As I sit on my bed, with nothing to do, my mind is suddenly filled. What can I do with all my JUNK? I search in old dusty boxes, underneath my bed, in my closet and take a look at old picture frames, memories that have been sitting aside for years. What can I do to make it all come together? As I think, look around, and think again, I say quietly to myself, “Why don’t I create a scrapbook?” Scrapbooking is a great way to preserve memories and pass them down in a creative and unique way.
When a person thinks of scrapbooking, what do they think? I think of all the pictures and memorabilia that I have saved to create a portrait of my life which I can cherish forever. Scrapbooking is more than making cute pages. Scrapbooking is a unique craft and strange hobby that is rapidly changing (“What”). One wants to make sure all the photos in the scrapbook are safe and won’t be destroyed. As the science of photography is changing, the life of the pictures is being increased, as long as all the safe materials are being used and precautions are taken in what they are doing and how it is being done (“What”).
Scrapbooking can capture the special people and events we encounter in life. Many people like to take pictures of family traditions, favorite things and accomplishments (Braun 11). When creating a scrapbook, a person is able to pass down memories from when they were younger. Scrapbooking is a creative way to relax and have fun. Scrapbooking has become popular over the years because people are able to create something that will last forever. Many people want to transform their old photo albums into scrapbooks because there is more room for creativity (Brown). But a person has to remember that scrapbooking can become costly and very time consuming.
The first thing to consider before creating a scrapbook is to gather all of the information to include. Doing this will cause less hassle when creating pages and will allow for more time in doing so. Collecting photographs, treasures, certificates, brochures and documents (“Organizing”). Keep anything that has great significance in a person’s life, so that they are able to reflect back on it. Newspaper articles are a good thing to save because they help explain what’s going on. Talking to family and friends will often uncover information one doesn’t have and would like to cherish (Braun 12).
The second thing the scrapbooker wants to do is organize everything. A clean work area, with enough space to spread many pictures and paper out, is helpful. Putting pictures, paper, and tools in stacks and containers is also helpful because it’s easier to find things, so that when something is needed one can go right to the box and get what they needed, instead of having to search for it (“Organization”).
After getting organized and gathering all of the information, it’s time to decide which kind of album to use. Many different types and styles of albums are available to choose from. The spiral-bound album does not allow pages to be removed or added, so pages can’t be rearranged. This type of album would be reliable for a person who is precise and has little work to do. The 3-ring binder is more like a photo album, not a scrapbook, so it is not often recommended (“Preserving Memories”). Another type of album is the strap-hinged album. These albums are most common because they allow one to add and remove pages and rearrange them (Brown Before). Above all, when considering what album to buy one would want to make sure not to buy from a department or discount store because they might not be high quality (“Choosing”). One should buy from a scrapbook store or a place that sells quality scrapbooking necessities such as paper and stickers.
Three sizes of albums can be chosen from when considering buying an album. The first size is 5×7. This size does not allow for much creativity because the space is so small. This size of album would be good for a gift, fitting very few pictures. The next size is the 8.5×11. This size is bigger than the 5×7 but still does not allow for much creativity; the pages being small are harder to work with. The next size, 12×12, is the most common. This is the biggest size, allowing more pictures to be added as well as embellishments. This album would be good for creating a family album or a high school album. Scrapbook albums can cost anywhere from $10.00 to over $100.00 dollars. The average album cost is around $40.00 (“Choosing”). My favorite is the 12 x 12 strap-hinged. I like working with this size because it allows me to work with more space and create more on a page. If I mess up, I can also remove the page and then replace it with a new one.
Quality paper is a necessity in creating a safe scrapbook. When buying paper, one should know what acid and lignin free means. Acid is “an acid that comes from the oxidation, as well as the chemicals used in photo developing and papermaking” (Brown and Corneil). The acid will eventually make everything in the scrapbook turn yellow and can cause deterioration. Lignin will also cause yellowing and damage to one’s photos just as acid will. The only difference is, lignin comes from a material found in wood pulp rather than the photo materials; therefore lignin can only be found in paper and not in the tools one can use.
Archival quality means that the materials are both acid and lignin free (Corniel). Everything purchased and used in the scrapbook is of archival quality. However, some people, like me, collect memorabilia that is not archival quality. There are many options that one can take when deciding on putting unsafe materials in the scrapbook. According to Gina Brown and Before you Jump in Get the Basics, ” You can get a color copy made (reproduce). You can put it on your page so that it is not touching any of your photos (isolate). Or you can mat the memorabilia to acid free paper to minimize the acid migration onto other item on your page (buffer).” A person wants to do one of the three in order to keep the scrapbook as safe as possible.
Paper comes in a variety of different shades, colors and even prints. Paper can be used to mat photos, add decoration, or to bring attention to the page. Some paper that is acidic free is also known as “mounting paper, background paper, and cardstock”(Brown and Corneil). Paper is used to accent pages by adding more color than what is in the photos.
