Scrapbooking 101: The Why

Last month I posted about getting started, and the minimal amount of supplies needed (here’s a link). Now I’d like to talk about some reasons for scrapbooking, and why your motivations do matter!

Your own motivations and goals will matter for your scrapbooking for a few reasons:

  • What size album works best (12×12, 6×8, odd shaped mini books…)
  • What supplies you use (archival)
  • What format you work with (pocket page, digital, etc)

To be clear, there is no wrong answer. I scrapbook for many reasons but the #1 is this: I enjoy it. I love documenting moments, vacations, stories, and I adore playing with stickers and papers. It is FUN to me, and that in recent years has circled back around to being my main focus: it is a hobby I enjoy tremendously. For you, what you want to do with scrapbooking will guide you in different directions, and you should ensure that it is your own desires, not what you think is correct that leads the way. This will ensure a lifetime of something I’m a big fan of: happy crafting.

Scrapbooking is a choose your own adventure, and I’ll remind you that you can change your style album to album! In other words, if you’d like a slow moving, loads of techniques and tons of time invested album for your last vacation… great! Want to just plug photos in and print a photo book in 2 hours for the next project? Cool! You should never feel that you are trapped in one style or way of doing things. The motivation and the “why” and “how” can change even within a project.

So why does your motivation matter so much and determine your format for scrapbooking? It is about style, and maximizing your joy in the experience! For me, I want to avoid computers (I do enough computer work already, thanks!) so you rarely see me do digital scrapbooking or printed elements that require a computer. Likewise, this choice to avoid computers means that I print photos about 3x a year, and I print them all 3×5 or 4×6. I print the photos that I want to have copies of, and scrapbook the ones of those that suit my needs. In other words, my preferences and goals guide how I scrapbook. I do not scrapbook in a way that I feel is trendy or “cool” – I have done that in the past with disastrous results. It simply messes with my head and is not at all fun! So what will be fun for you? What style should you try? Here are a few ideas…

Digital Scrapbooking covers a large range from creating your own digital scrapbook pages to printing your stories in computer fonts. You may find you want to use a little technology, or entirely go digital. You can utilize digital photo processing site templates to create photo books if you like, or take your time with effects and custom work in a program like Photoshop.

Pocket Page also referred to as Project Life style, the immediate benefit here is working in small compartments vs a whole page. If you do not enjoy design, if you want a very packed album with no wasted space, if you prefer to work in compartments and the look appeals to you – this is your spot! I tend to use these a lot in my small (6×8) albums, and occasionally in my other scrapbooks. You do not see a lot of these in my albums because the one and only drawback is that the pocket design on the front side of the page will be the same on the back side.

Above you see a 6×8 pocket page album. I love these! I also incorporate what I call faux pocket pages in my larger albums. What I mean is, I lay out the sections as if making a pocket page, but I use a traditional page holder with just one large pocket. This lets me have a similar look, but does not dictate the back side of my page. There are lots of 3×4 and 4×6 decorative products made (bonus! quick and easy!) for this style of scrapbooking. I enjoy them for the time savings, incorporating more photos into a page, and for the ease of use. You can see a whole series I did called “Project Hawaii” on my blog here.

“Traditional” scrapbooking is what I call the pages where there is a full (blank) page the size of your album page, and you fill it with papers, embellishments, and words. For the purposes of this article (we’ll break it WAY down in future pieces!) I am including mini books, traveler’s notebooks, and all other scrapbooks here. This is a lot of fun in my book- you have the most “hands on” approach vs any digital play or pre-set designs. If you want to try out different techniques and embellishments this is a great choice. I will point out you can always bring a pocket or digital page out and include it in a more standard page type album.

Alright so… what do you choose? Remember last month’s article and lesson: start SMALL! Keep it basic and investment of money low and see what you find. Add slowly, as needed, and enjoy the journey! What you select will also depend on your goals! How do you want your scrapbook to look? How much time do you want to spend on it? And so on.

“THE WHY” will also determine how you’re scrapbooking within the style you select. If story telling is your goal perhaps you will mix typed stories (more space efficient) with handwritten notes and just a few photos. Aiming to preserve all of those photos? Perhaps a more photo-centric, verbally sparse direction is what you take. All about the archival quality and preserving old pictures? You may keep it very minimal, with only archival safe products.

While it can be a lot to consider, I’d urge you to start simple: Why are you scrapbooking? What is the appeal? (Or, what do you want from it?). Knowing your why will help guide you through, and help you be more pleased with the results you get. Just remember – there is no wrong answer, and it’s ok if you have a few answers or multiple thoughts on the subject!

Once you have your answer(s) what do you do with them? How do you work into a good system and flow? We’ll dive into that next time! Also in future articles I will dive into scrapbook layout designs (yay!), in depth look at products and choices, and so much more! If you have any questions or requests let me know – and happy crafting!

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