It’s official: Americans love scrapbooking.
In fact, making a scrapbook was our first foray into the craft world. And we still make dedicated albums for all the major events and milestones that happen in our family.
It’s the best way to preserve memories while also making beautiful art that you can savor for years to come.
We’ve compiled this guide to everything you need to know about scrapbooking.
Beginners, think of this as your Scrapbooking 101 class. And for those of you who are a little more experienced, we hope you’ll find some new inspiration and ideas in this guide.
Let’s get into it…
- 1 What is Scrapbooking?
- 2 Scrapbook Ideas
- 3 Scrapbook Supplies
- 3.1 Scrapbook Paper
- 3.2 Scrapbook Albums
- 3.3 Other Essential Scrapbook Supplies
- 3.4 The Best Photo Printers for Scrapbooking
- 3.5 The Best Die Cutters for Scrapbooking
- 4 So… What’s Digital Scrapbooking?
What is Scrapbooking?
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s cover all the need-to-know details first.
What actually is a scrapbook?
We like to think of it as a crafty photo album.
Essentially, it’s a collection of photos in a book that’s usually centered around one event or milestone — a wedding, for instance, or your baby’s first years.
As well as photos, the scrapbook is decorated with mementos and artistic flourishes, as well as some journaling to narrate the photos.
Like we mentioned in the introduction, it’s a way to preserve memories in an artful way. A time capsule from a major event.
How you choose to scrapbook is entirely up to you.
We like to include little sketches and paintings of our memories alongside our photos, while other people focus more on crafty presentation or the journaling aspect of scrapbooking.
The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment and see what you like to do and what you think looks best.
Later on in this guide, we’ll show you some beautiful layouts that might inspire you to create your own.
So, what sort of thing can you scrapbook?
Anything you want.
We’ve compiled a list of different scrapbook ideas and scrapbook pages you might want to consider, but remember that this list isn’t exhaustive.
If you can capture it in a photograph, you can scrapbook it!
- Friendships — a ‘highlight’ reel!
- Day trips
- Road trips
- Weight loss journey
Once you’ve got all the photos that you want to include, you’ll need to collect other memorabilia to decorate your scrapbook pages with.
Here are the bits and bobs that we try to keep and collect for a later scrapbooking opportunity:
- Maps (great for vacation and road trip scrapbooks!)
- Cards and letters
- Party invitations
- Movie theater ticket stubs
- ID bracelet from hospital stays (great for commemorating births!)
- Pet tags
- Airline tickets and boarding passes
- Newspaper articles from the day (again, great for births!)
Scrapbook Page Ideas
So now that you’ve collected all your photos and memorabilia for your scrapbook pages, you’re probably wondering how to make them look pretty.
Of course, this is where crafting comes in.
Here are a few scrapbook ideas that we’ve been known to include on our pages:
- 3D envelopes for storing notes
- Die cut shapes and frames
- Map cut outs
- Ribbon weaving
- Fold-out pages
- Dried flowers
- 3D paper flowers
Scrapbook Layouts and Inspiration
If you’re wondering where to find scrapbook ideas, your first port of call should definitely be Pinterest.
This site is an absolute haven for all things crafty, and we’ve found more ideas for scrapbook pages on here than any other blog ever.
Here’s a look at our scrapbook pins we’ve compiled for your inspiration:
Scrapbook blogs are also a good source of inspo. Here are a few of our favorites:
If you really want to take your scrapbooking to the next level, we’d definitely recommend taking a specialist course in the craft.
These online courses will teach you the skills you need to become a pro scrapbooker — we’ve taken a few of them over the years and have found that they’ve been the key to developing new ideas and just generally making more beautiful pages.
Here’s a few which might be of interest to you:
- 24 HD video lessons
- Taught by Close To My Heart, Monica Wihongi, Jill Broadbent and more
- 11 HD video lessons
- Taught by Nicole Samuels
- 18 HD video lesson
- Taught by Lain Ehmann
- 39 HD video lessons
- Taught by Becky Higgins
OK… now you’ve got some idea about how to scrapbook, you’ll need to get yourself kitted out with a whole host of supplies.
But before you go buying up the entirety of Amazon’s craft stock, we recommend first buying the essentials and then adding to your supplies slowly.
