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Scrapbooking Basics

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This little article is meant for people who are totally clueless about scrapbooking to get up to speed fast about ...

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Old 27th January 2009, 08:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Scrapbooking Basics

This little article is meant for people who are totally clueless about scrapbooking to get up to speed fast about the simple basics of scrapbooking. It can be understandably overwhelming in the beginning with the myriad of scrapbook supplies available in the market, but once you get yourself started, you’ll find it intuitive and fun!

What is Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking is the process of organising photographs, memorabilia and other items of emotional value in a book form, hence the term scrapbooking. The end result is called a scrapbook. It is usually used to tell a story, capture a moment in time or to document special occasions and events. Examples include travels, birthdays, weddings, arrival of a newborn, Christmas celebrations; essentially anything that is important to you and your family.

Usually, scrapbooking is done with a specific theme or concept in mind to convey certain feelings and moods which relate to the picture or occasion. A scrapbook acts as a treasure trove of memories to be preserved and shared for generations. It is indeed a hobby worth pursuing, because memories are precious!

Basic Scrapbooking Tools & Supplies

Whilst the list of scrapbooking tools and scrapbooking supplies available in the market is literally endless, you can make a decent scrapbook with just some of the bare, basic essentials. Here is a list for your consideration:
Albums & Refills
Firstly, you will need an album to hold all those scrapbook pages you are going to create. Scrapbook albums usually come with one large pocket per page. The better ones will have removable posts to allow additional pages to be inserted. The two most common scrapbook album sizes are 8" x 8" and 12" x 12". For this reason, most cardstock and paper comes in these two sizes. Look for an album with a colour or pattern that matches the theme of your scrapbook. If adding refill pages is a real possibility, make sure you buy from a manufacturer that sells the refills separately.
Cardstock/Patterned Paper/Specialty paper
Cardstock is often used as the base of your scrapbooking page. Usually available in a wide array of colours and shades, it can also be used for matting, embellishments as well as titling. The solid colours of cardstock help to emphasis the photos that are placed on it and keep them as the focus of the layout.

Patterned papers, in contrast, usually contain repeated patterned designs of shapes like waves, flowers, animals, fancy shapes, hearts and more. They can be used for making frames, borders, accents and embellishments. Like cardstock, patterned papers can also be used as background, especially when they contain large patterns. You can select your patterned paper to match the colours of your photos, to add style to your background or to emphasise a certain theme.

Specialty papers are a special class of paper that adds character to your scrapbook layouts with their special characteristics. These special characteristics may be in the form of translucency, unique textures or the fact that it is handmade. Examples include translucent vellum, metallic paper, furry textured paper, embossed paper or glitzy stardust paper.

The look and feel, and the emotions your scrapbook page evokes is very much dependent on the colour, texture, pattern and theme of the paper you choose.

Paper trimmer
Paper trimmers make can make perfectly straight cuts and is also faster than using normal scissors. Since many scrapbooking papers and cardstock come in 12" x 12" size, it is recommended that you get a paper trimmer at least capable of handling 12" wide paper. This way, whether you scrapbook in 12" x 12" albums or 8 ½" x 11" albums, the same trimmer can be used. Desktop paper trimmers are great if you have room for them since they are more robust while smaller trimmers are great for carrying about and saves space.
While paper trimmers are used for longer and straight cuts, scissors are used for your finer, free form cutting. Small precision, fine-tipped scissors are more suitable for cutting out small items when the paper trimmer is too big to use and when it is necessary to have greater control over your cuts. Decorative scissors are also available to cut paper in fancy designs such as waves or the shape of scallops. They come in a multitude of designs and can add accents and styles to your scrapbook layout. In all cases, make sure the scissors you buy are easy to hold and feel comfortable on your hands.

Adhesives – Tapes & Glues
Different adhesives are appropriate for different uses. While having a selection of adhesives to choose from is a good idea, you can start with an acid free glue stick suitable for photographs and cardstock and then experiment with other adhesives as you go along.

