So You Want to Start Scrapbooking (Yay!) Here's How to Get Going

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Your kitchen table is absolutely covered (no room for even a coffee cup) with photos, ticket stubs, stickers, papers and other lovely bits and pieces that you'd like to arrange in a scrapbook.

Excellent idea. But where do you even begin? The number of scrapbooking options is exciting — but also intimidating.

Fear not! I'm here to tell you how 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. Here's how to narrow things down.

Go Small

Start with something very specific. Instead of trying to document your entire girls' weekend, say, stick to the most hilarious moments — like that time you all got locked out of your Airbnb in your pajamas. (Probably funnier in retrospect!)

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

Think big, not-so-big or teeny — there are lots of great options.

Standard Sizes

The two most popular formats for scrapbooking are 12-by-12 inch and 8.5-by-11 inch. 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.

Minis

These come in all shapes and sizes: 8-by-8 inch, 6-by-9 inch, even 4-by-4 inch. 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. Try to avoid dark or blurry images.
  • Choose photos that depict more than just smiling faces. For example, if you're creating a baby album , include detail shots like hands or OMG those tiny little feet. It could be fun to include a photo of baby's first book or toy.
  • 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.

  • 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 are totally stumped on how to lay out your page, sites like Page Maps offer wonderful sketches that do all the design work for you. 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! You'll need:

  • Patterned paper and/or card stock
  • Acid-free adhesive (tape runner and/or liquid)
  • Some embellishments and/or stickers
  • Paper trimmer and/or sharp scissors
  • Page protectors/album
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So You Want to Start Scrapbooking (Yay!) Here's How to Get Going