Basic Scrapbooking Ideas: Where to Start

by Lain Ehmann on December 29, 2011


With the new year comes a plethora of photos, scrapbook-able memories, and more. But if you’re new to scrapbooking, where do you start? The idea of scrapbooking can be overwhelming for someone who’s never picked up a sheet of cardstock and has no idea the difference between a pop dot and a pop rock. (Hint: The pop rock will make noise when you put it in your mouth!).

Scrapbooking doesn’t have to be crazy-complicated or overly time-consuming. In fact, some of my favorite scrapbooking pages have been ones that have taken literally minutes (as in 15 or 20) to complete. Whether you’re a beginning scrapbooker or a more experienced scrapbooker looking for ways to simplify the process, here’s my recipe for quick and easy basic scrapbooking pages:

basic scrapbooking ideas1. A photo or two that you love. For basic scrapbooking, start with the photos. They drive most beginning scrapbookers, although as you progress you may find yourself starting with a memory and digging up a photo to match. But the easiest way in is to flip through your photos and pick one or two that pull you in. Hint: The more vivid the memories your photos bring to mind, the easier it will be to create a meaningful page.

2. Some cardstock, a journaling pen, and some adhesive. “Cardstock” is just heavy paper, like the kind you’d use for a report cover. A journaling pen is a pen you like to write with, preferably acid-free. Adhesive is something you use to stick picture A to card stock B. (I use the fancy scrapbooking adhesive. You can use a glue stick to start. It will work.) Easy-peasy!

3. Extras. Just like spices added to a meal, you can get as basic (salt and pepper) or elaborate (cayenne pepper, saffron, imported curries) as you want. Many beginning scrapbookers start with letter stickers, patterned paper, and other extras like buttons, ribbon, brads, tags, and the like. If you’re  a meat-and-potatoes kind of scrapbooker, add just one or two doodads. If you’re a five-course gourmet French meal kinda gal, then the sky’s the limit. If you’re having fun, go for it. If you’re getting stressed, stop. These extras are just that – extra.

Once you have your ingredients, start with your cardstock. Pick a basic design or arrangement of photos that is pleasing to you. (If you need some ideas, check out this blog post that includes Three No-Fail Simple Scrapbooking Layouts.) Adhere (i.e., glue) your photos to your cardstock. On a plain piece of white cardstock, write your thoughts about the photos. Get as detailed as you can/want to. Tell a story! Share the emotions you feel when you look at the photos; recreate the event or feelings. If you get stuck, you can try some of the tips I include in this blog post: Journaling in Scrapbooking.

That’s it! Seriously, it can be that easy. Start with these basics and don’t worry about getting elaborate with die-cuts, hand-cut titles, and fancy fonts until you’re comfortable with the ABCs of scrapbooking. You’ve got all the time in the world. The important thing is to just start.



P.S. If you’re ready to tackle your first scrapbooking project, check out this post: Scrapbooking Basics: Your First Project

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