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Seven Basic Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook Page

Updated on August 27, 2012
Layout by MasonsMom
Layout by MasonsMom

Seven Basic Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook Page


As an avid scrapbooker, if there's one phrase I hear over and over again, it's, "I wish I could scrapbook." Well, I'm here to tell you, you can! Stop telling yourself that you're not creative, don't have enough time, or just don't know how to go about getting started. I'm here to help!

Do you have photos that are sitting in a box collecting dust? Don't you wish you and your family and friends could look at them displayed nicely in an album designed to tell the story of your life? Of course, we all do!

Starting a new hobby can be daunting. You can easily get overwhelmed if you don't know where to start. The key is knowing what supplies you will need and how to use those supplies.

Basic Scrapbooking Supplies:


Album (the scrapbook itself, available in many sizes)

Paper (plain cardstock, patterned, or other, to coordinate with the size album you choose)

Scissors (plain and/or decorative)

Adhesive (sticky tabs, glue stick, or other)

Embellishments (the fun, extra stuff like stickers, ribbon, tags, etc.)

Pen or Computer (for titles and journaling)

The market is flooded with eye-catching supplies that beckon you to buy them, but (at least for now) resist! Since you're just getting started, you will want to stick to the basics. If you wanted to start skydiving, you wouldn't go out and buy a plane! Resist the temptation to stock up on the latest trendy tools and embellishments until you get your feet in the water. You don't want to end up with loads of supplies that you never end up using or don't even know how to use.

Seven Basic Steps to Creating Your First Scrapbook Page (how exciting!)

  • Step One: Photos

So you've got the basic supplies. Now what? Start by choosing some photos that have meaning to you. Maybe photos from your high school graduation or reunion, a new baby, or even the barbeque you had last summer. Try not to choose too many, just pick two or three that best sum up the story you're trying to convey. If you're worried about ruining the original photos, especially if they are vintage, then scan them and keep them on a CD or save them on your computer. If you need help with preserving your photos, your local photography studio can help you.

  • Step Two: Paper

Now that you have the photos you want to use, it's time to choose the paper. What colors do you see in the photos? Is someone wearing a red shirt or is there a theme you want to play on, such as school colors? By using colors that appear in the photos when choosing the paper, you'll find that your layout, as a whole, has more continuity. Take your photos and try laying them on top of different colored and patterned papers. Which paper makes the pictures "pop" without overwhelming them? If the patterned paper is very busy or detailed, you may want to choose a coordinating color of cardstock to mat the photos on so they aren't "lost" on the paper.

  • Step Three: Cropping

Next, you may want to trim, or "crop," your photos. This is not always necessary, but is very helpful when wanting to edit out distracting background in your photos or to adjust the size so that it fits better on the layout you're working on. You can also crop your photos into a shape (circles are fun), or completely cut out the image from it's background.

  • Step Four: Composition

This step can be one of the most challenging. There are countless ways to layout your photos on the paper, and with time, you will become more comfortable with how to do this. Begin to play around with the composition of your layout. Do you want the photos to be in a straight line or scattered about? Are they vertical or horizontal? Adjust them to an eye-pleasing, proportionate design, remembering to leave room for a title, journaling, and any embellishments that you want to use.

  • Step Five: Adhesive

If you wish to mat your photos on cardstock or other paper, do so at this point. Then, simply place the photos where you've chosen for them to go. With the exception of glue sticks, most adhesives are pretty forgiving if you decide to move them around after sticking them down. Just be careful not to bend your photo.

  • Step Six: Embellishment

This is the fun part! In the area surrounding the photos, adhere stickers, tags, chipboard designs, whichever embellishments reflect the mood and theme of your layout. Make sure the embellishments don't take center stage; you don't want to distract from your photos. They are just what their name implies, made to embellish what you already have.

  • Step Seven: Title and Journaling

This step is easily forgotten or dismissed, but is so very important to your scrapbooks! Journaling is simply writing down the story of what is happening in the pictures. What do you want to remember about that day? What year was it and how old was the subject? Was there a funny story that went along with the pictures? Do you want to hand write the journaling or type it?

Many scrapbookers dread journaling on their pages and unfortunately decide not to worry about recording their thoughts and feelings. By doing this you are not only denying yourself the details, but future generations as well. What I would give to read a story that accompanied a photograph of my great grandmother! Your journaling may simply be dates and ages or it could be a full page narrative of the event or person. Don't let it overwhelm you, just write what you feel someone 50 years from now would want to know, whether it be the basic details or a little more.

Don't forget a title that sums up the layout. This is your chance to be funny, creative, or just make a statement.

Well, you did it! You've just created your first scrapbook layout! Take a look at the finished project and give yourself a pat on the back. With time and practice, you'll be cranking them out in no time. Just remember, there is no right or wrong way to scrapbook and each of us has our own style-even you!



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    • profile image

      Sakina Huzaifa 7 years ago

      Thanks for the tips, these r really helpful as I am just planning to make a scrap book for my husband for our 1st anniversary....its still 6 months to go, but I think I better get started now.... Thanks a lott.....!!!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      I still need to work on starting a scrapbook... I just feel like I don't have enough time!

    • MasonsMom profile image

      MasonsMom 10 years ago from U.S.A.

      Thanks! These tips are basic, but if you've never scrapbooked before, then hopefully it will be helpful to know where to start. :)

    • profile image

      Tori 10 years ago

      GREAT!!! Love it. I may even make my own scrapbook yet!