*This post may contain affiliate links for which I earn commissions.*
This step-by-step guide will elaborate on how to make a scrapbook in easy steps for beginners.
First off, let’s talk briefly about scrapbooking and its definition.
Remember how you used to have fun making a scrapbook as a kid where you simply pasted photos on colored papers, stuck on your mementos and scribbled some wordings on? That’s scrapbooking in its early years.
Scrapbooking has evolved so much so that there’s a whole scrapbooking industry just to cater to scrapbookers. Now there are tons of acid-free papers, acid-free adhesives, acid-free embellishments and many scrapbooking supplies for you to choose from.
Each layout you created is called a scrapbooking layout or page, and a scrapbook is simply a collection of scrapbooking layouts or pages put together in an album.
To create a scrapbook album, you’ll have to start creating scrapbooking pages.
To begin scrapbooking, let’s check out the basic scrapbook essentials you’ll need for creating your first scrapbook pages.
Basic Supplies for Making a Scrapbook
Solid-colored plain or textured, acid-free papers. Usually used as background papers and as photo mats.
- Patterned Papers
Acid-free papers with designs or prints. You can use them as photo mats, as background papers, as part of your page accents and such.
Crafts scissors or a pair of straight-cut scissors you can use to crop your photos and to cut down your papers to desired sizes. Sometimes, you want a pair that can see you through detailed cutting jobs and for this, I’m using the Cutter Bee Precision Scissors.
Acid-free adhesives. There are liquid glue, glue-dots and glue-tapes.
- Journaling Pen
Pens used on your scrapbook layouts should preferably be pigment ink, acid-free, waterproof, fade proof and non-bleeding. Such pens are easily available at scrapbook stores or at the craft sections.
- Scrapbook Album
A scrapbook album is the “house” for your layouts. After completing each scrapbook layout, just slot it into one of the page protectors inside your scrapbooking album for protection and viewing. NOTE: Make sure your scrapbook album comes with page protectors. For the popular D-ring/three-ring scrapbook albums, the page protectors are normally sold separately. So be sure to check if you need to buy the page protectors separately.
You’ll be amazed by the variety of embellishments available to the scrapbookers. From flowers, buttons, ribbons, fibers, sequins, tags to frames, it’s really an eye-popping experience shopping for embellishments. But keep in mind that embellishments are the “extras”.
Basic Steps to Making a Scrapbook
Armed with the above-mentioned basic supplies, let’s move on to the step-by-step guide on how to make a good scrapbook.
1) Brainstorm on a Theme
Think about what you want your scrapbook to be about. Having a specific theme will help you to have a good idea of the kind of pages you’ll like to create. It also makes it easier when you purchase your scrapbook supplies as you can look out for items related to your theme.
There are many themes you can consider, for example, your grandson’s graduation album, your baby’s first year, your wedding and so on.
If you don’t have a theme in mind, that’s perfectly fine! Simply start off with a general album where everything you’ve made will go in here. Then after you’ve been scrapbooking for some time and have a good number of pages, you might want to sort the layouts into different albums. You can have an album for each individual family members or you can have different albums covering travel, holidays, birthdays, graduations, etc.
If you want to focus on creating a scrapbook about your own stories, check out this list of easy scrapbook ideas where the focus is on scrapbooking all about yourself.
2) List of Stories to Tell
For a specific theme, you might want to make a list of the little stories you want to tell or the memories you want to save. Have a big picture of the pages you want to create for your scrapbook.
For example, if you want to scrapbook about your baby’s first year, you could break down the scrapbook into 12 months, and for each month you can create pages about your baby’s developmental milestones or your favorite memories from that month, etc. You can dedicate a page to each month or a few pages to each month. It’s really up to you.
If you’re not working on a specific theme, you won’t have to think in terms of the whole album but rather the next page idea you want to work on. Still, you can make a list of topics you’ll want to scrapbook about and save this list. When you’re ready to scrapbook, you just pick an idea to work on.
To keep it even more loose and free-form, you can just scrapbook about whatever memory that makes you want to create a layout.