One of the best things about scrapbooking is that anyone can do it, regardless of budget. You only need a few low-cost items to get started.
As you spend more time with it, then you might want to consider investing in more professional equipment to take your work up a notch.
But there’s plenty of time for that.
In the meantime, we’ll run through the essentials, plus a few extras that you might want to consider.
Scrapbook paper is probably the most important tool in your arsenal when it comes to scrapbooking. You can’t do too much without it!
You can buy all sorts of plain and patterned paper at craft stores both in store and online.
Here are our go-to stores:
You can also find a huge amount of scrapbook paper on Amazon — and they’re often included in some good deals too.
Take a look at these, for instance:
Another must-have in the world of scrapbooking is the album itself.
You can buy some absolutely beautiful scrapbook albums online, although if you’re on a budget, you can easily buy some cheaper ones.
Personally, we tend to stick to buying the cheaper versions and beautifying them ourselves!
Here’s a few to check out on Amazon:
Other Essential Scrapbook Supplies
The scrapbook paper and the album are usually the major purchases — or at least the ones we buy most often when it comes to our scrapbooking.
There are other little things that you’ll need as well, although you may have some of these stored in your craft room already!
- Sharp scissors
- Glue tape dispenser/glue dots
- Waterproof and fade proof pens
- Page protectors
- Embellishments (unless you make your own!)
- Storage box/bag for your supplies
Now that you’re stocked up on all your essentials, you may want to look at some of the products that can help you take your scrapbooking to the next level.
Remember: these aren’t essential and won’t be suitable for everyone. Only the most dedicated scrapbookers need apply!
The Best Photo Printers for Scrapbooking
Everyone knows that the biggest star in a scrapbook is always the photos.
After all, the entire scrapbook should be based around the photos, with everything else only there to make the photos look beautiful and in their best light.
So it makes sense that having a good photo printer will lead to better photos and therefore, better scrapbooks.
Ideally, you need a printer that’s capable of printing photos that won’t fade over time — this is why your normal household printer probably won’t be up to the job.
The best photo printer will print photos that will look and feel as though they’ve been developed professionally, without you even needing to leave your craft room!
These don’t come cheap. You should think of them as an investment into the longevity of your scrapbooks.
Maybe add them to the Christmas wish list!
This Canon Selphy is one of the best photo printers on the market right now.
You can connect to it via WiFi and upload photos to it straight from your phone — it’s seriously easy to use!
Plus, it’s not too expensive.
- Wireless printing
- WiFi connection
- Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
- Compact and portable (optional battery pack)
- Offers 4 different print sizes — including sicker, postcard and label size
- Image editing features
- Excellent print quality
- Reasonable price
- WiFi printing can be slow (but you can also connect via USB)
- The battery is expensive (so we only use it via mains power)
2nd Choice: HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer
If you’re looking for a photo printer that’s ultra portable and perfect for scrapbooking, the HP Sprocket might be the machine for you.
It’s certainly small but it will create beautiful 2″ x 3″ snapshots on sticky-backed paper that you can simply straight into your scrapbook.
There’s also a brilliant HP Sprocket app that you can use to customize and edit your photos beforehand.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Customization available on the app
- Portable and lightweight — about the size of your cell phone
- You can upload photos direct from your mobile and social media accounts
- Borderless printing
- Rechargeable battery
- Can’t print from USB drive
- It can only print one size
If you’re looking to spend some serious cash, you can’t go wrong with the Canon PIXMA Pro-100.
Unlike the portable printers we’ve profiled above, you can print really large photos in truly excellent quality — up to 13″ x 19″.
The color of the print is true to the original photograph, and it’s no wonder that the PIXMA Pro-100 is a favorite amongst photographers as well as scrapbookers.
- Optimum Image Generating System for best quality photos
- 4800 x 2400 dpi with fine technology — so much detail!
- Can print up to a massive 13″ x 19″
- 8 individual inks
- Airprint and mobile device printing compatible
- Compatible with Windows and Mac
- Borderless printing
- WiFi and ethernet networking
- Hi-Speed USB connectivity
- Not portable
The Best Die Cutters for Scrapbooking
Most of you will start off buying embellishments for your scrapbook, but eventually you’ll probably want to start making your own.
