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Simple Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook Page

Getting Started Scrapbooking
by Rebecca Ludens

Once you decide that you want to start scrapbooking that first page can be a little daunting. Choosing an album, gathering supplies, and getting out your photos are just the beginning of a hobby that will preserve your family's most treasured moments for years to come. In the book Scrapbooking: A Step-by-Step Guide to Preserving Your Memories from Creating Keepsakes Magazine the following eight steps are presented as a beginner's guide to getting started:

  1. Sort your photos into themes or topics and select a set to work on.
  2. Select 2-3 colors of acid-free paper or cardstock that will work well with your photos.
  3. Pick one photo to be the main focus of your page.
  4. If needed, crop your photos. (See below when to crop and when not to crop.)
  5. Select photos to mat. This is a good way to highlight the focal point photo.
  6. Add journaling.
  7. Add a few extras (such as stickers and embellishments).
  8. Arrange all items on your pages and adhere.

 While working through these steps there are a few things you will want to consider.

  1. What type of album do you want to create? Are you planning to start a chronological scrapbook that follows your family's events year after year, expanding into more scrapbooks as the pages fill? Do you want to create an album for a specific event or for a gift - an album that will have a definite beginning and ending point. While you think about this, read "Permission Granted" by Stacy Julian to get an idea of how "Simple Scrapbooking" works and see if this may be the direction that you wish to go. If you have 40+ years of pictures in boxes, you probably will not be planning to scrapbook everyone of them; therefore theme albums such as "All the Places We Have Lived" or "My Favorite Photos" may be perfect projects to get you started.

  2. Journaling is very important. Your pictures only tell half of the story and with out the narration to go with them their meaning may become lost over the years. Think about not only including the basic "who, what, when, and where" style of journaling but also incorporating the feelings, thoughts, and memories that these pictures bring to you. This type of journaling will more accurately and interestingly convey who you are when read by future generations.

  3. And last, think before you crop. Many new scrapbookers begin by cutting their photos into shapes with templates or decorative scissors. Before you crop your photos keep these tips in mind:

To Crop or Not to Crop:

It is pretty easy to get carried away with cropping and then wish later that you had cut a little less off of some of your photos. Keep in mind some things your should never crop:

  1. Do not crop Polaroid snapshots - The chemicals inside the photos can leak and ruin the picture and your page. Instead, if you choose to, you could conceal the photo edge with paper frames on your layouts.
  2. Do not crop out all historical or place references - cutting too much out of a photo can remove a significant part of the story.
  3. Limit the number of shapes that you crop your photos into on each layout. Sketches by Becky Higgins has hundreds of fabulous examples of layouts and sketches for layouts that use rectangular or square photos. Take a peek at her sketches and layouts online for some great ideas.

From “Trends in Photo Cropping” by Rebecca Ludens:

Trimming your photographs is one of the first things that most scrapbookers are taught. We do this for several reasons: to be able to include more pictures on a page, to create a focal point for a picture, or to remove distracting background images. As you flip though recent scrapbooking magazines and idea books, you will find that cropping has taken on some new trends that can greatly enhance the overall look of your scrapbook pages. Here are three cropping methods to consider before you cut into your very next photo.

  • Cropping for Balance and Focus
  • Cropping and Enlarging
  • Cropping Creatively

Read more about each of these in the full article by clicking here.

You can find more articles on this site that will help you get started scrapbooking by clicking here.

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