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10 Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook

Scrapbooks are treasures pieced together with scraps of paper and memories. Create your first traditional scrapbook by following these ten easy steps.

We have photos to keep our memories, and we have scrapbooks to keep our photos. Nowadays, it’s more common to see digital scrapbooks: social media posts, photo albums on our phones, and slideshows (many of which are automatically generated). But where’s the fun in that?

A physical scrapbook is a tangible and personal way to preserve memories that digital formats often can’t replicate. It’s a physical reminder every time you pass by the bookshelf. It’s a nostalgic tradition that you can literally hold in your hands.

And more than that, a physical scrapbook is a bonding activity. It’s something you can do with your family, reminiscing, laughing, and creating. It’s something you can share with new and old friends to start conversations and connect.

Digital scrapbooks just don’t have the same weight.

Digital to Print

Creating a digital scrapbook that you then print is a great way to achieve the benefits of both digital and physical without any of the cons. While there are some amazing options out there that make scrapbooking easy and fast, they still lose a bit of that personal touch. They just can’t replicate the memories and emotions of seeing a scrapbook you personally pieced together photo by photo, paper by paper, with your family.

So although they are, arguably, the perfect option, I highly encourage you to try making a handcrafted scrapbook with your family at least once.

Basic Supplies for Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is an art form. It can be as simple or elaborate as you like, even better if you get creative with it. The options are endless, but here are some basic supplies you might need to get started. (You can figure the rest out as you go—that’s what makes it fun!)

  • an album
  • sheet protectors or a protectant spray/glaze for your photos
  • archival-quality scrapbook paper
  • adhesives and clips (e.g., double-sided tape, glue sticks, photo corners, adhesive runners, etc.)
  • photos (of course!)
  • embellishments (e.g., stickers, die cuts, ribbons, buttons, brads, washi tape, etc.)
  • acid-free pens and markers
  • scissors and a paper trimmer
  • ruler and cutting mat

10 Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook

After looking at all these materials and endless options, you might be thinking that scrapbooking is a bit above your skill level. But here at Familius, we know a thing or two about books and families. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow these 10 easy steps to get started on your first scrapbook.

1. Decide on a Theme

Decide on a theme or focus for your scrapbook. It could revolve around a specific event, such as a vacation, wedding, or milestone birthday, or it could center on a broader theme like family heritage or friendship.

2. Decide the Order

Decide whether you want to organize your scrapbook chronologically or thematically. Chronological order can help create a cohesive narrative, while thematic organization allows for more flexibility and creativity.

3. Choose a Color Scheme

Choose a color scheme that complements your photos and enhances the overall theme or mood of your scrapbook. Consistency in color can help tie your pages together for a cohesive look.

4. Plan the Layout

Plan the layout of your pages before you start adhering anything. Consider the placement of photos, journaling space, and embellishments to ensure a balanced and visually appealing design.

If you want to get really fancy with it, consider these principles of design.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Write on the Pages

Use your scrapbook as a storytelling tool to capture the who, what, when, where, and why behind each photo or memento. You can add them as captions or even include journal entires. This provides context, shares memories, and adds depth to your pages.

6. Find a Balance

Strive for balance in your layouts by distributing photos, journaling, and embellishments evenly across the page. Pay attention to visual weight and spacing to avoid overcrowding or overwhelming your pages.

7. Keep It Personal

The scrapbook shouldn’t just be straightforward captions and cute decorations. Infuse your scrapbook with your personality and style. Incorporate personal touches, such as favorite quotes, inside jokes, or meaningful symbols, to make your scrapbook uniquely yours.

If your kids are helping, ask what they remember about the memory or what they would want to say, or have them draw little doodles throughout. (Honestly, sometimes nothing is funnier than what comes out of a child’s mouth. They make for such great memories that you won’t want to forget!)

8. Be Consistent

Maintain consistency throughout your scrapbook to create a cohesive and harmonious look. Use similar fonts, colors, and design elements across your pages to tie everything together.

9. Think outside the Box

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with different techniques and materials. Let your creativity flow as you explore new ways to embellish and decorate your pages.

10. Keep It Somewhere Safe, But Don’t Hide It Away

Photos and paper fade, materials wear out—it’s life. But scrapbooks aren’t meant to be tucked away. You can protect your scrapbook by using archival-quality, acid-free materials and sheet protectors or glazes, and by storing it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. This alone will keep it pristine for a long, long time. You can also scan the scrapbook to a digital format so you have a backup when the physical wears out.

And if one day the scrapbook does finally fall apart, you can print new copies of your photos and make a new scrapbook, reminiscing with your family and cherishing your memories while you do it. After all, a worn out scrapbook is a well loved one, and that means the memories were all worth it.

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Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.

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