Its true that there is a lot to learn when you begin a craft like scrapbooking. What does a person need, what's the best product to use, should you print your pictures at home, or use an external method, such as Walmart or Costco? Those are all basic questions.
I started scrapbooking quite a few years ago- if I'm honest with myself, its upwards of 15 years ago already. I was invited to a Creative Memories home party, and that's where I had my first taste of scrapbooking. Then, a few years later, I went with my bestie to a friends' house where we made Christmas cards. I honestly didn't feel like I was good enough to start a hobby like this (even though I thoroughly enjoyed it), so didn't really pay much attention to it. I dabbled in this craft off and on for a number of years, but didn't seriously begin scrapbooking until I moved in with Kyle and began our life together in Camrose. Since then, I've been a die-hard fan, with a brief intermission once the kids were born. In the last year, I've been devoting more time to my beloved hobby again- almost always at night, after the kids are in bed (if anyone is wondering how in the world I get so much scrapbooking done), and on 'vacations' the kids take every so often to their grandparents' houses.
It was when I really began to develop a deep love for scrapbooking, that I began to learn what those elusive terms were, my humble scrapbooking roots were blown wide open by all the variety and manufacturers there is out there, as well as techniques and things that can be used to put together a project. And, I still have a lot of learning to do. In this hobby, the learning never ends. There's always something new to try, something new to learn, something new to create.
So, let me show you what I've learned over the years, and what products I like using, and then make a decision for yourself based on what I've shown you and shared with you. You might decide you like using different products than I do, and that's a-ok!
The very basic tools a person will need to begin scrapbooking are: a paper trimmer, some type of adhesive, pictures, scrapbook album and page protectors, paper, craft scissors, craft knife, a journalling pen and embellishments. A really great tool to use to help take the guesswork out of design is using sketches, but they are completely optional and not necessary. I'm going to include sketches into my tools section, because I consider it a tool, too.
That's a lot of items to need, isn't it? Lets break it down a bit further.
So, you're at a craft store, standing in the aisle looking at all the paper trimmers, and you begin feeling overwhelmed because you don't know which one to buy. Don't worry- you'll feel that way when you get to the paper and embellishments! There's so much to choose from, a person could go cross-eyed just trying to figure out what to buy first (if not the entire store!) There are a lot of different brands and types of paper trimmers. Depending on the size of scrapbooking you want to do, a good place to start is determining the size of a paper trimmer you want/need. I like using the Cricut brand of paper trimmer, in the 12-inch size. And, I think that's the most common size of trimmer you'll find. The largest size of paper that scrapbookers use are 12x12 sheets of paper, so this type of trimmer works well to cut that size (and obviously smaller). If you're looking for something a little more industrial, there are also the old type of paper trimmer, when you pull the arm down to cut your paper, rather than pull your trimmer through the paper. Probably when you're a more seasoned scrapbooker, and can't get enough of this hobby, like me, then I would suggest purchasing a trimmer such as that. To begin, something like what I use will suffice. (Refer to the picture above).
Alright, so now that you have a paper trimmer, what will it cut? They are great for cutting standard computer paper, cardboard, card stock, and most types of paper. I find that they don't cut foam too well (yes, I sometimes use craft foam on my projects!!), so craft scissors or a craft knife are better for that type of cutting. If you're looking to cut fabric, using your Cricut or Silhouette or other type of die-cutting machine (should you have one) is great, but so are your scissors and other fabric cutting tools.
Just a note to remember: pick up blade replacements when you purchase your paper trimmer, and make sure the store you regularly shop at carries the replacements that you need. Life will be much easier if you've got what you need!
Next, you'll need adhesive. There are a long list of adhesives, from 3D-dots, to glue dots, to rolls of tape such as what I use...the list goes on. You can purchase your adhesives from specific manufacturers, such as Creative Memories and Stampin' Up, or you can go the general route, and purchase your adhesive from places like Walmart, the Dollar Store, and Michaels (or your local scrapbooking store). They all range in price, depending on what you purchase, and from who, and I don't personally think one is better than the other. Just make sure that your adhesive is archival safe.
