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Everyone has to start somewhere !  These tips and tricks and help the novice scrapbooker get started, and become a pro in no time !

A photo album just shows you the photos but a scrapbook tells the story.
A scrapbook can contain photos, mementos, notes about the event and by the page's look and feel, it can depict a 'mood'.

What's the Best Way to Organize Photos?photocollection.gif (49126 bytes) If you have a lot of older photos you'd like to make into scrapbooks:
Start by organizing your photos:

Do you have drawers or boxes of photos to organize or to remove from old 'magnetic' albums?
It might be best for you to divide the photos into themes rather than try to go back and make chronological scrapbooks covering years and years.
Good organizational themes are:
All our Christmases
All our Vacations
All our Moves
Family Reunions
howtothemes.gif (16418 bytes)

Making a scrapbook of each theme is a good idea because you can put them together fairly rapidly--each page doesn't need to be totally unique, in fact you want continuity. It will save you time and money using the same colors of background paper, for instance, and maybe for Christmas alternate red and green backgrounds to depict changing years.

Do a 'cover page' for each year or event and keep it simple and bold--maybe one photo and the date and location. If all your 'cover pages' are similarly styled, there will be a nice continuity throughout.

photoenvelopes.gif (25774 bytes) Themed books are easy and enjoyable to look at and they show how children grow and styles and
fashions change over the years. Even visitors to your home will enjoy flipping thru albums of this
type whereas they would get bogged down on a chronological album showing all the minute details of life. You can have color copies of your themed scrapbooks made so you can give each child his/her own copy.

Do you have a new baby, child or business you'd like to start a scrapbook for?

It is fun to look back and see how a business or hobby grows over the years.
Adding lots of text or 'journaling' as it is called in scrapbook circles really adds to the fun & meaning later.

It is a good idea to start a scrapbook for each young child so you can pass it on to them and let them continue it themselves when they are old enough.

photoalbumsizes.gif (31318 bytes) What Kind of Scrapbook Should I use?

Although there are all sorts of scrapbooks in various sizes on the market, things in the general seem to
have settled into two 'camps', the 12 x 12 inch books, and the 8 1/2 x 11 inch format. Official scrapbooking paper comes in those two sizes. I find that everything in the 12 x 12 format is a good bit more expensive. It is true that you can easily get more photos on this larger page size, but to me the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

The 8 x 11 inch format works best for me because:


*My inkjet printer prints in that size.
*I can use common 3 ring binders while my pages are 'in progress'
*I can put my pages in a post type binder and I can do a double
  layout because the pages are close together and work easily as one
  layout, so I can get a lot of photos on that way.
*There are scads of inexpensive products available in the 8 1/2 x 11 format
  that I can use from office supply, school supply, and art supply stores.

If you use a 3 ring binder, your pages will have the rings and alot of space between them, but it is a good binder to help arrange and work on your pages before you put them in a post type binder.Another advantage of ring type binders is you can find them in different depths in case you want to put three dimensional items such as pens or buttons to remember certain events or job conventions. Quality Logo Products is a company that can inexpensively print your logo on practically anything from coffee mugs to custom key tags.

I never use the spiral non-removable page scrapbook. For one thing, you can not add additional pages and you can't re-arrange your pages. I make too many changes for this type of scrapbook. Some people
must like them as they are still on the market.

What is all the ACID FREE, ARCHIVAL buzz about?

The acid present in certain papers will cause the paper to break down & get brittle and can cause deterioration of your photos touching the paper. I'm sure you have seen the old timey black paged scrapbook whose pages have turned powdery and brittle and crack when you turn the page. This is what you want to avoid. It just makes sense to choose products that will last rather than ones you know won't.

That said, I will now say that in light of the fact that nothing on this earth lasts FOREVER (except the Word of God), I am not a fanatic about worrying if every little sticker or ticket stub is archival. We all have examples of  scraps of paper and mementos that are way old and cause no problems and hang in there pretty well. Use your own judgment about deciding what products to use, keeping in mind that some companies are fanatical about this issue, but they also are the ones who want you to buy THEIR archival products.

What is all this talk of CROPPING? howtophotocrops.gif (27742 bytes)

Cropping a photo is  simply cutting off the boring, messy, or distracting parts of a photo. Generally photos look best with straight sides and clean edges, like a square or rectangle. There are times when an oval or a circle  shape is a great choice. You can also cut along the edges of an object or person and remove the background altogether.  Or cut a portion of the object out leaving the rest of the photo intact. This can result in sort of a jack-in-the-box effect. It really is important to use a tool to help you cut your straight sided photos in perfect 90 degree angles. There are numerous small inexpensive paper cutters to do this job. Cutting a photo with fancy edged scissors is usually not a great idea. It looks best to cut the photo with smooth edges and use the fancy scissors on a colored paper mat around the photo.

Why MAT the photos? howtophotosmatted.gif (35746 bytes)

By having a narrow edge of colored paper around the outside edges of your photos, you can 'bring out' a certain color in the photo. This enhances the visual impact of the photo. You can use more than one color mat at a time. You can also off-set a mat in creative ways. Lots of people cut the mat with fancy scissors to give a distinctive cut edge that ties in with the over all design of the page. To me the simplest way is to glue the photo to the backing paper and just trim around the photo freehand leaving about 1/8 inch of paper all around. With a little practice you can do this quickly. If it is a big photo, I might put glue around the outside edges of the photo and cut out the middle of the mat to save or use elsewhere on the  scrapbook page. Sam's Club and similar stores sell huge packages of acid-free construction paper for cheap that are bright colors and handy for matting photos.

Generally it is a good idea to slide your finished pages into page protectors in your scrapbook. You can get archival ones for a great price at Sam's Club, etc. I like the crystal clear ones alot better than the  non-glare ones. Since your pages will be constructed of various cut papers and attached photos, etc, I find I can use a lot less glue when I know the page will be in a plastic protector in the scrapbook.

What about GLUE?
There are all sorts of special glues on the market. You can spend a lot on fancy adhesives. I like plain old acid-free twist up glue sticks. They are cheap and I can buy them by the dozen at Sam's Club or office supply places. Occasionally I will use a small glue applicator like the ones Fiskers makes when I am gluing cut out letters or very small items. Just don't use rubber cement. It turns brown over time. You just want to use a glue that will not cause your paper to buckle, so you want a glue with no water in it.

Now, I do want to add that in climates with very high humidity I'd not use the twist up glue sticks. Recently I had a crafts project where I used this type of glue on the Gulf Coast which has almost 100% humidity most of the time--and the glue turned gummy and let go--even though it was months after the project was completed. So in areas of high humidity, I'd use the Zig glue pen with is more of a rubber cement type of glue but is made for scrapbooking.

What about INKJET PRINTING? See Our Print Tips Page.

What about my scrapbook page's LAYOUT? See Our Layout Tips Page


There are many scrapbooking books that can give you great ideas and layouts you can copy.

book-joy-of-scrapbooking.jpg (5851 bytes) book-idiots-scrapbooking.jpg (7111 bytes) book-515-scrapbook-ideas.jpg (8705 bytes) book-heartfelt-expressions.jpg (9231 bytes) book-creative-lettering.gif (18258 bytes) book-scrapbook-storytelling.jpg (8279 bytes)

Click on the book to see more !

book-year-scrapbooking.jpg (8044 bytes) book-everything-scrapbooking.jpg (8824 bytes) book-one-minute-journaling.jpg (7000 bytes)
book-great-scrapbooks.jpg (11544 bytes) book-scrapbooking-first-time.jpg (6416 bytes) book-ultimate-scrapbook.jpg (7191 bytes)

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