31-Day Blog Challenge: How to Scrapbook

Here's a question I get asked a lot: "How do you scrapbook?" It's a vague, but extremely valid question! Anytime you look at someone's finished product, it's hard to imagine how they got from a blank page to a creative masterpiece. Today I'm going to attempt to take some of the mystery out of my creative process.

1. Evaluate the Theme

Once I have the photos for a scrapbook in front of me, I look for a theme. The theme may stay the same for the whole book or may change from page to page. If the theme stays the same, I usually group photos into sub-themes or put them in chronological order. For example, if the theme of an album is a wedding, I will group the photos into sub-groups like the ceremony, reception, family shots, toasts, etc. The theme also helps me decide on a color scheme, so I can select appropriate papers and embellishments.

2. Make an Outline

I like to make lists and write things down. I'm a very visual thinker, so it helps me to make an outline of all the sub-groups and how many photos are in each. Then I make sure the number of photo groups correlates with the number of pages I have available. This ensures that I don't end up with any empty pages or leftover photos at the end of the album. Occasionally, I make tweaks to the outline, but it gives me a rough idea of where things will go.

3. Begin the First Layout!

Once I know which photos will go on a page together, I choose a background paper. This is the part of the process that is hardest to explain because I just choose the papers and embellishments that I think look best. I take into account colors and contrast to make sure I choose paper that will complement and draw focus to the images. I usually matte the photos, meaning I place a piece of paper behind it to make the photo stand out against a background. Then I arrange the photos on the page.

4. Add Embellishments and Adhesives

Embellishments are basically anything added to the page besides photos. Embellishments include, but are not limited to ribbon, stickers, titles, and journaling. I arrange the embellishments on the page with the photos before I glue anything down. Once I'm satisfied with the page, I glue or tape everything into place. Here are some of my favorite pages. I never follow a predetermined layout, so each one ends up unique.

5. Repeat Steps 3-4 until Finished!

I continue making each page, one at a time, until the book is complete. I often let a page sit overnight if I just can't seem to get it right. Ultimately, my ideas come to me as I go. It's a process of trial and error, moving things around on the page. Scrapbooking really isn't something that can be taught. Sure, I can create layouts for someone to copy and insert their own pictures into, but I can't give them an eye for symmetry and aesthetics. That's why I decided to start ShoeBox Scrapbooking in the first place - to use my talent to create beautiful albums for those who don't feel that they have the artistic ability or desire to do so themselves.

So there you have it! There is a little bit of method to my madness. For those of you who would like to give scrapbooking a whirl, I hope this introduction helps!