Learn How to Make a Scrapbook Album
Many people ask me about how to make a scrapbook album. For nine years I lived and breathed scrapbooks. My life revolved around scrapbooking, paper, and stickers. I owned a small scrapbook store which I closed in August 2011. For those nine years, I taught many people how to make a scrapbook album, how to use the Cricut, and how to make cards.
Even when I wasn’t at the store, I was always thinking about new projects, new supplies, new ideas, and what to make next. My evening reading material was the latest scrapbooking magazine and a supply catalog. Owning a Scrapbook Store was a lot of work and was very time consuming, but I met so many wonderful people, made so many friends, and taught so many people how to save their memories by making scrapbooks.
How to Make a Scrapbook Album – Getting Started
Here is a list of the basic steps when learning how to make a scrapbook album. Once you get started you will find that there are other tools and supplies that make scrapbooking a lot of fun!
- The first step to learning how to make a scrapbook album is gathering your photos and sorting them. Most people scrapbook their photos by date, but they can also be sorted by theme. If you have TONS of photos, sort by decade first, then go back to each decade and sort again. It is best to scrapbook the most recent photos first if you have alot. If you start from the very beginning, you may get discouraged when you see that it’s difficult to get caught up. Also, you will remember details about the most recent photos for when you do the journaling.
- Decide what type of scrapbook you’re going to make. Will you be making a family scrapbook or one for each of your kids? Some people that have an abundance of photos only do special occasions like Christmas or Birthdays. You may wish to concentrate on certain years, like a baby’s first year or a special trip you took. If you want to save your baby’s momentos, visit Baby Scrapbook Ideas.
- When learning how to make a scrapbook album, you will need to learn about choosing different types of scrapbook albums. Albums come in many sizes. If you don’t have many photos, you can choose to do a smaller size like 6×6 or 8×8. If you have alot of photos, large photos, certificates, or newspaper clippings, you will need a 12×12 scrapbook album. There are three basic styles of albums, strap hinge (Creative Memories Style), Post Bound (Most common in craft stores), and Binders. All three have advantages and disadvantages. Most of mine are post bound albums, but I am finding that since I have so many photos, binder scrapbooks may be a better choice for me. When buying refills make sure the refills are the same manufacturer as the album.
Tools and Supplies
- When getting started, you may not have a lot of tools to choose from. As you learn more about scrapbooking, you will learn which tools work best for you. Gather your scrapbooking tools. The basic tools needed to get started are a 12″ paper trimmer, pair of scissors, adhesive, corner rounder, and black archival pen. There are tons of other tools to choose from. Once you get started, you’ll other tools like Die Cutting Machines and Punches that make scrapbooking alot of fun! Below, I have highlighted the brands of scrapbook tools that I use.
- You will also need scrapbooking papers, stickers, and embellishments. I recommend kits if you’re just starting out. Kits will have a variety of papers, stickers, and other “doo dads” to make your page pretty. Everything will be color coordinated, and there are often ideas on the packaging to get you started.
- Even years after learning how to make a scrapbook album, you will still need some inspiration! Some people are naturally creative and can do it on their own. Others struggle and need a guide or some ideas to get them started. If you need a kick start, search the Internet for Scrapbooking Sketches, or look through magazines and books. Pinterest has tons of scrapbook layout ideas!
Easy Scrapbook Layout for Beginners
The most difficult part of learning how to make a scrapbook album, is coming up with ideas for pages. Here is a quick and easy scrapbook layout for beginners. Trim photos to 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. You will be able to fit 9 photos on a page, but if you don’t have that many photos, you can add squares of solid cardstock or coordinating patterned paper.
You can see how I decorated the blank squares with rub ons and stickers. I also added dates and captions on the background cardstock.
Here are some Simple Scrapbook Layout Ideas that will help you get started.
12″ Paper Trimmer
The most important tool you will need when learning how to make a scrapbook album is a 12″ paper trimmer. I like the Fiskars brand, because it lays flat and fits nicely into my scrapbooking tote. It is also a good price if you don’t want to spend alot of money on a premium paper trimmer. You can purchase refill blades so the trimmer will last for years. The trimmer has measurements on the bottom and sides so that you can trim photos, cardstock, and patterned papers.
Honeybee Scissors by EK Success
Honeybee scissors aren’t a necessity when learning how to make a scrapbook album, but they sure are helpful! I love these Honeybee Scissors and couldn’t make a scrapbook without them! They are very sharp all the way to the pointed tip which makes them great for cutting tiny things. They are also coated with teflon so that if you cut tape, they will wipe clean very easily.
When I teach people how to make a scrapbook, they are amazed by this little gadget. A corner rounder is a punch that rounds the corners of your photos. It gives your photos and photo mats a nice neat finish.
You can’t make a scrapbook without adhesive! The biggest mistake that I see beginners make is not using the correct adhesive. Wet glue like Elmer’s or Tacky Craft Glue will wrinkle your photos and papers, leaving an ugly mess.
I love EZ Runner tape runners. They are my favorite scrapbook adhesive. They run very smoothly right to the end of the roll. I’ve been using this for years! I have tried many others, but I always come back to the EZ Runner. It is great for people who don’t have alot of strength in their hands, as it is large and easy to hold. It doesn’t take much pressure to roll on the adhesive. I recommend this for older scrapbookers who have lost dexterity in their hands.
When you move on to more advanced techniques, you will need other types of adhesives like glue dots, glue pens, and ribbon glue. To learn about other adhesives, visit Scrapbooking Adhesives.
Pens for Journaling in your Scrapbooks
Choose good quality, fine tip pens for journaling in your scrapbooks. They should be marked archival. Zig and Sakura are good brands to choose. When learning to make a scrapbook, journaling is probably the hardest part, but it’s important to have dates and names recorded for future generations!
What to do with Polaroid Pictures
Instant Polaroid pictures were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s, and I think we all have a few in our collection. DO NOT cut Polaroid pictures! They contain chemicals that will ruin your photos. Use them just as they are.
Get rid of Magnetic Photo Albums
Magnetic Photo Albums (the kind with sticky pages that have the plastic covers that fold over) are bad for your photos! These types of albums contain lots of chemicals that cause your photos to fade. If you have trouble getting photos out, try using dental floss and a hair dryer.
After reading these tips, I hope you’re ready to make your first scrapbook!
Here are some other posts that will help you.
Great article! I think people feel so overwhelmed with the amount of photos they have and feel like have to start at the beginning. Good advice on jumping right in. Just start with your last holiday or vacation and go from there.
Thanks Marie! I agree. There’s so much to do that it’s hard to know where to start.
Such a great post!
Love your practical tips and ideas. Scrapbooking can get overwhelming when you are first starting out but it gets easier in time and with more supplies 🙂
Thanks Crystal. Yes, it is so much fun!
I am so glad I found this site. Thank you for your generosity. I have 11 grandchildren and 4 girls with family’s. I live only 125 miles from them but in the winter I don’t want to drive the pass anymore. I used to drive in the snow everyday but the older I get the more i think I will just wait until late spring to go. Actually I think it’s their turn to come to mom. LOL. The first one I’m making is for me! Thank you again for this wonderful page. God Bless You!
You’re welcome Rhonda. You will find alot of joy in the scrapbook process as well as in the finished projects.