Beginner Basics

Making Your First Scrapbook Page

Thursday, April 08, 2010

So, you are ready to make your first scrapbook page! You have your album and your basic supplies. A fresh blank scrapbook page stares up at you and you are frozen! Now what? This 5 step approach is goof-proof and will have you finishing a page quickly and easily.


1) The PLAN. Think about it…builders start with a plan or blueprint, why not use one for your page? It provides direction for the project so it practically guarantees great results. Don’t get hung up self-talk like “it’s not creative” or ”I’m stealing someone’s idea”…we do it all the time and call it ”scrap-lifting!!! In fact you’ll find MANY plans on this blog, as well as links to many other websites where you can find plans, sketches and templates. Here is the plan we are going to use. (Note that this plan is for a 12 x12 layout, but you could adapt this to a different size)



2) Photos first. Choose 5 photos for this page. Make sure you showcase your best ones. Choose one or two main photos that are 4 x 6 each and show the event, person or theme well. Choose three other photos that support the idea. These will be cropped to the smaller size of 3 x 3. New scrapbookers tend to get very worried about cropping photos, with good reason. A good rule of thumb is to not crop photos you don’t have negatives/digital copies of (heritage photos for example). But, judicious cropping can help focus the viewers attention on the central subject and eliminate distracting backgrounds (like a tree “growing” out of someone’s head!) Cropping some of the photos to a smaller size adds interest and variety. And the three smaller photos will visually balance the two larger, matted photos.


3) Prepare page elements. Once you have cropped your photos, choose a piece of solid colored coordinating cardstock. Using your cutting tools, cut out a matte (background) for the two 4 x 6 photos. Each matte should be slightly bigger than the photos, in this case, about 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Not all photos need to be matted…just ones you want to highlight. Attach the photo to the matte using your adhesive. Set aside. Note that in the plan above we are going to use a border strip for the title, and a torn piece of paper for a partial background. Using your cutting tools, cut a 2 x 12 inch strip of solid colored cardstock. Choose a piece of patterned paper. Tear it into 2 pieces, about a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio, but not directly in half. If you don’t want to tear it, use your trimmer to cut it instead. You can also select two or three small stickers or other embellishments if you’d like.

4) Play and place. Once you have all your elements ready, start playing around with them on your blank scrapbook page, but don’t glue anything down yet! Place the smaller of the two torn/cut pieces of patterned paper along the bottom edge of your page. Add the 2” paper strip on top of the patterned paper vertically. Place the matted photos in locations similar to those in the plan. Add smaller photos on top of the torn piece of paper as shown. Make sure to leave some blank or “white” space as both a resting place for the eye as well as a place to write journaling or captions. When you are pleased with the arrangement, start attaching everything to your page. Life each element up, turn it over and add a bit of adhesive (a spot in each corner and one in the middle is probably plenty). Once everything is attached, take your pencil and lightly write in any journaling (write in a paragraph style wherever you have space and use captions or point form in the smaller spaces. Read it over and once you are satisfied, go over it with your black pen and erase any pencil marks.

5) Final steps. Have a good look at your page. Do you see some really empty spaces? You may want to add your embellishments there. Or it may seem pretty balanced overall and you may not want to add any embellishments at all. It’s your choice! If you do add them, keep in mind that groups of odd objects (3,5,7) are more appealing to look at than even groupings (2,4,6). Try to avoid “sticker sneeze”, where you scatter stickers all over the page…group them together in one spot to get more impact. Lastly finish off your title. You can handwrite it, use a stencil, stamp or sticker letters. Keep it brief, humorous (if desired) and descriptive.

Congratulations—you are done! Step back and appreciate your first page! Proudly place it in a page protector and share it with a family member or friend!

Remember that you can follow these 5 steps over and over again, making each page just as simple as your first one was.

PS…Here are two layouts I created using the same page plan.


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