3) Photo Selections
Select the photos you’ll like to go into your specific theme album. For the example on the baby’s first year I’ve used above, you can choose a few photos from each of the 12 months to scrapbook about.
If you don’t have a theme in mind, you can choose photos that can help you to tell the story you’ll like to scrapbook about. If it’s event or occasion specific, it’s easy as you just have to pick one or a couple of photos from that event or occasion for your layout.
But if it’s a memory or idea where you find yourself without any photos, you can still choose a photo that’s somehow related to the memory you want to save. Let’s say you meet your idol but didn’t manage to take a photo with that person. You can create a page documenting that memory by using a photo that you already have of them.
4) Placement of Page Elements
For specific themes, a good idea to try is to set a consistent layout design for all the pages for a unified look. By planning your theme page design in advance, it will save you time when you are creating your pages, help you to utilize your theme supplies more fully and give you a harmonious feel to the overall look of your scrapbook.
For a non-theme based scrapbook where you create each page whenever you feel like it, you can simply play around with the placement of elements and try to achieve an eye-pleasing arrangement for that particular layout.
Nevertheless, a little planning will save you from cropping the photos into the wrong sizes, or realizing you’ve run out of space for your journaling or committing to a layout design that doesn’t look right. So have a good idea of where your photos, title, journaling and embellishment should go before you start cropping and pasting.
If you want to save time and create attractive layouts even as a beginner, try using a scrapbook sketch when you’re creating a layout.
5) Crop, Mat & Adhere Your Photos
If cropping of photos is needed, make fade pencil markings on the back of the photos and then crop the photos to your desired sizes with your pair of scissors or paper trimmer.
OK, you can choose to mat or not mat your photos. Matting will make your photos stand out more, draw your eyes to the focal photo and add a pretty border around the photos. You can use cardstock, patterned paper, fabric and other materials as your photo mats.
If you’ve already planned out your placement of elements, you would know where your photos should go and the next step would be to adhere your cropped photos to your scrapbook page with acid-free adhesive.
6) Page Title
A page title can highlight or support the page theme or topic.
You can handwrite your page title, add swirls or creative extras to make your title into a decorative page topper. Stamped letters, sticker letters, stenciled letters are great as page titles too.
You can also create computer-generated titles. If you do anything with your computer and print it out to use on your page, you’re doing “hybrid scrapbooking”. You can use types/fonts to create beautiful titles for your page.
If you’re wondering about coming up with eye-catching page titles or need a little inspiration on what to write on your page, take a look at this ebook, 5,000 Scrapbook Titles & Quotes.
Journaling is important, It helps you to tell a good story. Photos are there to support your story. So do spend some time thinking about your words.
For your journaling, you can choose to add in names, dates, captions, lyrics, quotes, heartfelt letters and such.
You can either print out your journaling using computer fonts or handwrite them.
When I first started, most of my journaling was handwritten because I didn’t want to buy the ink refill for my printer. ;) Later on, I did experiment with computer fonts for a short period of time before I ran out of ink again. That was when I went back to handwriting my journaling.
So if you want to save money or add a more personal or whimsical touch, handwrite your journaling.
But in terms of readability, I would have to say that if you use classic type computer fonts such as Arial, Century Gothic, Times New Roman, Garamond, etc in your journaling text, it’s usually easier to read than handwriting. If you’re aiming for a clean and simple look to your pages, go for the classic font types in journaling.
8) Dressing Up with Embellishments
Embellishments can enhance your page as interesting decorative pieces. If you want to add dimension, glitz or texture to your page, try adding on an embellishment or two.
You can glue your embellishments, sew them or tie them with ribbons to your layout. It’s up to your imagination.
Try not to go overboard with embellishments though and don’t let them overshadow your story. Embellishments are the extra bits to your scrapbook page. It’s optional.
9) Protecting and Housing Your Layouts
After you’ve completed your page, it’s ready to go into one of the page protectors inside the scrapbook album you’ve chosen so your page is protected from getting torn, dusty or damaged.
Continue to create more pages to go into your scrapbook!