I, personally, like to use Herma Vario tape and the tape refills. I used to have the tape gun that goes along with it, but I could never figure out how to replace the tape refills, so lost it somewhere along the way. Actually, I like to use my tape square by square, as it stretches out the usage, and that saves moolah! Whenever I am in Walmart (which is where I purchase my adhesive tape), I buy whatever there is on the shelves, because they never seem to have much of it! (Its a little white, blue and yellow box). There are other types of adhesives that roll out in one long thin strip; once again, what you choose is based purely on your personal preference. There is no right or wrong, and one product isn't any better than the other.
But, there are different types of adhesives, and they are useful for adhering different items to your projects. The Herma Vario tape is excellent for adhering paper together, your photos to the paper and paper embellishments that aren't stickers. If you're interested in adhering something a bit bulkier and heavier, then you'll want to look for something like Glue Dots (which can be found at most craft retailers, and the Dollar Store). They are wonderful for adhering things such as buttons, ribbon, vellum and transparencies (though you'll see the glue 'dot' through the paper, so you may want to use something different, unless you plan to cover up the 'dots' somehow). There's also 3D- dots. These are wonderful for adding dimension and depth to your project. If you want to 'pop up' an item or embellishment on your project, then these are the adhesives for you! They work best on paper-based embellishments and paper.
Also, your adhesives will come in varying sizes, as well, to better suit your crafty needs. I would recommend purchasing one in each size (at first), just to determine which you like using best, or to better fit the size of embellishment you want to add to your project. A smaller embellishment, like a toothpick or small key would require the smaller size glue dot, while larger buttons and other bulkier embellishments don't need the small ones. (I think the sizes you'll be looking for are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 inch glue dots and 3D- dots). The adhesive tape comes in one size.
If you want to make your tape and adhesives last, try to use them sparingly- but as your project dictates. When I adhere paper together and photos to paper, I stick adhesive just in the corners, and sometimes in the middle, just to ensure good adhesion. Also, I've found that attaching paper to cardboard requires a person to use glue dots rather than adhesive tape. The adhesive tape doesn't like the cardboard fibre all that much!!
Pictures. They are pretty important. They are the soul of your project; they are the reason you need all this other 'stuff' to complete this project you've committed yourself to completing. Where do you print your pictures, or do you print your pictures at home? And, what are the best pictures to use?
This is a debate that occurs often between scrapbookers. If the amount of money you spend is a concern, this debate could go both ways: pro- printing at home versus printing externally. Some people feel that they save money by having someone else print the photos for them, but then you've got to deal with the quality of your printed product. (Sometimes the colors could be off, or not up to your personal standards). Others say that printing at home is the cheaper way to go, because rather than having all your pictures printed out in 4x6 format, you can pick and choose as you're printing, what size those pictures (or picture) will be. If you print externally, and decide after you've purchased your photos, that something looks better in an 8x10 format, or smaller, you'll have to go back and re-print those pictures in the correct size.
Still others say that if you've got a great printer, there's no need to print externally. You won't need to purchase ink very often, because certain printers make it possible to 'stock up' on ink, so it lasts longer. Personally, I am very satisfied with our personal printer. (I use the HP Photosmart C4100 Series All-in-One printer, scanner and copier). I find that a color cartridge lasts for a few months; I go through a few packs of photo paper per cartridge (so, at least 200 photos, but probably more). Once again, the decision is yours!
Are pictures necessary to scrapbooking? In a nutshell, yes! Like I mentioned above, its the heartbeat of your layout, or scrapbooking page. But, sometimes, there are memories or things that you want to scrapbook where there are no pictures that relate to that memory. That's ok!!!! Scrapbook that memory without a picture! Layouts don't always need to have a picture, though most of us want pictures.
