If you'd like to start
scrapbooking or create scrapbook-style art, but are simply
overwhelmed by the vast product choices, let me help you narrow them
down and get you going. I view scrapbooking as a highly specialized
form of collage.
With scrapbooking, not
only are you creating artistic arrangements and layers of objects,
but you are doing it around an evocative theme. Scrapbook art almost
always includes: 1. photos around which the theme is developed; and
words or "journaling" which evoke, explain and expand on
The words form an
integral part of the artistic arrangement. Scrapbookers love to play
with and combine fonts to give words visual expression. Just as we
use tone and volume to add expression to the spoken word,
scrapbookers use fonts, letter placement and color to express their
ideas and form a page that is pleasing to the eye. Just as words can
be spoken melodically or harshly, softly or loudly, the words on a
scrapbook page can visually shout, whisper, sing or pray.
I suppose a beginner
could "go it alone" artistically, but I found it inspiring
and very helpful to view other scrappers' work in order to
appreciate the range of possibilities before I began. If you're
fortunate enough to have a friend who scrapbooks, ask if you can
look at her work. Also subscribe to a scrapbooking magazine. You get
to see all the latest and greatest scrapbooking supplies and tools
each month, along with examples of beautiful pages submitted by
readers and experts.
To begin scrapbooking,
it is very valuable to see how varied the art can be. No two
scrappers will interpret a theme the same way. This gave me a
sense of artistic license when I started. There is no one right way!
Four artists, given a
theme and even a page layout, will invariably provide vastly
different interpretations. In fact, such contests are held
periodically. The results are something to behold.
If you still feel
overwhelmed after seeing the work of experienced scrappers (or maybe
due to seeing their work!), start with one of the themed kits that
are available at craft stores.
For the more
adventuresome beginner, it's time to plan your page and make a
First decide on the size
for your page. The most popular size is 12 x 12". One scrapper
explained that's because you get more "real estate" to
decorate. Decide on your theme and select photos for your page.
Scrappers frequently use photos from the same shoot. This helps, not
only as far as sticking with the theme goes, but also aids color
coordination. Look for colors that dominate or accent the photos to
decide on the colors for your background and trims.
Be sure you have the
ability to get reprints should you damage one of your photos.
Accidents do happen. Scan your original to a digital file if you
don't have a negative or digital camera file. Have any valuable old
photos professionally copied. There are two reasons for this: newer
papers and newer inks both add durability.
Plan your journaling:
what title and other words can you use to tie the photos together?
Take your time with this step. Let your concept evolve and take
shape. Think about your audience and especially the person or people
in the photos. What will evoke a smile or wonderful memory for them?
Diagram a few
scrapbooking layouts with your photos to settle on a balanced
composition and to give you an idea of how much other "real
estate" you have to play with. Your diagram will include some
or all of the following: background paper; slashes or splotches of
other papers; text box(es); a title box; and your photos.
Next consider what
additional elements and techniques you will use to decorate:
stamping; embossing; buttons; brads; ribbons; rub-ons; tags in paper
or even glass or metal; twill tape; envelopes; and tiny
embellishments" is a whole industry that was practically
launched by scrapbook art. If you remember being enthralled by doll
house furniture and accessories as a child, you will be both
enchanted and taken back to one of childhood's joys by scrapbooking
Your shopping list is
almost complete and should look something like this.
size and color(s). Be sure any paper that will touch your photos
is acid-free (archival quality).
Album, D-ring binder or frame and perhaps page protectors or
glass. Ditto on "acid-free".
Letters: your choice
of rub-ons, stamps, metal glue-on letters, stickers, die-cut
letters, old fashioned "typewriter key" letters. [You
can also create some text using computer graphic or word
brainstorm and jot down some items, but allow yourself to be
inspired by what you find.
Last, but not least,
don't forget the basics (some of which you may already have on
Adhesives – from
glue sticks and dots to tape and two-sided tape. Be sure those
that will touch your photos are acid-free.
good quality scissors and perhaps a paper trimmer.
Black journaling pen
if you plan to write or draw in your