Woman First

Start Scrapbooking!

It’s easy to build a scrapbook. To make a simple page like the fireworks page above, glue a photo on cardstock. Use letter stickers to form the title and date. Add borders and other embellishments. Then complete the memory with a hand-written description.

by Stephanie Halinski

Through scrapbooking, you can go beyond standard photo collections and discover new ways to creatively preserve memories and express yourself. Just ask Kate Haddad, a mom of three from Lansdale, PA who has been scrapbooking for 12 years.

“Scrapbooking is a creative outlet for me. I get to use my creativity to produce something that has value to my family,” she says. “There’s a great camaraderie. I’ve met a lot of great ladies through the hobby and it’s been a really nice way for me to meet new friends.”

“In this economy, people are looking for family-centered activities that are bonding and lasting,” says Edie Malin, creative director for Creative Inkling, a scrapbook store in Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA. “If you can’t take a vacation, then take a few days and scrapbook last year’s vacation pictures. You can re-live great memories and promote a healthy outlook for better times.”

Photos are the heart of scrapbooks, but their pages usually include written notes and decorative extras. As a beginner, you don’t need to spend much to create beautiful pages.


Scrapbook layouts often focus on family members and friends, vacations, holidays and special events such as birthdays or weddings. Here are other topics that can make a good scrapbook or page within one.

 A typical day or week in your life

Memories from your childhood

Your child’s first day of school

Your child’s favorite school subjects or activities

Your child’s dreams for the future, or yours

Something cute or funny your child says

Quirks or habits

 Meaningful song lyrics or your iPod playlist

Your home or favorite room

Favorite places in your town

“The key is preserving your memories and that can be done with a few sheets of cardstock, some photos and minor embellishments,” says Jennifer Celeste, owner of Celestial Creations & Scrapbook Supplies, a Wilmington, DE-based online store.

“There are so many aspects to scrapbooking and you can involve yourself so deeply that it becomes a true hobby,” Malin adds. “But as a novice, you can scrapbook on a budget and have beautiful layouts you can show off with pride.”

Here’s how you can begin to create your scrapbooks and reap the benefits.

Share your family’s story and discover a new art. “The primary focus in scrapbooking is the story,” says Malin. What memories does your favorite vacation photo or your daughter’s kindergarten portrait conjure up? Begin a scrapbook by placing a photo on a page, then jot down your thoughts or memories next to it.

Or, if you have a knack for design, you can first select products such as decorative papers or embellishments (stickers, ribbons, etc.) that coordinate with the theme of the story you want to convey. For example, if you want to scrapbook your recent shore vacation photos, look for dolphin stickers or sand-colored paper to decorate your pages.

For More Info

Here’s where to find information, meet other crafters, go shopping, get photos printed, build online photo books or find classes, challenges and scrapbook gatherings (“crops”).

A.C. Moore, brick-and-mortar stores, online store, www.acmoore.com

Big Picture Scrapbooking, online classes, www.bigpicturescrapbooking.com

Celestial Scrapbooks, online store, photo books, classes, gatherings, www.celestialscrapbooksupplies.com or www.celestialscrapbooks.com

Creative Inkling, brick-and-mortar & online store, classes, gatherings, Lahaska, PA. 215-794-1477, www.creativeinkling.com

Michaels, brick-and-mortar stores, online store, www.michaels.com

Scrapbook.com, online store, community and classes, www.scrapbook.com

Scrapbooking Challenge Websites, www.squidoo.com/scrapbookingchallengesites

Shutterfly, photo books & printing, www.shutterfly.com (search: scrapbook)

Snapfish, photo books & printing, www.snapfish.com/scrapbooking

Two Peas in a Bucket, online store, challenges, community and classes, www.twopeasinabucket.com

If you’d like a ready-made option to assemble a layout (a scrapper’s term for a designed page), kits are available that include products to create layouts or an entire album, says Celeste. “This is a good option if you are afraid of matching papers because everything in the kit goes together,” she says.

If you’re looking for instruction or inspiration, you can take a scrapbooking class. You can also find friendly online challenges where the task is to create a layout based on a color scheme, a sketch (a guide for arranging photos, titles and other items on a page) or other design starting points. (See sidebar.)

Organize photos and enhance your photography skills. A scrapbook can provide a creative method to organize your photos. Don’t feel pressure to use every photo or create your scrapbook in chronological order. Just make sure you date your pages. Keep typical photo albums on hand to file photos that don’t make it into your scrapbooks. “I try to pick photos that tell the best story and try to make sure I have at least one photo with everyone in it,” says Celeste, on choosing which photos to scrapbook.

Scrapbooking can encourage an interest in photography, too. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to snap more photos at your son’s soccer game or at family gatherings. If you don’t have many photos, then collect mementos: a program from a dance recital, a map from a recent trip or an A+ report card. Such items help tell your story and “can — and should! — take the place of a photo on a layout,” Malin says.

Make it a family activity. While scrapbooking is an enjoyable personal activity, it’s also fun to share the hobby with your kids. You can include photos they take, or ask them to write the journaling (notes about a photo or memory) on a layout. Or you can sign up for a class together. “Teens and kids need immediate gratification and nothing fits the bill as well as a completed project,” Malin says.

Stephanie Halinski is calendar editor of MetroKids and an avid scrapbooker.