ABM_1429491277When I started reading blogs that covered scrapbooking I got super overwhelmed by everything that went into the process. I’ve always been an artsy type, but the world of scrapbooking was different from other crafty things such as painting and drawing and jewelry making. However, I knew that I wanted to document the lives of my kids and to avoid the temptation of throwing photos in an album and then tucking it away for the next decade or so would require some ingenuity on my part. As part of the Capturing Life in 52 Weeks photography class I’ve takenwith the ladies of A Beautiful Mess, I was faced with the task of creating a scrapbook. Or, you needed to find one at the very least. Well, I’m happy to say I found not one but three scrapbooks, even though I only allowed myself to buy two of them.


If you look closely at the bluish-pink one then you’ll notice that it’s actually not a photo album. I found this little beauty at… Staples! Yes. Yes. The office supply giant has these perfectly sized little mini notebooks that are most excellent for turning into photo albums.

In the last installment of Scrapbook Art Sunday we discussed finding your artsy style. This time, we’re going to talk about mastering the basics of the elements you need to get started. For me, I’m all about decorative frillies. My scrapbook will be filled with stickers and background scenery and stamped pages and all kinds of fun things inside the pages.


1. Decide what you’re trying to accomplish. For me, I knew going into this project that our ten-year dream album was going to need A LOT of photos. That meant I’d need to decide between whether I was going to take on the expense of having the photos developed at a store or printing them myself. I went with the latter option simply because I have the time and experience with Lightroom (I use the mobile version almost exclusively, BTW) to make the pictures truly pop off the pages. A word of advice about Lightroom or any of the Adobe products… actions (preset filters) are your best friend.

2. Decide on your theme. To successfully pull off that thrown together, but still works together look that you see on the pro scrapbooking sites, then you’ll still need to have a theme that ties together all the basic elements: colors of the binder, color of the paper, the subject in your photos and the fillies you choose to go along with all that. For our dream book, I chose exotic colors to match the inside of our home.


3. Choose your binder. The single most important step of them all in my opinion. As a beginning journalist, I’ll be choosing pre-made albums, but that doesn’t mean I won’t soon be venturing into making my own. Great sewing class project to tackle, someone? Pick a size that’s right for you. I love love love these little 7×9 albums. They’re perfect for sitting on the shelves of the bookcases that’ll be housing them.


4. Choose your background paper. Again, think about theme as you browse through all the tempting designs in the store. You can find paper at WalMart, Target and the Dollar Tree. There’s no need to reserve your scrapbook searches for the craft store only. For both my projects, I found designer paper that has images of outdoor scenery along with some European style scroll pieces. Both those elements are totally appropriate for our Dream book. Tonight I’ll be using Lightroom to begin editing and printing out the photos. Woo-hoo! One of these days soon, I’ll be posting tutorials on how to create your own Photoshop actions.


5. Choose your embellishments. There are thousands of stickers and stamps and tissue papers out there. The temptation to pick up a pack of every single design hanging on the rack will overwhelm you. Trust me. I know. This is when you’ll need to remember the purpose of your project so you don’t wind up burned out before you even get started.


6. Use digital software to help you begin. Need a blueprint? Then no worries. There are a ton of collage making programs out there today. My favorite is Cameran Collage because it looks and feels just like a scrapbook as you out it together. If you have digital images of your work then do not be ashamed to use digital scrapbooking software to help you find a starting point.

Now we’re ready to assemble our first scrapbook. If you think of anymore ideas or tips for understanding the basics of scrapbooking then let us know in the comments below.

Join me for the next installment of Scrapbook Art Sunday as I walk you through the pages of my finished project.