Briseadh’s Crafting Corner: Scrapbooking 101
I got into scrapbooking when a co-worker threw a scrapbooking party. We learned how to make one page with a few photos, some paper, and a background sheet. Since that day, I’ve made nine albums for myself, one for my grandmother, and another one is in progress. There are still way too many pictures left to work with.
Why Make A Scrapbook?
Why bother making scrapbooks? For one, it allows you to organize your pictures and record information about them to pass down to descendent’s. I know far too many people with old family photos, but no one knows who is in the picture or the year it was taken. A lot of family history is lost when this happens. Those photos meant a lot to someone, but the story is lost without at least some information to go with the picture. Even if you label a picture with only the date, location, and names of the people in the photo, that will at least help future generations know something about it.
Secondly, I found it was a great pastime and something to get together to do with friends. We swap a lot of ideas on how to share our photos in our books. We also discuss how to tell the story in the pictures. This has helped several people know what to write in the scrapbook that the picture doesn’t entirely tell. Photos just snap the moment, but telling the story makes it come alive. Life is to be shared with others.
Getting Started Scrapbooking
So how do you get started? There are definitely two ways to scrapbook these days. You can create an actual album with paper and pages, or you can do it digitally. The huge number of choices of how to do either one can make one’s mind dizzy. I will give tips on the album side of things. I find I like crafting scrapbooks with printed pictures and paper because many of the other things I like to do are already computer-based.
There are simple things to look for when making your album. Many of these items are available at major discount stores or at craft stores.
- Acid free paper
- Acid free glue or double-sided tape
- An album
- A good pen with acid free ink
- A straight edge cutter (one that will cut 12”x12” paper is best)
Acid free paper is extremely important in keeping your precious photos safe. Acid will make pages and photos turn yellow and become brittle with time. Many old albums, like those made from old construction paper or the ‘magnetic’ albums with the sticky pages are not acid-free. Who wants their pictures turning yellow or fading? I know I don’t, and I actually had some of my oldest pictures fading and yellowing before I got them out of the old sticky page album they were in.
Use glue or tape that is acid free and safe for your pictures, as well. There are glue sticks, pens and tape rollers that have been made to work with scrapbooking.
Choose an album design that allows you to move pages around easily. This helps during the design phase when you’re not sure about page order. It will also let you add pages in the future.
Creating a Scrapbook Page
There is no ‘wrong’ way to scrapbook except to clutter a page to the point where the cool page design overwhelms your pictures. Sometimes, keeping it simple with colors that enhance the photos is the best way to go.
Be sure to add some notes around the pictures. You don’t have to write like I do, but as I mentioned before, writing down just names, places, and dates is better than nothing. For the Christmas album I made for my grandmother, half of her pictures were about Christmas. I dated the top of each page with number stickers. Then, I made sure to name everyone in each picture. If my grandmother remembered some little thing about that particular year or photo, I added those details.
When adding in notes, recipes, newspaper clippings or other items that are not on acid free paper, make sure these do not touch the picture. The acid free paper of the page and other paper you use to put in ‘scraps’ of color will buffer the pictures as long as there is space between the photo and the other items. A couple of my friends are making an awesome cookbook via scrapbooking methods. They make pages with pictures of each dish and the recipe handwritten on recipe cards.
You only need the most basic cutting tools like a pair of scissors and a straight-edge cutter wide enough for the usual 12” x 12” paper. My straight-edge cutter has guidelines on it for a way to make a few different angled triangles as well. Don’t be scared to trim your pictures or cut your pictures. I’ve removed edges that were going brown, too much sky, or centered the focal point of the picture with cutting (Editor’s note: don’t cut tin-type or old metal photos. Scan pictures and cut the copies if you’re scared to cut the originals). Once you get used to cutting basic shapes, you can try different designs. There are all sorts of tools out there to cut different shapes and really have fun with the paper and pictures.
Some More Scrapbook Hints
Don’t feel overwhelmed when you first start. I had thousands of pictures, so I found a way to organize them all outside of the old albums that were ruining them. I put little notes of the date and other things I wanted to remember along with each set of photos. I definitely took a lot of pictures in my life and still have a thousand or more to scrapbook.
Once organized, you can pull out a set and start arranging them. You can fit three or four pictures on a page for a standard 12” x 12” album. This will give you an idea on how large the album will be when completed.
I’m sure you might even know someone that scrapbooks who will gladly help you get started. I’m amazed at the number of scrapbookers I now know. There are plenty of books to help out, too, if that is what helps you with any craft you do. There may even be listings of people who help with scrapbooking at your local hobby and craft shop.
Now go get an album, tools, and some paper. Have fun logging your history for generations to come.
About the Author
Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.
She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.
When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.