Finding A Scrapbooking Style

Flip through a scrapbooking magazine and you’ll see a variety of different scrapbook styles. Some layouts will look clean and simple, others will be layered with patterned papers and embellishments. Some might have a funky, retro look while others look vintage and old-fashioned. With all the diverse looks you’ll find in a single magazine, what’s the one thing they have in common? It’s a certain scrapbooking style.

What is Scrapbooking Style?
What do we mean by “scrapbooking style”? It’s simply the fashion of the page. It’s the look, the feel and the mood. It might be clean and simple, or funky, romantic or trendy.

So, what are some different types of scrapbooking styles? Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular:

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Classic/Clean & Simple: Think minimalist. Generally the photos are cut into squares or rectangles, and placed on solid paper backgrounds or papers with tried-and-true patterns like stripes, plaids, dots or flowers. Embellishments are kept to a minimum, but used effectively—a few brads, maybe, or a metal clip at the corner of the photo. You’ll find contemporary colors like red, blue, yellow and green. The photo and journaling stand out; often, there’s only one photo, and it’s a very large element on the page. The clean, simple background is great for photos with lots of color and images. It’s ideal for kids photos and formal portraits like weddings and anniversaries. It’s also a nice option for when you just don’t know what style to use!



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Ephemera: This is the polar opposite from our Classic/Clean & Simple look. These pages are eclectic and include lots of different products, often arranged in a collage style. Papers are richly patterned, and usually the page will combine two or more patterned papers (often in darker colors like brown, gray and black), plus metal embellishments like brads and clips. You’ll see mixed fonts and lots of journaling. Elements are placed at an angle or overlapping. It’s not a messy look—it’s one that’s loaded with lots of texture, color and interest. It’s perfect for masculine photos, heritage pictures and travel pages. Black and white photos also look great with this style.



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Vintage/Romantic/Shabby Chic: A close cousin to the Ephemera style, this look combines patterned papers and uses lots of embellishments, but also features lighter colors like pale pink, dusty mauve and light blue. It’s a well-worn, well-loved look, often including torn paper, inked edges and chalked paper. You might also find embellishments that look as though they’re straight from your grandmother’s sewing box: Buttons, thread, metal accents and ribbons or fiber. Think of those wrought-iron beds featured in home decorating magazines and you’ll know what I mean. Use this style for any feminine pages, especially heritage. It’s also a great look for travel pages.



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Retro: Retro is a hot style right now, in just about everything from stationery and gifts to scrapbooking. While “retro” means different things for people of different ages, it’s really reminiscent of the styles from the 1950's through the 1970's. You’ll find lots of pink and black, pink and brown and blue and brown color combinations, plus cool images and shapes like spirals and big flowers. Whether or not you liked it the first time around, the look is much more contemporary now—and teens and kids love it.

How Do I Find a Scrapbooking Style I Like?
How do you find your style? Well, it’s as simple as looking at album pages and taking note of what you find attractive and appealing!

Let’s start with a few page examples. Is it the color combination, the use of embellishments or the way the layout presents the photos? Is it the mood of the page that you like? Then you’ve just discovered something about style. You might find it helpful to jot down these things onto a piece of paper. After a few minutes, you’ll have a nice list of things that appeal to you. It’s a great starting point!

Using Magazines as Examples
Magazines are a great place to look at different scrapbooking styles—but I have to give a piece of advice: Use the layouts in magazines as inspiration, but don’t worry about duplicating the look. What you see in magazines is an extreme example of a certain style. It’s the same thing you find when shopping for clothes. The mannequin at the mall doesn’t just wear jeans and a t-shirt...it’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt plus a jacket, boots, hat, necklace and handbag. It’s featuring all of the newest clothes that fit a certain style. Likewise, a scrapbook page in a magazine features all the products and techniques that show off a certain style.

Can You Have More Than One Style?
Of course—you can use one, two or more different styles! I personally use different styles throughout my scrapbooking.

It all depends on the photo I’m working with at the time. For example, I would never scrapbook photos from the 1900's with a retro look...it wouldn’t match the theme and mood of my pictures. However, I would use retro to scrapbook a photo of my mother wearing a poodle skirt from the 1950's. And when I’m stumped, I can always rely on the classic style. My other trick? If the colors in my photo are making it hard to find a style, I copy them as black and white pictures. Black and white photos are versatile and can fit into any scrapbooking style.

When is my style consistent? I use just one scrapbooking style if I’m creating a mini album on a particular theme or a gift book for consistency. My big family album, however, features all kinds of looks.

Can My Style Change?
Loving a certain style today doesn’t mean you have to scrapbook with that style forever. This year you may love the trendy retro look—next year you might be tired of pink and brown! Or your comfort level might change. Maybe you’re sticking with a clean and simple style until you feel comfortable enough to explore ephemera.

Scrapbooking is also a fashion, and you’ll see new papers, embellishments and styles come and go. Don’t feel locked into a certain style. Scrapbooking lets you play and experiment with the latest trends and colors—and it’s a lot cheaper than buying a new wardrobe or painting your living room a new color!

Don’t feel as though your albums must match. After having scrapbooked for almost 10 years, I’ve seen my scrapbooking style change again and again. It’s fun to see…like any hobby or activity, my skills have improved over the years.

Scrapbooking is a hobby, and hobbies shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Choose what appeals to you, enjoy it and keep your mind and heart open to new possibilities!


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