How to Get Started With Scrapbooking

guest post by Angela Moore

Have you been bitten by the scrapbooking bug but have no idea where to start? Never fear, we are here to help! There are some things that you absolutely need to know when it comes to scrapbooking and we’re going to break down some of the basics for you as put together scrapbooks for holiday gifts, special occasions, or just because you feel the need to scrap.

First of all, when you go into any scrapbooking or crafting store, you may feel overwhelmed at all the selections. What do you need? Here is my list of absolute essentials:

1. Paper – paper is a must-have for any scrapbooker and as you get more involved in the craft, you’ll find that you can accumulate quite a stash. Be sure that your papers are all acid free. Craft construction paper can damage your photos in the long-run. Before you start buying paper (especially patterned papers) make sure you have a concept and style in mind. These papers tend to look dated after a couple of years. I buy solid color paper in bulk including scrap pads of all different sizes for matting photos. I only buy patterned papers once I have picked a theme for a particular project.

2. Adhesive – the wrong kind of adhesive can damage your photos. I prefer the standard scrapper’s adhesive. There’s no acid in it and it’s easy to use in their applications. I also use photo squares for another option. These are also great for scrapbooking. If you prefer to use glue sticks, be sure to find the ones that specifically made for scrapbooking. Don’t use school glue as it could really ruin your photographs.

3. Albums – there are tons of album choices out there that can fit anyone’s style or theme for any given scrapbook. A couple of things that I look for in an album include durability (you want to make sure it will last some wear and tear as you will probably be pulling it out to show people on a regular basis), expandability (choose an album that’s easy to add pages to should you find you need more than what the album comes with), and style. You’ll also have to decide on size. 12×12, 8×8, 4×4, and 8×12 are some of the most common sizes.

4. Journaling tools – without some journaling, your pages will just be photo holders. Journaling tells the story. Of course, there are some layouts where the pictures are the story so you don’t really need journaling. But when choosing writing tools for journaling, be sure to look for items that don’t have acid in them (this is rare, but watch out anyway). To be safe, I always get items that are specifically made for scrapbooking. That takes the worry out from the start.

5. Paper Trimmer – I would be lost without my paper trimmer. I prefer a trimmer that has a swing-out arm that allows me to cut 12×12 sheets of scrapping paper. When you get a paper trimmer, be sure you’re getting one that allows for blade replacements that are easy to find. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy a whole new paper trimmer.

6. Embellishments – Now here is where you can get really lost. Brads, stickers, chipboard, rivets, ribbon, titles… the list goes on and on. Stick to products that are scrapbook-safe and fit the theme you’re trying to accomplish. Also, when you buy a product, check to make sure that you have all the tools for the job. For instance, eyelets typically require an eyelet setter to get them into your layout.
Those are the bare minimum basics. Organizing your supplies, well, that’s another story. The more you scrap and the more you shop, the more attuned you will become to what works and what doesn’t.