Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Essential Supplies for Scrapbooking Beginners

Many people think that they need a lot of equipment to scrapbook but a beginner can get by with only a few essential items. Here's a list to get you on your way at very little expense.

Ensure that whatever scissors you buy are sharp and easy to use.  I find a small sharp pair for cutting around lettering and small shapes useful.  Also it is handy to have a larger pair for general cutting.

Choose eiither double-sided tape or photo stickers.  Photo stickers are easy use and are suitable for photographs.  They come on a runner which makes them easy to handle. Glue dots can be useful for sticking down heavy card. What ever adhesive you choose make sure it is acid free and archive safe.

Acid free permanent scrapbooking pens are readily available and relatively cheap. A fine tip and a thicker tip for journalling and decorating pages will be enough to get you started. There a range of colours available but black is probably the most useful colour.

Trimmer or Guillotine
A guillotine is useful for trimming card and cropping photographs.  You will get much straighter edges than what can be achieved with scissors.

Card and Paper
Make sure that any card you buy is acid and lignin free to prevent deterioration of your precious photographs.  If you don't you will find your photographs turning yellow and fading as the chemicals in the card and paper eat away at them.

Albums are available in different sizes.  For a beginner the standard 12x12 album size is a good choice. Scrapbooking albums are acid free, photo-safe and are usually marked archival quality. They are a bit more expensive than other kinds of photo albums but it is worth paying a little more to get an album which will protect your photographs from premature aging. Don't try to economise on this.  It really is not worth it.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guide to Scrapbooking Your First Page

Are you new to scrapbooking and not sure where to begin? Scrapbooking is a fun and engrossing hobby but it can also be a bit overwhelming at first. That's why I've written this simple guide to walk you through the process of creating your first scrapbooking page. Let's get started.

The key to good scrapbooking is ORGANISATION. Remember the more organised you are the better the flow. This is particularly important if you have time constraints. There is nothing more annoying than sitting down to scrap only to find that you have forgotten an essential item. If you are a person who likes lists you might find it helpful to make one to manage your project but this is a matter of individual style and ways of working.


Gather together the photos you would like to display on the page. You probably have more than you need. That's OK because you can narrow your selection later. Choose the best images and any that simply must be included. Any photos left over can be stored in another album elsewhere or given away to family or friends.

Until you are confident it may be best to start with photos that can easily be replaced in case you make a mistake that you can't readily rectify. Adopting this strategy will give you the confidence to just have a play around without fear of getting it wrong which is an important creative principle.


Consider your journaling carefully. What would you like to say about these photos? Do you want to tell a story? Give the basic facts? What feeling do you want to convey? Write down your ideas. Make notes. This will help jog your memory. Are there facts you need to check up on? If so do this before you start your page.

The aim of good journaling is to say enough about what is occurring to inform but not overshadow the photos or bombard anyone looking at the page with too many facts. Telling a story is a very effective journaling technique. Make your page personal to you. Your family and friends will want to know the story behind the photos. Journaling is best when its kept simple but make sure you cover the basics:

Describe what is happening in the photos

Include the dates the photos were taken or the events occurred

Name the people/places in the photos

Tell the story in you own hand. Handwriting makes your journaling more personal. Later on you can try out computer journaling but for now stick with pen and ink

Buying Your Scrapbooking Supplies

Scrapbooking supply stores can be a bit daunting at first but contrary to popular belief you don't need to spend a whole lot to get started. Think about what you need before visiting the store so that you stay within your budget and don't buy items that aren't really necessary. If you have a theme in mind such as a wedding or holiday that this page will form part of you might consider buying extra supplies to ensure consistency.

To get started you are going to need:

An album
12x12. Make sure it is archival safe and acid free

Photo corners on a runner or adhesive tape. Acid and lignin free.

Buy individually or in a small pack so that you only buy what you are going to use.

Stickers (Optional)
Useful for titling and to enhance theme.

Embellishments such as die cuts, brads etc. Make sure they suit your theme.

Many beginners find that a scrapbooking kit is a good way to start off. Kits take the headache out of shopping for your scrapbooking supplies especially if you are struggling to coordinate items. Usually all of the above apart from the adhesive are included in a kit making it cost effective. An added advantage is that kits contain papers both coloured and patterned along with embellishments which all match each other. Read more about basic equipment.