When creating a scrapbook numerous different tools are available to use. One of the major tools are the cutters. The first cutter is the basic scissors, which are used for simple cutting and trimming of the pages and to precise the cut on smaller items (Naylor). Next is the personal trimmer, which crops the photos, cuts matting, and trims the paper so there is a straight edge. The most common pair of scissors is the decorative scissors. The decorative scissors are mainly used to accent the pictures, and to make them stand out more on the page. The die cut machine is one of the biggest tools available. This machine is used to cut out certain letters or shapes. This cutter is not used to trim paper or photos; it is used more for decorations. Another cutter that is available is the Coluzzle, which comes in the form of a razor blade allowing one to get the desired cut on photos or paper (Brown).
The next step in creating a scrapbook is deciding what kind of adhesives one wants to use. With so many types of adhesives on the market, it is up to the scrapbookers themselves to decide which fits them best. Photo tape, one of the most common adhesives because it is so easy to use. Photo tape is good for large pieces of work and can easily be removed if needed (Naylor). Most scrapbookers like to stay away from rubber cement, paper cement, and glue sticks. Even though these products classify as archival quality, they are more permanent and harder to remove. One wants to use different kinds of adhesives for different things (“Adhesives”). There is a glue called “Hermafix Glue.” This glue allows one to glue smaller items. Hermafix comes on a roller and is a liquid in a dry form, so there is not a big mess. It is also photo safe and of archival quality (Brown; Corneil).
When creating a scrapbook, adding decorations to each page makes them stand out. These decorations are called embellishments. Embellishments come in many forms, including stickers, page toppers, frames, die cuts, fancy pens and markers, hole punchers and templates (Brown and Corneil). I like to use the die cuts and the frames because I think they add more to the page then the stickers.
When writing in the scrapbook one wants to be careful in what they are using. Make sure the pens and markers are archival and safe for the purpose. Chalk is another kind of tool that can be used in a scrapbook. Most of the time, chalk is used for adding color rather than as a writing tool. Another ink that can be used in scrapbooks is computer typing. Most computers have acid free ink so it won’t destroy photographs or anything else that touches the paper (Brown).
Some things that one wants to know when beginning to make a scrapbook. A person should follow this plan as a guide to help them through their first couple of pages. One must lay out the pictures. Discard the blurry photos and pick out the ones that best tell a story (Brown; Corneil). Next a person wants to look at the pictures again to see if there is anything distracting the view of an object. If there is, then one should crop them out using the cutters. When cropping, make sure not to cut too much because once cut one can’t go back. After cropping, a person wants to pick out the picture that stands out the most to be the focusing point (“How”). Again lay out the pictures, but this time lay them out on the page to see if there is a chronological or special way that the pictures should go on the page. After figuring out what pictures go where a person can begin to mat and glue. One wants to mat pictures so that they stand out. Matting also gives color to the page (Naylor). “Once everything is cropped, matted, and arranged, we can glue it all down” (Brown and Corneil).
Once everything is glued down one wants to journal. “Pictures are worth a 1000 words. But only if you can read the words” (Brown and Corneil). Journaling is an important part in contributing to a scrapbook. One wants to make sure they answer the questions of who, what, where, when and why. Another important part is to make a headline or title for the page. One wants people to know what’s going on and the stories behind the pictures (Braun 19-21).
There are many questions one can ask when going to journal. Why was this picture so important that it was taken? What’s happening in these pictures? Why are all these people together? “The answers to these questions are what makes your scrapbooks so special – only you have these answers and stories” (Brown and Corneil).
Many people think that scrapbooking is easy, but in reality it can be difficult. According to Helen Naylor of Scrapbooking.com she believes that there are many lessons that one can avoid, to make scrapbooking a little less difficult.
1. Use decorative scissors for matting photos, not cutting them.
2. Only use the shapes of circles and ovals. Cutting the photos into shapes makes it harder to work with.
3. Only crop a picture if there is a negative or a copy of the picture.
4. For older photos use the photo corners for adhesives. For the newer pictures one can use the mounting squares (Naylor).
I have learned that their can never be too many pictures. I have also learned that cropping pictures can be dangerous if I don’t have another copy. Another thing that I have learned is that when going to journal one needs to write what they’re going to say before writing it on the page. Because if one messes up then they have to redo the page.
Creating a scrapbook is a fun and exciting project that will capture memories to last a lifetime, if it is constructed correctly. Scrapbooking can become stressful, but when considering making a scrapbook as a way to preserve and cherish memories the stress can be well worth it. To me, my scrapbook has been well worth the time, money and the stress. I had a wonderful time completing my scrapbook. I always find myself well occupied and always having something to do now that I have taken on the hobby of scrapbooking. The only problem I can see is not having my pictures developed when I want to create a new page or two in my album.
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