The following is a list of common adhesives that you can use for your scrapbook layout:
  • Photo tabs or photo squares - purpose built for holding photos;
  • Liquid glue pens - for sticking small pieces;
  • Strong liquid glue pens – for sticking larger embellishments
  • Glue dot – for flexibility of rearranging things around
Do experiment to see which is suitable for your own needs and temperament. Remember to use only acid-free adhesives to prevent damage to your photos.

Journal Pen & Markers
Get an acid free marker with a suitably-sized tip for journaling your scrapbook page. Black is the safest colour to use but if you are confident, try coordinating your journaling with your scrapbook colour scheme.

Photographs For Your Scrapbook

As scrapbooking has become a modern variation on the traditional photo album, chances are good that you will be using photos in your scrapbook pages. If you still retain the negative for a photograph, you can do some cropping and alteration to it since you can get a reprint. Even if you don’t, you can get always do a high quality scan of the photograph and print a duplicate using good quality photo paper. With a duplicate of your precious old photo, you are free to creatively manipulate the photograph for your scrapbooking purposes.

If your photographs are taken with a digital camera in digital form, you can do even more with the help of desktop photo editing software. You can crop, adjust colour balance, adjust brightness and contrast and much more until you are satisfied with the resulting picture. The possibilities are simply endless!

Titles & Journaling

Titling a layout is critical to providing key information to what the scrapbook layout is about. This information, together with the main photo in the layout will give insight to what message, theme or emotion the layout is trying to convey.

A title should be concise and to the point. It can be something as simple as a person's name, the name of a place, the name of an event, the title of a song, a cliche or anything witty and memorable. Because titles are usually the first thing that is seen on a scrapbook page, it is the key to drawing interest to the rest of the layout.

The styling of a title can also vary widely. Straight or curvy, handwritten or printed, classic or modern, embellished or elegantly plain, die cut or stuck on with stickers, bead-arranged or stenciled, the choice is simply mind boggling. Let your creativity be your guide!

While a picture can indeed say a thousand words, providing some details surrounding the photo in question is definitely a good approach to preserving memories. By complementing the photo with relevant information, embedded with emotion, journaling offers future generation deep insight into the subject matter in question. What better way to leave a lasting legacy?

Hence, besides the who, what, where, why and when pertaining to the subject, it is good to add depth to your journaling by writing about the importance of the occasion, why those people are involved, the emotions that the photos evoke, the atmosphere of the occasion, etc. These things provide further insights into the subject not immediately obvious at first blush.

Using Embellishments

Embellishments are by definition, things and shapes that you use to embellish your scrapbooking layout. Anything can be used for embellishment so long as they decorate and enhance the spaces around the photos, title and journaling on your scrapbook page. Examples of embellishments include frames, stickers, buttons, wires, eyelets, brads, die cuts, foams and chipboards.

Layout Design

There is no hard and fast rule to layout designs for scrapbooking. However, a common design guideline is the use of the basic triangle layout. With this, the main photo is always placed at one tip of a triangle on the left, right or top, with the rest of photos or elements forming the base of the triangle.

This technique gives the scrapbook page a certain balance, so that no one side is “overloaded” compared to the opposing side.

In addition to overall layout, you will need to create a focal point for your scrapbook page so that it becomes the most immediate part of the layout that you see. This is important as the focal point provides a starting point and gives an idea what the rest of the layout is about.

You can emphasise your main photo to make it a focal point by making it significantly larger than the rest of the page elements. It is natural for the human eye to focus on the largest object within a certain frame. You can then build your page around this focal point.

Another way to emphasis your main photo is to create a border around it using matting technique. This is achieved by pasting the photo onto another piece of paper that is slightly large than it, creating a border effect. Several photos can also be matted together, creating a common focal point.

Last edited by 24owl; 27th January 2009 at 08:57 PM.
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