5 Tips to Make Starting Your First Scrapbook More Fun

If your kitchen table is covered or your drawers are stuffed with photos, ticket stubs, stickers, papers and more, it's a good sign you should start a scrapbook. But where do you even begin? While the number of scrapbooking options can feel intimidating, it's also super exciting — and with these tips, it's easy to get started.

1. Choose Your Topic

Scrapbooking is all about telling a story. Think about the experiences in your life that mean the most to you. Once you have the topic figured out, everything else becomes much easier.

Go Small

Start with something very specific. Instead of trying to document your entire girls' weekend, stick to the most hilarious moments — like that time you all got locked out of your Airbnb in your pajamas, or the night you went dancing and walked home barefoot.

Organize Around a Theme

This can be the easiest way to find your focus. Could be a graduation, birthday, travel experience or key sporting event — any highlight of your life.

2. Choose Your Album Size

Whether you go big, not-so-big or teeny, there are lots of great options available.

Standard Sizes

The two most popular formats for scrapbooking are 12" x 12" and 8.5" x 11". The first will give you more room, obviously, but will also take up more space. The second is a good choice if you're nervous about filling up pages.


These come in all shapes and sizes: 8" x 8", 6" x 9", even 4" x 4". You can also DIY your own albums with kits that include everything you need.

3. Choose Your Photos

When it comes to pictures, less is more. Use photos with the best lighting and focus, and try to avoid dark or blurry images. And opt for photos that depict more than just smiling faces. For example, if you're creating a baby album, include detail shots like those tiny hands and feet, or a photo of baby's first book or toy.

Pro Tip

If possible, have your photos processed with a matte finish, which is less likely to show fingerprint smudges than glossy.

4. Choose Your Layout

Designing a layout can be the biggest challenge of scrapbooking, but you can nail it with some strategic planning. First, choose your focal point. Where do you want everyone's eyes to go first? If it's one particular photo, arrange your design so that photo stands out. If you have a lot of photos, trim them down! Don't be afraid of non-traditional sizes. Use collages, grids and smaller images to get more photos on your page.

If you're totally stumped on how to lay out your page, sites like Page Maps offer wonderful sketches that do all the design work for you. You can also customize a template with your own photos and style.

5. Gather Some Basic Supplies

Finding the perfect paper-crafts supplies is part of the fun! For most pages, you'll need:

  • Patterned paper and/or card stock
  • Acid-free paper adhesive
  • Some embellishments , like ribbon, buttons and stickers
  • Paper trimmer
  • Sharp scissors
  • Page protectors/album

Learn More Now

Get more tips and layout ideas for your scrapbook in our class Scrapbook Design and Storytelling: Beyond the Basics .

Meet Jen Gallacher and preview the designer storytelling techniques you'll learn in this class. As you build your first page, play with imagery, colors and patterns that capture the voice or theme of the page. Plus, see how to freshen up your pages using the same layout sketch!

January 22, 2019
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5 Tips to Make Starting Your First Scrapbook More Fun