What are the best pictures to use? You're probably saying 'aren't all pictures the best to use'? Well...yes, and no. I came across a tip a few years ago that's really stuck with me, and helped me decide between which pictures to print, and which to leave alone. Basically, choose the pictures that best tells your story (the one you want to scrapbook), and which evoke the deepest feelings for you. What if those particular pictures aren't the best quality? Use them anyway! Your goal is to document the memory- and sometimes, that fuzzy or cloudy looking picture will actually enhance your layout. So, don't fret! Everything I'm suggesting here is merely a guideline- absolutely nothing is set in stone. Play around and find what suits you best and what makes you happiest.
Where do you put your layouts when you're done completing them? Naturally, you're going to need a scrapbook album and page protectors. Most albums come with page protectors and 'page refills' in them, and beyond that, you can purchase more to add to your scrapbook. (You'll only find about 10 pages per scrapbook and paper refill). What size would you need? Well, that would depend on what size you want to scrapbook in.
You mean there's different sizes??! Yep, there is! The most common sizes are 8.5x11 and 12x12 (and by far, the majority of scrapbookers prefer to scrapbook in 12x12 format). But, if both those sizes strike fear in your core, then try scrapbooking in either 8x8 size or 6x6. You'll find albums in those sizes nearly all over the place. I personally like 8.5x11, mostly because the size isn't as scary to me as 12x12, and secondly, I can scan my finished product!!! I don't know how to scan and then 'stitch' a 12x12 back together. I find that scans upload to the computer quite a bit more quickly and easily than photographs of my finished products do. (Oh, and don't think you need to do the same as me; I only do it so I can blog my projects, share them with you, and upload them to my online gallery at Scrapbook.com). Whether you want to join an online community like I have is totally up to you!
Until recently, I thought there was only one type of scrapbook album: post bound scrapbook albums. Post bound albums have little 'posts' that screw into the album; every so many pages, extenders need to be inserted, to accommodate all your pages. I found very quickly that they don't lie very nicely (they stand very wide when the album is full). I hated them, but thought that was my only option as far as scrapbooks goes. Then I made a discovery, and I am enamoured with it!!! That discovery is 3-ring scrapbook albums! Yes, they come in 3-ring or D-ring styles, too! So far, the only place I've been able to purchase them is online, but you may be able to find them at your local scrapbooking store, or at Michaels.
And, rather than purchasing the album refills, I've found that regular page protectors (if you're scrapbooking in 8.5x11 format) work beautifully to store your finished layouts. Just make sure, once again, that they are acid and lignin free (chemicals used to prolong the life of paper and paper products); but over time, they will still yellow and damage the contents inside. As long as your page protectors are archival safe and lignin free, you're set to go! (I get mine for free from my husbands' place of employment; once a year, they throw out the page protectors that were being used for a variety of things. We take them, instead!!) They are inexpensive at Walmart, though you may have to shop around for the best deal.
Paper. There is a multitude of paper to choose from, and what is the difference between card stock and patterned paper? Is there a secret between using patterns together and color coordination? What other options are there?
A person could blow their entire pay check purely on paper and embellishments. I know I could, if I had my own income. There is a lot to choose from, and that's putting it simply! A person can find scrapbooking paper everywhere; your local Dollar Store carries single sheets, as does Michaels, Walmart (paper packs, and mostly K&Co and more recently, Colorbok), your local scrapbook store, online retailers...the list goes on. Try to find papers that supplement the theme of the layouts you're currently scrapbooking. If that's scrapbooking your child's first few years, then find baby boy or baby girl friendly patterned papers, and gender friendly (or neutral) card stocks. If its your wedding, then find wedding friendly papers. Use papers that are true to your wedding color scheme. That's where I would start. As your hobby grows into an obsession, then start adding to your 'stash'.
What is the difference between card stock and patterned paper? Card stock refers to any solid paper in your stash (that's how I interpret it), and patterned paper is any paper that has a pattern or design to it (including ones that are embossed and glittery or sparkly).
