Art Directory: Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a not only a popular hobby, but also a booming industry that has become extremely popular in the last few decades. However, it has a long history even much before that. A typical scrapbook might contain photographs and writing, as well as bits and pieces of miscellaneous items such as postcards or tickets. It is usually also decorated with printed paper, illustrations, ribbon, buttons, or stickers. Today scrapbooking has spawned a tremendous number of stores, magazines, and groups across the country. Let's have a look at how to get started in scrapbooking.


As early as the 15th century, people used to compile books in which they collected all manner of items. These usually included letters, sonnets, and recipes. By the next century, friendship albums were a trend. People would sign each other's books, or compose poems and quotations to each other. In Victorian times, people would even press flowers or include locks of hair in their scrapbooks. It was only much later by the early 1900s, when cameras became inexpensive enough for common people to own, that the idea of collecting photographs (along with other mixed media) in a book became a new trend.

Getting Started

In earlier times, scrapbooking was a fairly simple affair. It normally involved a book, a pen, some glue, and perhaps watercolor paints if the creator wanted to be a bit fancy. By comparison, today's version of scrapbooking can be quite overwhelming, not to mention pricey. It is best to start out in small steps. Find a scrapbook that appeals to you, and collect a few basic items like scissors, adhesive dots or tape, colored pens, and patterned background paper. Decide on a theme for the scrapbook. Some people like to create a scrapbook of past events (for example, a summer holiday); while others prefer to maintain an ongoing scrapbook that is modified as events come up. There is no correct way of scrapbooking. It all boils down to an individual's personal preferences and style. Do use acid-free paper for the pages though, along with buffered paper to protect images. As you progress, you will develop a preference for different types of media, decorations, and layouts.

Techniques and Layouts

There are a number of techniques that scrapbookers use to embellish their pages. The most important aspect to practice is creating page layouts. This simply means the way in which content is arranged on the page. It can range from filling a page with one large image, or creating a collection of multiple images and captions. A good trick is to arrange the content in a way that the viewer can follow the story of the event. Stamping is a great technique that saves time but creates wonderful decorations. Embellishing tools, like craft punches and die cutting devices are also very helpful in creating customized decorations.

Digital Scrapbooking

We have such a wide array of technology available today that scrapbookers can entirely forego the traditional physical scrapbook and create a digital version instead. There are a number of specialized scrapbooking programs available for this purpose, although it is entirely possible to create a digital scrapbook with an image-editing or desktop publishing program instead. Some people have even created digital scrapbooks using slideshow software. For those who are less comfortable using these types of software, there are also several websites that allow people to create digital scrapbooks (for a fee) using an online interface, with the option of having the book professionally printed. This option is usually the quickest and easiest to use. It is even more helpful since digital scrapbook online services usually offer page layout templates that can be used as is, or modified. Digital scrapbooking does not only have to be limited to digital image files; old photographs can also be digitized using a scanner.

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