How to host a scrapbooking baby shower

So you want to host a scrapbooking baby shower?

There's certainly something to be said for the traditional baby shower, but the modern mother-to-be is often looking for a new and interesting twist on the time-honored ritual. It's easy to get frustrated and bored with the unoriginal and impersonal pepto-bismol pink and powder blue decorations provided to us by consumer culture. Hosting a scrapbooking shower can be a fun and meaningful compromise between tradition and modernity, and it produces a gift that will be treasured for years to come by the guest of honor and her impending bundle of joy.

Baby Shower Basics

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of the scrapbooking, you need to figure out your game plan for food and decorations. There's really no standard for these logistical details with a scrapbooking baby shower.

You should choose your menu based on the time of the shower and the guests who will be attending. For a noonish shower, a group-friendly lunch meal, like lasagna, casserole, or a heavy soup and salad combo will work well. For a late afternoon shower, you can get a little more creative with an ice cream sundae bar, or heavy hors d'eourves themed around the mother-to-be's favorite foods.

A scrapbooking shower also allows a fair amount of flexibility for decorations as well. The traditional baby shower decorations which you can buy in any party store will work fine: you don't need to theme the 'look' of the party around the scrapbooking concept. If you really want to go this route, however, the best suggestion I have found is to use brown craft paper to cover one or more walls in the party area to create a 'giant scrapbook page.' To decorate, construct large baby items such as clothes pins, bottles, rattles, and diapers out of construction paper and adhere to the craft paper. Use thick markers to write 'captions' at various intervals. You might even enlist the help of your guests, prior to the party, to make the wall truly personal and meaningful.

Scrapbooking Basics

A pre-requisite for hosting a scrapbooking baby shower is at least a basic knowledge of scrapbooking itself, including the reasons for doing it and the materials often used.

Scrapbooking is "a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of photographs, printed media, and memorabilia contained in decorated albums, or scrapbooks" (credit: Wikipedia). A scrapbook can be viewed as an advanced and embellished type of photo album, personally designed, decorated, and captioned to document life's most important moments. People create scrapbooks for many reasons, one of the most common of which is to commemorate all the special moments and firsts of a new child's life. Scrapbooking, however, is a hobby which takes a lot of time and money, two resources that can be hard to come by when you've got a newborn. For this reason, starting a scrapbook with predesigned layouts can be a valuable gift for a new mother: all the work and expense will be done for her, and she'll just have to add pictures and captions to create a long lasting record of her baby's first months.

The basic supplies for assembling a scrapbook page or layout are:

  • Scrapbook paper (these usually come in 8.5 x 11 and 12x 12 sizes)
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive (glue sticks, glue dots, adhesive flaps, or other ways to make one thing stick to another)

Baby Shower Scrapbook Page

This is a very simple page, made using only solid colored scrapbooking paper and chipboard letters.  Pictures can be placed on the ice cream cones and a caption or journal-entry can be put in the pink oval.
This is a very simple page, made using only solid colored scrapbooking paper and chipboard letters. Pictures can be placed on the ice cream cones and a caption or journal-entry can be put in the pink oval.

With just some paper, scissors, and glue, you can put together a beautiful scrapbook page: it's not necessary to buy all the bells and whistles if you've got the basics and some creativity. However, most people love to use the scrapbooking extras that are out there on the market. These include:

  • Stickers
  • Rub-on transfers
  • Chipboard decals and letters
  • Grommets
  • Ribbon
  • Jewels
  • Stamps
  • Embossing materials
  • Die-cutting machines
  • And the list goes on . . .

All the little extras that are available for scrapbooking are exciting and fun, and it's easy to get carried away. If you're new to the craft, however, don't get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that's available. Remember that ultimately, the purpose of a scrapbook page is highlight and commemorate its subject, and you don't need to spend $50 a page to do that.

The Logistics of a Scrapping Shower

The most important step in planning one of these showers is, of course, the incorporation of the scrapbooking itself! There isn't one 'right way' to do this: instead, I'll cover a number of options in this article designed to get you thinking of creative ways to give the party your own special twist. Ultimately, the logistics of the shower should be dependent on the needs and desires of the parties involved, not on an arbitrary set of guidelines you found on the internet!