If coordinating your papers is a frustration to you, consider purchasing kits (pre-made kits that have all your paper, embellishments, stamps, etc. included). There is only a certain amount of each in kits, so you'll have to practice using up everything to its utmost). An easier way to achieve coordination, is to purchase manufacturer collections (such as Echo Park, LIttle Yellow Bicycle, Jillibean Soup, etc). Most, if not all, of their papers and embellishments will coordinate within a particular collection, and across all of their collections. Just food for thought!
Craft scissors are very useful in scrapbooking. They are great for cutting out images, as well as other practical uses, such as lifting rhinestones off their packaging, and adhering to your project. (I like using my craft scissors for that very thing!!) Also, you may find a craft knife is useful too. I don't have one, and haven't necessarily needed one yet, but you may find one useful.
Find a good journalling pen. You may not want to use a regular Bic pen to journal on your projects, so look for ones that are marker like. They come in a multitude of colours, so find ones that best coordinate with the theme of your project and the colors found in your papers.
Embellishments work the same as your paper. To begin, just look for a few embellishments that support the theme of your layout- wedding, Christmas, birthday, vacation, you name it. There's lots to choose from, and although buying them all is tempting, you don't need them all! Again, when all you can think about and dream about is scrapbooking, then it may be time to start building your stash!
Now that you're all set and have all the basics you need to put together a great layout, how do you do it? A really great tool to use is a sketch. It'll take the guesswork out of where to put things and how to start your design. But, more on that in a future blog post!
Some basic terms to help take the confusion out of scrapbooking:
Layout: generally refers to the scrapbook page you are making. A short version of that is lo. (pronounced l-o)
crop: this term has a double meaning; first, it means to crop or cut out part of a photo you don't want to use; secondly, it refers to a group of individuals getting together to scrapbook!!
design: refers to the placement of your patterned papers, card stocks, embellishments, photos, etc.
Embellishments/elements: these help to "dress up" your layout, or add some "bling"
Fussy cut: refers to cutting out images or pictures found either within a certain patterned paper, or something you found online, in a magazine, etc.
Die cut: either the use of a machine or type of paper that cuts paper with dies; these are typical of machines like the Silhouette, Cricut, Cuttlebug, etc. This can also refer to embellishments that were cut by a manufacturer with a die.
Mat: This also has a few different definitions. First, there's your work mat (should you decide you want one; they are especially useful if you're going to be using a craft knife. Self-healing mats are the best). Secondly, there's your photo mat or journaling mat. This just refers to the piece of paper or papers that your journalling and photo are adhered to.
Journalling block/spot: the piece of paper or tag (or other type of embellishment) that your journaling is written on
Journalling/hidden journalling: Journalling refers to what you have to say about the memory that you're scrapbooking. This can take many forms (we'll get into that later). Hidden journalling refers to a piece of paper that's tucked behind a photo or other piece of paper, so it isn't totally visible. (You would do this if there is no room for journalling on the main portion of your layout).
Paper Piecing: An embellishment, like the Christmas tree that I made on a recent layout, would define what paper piecing is. Its taking different pieces and shapes of paper to create a whole new image, such as a snowman, turkey, Christmas tree, etc.
Scrap lift: This means you took a layout that you really liked, and copied it. It can also apply to a certain part of a layout that really inspired you, such as the placement of pictures.
Patterned paper/pp: Paper that has a design or pattern to it, including embossed papers. PP is the short version of patterned paper
Card stock: refers to solid colored paper in scrapbooking
LSS: This is short of local scrapbook store
Background: anything on your layout that you'll find aside from the main subject of your layout (specifially your photos).) The sort version of this is bg.
Have I missed anything? Is there anything that is confusing to you? Was this long winded enough for you?! Haha! I'd love some input and feedback. Did you find this article helpful? Would you pass this information on to a friend of yours, or something that you know is struggling with the basics of scrapbooking?
My next post will be looking at basic design principles in greater detail. Hope you drop by again!