– History in the Making
come a long way. Merriam Webster defines a ‘scrapbook’
as “a blank book in which miscellaneous items (as newspaper
clippings or pictures) are collected and preserved.” While
the term “scrapbook” is clearly defined in the dictionary,
“scrapbooking” is not. Which is why, scrapbooking today
is “history in the making.” It is the act and art of
preserving our photographs and momentos. Today’s scrapbooks
are not just a simple collection of newspaper clippings and pictures.
They are expressive, thoughtful, and often elaborate accounts of
our daily lives and experiences. Scrapbooking gives rise to personal
reflection and appreciation of life and those we love. What better
way to express your innermost feelings and paying tribute to the
people who are dear to you than by memorializing them on paper?
Like most hobbies,
scrapbooking transcends generations, age groups and cultures. What
makes scrapbooking special is the personal nature of the hobby itself.
The time and effort often spent on scrapbooking lends more meaning
than simply purchasing a collectible and proudly displaying it on
a shelf. The intrinsic value of scrapbooking is indeed priceless
as often old photographs are impossible to replace.
How do you begin
scrapbooking? If your interest has just begun to peak, you may have
already been exposed to all the various products and techniques
available out there. Quite frankly, it is overwhelming and yet exciting!
Just remember, you are entering a lifetime commitment to the preservation
of your history. It will take that long… a lifetime, so don’t
feel rushed or frustrated. Take your time, enjoy all the beautiful
products out there. If you are not as artistically inclined as Picasso
or Monet, relax. Your individualistic creativity will flow the more
scrapbook pages you do. If that doesn’t help, rely on the
coordinating sets created by the most innovative designers in scrapbooking.
They have done all the hard work, you just need to provide your
photographs and memoirs.
scrapbooking is to understand the basic supplies and techniques.
As you become more comfortable scrapbooking, you may want to incorporate
embellishments or try advanced techniques such as embossing in your
page. These are the special touches that gives your page a noticeable
flare. First, lets start with your pictures….
The Savvy Scrapper
The Road to Scrapbooking
store your photographs
1. Organize your photos
and negatives – Photos, you gotta love them! But where are
they? If they are in shoeboxes, plastic bags, drawers, or still
in the paper envelope from the photo processing place, chances are,
they are not organized or safely preserved. This is the hard part
of scrapbooking. Start by taking baby steps and tackling one pile
or set of pictures at a time. Start with the most current set of
pictures as your memory starts to fade the further back in time
you go. Organize your photos by themes, such as “Mom’s
50th birthday,” by event, such as “Sarah’s first
tooth,” or by person, such as “Dad’s photos.”
While you are organizing, keep in mind that if you will be creating
a scrapbook page, not all of the photos will end up there. On the
more popular size 12” x 12” page, you will be able to
fit at least two or a maximum of four 4” x 6” pictures
Store your photos and negatives – Once you have organized
your first set of photos, place them in “archival envelopes”
or “archival boxes.” These envelopes and boxes protect
your photos from light and they do not contain “acid”
or “lignin” commonly found in the manufacture of materials
such as paper, adhesives or ink, which can cause your photos to
become yellow and brittle. Lable your envelope or box, using an
archival pencil or pen, with the appropriate theme, event or person.
Include dates of each event if possible and jot down any other ideas
you may have for your future scrapbook page.
- You may want to consider keeping your negatives
in a separate envelope or box and storing them in a fireproof safe.
Consider inviting friends and family over while you are organizing
your older photos. Mothers and grandmothers are great at remembering
your first day at school, your first birthday, or your first day
at the beach.
Chose a theme for your first scrapbook page – Once you have
organized and stored your photographs, chose a set of photographs
for your first scrapbook page. Chose a theme that will be easy to
plan around such as a birthday, holiday, or family relation, such
as mother, brother, etc. Focus on the colors, significant object
or situation, emotion or event relayed in the picture. Chose a common
thread among the photographs you have chosen and start to envision
how you want to express your thoughts. Do you want the colors of
your page to complement the colors of your daughter’s dress
at her first birthday party? Do you want to incorporate Fourth of
July symbols on a page with photographs taken at a Fourth of July
celebration? Do you want to chose bright coordinating colors in
an abstract pattern to convey happiness or joy?
