How to Get Started in Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking can be a little overwhelming with all the paraphernalia that is associated with it. It doesn't really have to be all that difficult though. Scrapbooking can be as simple as taping a photo and a ticket stub on a colorful sheet of paper or you

Gathering Your Supplies

If you have never scrapbooked before you may wonder what you need to buy. You only need three basic supplies to get started.

  • A collection of coordinating paper
  • A tape runner dispenser with double stick tape and refills
  • A binder

When you go to your local hobby store, you will likely be presented with a gazillion options for just those seemingly three simple items, but don’t be deterred. Start with a single project with one theme. Select items and photos from a single event, holiday or activity.  You can expand the theme later once you get your feet wet. Plan to create just a handful of pages, maybe five or six to start. Decide on some general design ideas. You may want it fun and funky, or serious and dignified, or feminine flowers. Perhaps it will be something antique looking for sepia toned photos.

Selecting Decorative Paper

When selecting paper, you can choose single sheets or you can buy a packet of coordinating designs and colors. For beginners, I recommend selecting a packet that has the tone and theme of your selected items. You can be sure that everything will match. Packets are generally cheaper than buying single sheets and you will have lots of leftovers for future projects. You will have to decide if you want to go with the 12 x 12 inch paper or the 8 ½ by 11 inch pages.

Tape and Adhesives

Tape runners come in a variety of sizes. For your first project, buy one of the smaller refillable tape runners. These are often sold in multipacks. Be sure that the refills are the same brand and configuration for your tape runner. I recommend that you go ahead and buy a multipack of refills at the same time as buying the dispenser. Look for archival scrapbooking tapes. Most everything in the scrapbooking section will be archival so it won’t be difficult to find. You may find that you like using glue sticks or other adhesives. Just look for the acid free designation on the label.

Binder or Album

A binder will be your most expensive item in your start-up project. Look for a scrapbook that has the capability to be expanded. There are removable posts that can be changed out to create space for more pages. You can also go to the office supply store and buy an inexpensive three ring binder. 

Download Templates

If you are not certain how to layout your project, you can download templates from many scrapbooking websites. Just do a search on “scrapbooking templates and layouts”.  There will be hundreds available to address just about any theme along with suggested embellishments and instructions.  You may want to state your theme when searching for layouts and templates. You might want to search on “Free scrapbooking templates for: school days or weddings or summer vacation” Select the free ones to get started.

Not everyone needs to do this, but it is sometimes helpful for the beginner to download a few layout ideas or at least browse through some images.

Layout

Once you have your photos and memorabilia selected and your paper selected, spread out the items and papers on a big table and start arranging the items on the paper. Once you have an arrangement that you like, pick up one item at a time and use the tape runner on the paper and stick down the picture.

Take a Class or Workshop

A wonderful way to expand your knowledge of the tools and techniques of scrapbooking, card making and crafting with paper is to sign up for a free or low cost class at your local scrapbooking store or hobby center. It is so much fun and you will find lots of friendly people to help get you moving in the right direction. Before you know it you will have drawers and shelves full of cool tools and embellishments.

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Sandy James
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