Scrapbooking for Beginners: Where to Start

Scrapbooking seems easy enough. Snap a few pictures, glue the pictures along with some embellishments, maybe some journaling, into a book, and voila, you are scrapping. As easy as it sounds, one of the biggest hurdles new Scrapbookers have is figuring out where to start.

If this is you, at least know you are not alone. I recall buying my first supplies several years ago, everything from glue sticks to paper, little packs of embellishments, and big sheets of stickers, only to get it all home, where it then stayed in the bags for months. Every time I looked at all of the stuff I had bought, any ideas I might once have had suddenly seemed not good enough, or just plain old wrong. I would close the empty book I had also purchased, and stuff it back into the shopping bag, along with everything else.


Then an idea hit me. No one said I had to be original. I subscribed to nearly every scrap magazine I could find back then, and what many of them were filled with were perfectly good layouts just waiting to be used as examples. Of course, my own would never be identical, and they were only meant for my personal use. I would never copy someone else’s work and try to claim it as my own, just the opposite. Once I started, when someone would ask me where I came up with such cute ideas, I would oblige them by pulling out my stacks of magazines, and more often than not, flip right to the page of the layout I had borrowed inspirations from for my own pages. A term is even used for this practice, and it is called scraplifting. A note about scraplifting: Copying someone’s layout verbatim is not scraplifting, it is copying, and no one should copy a page. Borrow how they assembled the page, considering the way they laid out the title and the elements. Use some of the same color combinations; even use the same photo techniques they might have used, but never copy a page exactly as you found it in a magazine or an online board.

Choose your Adhesive Wisely

Buy repositionable adhesive. Nothing is worse for a beginner than gluing down a picture or embellishment, and realizing that you would rather it is somewhere else.

Simplicity is the Key

Keep it simple. Too often, beginning Scrapbookers think they need to buy every tool on the market, purchase paper from every company, and pick up stickers and embellishments as if there were no tomorrow. If this happens, the chance of becoming overwhelmed will increase greatly. Shop for just a few basics. Pick up an album and some basic cardstock in a size you feel you will be comfortable working on. Consider a few of the pictures you want to try to scrap, and buy just a few embellishments that will work with those pictures. You might also choose to skip the embellishments completely at this point, and just concentrate on matting the pictures and maybe adding a bit of journaling or even just a title.

Realize too that you do not need to scrap every picture you own. Especially to begin with, choose those that really evoke emotion, making it easier for you to come up with ideas for what you want to do with them.

Nobody is Perfect

Do not fret over a layout or some element of it that you suddenly feel could be better. Nobody is perfect when it comes to scrapbooking, and mistakes are as common for those who have been scrapping twenty years as they are for someone working on their first layout.

My best advice I can give for beginner scrapbookers, is to start. Pull out those supplies, choose a picture, add your adhesive, and before you know it you will be well on your way to filling your first scrapbook full of memories and wondering why it took you so long to begin in the first place!

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