The ultimate scrapbooking guide for beginners

Welcome! I’m so glad you’ve decided to research the wonderful hobby of scrapbooking. Hopefully this post will be your ultimate guide to scrapbooking and help you on your way to creating pages full of lasting and wonderful memories. Keep reading on if you’re ready to learn about how to start a scrapbook of your own!

What is scrapbooking?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes scrapbooking as “a blank book in which various items (such as newspaper clippings or pictures) are collected and preserved”.

Scrapbooking has been around since the 15th century according to Wikipedia, but I suspect the idea and rationale behind it has been around much longer than that!

Scrapbooking is, and always has been, a method by which memories are preserved. They become snapshots in time. The lucky thing about modern scrapbooking is that now we have an easy means of capturing these memories in photos.

Scrapbooking basics for beginners

Firstly, lets go through some of the common scrapbooking terms that you may come across:

  • Scrapbooking layout – this is essentially the page you are going to create.
  • Double page layout – this is a page that spans across two pages in your album. This type of layout is great if you have lots of pictures to use, or if you have a theme for the page that needs a lot of room.
  • Pocket pages – way back when, Becky Higgins created the Project Life system of scrapbooking. It was a way to scrapbook a layout about every day without ending up with hundreds of albums! The page protectors are divided up into smaller sections to allow more content on each page.
  • Page protector – plastic sleeve that your page will be put into.
  • Cardstock – thin pieces of cardboard that is usually the base of your page.

Basic scrapbooking supplies list

Modern scrapbooking can be very overwhelming. It has evolved into a massive industry full of amazing products and ideas.

But the good news is, you don’t need a lot of items to start! Scrapbooking supplies ideas can be as simple as these:

  • Album
  • Photos
  • Adhesives
  • Pens
  • Page protectors
  • Cardstock

Looks too good to be true, right? Well, there are many more things to buy, but if you want to make a start, it actually doesn’t require much.

More advanced supplies can include:

  • Patterned paper
  • Stickers
  • Ephemera or other embellishments
  • Washi tape
  • Paints and sprays
  • Die cuts

These are just a few scrapbooking starter supplies to get you on your way to creating your first scrapbooking album.

Getting started with scrapbooking

As I said above, scrapbooking is about preserving moments and memories.

When I am first deciding how to begin a scrapbook layout, I start with the photos and decide on what story I want to tell.

Sure I love scrapping pretty photos, but I really do love the story more. These stories are the things we are more likely to forget as the years go by, which is why I think they are just as important as the photos.

1. How to start scrapbooking

If you’re a scrapbooking beginner, this part might be a little scary! But stick with me, because it’s not. Sometimes the hardest part is starting! Don’t let the fear of perfection prevent you from preserving your precious memories.

Begin the layout by taking the blank sheet of cardstock and deciding where you would like to place your photos, title and journaling.

An easy way to work this out is by using a sketch. A sketch is a basic outline of where the items on your page could go. I find these useful for when I’m not sure where to start or when I get the dreaded scrapper’s block. 

Want to see a layout that has been created from a sketch?

2. Arrange the scrapbooking elements

Now you have the basic idea of where you are going to put your photos, title and journaling, it’s time to start moving them around until you are completely happy with the placement.

Now is a great time to take a quick photo of everything laid out. This is so when you clear everything off the base cardstock in order to put adhesive on your papers and photos, you will have a reference to where everything needs to go.

Add adhesive to your elements and then stick them to your base carstock.

3. Add a title to your layout

Scrapbooking titles aren’t required, but I don’t think I’ve completed a layout without one! In saying that, I usually only use short titles.

The reason for this is because it creates more of an impact. Also, titles are usually created from specialty stickers and can be an expensive addition if your title is very long. I like to get multiple layouts created from one set of alphabet stickers.

Scrapbooking page title ideas can include simple one-word titles such as:

  • Love
  • Always
  • Delight
  • Cherish
  • Almost
  • You
  • Memories
This is just a snippet of titles I’ve used. But the world is your oyster here! Use any title that conveys the story and your message.

4. Scrapbooking journaling

Journaling is one of my favourite things to do on my scrapbooking pages. The reason for this is because I do forget things and it’s a beautiful walk down memory lane when I re-read some of the things I have written.

Journaling can feel a little difficult at first. It can feel a little awkward and embarrassing, but it needn’t be.

Some scrapbookers are able to pour their hearts out on their pages, but I’ve never really been able to do that. My advice here is to do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

If you don’t know where to start, scrapbooking journal ideas stem from the 5 W’s:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why

Using this formula, you should be able to capture enough details so that your future self will thank you.

If you are unsure about revealing all your journaling, there are ways you can hide it on your layout. You can write a letter and pop it in an envelope and adhere that to your page. Or you could create a tag that slips in behind the photo. 

And if you don’t have anything to write, that’s perfectly ok! Pop on the date of the photos and call it done!

5. Enjoy your page

Now that you’ve completed your scrapbook layout, slide it into a page protector and admire your amazing creation. You’ve begun your memory keeping journey and I’m so excited to be sharing that with you.

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Essential scrapbooking supplies

If you’re lucky, you will have some amazing scrapbooking stores nearby that you can visit. I don’t which make me a little sad. There’s nothing quite like seeing the products in real life.

Here are some of the best scrapbooking supplies for beginners:

Scrapbooking album

A ring album is easy to add page protectors or move the pages around. These will take up more room on your shelf than a post-bound album, but they can hold more pages. There are many different sizes of albums to choose between, but 12x12 is probably the most popular. This album even comes with 5 page protectors included.

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Scrapbooking cardstock

Plain white cardstock is a staple item, but it is nice to have some colourful options. A pack of cardstock can sometimes be more economical, but only if you use all the colours you've received. If you don't think you will use the brighter colours, maybe just choose more muted times.

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Scrapbooking adhesives

There are many adhesive options to choose from. If you don't have much to spend on your supplies, a simple glue stick will do, but I find that the photos and papers will fall off after a little while. I do prefer a dedicated adhesive. Double-sided tape is very versatile and cheap.

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Final thoughts

I hope this how-to scrapbook for beginners guide has helped you start your new hobby of scrapbooking. And if you come across any scrapbooking tips for beginners, don’t hesitate to pop a comment below and share!

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