Creating your first scrapbook can be overwhelming. The market is saturated with scrapbook supplies and knowing what to purchase and what to leave on the shelf can be hard. It really is not challenging to create a scrapbook once you know exactly what you will need. The other concern is, what if you create a scrapbook and end up not enjoying the process? You do not want to get stuck with a bunch of supplies you will never use.
In this article you will find the necessary supplies to create a beautiful scrapbook that will be treasured for years to come without getting stuck with a bunch of things you do not need.
- Choosing an Album
- Basic Tools
- How to Create a Page
- Adding the Finishing Touches
- What Next?
- Supply List
Choosing an Album
For your first scrapbook, I actually do not recommend an album at all! They can be expensive and most people pick up a 12 by 12 inch one which is awkward to store — especially if you just have one. My first album was the standard 12 by 12 and now I am stuck with it. To create your first album use a 3 ring binder found in the office supply section of most stores. Make sure to pick up page protectors to store your completed layouts in. I like the binders that have the clear pocket on the front and side. You can slip the date the scrapbook is covering in the side and customize the front.
If you want a traditional album I do have one listed in the supplies along with coordinating page protectors. Three ring (or D ring) is the best option regardless of what type of scrapbook you use because they are easy to move pages in. The benefit of using an 8.5 by 11 inch binder or album is they store nicely on a shelf. You also can use regular size paper found in most office supply sections if you are on a budget or do not have access to a craft store.
You may have heard the term “acid free” as you researched how to create a scrapbook. Basically, acid free products (those created for scrapbooking found in craft stores) keep the color integrity of your pictures over the years. In the beginning of my scrapbooking days I was very concerned about this, however now I am not so much. Over the years as I have scrapped pictures from my childhood that have been stored in paper envelopes (40+ years) I have grown quite fond of the yellow tint and aged look the photos have. Therefore, I do not care if my photos lose their color integrity over time. You may feel differently than I do. The good news is a lot of paper now are acid free. Mainstream companies have caught on to this trend set in the crafting communities and adapted.
Tools are the things you will need to create a scrapbook that are not “one in done”. Meaning you will use them over and over again. They can get expensive. If you do not know if you will want to continue on in this hobby they may not be worth the investment. It is important that you purchase tools that you can use regardless of if you stay with scrapbooking or not. These tools are timeless and are staples in most homes. You may have them already! You will need a page trimmer, black pen, ruler and adhesive.
I really like the Fiskars 12 by 12 inch portable page trimmer. It is easy to store, inexpensive and has stood the test of time. I have a nice expensive one that is awesome, but I use my Fiskars more. I do not recommend a smaller trimmer because you will be cutting paper that does not fit on smaller ones. The smaller ones are great down the road for cutting pictures and mats, but only once you have decided this is something you want to do. With that being said, I have been scrapbooking for over 25 years and rarely, if ever use my smaller on.
A good black pen is a must when documenting your memories in a scrapbook. Not only is it great for journaling, it also is a great way to add doodles or easily frame a picture. I use a black pen more outlining pictures and page elements than I do writing the memory. Standard pens found in office supply sections of stores are not ideal. You really want a nice pen that gives a strong, but not to thick line. You can find these types of pens at your office supply stores, but they tend to be costly. I have discovered the best quality and most affordable at scrapbook.com and Ranger . I have my favorite linked below in the supply list.
A ruler is needed to keep things straight on your scrapbook layout. Simply line up the small lines on the edge of your layout, trace lightly with a pencil (so you can erase it later) and place your elements. a cheap school ruler that is 12 inches will work just fine. However, I love the Tim Holtz clear one with a grid. It has a nice rounded edge that makes it easy to trace. Plus, I use it for other things in addition to crafting. It is not only a staple in my craft room, but in my house.
You are going to need to adhere your pictures and paper together. The best way to do that is with a small tape runner. This is considered a tool because they are refillable. However, they are cheap enough that if you decide this is not for you tossing it once it is empty will not be a big deal. The one I recommend in the supply list is strong and a little goes a long way. Most refillable tape runners that are this size eventually do need to be replaced because they get mucked up by the sticky adhesive eventually. A lot of paper crafters stick with this type of tape runner and are quite happy with it over the long haul.
I do not recommend liquid adhesive for anyone trying out scrapbooking. It is more costly and a little more challenging to use. Plus, it takes time to dry. There is a time and place for it, but not in your first scrapbook.
How to create a Page
Once you have selected your album and gathered your tools it is time to create a scrapbook. The most important thing you need is paper. You will need white and black cardstock along with pattern paper. I have provided two pattern paper packs that work well for everyday. I also did not include 12 by 12 paper packs because I find that I end up trimming them down to mat photos or create basic shapes. To build your page us a piece of white or black cardstock as your base. Mat your photos on the opposite color cardstock (if you used black as your base, mat your pictures on white) and set aside.
Cut squares or rectangles on your page trimmer or other simple shapes to layer on your layout. I am a huge fan of circles. You can use a mug, glass or plate to trace and cut them out. An easy way to add interest to a page is to cut strips of pattern paper and run them about 1/2 inch from the edge of your base page and adhere you pictures. Try using your pen to trace lines around each picture or shape on you layout.
Contrary to popular belief, your scrapbook page does not need a title. Sometimes your pictures do all the talking, however if you decide you would like a title (and most of us do like some words on a page) pick up some Thickers in a neutral tone. I like gold because it goes with everything. Listed below are a common word set (I use these a lot because they are easy and fool proof) as well as two alphabet sets — one large and one small. I highly recommend purchasing all of these. The large alpha set is great to bring focus on one word or as a main title. The small alpha set is great for subtitles and using on pictures.
Get creative with the letters too! If you run out of “E” use a backward “3”. “L” can be swapped for “I” and “Q” can be turned into “O” by cutting off the little piece.
Adding the Finishing Touches
Once the scrapbook page is put together and you have your titles and subtitles where you want them, it is time to finish it with an embellishment or two. Adding either three, five or seven small gems or puffy stickers to the corner or corners (one in a corner and two in the opposite) is a great way to add visual interest to a page. One of my favorite things to do is to take a laser cut, put it on foam squares to make it pop and adhere to a corner of a picture. From there I will add several gems.
After you complete your album, sit back and reflect on the experience. Did you enjoy creating a scrapbook? Is this something you would like to do more of? If so, check out some kits. Clique Kits is my favorite! You will find curated kits that will give you enough supplies to create at least three pages. Kits are great because they will help you discover what your style is without dropping a ton of money. They also usually have a group you can join and learn more techniques from. The craft community is full of some of the friendliest people around, so don’t be afraid to jump in and mingle! We would love to have you.
Here are three videos with more techniques on scrapbooking.
Do not worry about buying stamps at this point or expensive chipboard pieces. Remember, this is just a way to dip your toe in scrapbooking and to see if your like it or not. You can purchase those things down the line once you know you want to continue on in the hobby and have a better grasp of your style. A lot of paper crafters (like myself) made the mistake of buying everything we could get our hands on. Most of the stuff I bought the first five years was never used because I just did not like it or it was not my style. You will get a beautiful album using the basics and you will feel good about your purchases!
Until nest time ~ Happy Crafting!