The Basics of Scrapbooking with Stampin' Up! Part Two

This article originally appeared on my blog "Stamp Your Story" in July 2011

In February, after being a scrapbooker for more than 15 years, I became a demonstrator with Stampin' Up! (You probably knew this already.) :) Since the scrapbook stores in our area are all more than an hour away from me, I needed a new source for paper and supplies and one of the fantastic things about Stampin' Up! is that it's *the scrapbook store that comes to your door*. 

Since then, I have been completely impressed--blown away, in fact--with the calibur of the handmade greeting cards that I've found on blogs and in online galleries created with Stampin' Up! products. Stampin' Up! people are the masters at card-making. 

Scrapbooking, however, seems to take a back seat. I have searched and searched for Stampin' Up!-based blogs and crafters who are passionate about scrapbooking and have come up short. It's a little bit disappointing to read time and time again -- "I'm a Stampin' Up! demonstrator but I'm not really into scrapbooking." or "I only demonstrate 6x6 mini-pages when my customers ask for them--and we don't use actual photos." 

What?! How can that be?

Scrapbooking utilizes all the *same* tools and techniques as cardmaking. Stampin' Up! offers fabulous tools and papers perfect for I do *not* understand the disconnect. If you can do it on a card, you can do it in a scrapbook.

Nonetheless, here we are. So, I'm embarking on a mission to prove that Stampin' Up! is for *real* scrapbookers. :)

Let's start at the beginning. If you are like most folks, you take pictures with some regularity, probably with a digital camera or even perhaps on your cell phone. You show them off to family and friends occasionally, but rarely print them. When you do finally edit them, upload them to a printing site or service and order them, you wait for them to arrive, then you glance through them once or twice and then set them aside. They sit in a shoebox or a drawer for a little too long...they stack up. You wonder what to do with them. They pile up. The pile gets a little daunting or perhaps even intimidating.

Your last vacation, your wedding, your child's birth, your mom's 50th birthday, your sister's graduation from college...all these memories, just sitting in a drawer, shoe box or worse, the printer's envelopes. Unused, unenjoyed, unloved and cluttering up your space.

Guess what. This is completely normal. 
And very easy to remedy.

What you need is an easy system for organizing the photos that you want to keep, a way to get them into a format that will allow them to be enjoyed, and a place to document the stories you want to remember that go with them. Sounds like a chore? No way. Trust me, this is easy...and that pile of photos can be transformed into something you can enjoy looking at and sharing with your family and friends, with just a little bit of effort and the right supplies.

Welcome to scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!

Scrapbooking has been around for many years. Thousands. From Aristotle and Cicero in the late 1500s to President Thomas Jefferson, scrapbooking--the art of preserving tidbits and "life evidence" has been a part of almost all civilized cultures. It's definately not a new thing. You've heard of Mark Twain? He dedicated entire Sundays throughout his life to the art of scrapbooking. 

It seems that throughout history, people have held close an innate desire to not be have their legacy remain after they are gone. Scrapbooking is but one way to preserve your stories and memories, your adventures, you life lessons, your achievements. Don't underestimate the value of your life story to those who come along after you are gone. 

Imagine what the world would be if Anne Frank hadn't kept a diary? 

Modern scrapbooking has risen in popularity as a hobby in the past two, perhaps three decades and with just a few tools and supplies, you can easily create your own scrapbook of treasured memories and photos. Stampin' Up! is the perfect resource for the supplies and tools that you'll need. If you have a history as a stamper and/or a card-maker (as so many people who love Stampin' Up! do), you probably already have many of the tools and skills needed to become a delighted just need a tiny bit of instruction and some time to expand your playing field.

All photos have one thing in common--they must be taken care of and stored properly to enjoy a long life. We are lucky to live in a technological era that makes taking snapshots oh-so-easy and inexpensive! Keeping your photos safe is not difficult.  Stampin' Up! offers products that are safe for your photos and will enhance your creative expression as you preserve your memories in your scrapbook.

Typically, a scrapbook page is comprised of three major elements--

the photo(s), 
the journaling (the title and the story), 
and the decorative elements (embellishments). 