There are two basic ways that scrapbooking can be incorporated into the shower: through pre-made pages given as gifts, and as an activity conducted within the time frame of the shower. Both options can be conducted either with the guest-of-honor's knowledge, or as a surprise. If you mean for the scrapbooking portion of the shower to be a surprise, be sure to be very clear on this to all the guests!

Pre-Made Scrapbook Pages

With this option, you'll need to ask your guests in advance to sign up for specific pages to assemble specific pages. You can alert your guests to this on an insert included with the baby shower invitation. Include a list of suggestions for page themes. Common baby pages include:

  • First Holidays (Baby's first Christmas, Baby's First Easter, Baby's First Halloween . . .)
  • Developmental watershed moments (First Smile, First Tooth, First Word, First Haircut, First Bath . . .)
  • Bringing Baby Home (the first days home from the hospital)
  • My pet and me (if the family has a pet, of course)
  • Baby and Grandpa, or Grandma, or Aunt or Uncle or Mom or Dad . . .
  • Watch Me Grow (pictures of Mom's belly during pregnancy)

Don't just limit yourselves to the usual suspects, though. Get creative based on your knowledge of the family. Are they sports enthusiasts? How about "My First {Insert Team Name Here} Game"? Maybe Mom and Dad love the outdoors- "My First Camping Trip" would be appropriate in this case. Have fun and be creative- the more personalized the pages your guests create, the more meaning they will have for the new mom!

A Personalized Page

"Baby's First Boat Ride" might not be the 'first' in a baby's life that comes to mind most often.  However, this page was created for parents-to-be that share a love of lakes and boating.
"Baby's First Boat Ride" might not be the 'first' in a baby's life that comes to mind most often. However, this page was created for parents-to-be that share a love of lakes and boating.

 

When your guests RSVP, ask them which page(s) they would like to contribute, and keep a running list. This will help to avoid repeats and make sure you've got a good variety of pages for the new mom's starter scrapbook. Be sure to tell guests that this is optional, however: no one should feel obligated, or feel like they should skip the shower if craftiness is just not their cup of tea.

Your options for presenting these pages to the new mom are numerous. At the shower I recently hosted, I presented the mom with a scrapbooking album as her first gift, and she opened pages up one by one with her regular shower gifts, building the album as she went, Another option would be to just gather all the pages from guests prior to the shower, and present the mom with a scrapbook that has been pre-assembled.

Scrapbooking as a Party Activity

Perhaps the more traditional way of hosting a scrapbooking baby shower is to incorporate the craft into the shower time itself. This option involves more expense for the hostess, as you will need to provide all the supplies for a number of page themes. You can attempt to defray this expense by asking guests to contribute specific supplies, or to bring a small monetary contribution towards the cost of the supplies; however, this can be an awkward subject to broach and should only be considered when the hostess knows all the guests very well and feels comfortable making such a request.

If you really want to impress the mom-to-be, you may want to consider hiring a Scrapbooking Consultant to coordinate your party. Try inquiring at your local craft store or doing an online search to locate someone who provides these services. This person will meet with the expectant mother to discuss what she wants from her scrapbook, and advise you of what supplies you'll need in order to create her special memory book.

During the shower itself, make sure to have plenty of open surfaces for the guests to work on, and make sure you have enough scissors and glue sticks to go around. Guests can create the pages for the book during the shower and present the finished product to the mother-to-be at the end of the event. If you expect for there to be a lot of small children attending the baby shower, you might want to consider going with the pre-made page option, as the second option could get messy!

Best of Both Worlds

Don't feel like you need to limit yourself to just one option or another. A good way to incorporate both would be to have guests bring pre-made pages, and then have all the guests work collectively on one or two pages at the shower. This works especially well if you have guests work on a scrapbook page for the shower itself, and an 'advice' page where all the guests can record their words of wisdom for the new parents.

No matter what twist you put on a scrapbooking shower, it's a great idea to provide a mother-to-be with a unique day and lots of lasting memories. And what ever you do, make sure to take lots of pictures at the shower- the mother-to-be will need them for her new scrapbook!

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