LeNae’s Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

I have a group of friends who are brand-new to scrapbooking. They love the process of making scrapbooks, they love the products and they love the idea of having completed albums with photos preserved and journaling written. Sound like you?

Yet my friends also tell me they have questions. And the questions they have are the very same ones I hear from other beginning scrappers. Of course I want to help…and what better way than to get those frequently asked questions answered right here on Scrapbooking 101!

Question #1: What do I do with my scrapbook page once I’ve glued on my photos and journaling?
Put them into an album! There are two kinds I recommend: A post-bound album or a 3-ring binder. Post-bound albums have plastic page protectors bound into the album. Three-ring binders have page protectors available separately. Either way, you’ll be slipping that completed album page back-to-back with another finished scrapbook page inside the plastic page protector. The nice thing about page protectors is that they protect your pages from fingerprints and dust. You can also move pages around in whatever sequence you like—so if you change your mind and decide to change the order of your pages, you can do it really easily. And yes, both types of albums have additional page protectors sold separately.

Question #2: What type of adhesive should I use?
To start with, I recommend photo tabs and glue sticks. I mat my photo with photo tabs—this way I can get the photo off the page more easily if I later decide I want to take the picture out and have a copy made. I use a glue stick to attach journaling or paper embellishments. As you get into scrapbooking, you might also pick up some Glue Dots™ These are super-sticky little dots that work great for attaching 3-D embellishments to my page; I use them to add buttons and ribbons to my page.

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scrapbook project

Question #3: Why is it important to mat my photos? Can’t I just stick them down on the background paper?
You can just stick your photos to the background paper, but matting gives your photos a frame—and that frame makes them stand out from the page and makes them look a little more finished. It’s especially important if your background paper is patterned; if you don’t mat your photo, it can get lost in the pattern of the paper. Matting is easy: I place a photo tab at each corner on the backside of my photo, then attach the photo to a piece of plain paper (either colored, white, off-white or black). I then trim around the colored paper, leaving a 1/8”-1/2” border of colored paper showing.

Question #4: What type of paper should I use for my background sheet?
I use a patterned paper as my background. It adds color and theme to my layout and I think it just makes the page more interesting than plain white or black paper. When using patterned paper, you really want to make sure you mat your photo on a solid paper before gluing it to your background sheet. It’s not necessary to mount the background paper sheet onto a piece of cardstock, even if your patterned paper is lightweight. Remember, you’ll be putting the page into a sheet protector, which adds stability.

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scrapbook project

Question #5: What should I do with one-of-a-kind photos?
Please, please, please treat your one-of-a-kind pictures with care! I had an email recently from a woman who’d inherited a perfectly preserved family album from the Civil War era. She was wondering if she should scrapbook those photos. My suggestion: Keep those original photos somewhere safe from water, dust and fire and make copies of the photos. You can scan the originals, or have them copied by a photo professional who can even put them on disk for you. You can scrapbook the copies however you want, but I’d advise not to cut up or glue down any one-of-a-kind photos if you don’t have the negative. (Did I say please, please, please treat the originals with care?!)

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scrapbook project

Question #6: What about journaling? I hate my handwriting!
Journaling is the writing that explains what’s going on in the photo. It’s really what makes a scrapbook different from a photo album. Some people simply write the facts: Name, date, place. Other people add anecdotes and stories, which I think makes the scrapbook so much more interesting. When it comes to the actual writing, there are two schools of thought. First, you can handwrite your journaling with an acid-free pen. Second, you can type journaling onto a computer and print it out onto acid-free paper. I like to type my journaling because I hate my handwriting—it also helps me with spelling, spacing and lets me use cool fonts. But I know that no matter how much I dislike my handwriting, it is a part of me so I try to include it on some pages—maybe by typing the majority of my journaling and handwriting the date at the bottom. Either way, I do my journaling onto a piece of plain paper, then cut out the paper and attach it to my page.

Bonus Question: What are the top supplies you recommend having?
I get this question a lot! Okay, here are my top picks:

  • A book of patterned paper with coordinating papers and cut-out embellishments. It just makes the process of picking my background sheets faster and easier. Because I scrapbook a lot of photos of my daughter, I’d pick the Busy Scrapper’s Solution Girls: Baby & Toddler Papers. Those with boys will like the masculine counterpart, Busy Scrapper’s Solution Boys: Baby & Toddler Papers.
  • Scissors and a paper trimmer. The trimmer helps me cut straight lines on my photos, photo mats and any borders I want to add to my pages. Scissors are perfect for cut-outs or cutting ribbon or fibers.
  • I love my 1/16” hole punch. This is smaller than the standard hole punch you’d get at an office supply store. I use brads a lot to decorate my pages, and it’s much easier to insert a brad when you’ve punched a little hole first.
  • A black permanent inkpad. You don’t have to be a rubber stamper to get a lot of use from an inkpad. I use it to edge my matted photos and journaling piece before placing them onto my patterned background paper, or I’ll tear a piece of paper and ink the edge, then place it down as a border. It gives me a nice, finished look and gives the effect of having matted the piece on black paper—without actually using black paper! To ink the edge, I simply hold my paper in one hand, my inkpad in the other and run the inkpad along the edge of the paper. Start with a light touch because you can always add more.

Got more questions? Don’t forget to email them to me at editor@scrapbooking101.net. I’d love to hear from you—and you may see your question in an upcoming article!

LeNae Gerig is the author of LeNae’s Scrapbooking Basics and LeNae’s 30-Minute Scrapbook Pages. She’s been helping scrappers create pages since 1997!

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