When you've completed the assembling of the three major elements, you may choose to store your scrapbook pages in an album or have them framed for display. 

Whether you are facing down fifty years worth of photos or you've just started taking pictures, there's only one way to do this: pick a place to start and jump in with both feet. Take a deep breath and start with a step-by-step method that will help you create a scrapbook page or spread!

Select a group of 1-5 photos that you want to work with...perhaps a birthday or other event. Consider the story you want to tell using these photos. Maybe it's obvious, (like the celebration of a birthday) or maybe not. Either way is appropriate. The number one rule of scrapbooking is this: *your scrapbook, your choice*.

Seriously, if you have a single photo that you love, why not scrapbook it? There is no edict from on high that demands that every scrapbook page you create must have 3 photos on it. If one photo speaks to you...go with it! The right picture can certainly stand alone, just like a painting in a museum...remember, no rules!

For this project, I'm choosing a set of 5 photos from a trip to the beach that I took with my boys earlier in the year. As it worked out, we spent my youngest son's 8th birthday on a beach in South Carolina. It was early in March, so we had the whole beach to ourselves and it was a wonderful day. Not quite the usual birthday for an 8 year old...but a fantastic one, nonetheless.

I actually took about 80 photos on the beach that day and printed most of them. (I adore beach photos.) One of the easiest ways to become accomplished at scrapbooking is to get past the *must scrapbook every photo* mindset. Pick the best photos...the ones that speak to you, the ones that really tell the story and develop your plan for scrapbooking around those. The remainder can be stored easily in pages designed to preserve and protect, for easy enjoyment, along with your scrapbook pages.

Could I use all 80 of those photos in a scrapbook dedicated to one day on the beach? 

Well, of course. 
But do I really want to? 
That would be super time-consuming and could get expensive. I'm not up for that...but I do love the I will scrapbook a few and store the rest, photo-album style.

Much of scrapbooking is about chooosing what suits you and what appeals to your sense of style. I may make three or four pages about our trip to the beach...on the other hand, you might choose to make a whole 20-page album that documents one vacation trip or event. It's good to have choices!

Remember the rule: Your Scrapbook, Your Choice!

Especially if you are just getting started with the whole "scrapbooking thing", choose pictures that you really really like, as you'll very likely find them easier to scrapbook. Photos you like give you pages you like.

You will notice that most modern scrapbookers work with albums that hold pages that are 12x12. Since most photos printed are 4x6, this size works well. Stampin' Up! offer several varieties of scrapbook albums in the 12x12 size (the internal pages are 12x12), as well as 6x6, 8x8 and 8.5x11. Select a size that works for your project.

Choose a focal point. Usually this is pretty easy...and with a little bit of practice, you'll be able to do this without even thinking about it. 

Which photo stands out?
Which photo most captures the story you want to tell through this scrapbook page or spread? 

Answer these questions and you have your focal point.

The most common supply you will use is paper! For the most part, scrapbook papers fall into two categories: solid color cardstock and patterned papers. Stampin' Up! offers a wide selection of both! Enjoy the process of choosing papers...there are many many styles and designs to choose from! 

For my project, I selected 2 pieces of 12x12 cardstock in the pale yellow color--So Saffron--as the base of my pages. I plan to use the photos (uncut) spread across the two pages, along with some embellishments (decorative themed elements) as well as the journaling. I like the "sunny" color and the subtle texture that this particular paper offers.

Don't let the many paper options overwhelm you as you get started. Choosing paper will get easier as you get more practiced at scrapbooking. 

When choosing paper, quality is important. You will notice that some papers are a heavier weight than others, some papers have texture and some are smooth.

What are you going to use to hold it all together? I bet you noticed...We need an adhesive to put it all together!

Stampin' Up! offers several styles of adhesive including a tape dispenser called Snail, which happens to be my adhesive of choice. Picking one that works for you is part personal preference, part job-specific choice. Your Stampin' Up! demonstrator can help you choose if you need project-specific advice.

Arrangement. Arranging the elements of the page in a visually-appealing way is the big trick. Are there photos that you really want to feature prominently in the page? Consider enlarging that photo or matting it with a special color to draw the eye to it first. 