The way to create these beautiful shapes is using a die cutting machine — a machine that uses steel cutting dies to cut certain shapes into thin materials, like paper, foil, lace and much more.
Particularly sophisticated die cutting machines — more commonly known as craft cutters — will be able to cut shapes out of a huge variety of different materials and won’t require the use of dies to do so. Instead, you will be able to design your ‘cuts’ on specialist computer software which the machine will cut automatically.
A lot of people — including us — use their die cutters to make vinyl decals and stickers to add to our scrapbooks too.
In the meantime, here are the best die cutters for scrapbooking…
Our Favorite: Sizzix 660425 Big Shot Cutting/Embossing Machine
The Sizzix Big Shot is a real cult classic die cutting machine that has got thousands of die hard fans behind it.
It’s incredibly easy to use, and allows you to both cut shapes and emboss onto a variety of thin materials. The machine is compatible with a huge number of different dies so you can truly create any shape you want.
Here’s a great video demonstrating how to use the Big Shot:
- Easy to use
- Compact and portable
- Low price
- Can cut shapes up to 6″ wide
- Comes with an extended multipurpose platform for larger cuts
- Perfect cuts — even for intricate shapes
- It’s mechanic and not computerized so you have to use the arm crank to do the cut yourself
- Doesn’t offer the same creative freedom as a more expensive cutting machine
The Cricut Cuttlebug is very much like the Sizzix Big Shot and is another simple die cutter.
It promises to work with a wide range of materials, including tissue paper, foils, acetate ribbon and even thin leather — great news for experimental scrapbookers!
It also comes in a lovely mint color.
- Excellent quality cuts, even on intricate details
- Comes with a bonus embossing folder and two metal dies
- Works with a variety of different dies
- Portable and lightweight
- Easy to use — even for kids
- Suction isn’t so great on the bottom of the machine
- Like the Sizzix above, you don’t get the same creative freedom as more capable machines
Luxury Choice: Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the latest desktop craft cutting machine that goes far and beyond what the Sizzix and the Cuttlebug can do with die cutting.
Firstly, it’s a computerized machine that you can hook up to the smartphone app, your tablet or computer. You can create your own designs (or buy them from the store) and the Explore Air 2 will automatically cut them for you. It can work with over 100 different materials and can basically cut whatever you design.
It can also write at the same time as cutting — great news for scrapbookers who like including quotes or who don’t like to do their own calligraphy.
It’s a brilliant machine. You can read an in-depth review of it here.
- Excellent cut quality
- You have a huge amount of creative freedom to design and cut what you like
- Fully computerized and automatic
- Can cut 100+ different materials, up to around 0.5″ thick
- Fast mode for quick cuts
- Ready made scrapbooking projects available
- It will adjust its cut settings automatically according to what material you use
- Bluetooth connectivity for wireless cutting
- More expensive than the simple die cutting machines
- Not particularly portable
Phew — that’s it, that’s all the scrapbook supplies you need to get started on your crafting journey.
So… What’s Digital Scrapbooking?
We’ve got to be honest… we’ve only ever done traditional scrapbooking.
In fact, we’d never even heard of digital scrapbooking until we started researching for this post.
So what is it then?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
Digital scrapbooking is done on your computer — usually with some specialist software — to create a virtual version of a ‘normal’ scrapbook.
This obviously makes it super easy to use digital photos in your scrapbooks, and you’ll have to scan in your other keepsakes and memorabilia you want to include.
While you don’t have the same 3D object at the end of your scrapbooking process, there are certain benefits to digital scrapbooks:
- Cheaper and quicker to make
- Better for the environment
- Ready made scrapbook pages for you to add your photos and designs to
And, of course, you can print them out at the end if you still fancy having something to hold and store in your hands.
There’s plenty of free digital scrapbook software to choose from online, while you can also use professional software like Adobe Photoshop if you’re feeling confident at creating your own designs from scratch.
We’ve also found a few more Creative Live courses that should be able to guide you well with digital scrapbooking too:
- 34 HD video lessons
- Taught by Michelle Stelling
- 20 HD video lessons
- Taught by Tiffany Tillman-Emanuel
OK… now that’s everything you need to know about scrapbook ideas, scrapbooking supplies and everything about how to make a scrapbook.