Start with the basic six items:
Album – Albums come in various shapes and
sizes. There are post bound, three ring binders, spiral-bound, strap-style,
hinge or accordion albums. Sizes range from 4” x 6”,
6” x 6”, 5” x 7”, 8 ½” x 11”,
and 12” x 12.” Start with either an 8 ½”
x 11” or 12” x 12” post bound album or three ring
binder as most paper comes in these sizes. Make sure the album you
chose is acid, lignin and PVC free.
Page protectors – These are polypropylene
or clear page protectors that protect your scrapbook page and photos
from creases and accidental spills. Page protectors may be purchased
separately or may come with the album you purchase. Make sure that
the page protectors you purchase are also acid, lignin and PVC free.
Paper – Papers come in a variety of decorative
patterns, colors, and textures. Look for papers that are also acid
and lignin-free to prevent discoloration and fading of your photos.
Paper can be used as a background to a page, as a mat or frame behind
a photo, or as a coordinating accent in combination with a background
Scissor – A pair of sharp straight edged scissor
will be instrumental in cropping photographs, cutting out mats and
shaping your paper. For a more decorative flare, try scissors with
shaped edges such as zig zags, scallops, and wavy designs.
Adhesive – Chosing an adhesive is a matter
of personal preference. Look for adhesives that are “acid
free” and “photo safe.” Adhesives come in four
types: Glues, tapes, sprays and mounting. Glues takes the form of
bottle glue, glue stick or liquid glue pens. Glue sticks are the
easiest to use, goes on smooth and dry quickly. Use glue sticks
if you want to permanently bond your photo. Glue pens are similar
to glue sticks but in a pen format. Glue pens are great for putting
glue exactly where you want it to go. Some glue pens permanently
bond your photo while some provides a repositional adhesive. The
most popular are the tape tab dispensers. Permanent or removable,
tape tabs are double sided self adhesives that allows you to put
the right amount of adhesive right where you want it.
Pen – A good pen is essential to journalizing
your events, thoughts, and descriptions on your scrapbook page.
Journalizing pens come in pigment inks, gels, glitter gels and markers
in a multitude of vibrant colors and pen tips. Common pen tips include
fine, broad, calligraphy, scroll, brush and chisel. Start with a
black pigment ink, fine or medium pen as black ink is easy to read.
items are other great tools to help with your scrapbook page and
to organize your supplies:
Stencil or Template – These terms are used
interchangeably. Stencils or Templates are made out of plastic and
have a variety of cut out shapes. There are two types of stencils
or templates. The first type of stencil has shapes to help you “crop”
photos, create your own “die cuts” or “mats.”
“Crop” or “cropping” refers to cutting out
or eliminating extraneous portions of a picture. For some pictures,
extraneous portions may include background scenery or objects that
do not enhance or add anything extra to the photo. Consider whether
the background adds interest, balance or direction to the photo
before cropping them. Cropping is often the hardest thing for people
to do because it seems unnatural to cut your picture and everything
in the picture is important. To crop your photo, place your stencil
on top of the photo, trace the shape by using a pencil and cut out
or “crop” your photo into a unique shape.
If you feel apprehensive about cropping your photos for the first
time, keep duplicates of your photos.
You can also
use the first type of stencil to make your own “die cut.”
A “die cut” is simply a paper cut out of a shape, object,
or letter. You can use “die cuts” to add dimension or
embellishment to a page.
have varying square or rectangle shapes. When paper is cut out in
these shapes, they make the perfect background for a cropped photo.
The second type
of stencil or template is a page template. Also made of plastic,
these templates help you plan or design your scrapbook page. It
consists of various cut out shapes arranged specifically to add
balance and organization to your scrapbook page. These are great
for beginners or for those that want a quick way to design their
Storage Envelope or Scrapbook Totes – After
a hard day of scrapbooking, you will want to secure your supplies
in a Storage Envelope or Tote. Storage envelopes are made of polypropylene,
most are expandable, and allow you to put your extra paper, scissor,
adhesive and templates in one envelope. The Scrapbook totes are
the most popular as they are roomier and have separate compartments
to store each type of supply. Some totes are in the form of a rolling
suitcase, if you will, backpack, tote bag, rolling cart or storage
box. These storage supplies vary in prices starting with the least
expensive, the Storage Envelope, to the most expensive the rolling
suitcases or “crop” totes.
are on your way to becoming a “savvy scrapper!”