I’ve been talking about scrapbooking a lot this year, and only because I finally got the time to sort through my papers and actually scrapbook! I was thinking that it would be a good idea to share some of my tips and tricks for those of you who were interested in starting a scrapbook, and I’d love for veteran scrapbookers to chime in with your thoughts as well.
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First thing you’ll need is to actually collect things that you’ll want to put in a scrapbook; think flat paper goods.
Scrapbook Keepsake Ideas
- Movie Stubs
- Concert Tickets
- Cards (birthday, Christmas, etc.)
- Event wristbands / drink tickets
- Meaningful receipts
The most important thing to do is to collect and keep all these things in one centralized location. For me, it used to be in the Pink Room closet, but I’ve since moved my scrapbook memory boxes to our Master Bedroom closet.
I’ve been scrapbooking for many years (think 10+) and I’ve found it easiest to create a “dumping” bin that I can throw all my paper supplies into. The Ikea Tjena boxes actually work great, because the lid is easily lifted for me to slip my papers in, I can label the outside – and they are nice square shapes, making stacking and organizing easier.
I have one bin for my “to-be scrapbooked” supplies, one for my older high school and university completed scrapbooks, and one that is half full with my post-university scrapbooks.
It’s easiest to collect all your keepsakes for one year, and then do a big scrapbook event in the new year.
Or, you could be like me and hold off for 3+ years, and have a crazy paper mess to deal with. Don’t do this, it’s much easier to sort things for one year than try and organize multiple years!
Okay, so you now have keepsake papers you’ve kept, and a nice place to keep them all! On to actually scrapbooking!
Starting a Scrapbook
Now, you can go all-out with scrapbooking and buy ALL THE THINGS (especially if you’ve ever browsed through Michael’s scrapbook aisles). I’m here today to tell you that you don’t have to do that. I mean you can if you want to. But I like to scrapbook along the cheap-side, so here is the list of basics you should get when starting a scrapbook:
Materials You May Need
- A three-hole binder or actual scrapbook (I’ll go through the two options more in-depth below)
- Paper protectors
- Double-sided tape or glue stick
- Regular scissors
- Optional: fancy scissors
- Optional: stickers
- Optional: scrap coloured paper
I’m going to assume that you have a pen or markers in your house to write anything down that you may need. You can always start with the basics that I’ve listed here, then if you really enjoy scrapbooking and want to expand your collection, slowly start to add in more embellishments. (I keep all my designated scrapbook supplies in the same boxes as my keepsakes and finished scrapbooks).
Wait – I should also mention that I am biased to the 8.5 x 11 letter-sized scrapbooks. You can always get the 12×12 scrapbooks, and you’ll need the 12×12 sheet protectors too. I think 12 x 12 is actually the standard scrapbook size, but I like that my small ones fit in my Ikea boxes. Again, you’ll need to decide where you want to store your finished scrapbooks, and then work off of that BEFORE you buy anything.
Okay so now you have your paper keepsakes, and your scrapbook supplies – time to get to work!
You’ll want to organize everything how you see fit (I like to do it chronologically through the year… but that’s just me). Then determine how you want each page to look. I try to do a month or event at a time, organize that mini-group, layout my papers then stick them on!
Now, you could always use glue stick glue instead of double-sided tape, but if you ever make a mistake and want to re-arrange something, the tape comes up much easier and cleaner.
You can always stick things that are a bit “3D” (aka raised), but try not to get too thick or your binder will fill up in no time!
Once both sides are done, slide that paper in your sheet protector and move on to the next section.
Here’s an example of a layout I did with some scrap paper cut with my fancy scissors, then I layered my keepsake papers and added some little stickers to embellish the page (yes, I do keep all my fortune cookie fortunes!). I find that regular coloured paper works just fine, but again, you can buy the designated scrapbook stock at the store if you wanted.
Binder or Scrapbook?
I mentioned in my list that you can use a regular three-hole binder or buy the actual scrapbook (or even the 12×12 one). I find that the actual scrapbooks are nicer, and look more professional – but they are a bit of a hassle to deal with if you need to add pages.
They come pre-loaded with a bunch of sheet protectors already, but if you accidentally put something out of order and need to add a page in afterwards, then you have to unscrew the sides and carefully slip it in. (Or take every paper out and slide it into the next one over…)
I’ve only ever used the Generations brand scrapbooks, so I’m not sure if others are similar. If you have to add a bunch of pages to the end, you’ll also need the designated Generations page protectors, because they come with a little metal extender to make your book fatter.
Recently, I started using three-hole binders and I find that not only is it cheaper, but it’s much easier to add pages in the middle if I forgot something or want to re-arrange my scrapbook. The 1″ ones are perfectly sized for my Ikea boxes, so I wouldn’t go too much thicker than that (but you could always get bigger ones if you were storing them somewhere else).
The real art of starting a scrapbook is determining which memories you want to hold on to, and which are okay to be recycled. Even though I’ve tried to adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle, I find that I still can’t part with some of my memories – so having them all together in a binder works :)
It’s okay to look back at the box you’ve collected during the year and purge a bunch of stuff from there, it will make your scrapbooking go quicker, and will be more meaningful to you in the end :)
Besides, I’d much rather keep things that are flat and fit in a binder, than to hold on to all the bigger tchotchkes and “souvenirs” that take up space in my house.
Do you have a memory box or have you started a scrapbook to hold all your keepsakes? If you’ve been scrapbooking for a long time, you might know how addicting it can get haha! Did I miss any items that someone may need if they are just starting out; and do you prefer the 8.5 x 11 or 12 x 12 books?
Would love to hear some comments, and see you guys next time :)
Louise aka MommyJuly 6, 2016 at 10:50 pm
remember that time when you graduated from university? and we went to Paris? I think I might still have the boarding passes.. somewhere
NicoleJuly 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm
I think I have them; or at least some of them. There were a lot of things I kept from that trip :)
AllysonApril 10, 2020 at 1:02 am
I recommend using archival safe paper, adhesive and pens for scrapbooking. Long ago, as a teen, I kept scrapbooks of my life. The tapes and pens I used have turned colors or faded. If you are using photos in your scrapbooks, archival products are safe and will not cause deterioration of photos, etc.
NicoleApril 12, 2020 at 3:30 pm
I would never even thought about that! Those are some good tips, I think my oldest scrapbook is about 15 years old, I’ll have to go check it now!