. If the thought of tackling your whole family history seems a little overwhelming, an 8"x8" album with a more focused theme may be perfect for you. I love Hot Off The Press’ 8"x8" line because you can find everything you need: Papers, cardstock and even a matching album, all perfectly coordinated and ready to go!

Journaling Basics
I hear from a lot of scrapbookers that journaling is their least favorite part of scrapbooking. They just never know what to say. Journaling doesn’t have to be difficult, though, or even terribly in-depth. Just remember you want the person looking at the album to be able to know what was going on, so include the ‘who, where, when and what’ of your story, and you’ll be all set!

scrapbook project
Click to enlarge

What I Wish I’d Done
When I first started scrapbooking, the trend was to cut your photographs into shapes. So that’s what I did—needless to say the style hasn’t held up over the years. When I look back on my first pages with their heart and star-shaped photos, I can’t help wishing I’d stuck with basic shapes, rectangles and squares. I’m just grateful I didn’t use any irreplaceable photos for those early pages. My number one piece of advice to new scrapbookers is to make copies of heritage or one-of-a-kind photos and scrapbook the copies. That way you can still record your family history, but you won’t risk damaging an irreplaceable photo.


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