Do you prefer clean, balanced lines? Or are you drawn in by a less formal, more whimsical look? Do you prefer that all the photos are the same size or do you want to adjust the size of some? (That's called "cropping", by the way.)

Finding what arrangements appeal to your eye takes a little bit of time and whole lot of experimentation. Take your time. If you see something that's appealing on a website or in the Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalog, by all means, copy it! 

Embellishments and decorative elements can add a spark of creative play to your pages. Decorating with papers, stamps, ribbons, brads, tags, punches, paints...and a thousand other possibilities is what keeps a scrapbook from being a photo album. Just like you probably don't have only white blank walls in your probably don't want them in your scrapbook.

Stampin' Up! has taught many many people to be super creative card-makers over the years. It's those same products, techniques and tools that you can use to bring decorative elements and spicy fun to your scrapbook pages.

I selected to create several suns, using a circle punch and the Petite Pennant Builder Punch for this layout. Nothing says "beach day" like a sun right? I stamped some surf boards for a little pop of bolder colors. 

Did you notice how easily the embellishments on this *scrapbook page* could become a card?

In the selection of decorative elements for your page, you may also choose to incorporate a title. Stampin' Up! offers multitudes of products to help you create an eye-catching title for your page, including alpha dies, alpha stamps, chipboard letters, alphabet stickers, rub-ons, etc. Dress your title up or down, make it big or go smaller. 

In my experience, choosing a catchy title is one of the easiest ways to make a page really jump out to those who will view your pages. Look for ways to create a little intrigue, rather than going for the obvious. One of my favorite tricks for great titling--song titles! 

For the title of this layout, I chose to go with die-cut letters--the Simple Things alphabet.

Journaling is the telling of the story of the photos. In some ways, scrapbookers are like journalists in that they record the details of the stories as a way of preserving them. You can start any page with the basics of who, what, when, where and why...but don't be afraid to continue with the deeper story or the story that might not be so obvious in the photos. 

You may choose to write the journaling by hand directly on your scrapbook page or print it using a computer and add it to your page. There's no *correct* or *incorrect* way. This is your scrapbook--do what feels most comfortable for you. Incidentally, you don't have to commit to just hand-writing or just computer-generated printing. Try both! 

Stampin' Up! offers tools for journaling. (Shocking--right?) Pens are perfect for journaling in a coordinating color. Some of our stamps offer a lined image portion that can easily aid you in keeping your handwriting in a lined up fashion. If you prefer to use a computer, our cardstocks can be used in conjunction with most printers.

I chose to print my story on a die-cut (from the Top Note die).

I've included the journaling at Step Seven because for most people, the process of scrapbooking begins with photo selection, moves through the choices of paper and decorative element selection and finally ends with the writing of the story. However, for some, the process can just as easily work in reverse. Don't be afraid to experiment. If there's a story you want to tell, do the journaling and see where it leads you with regard to photo selection and adding decorative elements. Using photos to illustrate a story is just as much "scrapbooking" as any other step-by-step process. The final product is a scrapbook page or layout that you love...that's the goal.

Assembly. Once you have all the elements arranged in a way that appeals to you, make a permanent commitment to it and build your page by attaching all the elements.

Ask anyone who's been scrapbooking for more than about a day and they will tell you that you will evole as a scrapbooker. As you learn new techniques and come across new products to incorporate into your pages, your style will change and develop. *That's a good thing.* Do what makes you happy on your pages. Use photos that speak to you and tell your stories, even if they aren't perfect. Most importantly, keep learning about your craft. Keep having fun scrapbooking with Stampin' Up!

At some point in the process of scrapbooking, you may want to get all your photos organized. If you have a large number of photos...or a large number of boxes of photos...I *don't* recommend doing any organizing before you actually start scrapbooking--I've seen too many people get completely overwhelmed by the daunting task of *getting all caught up* and it can be paralyzing. Keep a narrow group of photos at a time.

Scrapbooking should be a fun hobby--something you can enjoy the process of, not just the final product of.

Happy Scrapbooking!

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