Designing Your Scrapbook Page

If you are new to scrapbooking it can be helpful to take a look at pages created by others. There are a variety of scrapbooking magazines on the market many of which include quite detailed descriptions of the resources used to create the page. Your local library is a good place to start if you are in need of inspiration.

Layout is one of the most important aspects of scrapbooking. Before adhering any pictures to the page try out different positions until you are happy with the arrrangement. Ensure you leave enough room for your journalling and any embellishments you want to include.

If you are struggling with the layout there are some good resources on the net. Try our web resources section for links to sites providing layouts and sketches suitable for most types of project.

Layouts are only a guide to get you underway. Remember you have the freedom to change the design to suit your own particular needs. If you need to add extra journalling or substitute a larger image for smaller photos go right ahead.

After you have decided on a layout that you are happy with assemble the page. You may need to do this in a particular order depending on the desired effect. Take your time putting it all together to ensure accuracy. Measure distances and ensure that all elements on the page are properly aligned before sticking them down. Finally pop your page into a plastic sleeve from your album to protect it from accidental soiling.

This article describes how to go about putting your first scrapbooking page together from shopping for supplies to adhering your photos and embellishments to the page.

Bookmark and Share

6 Main Elements of Scrapbooking Layouts

There are six main elements in a scrapbooking layout. A scrapbooking page usually includes photos, matting, a title, journalling, embellishments, borders.

Photo or Photos
Photos are the backbone of your layout. A scrapbooking layout has at least one photo depicting an event or feeling. Use only your best photos as poor (eg out of focus, badly framed, distracting backgrounds) detract from the overall effect.

Matting refers to a piece of cardstock used to accentuate a photo. The cardstock is placed underneath the photo to create an all-around border effect. This helps the photo stand out from other elements in the layout and therefore grab the viewer's attention.

Matting the focal point photo is a very effective technique to add interest to your page. Or you can choose to matt all the photos in the layout and either add a different colour of matt to your focal point photo or double or triple matt it for emphasis. Plain or patterned paper can be used depending on the effect you want.

Choose your title carefully. A good title sums up or highlights the theme of the page. It should be snappy and add punch to your page. Simple words, phrases, place names, names of people and sayings can all be used successfully as titles.

A title can be placed in many different positions on the page not just in the top position. The point of a title is to catch the attention of anyone looking at your page. A title is an important element as it helps to add balance to your page. Our eyes are used to scanning a page for the title so place your title in a position that will draw the viewer's eye to it.

Titles can made out of just about anything. Beginner scrapbookers will find stickers, die cuts, stencils, cut outs and computer generated fonts are all good for titling. Consider using your own handwriting for a more personal touch.

Journalling expands or explains the story depicted in your photos. It fills in the details for anyone looking at your pages. For this reason your journalling should cover the bases so that the viewer will be informed about what is occurring in the photos without having to ask the what, why, when, who and how types of questions. Short descriptions, letters, captions, quotes, song lyrics, poems and verses are all possible journalling mediums.

Journalling can be set out in a variety of effective ways. The easiest method for the beginner is to write directly on the background paper. Other choices include writing in journaling boxes using cardstock and on patterned papers, vellum or other textured papers. If you need to keep your journalling more private consider placing it in a pocket on the page.

Scrapbooking pages can be accented with a variety of embellishments. These add interest and highlight the page visually. Types of suitable embellishments include stickers, buttons, ribbons, brads, eyelets, silk flowers, and slide mounts to name a few. Embellishments are most effective when kept to a minimum. Be careful not to overshadow your photos and journalling with too many embellishments which take the viewer's attention from the page.

Photo corners can add another decorative element to your pages. When placed at each corner of the photo they help to draw the viewer's eye to the photo. Ribbons and brads can also be used to create a similar focal point.

Borders can be added to the sides, top and bottom of the layout to add visual interest. Decorative borders can be created out of many materials including cardstock, patterned paper, fabric, tags, charms, metal and many more.

Now that you have learned the elements that make up a scrapbooking layout you are now ready to have some fun creating your scrapbooking pages.

Bookmark and Share