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The Ultimate 'Learning to Scrapbook Guide for Beginners'

In this guide, I'll give you some ideas on how to scrapbook like a pro in a few easy steps.

Scrapbooking is super fun and rewarding, but there's a lot to take in :) It isn't just about sticking things down on paper.

In this guide I'll break things down for you , so the scrapbooking ideas will begin to flow and your creativity will be unleashed! Soon enough, you'll be able to easily and instantly enhance the look of your pages.

Firstly when it comes to your scrapbooking project, don't get overwhelmed. Stick to the basics (which we'll cover in this guide :))

At the end of the day scrapbooking is about preserving your beautiful memories (pictures). So as you begin your journey, try and keep it fun and remember, scrapbooking for beginners is as much about experimentation as it is creativity!

Here's a few basics to start scrapbooking.

Table Of Contents:

1. Set up your work space

Before the scrapbooking ideas flow, in fact before you even stick anything down to paper, your scrapbooking supplies and space needs to be organized!

Resist the crafters urge to rush out and buy albums or paper until you have the space ready.

Getting your physical space right will really help your mental and creative space and can be a fun project to focus on. I've been scrapbooking in so many random places over the years but I honestly feel like I produce my best work (and love scrapping even more) when I have a tidy and organized designated space.

Find an area in your house that can be dedicated for scrapbooking. This is where you'll be able to keep all your scrapbooking supplies (such as your albums, paper, pictures etc)!

Is there a small closest that isn't being used that could have the door taken off and used as a work area?

What about the landing at the top of your stairs? Or how about the odd little nook off the kitchen? If it's only used as a temporary storage area, start to claim it as your scrapbooking sanctuary!

Any place that has nearby storage for your scrapbooking supplies is also great and would be your first choice. You'd be surprised how quickly your paper stash and collection of albums can get! Also, a quiet space can be beneficial. I find my best scrapbooking ideas come when it's lovely and quiet.

Ideally you need a scrapbook space big enough to house a small desk or make a work table by placing a counter top over two 2-drawer file cabinets. But remember, the smaller the space you're using, the more organized you'll need to be, otherwise things get messy.

I know this first hand. My current space is an internal room and I have serious paper storage issues. I have at least two piles of paper under my desk, and then even more paper stored in my shelf. I'm still working on a solution!

A big tip is to surround your scrapbooking space with beautiful things that you love. Perhaps some photos of your family, maybe your favorite album on display or even some flowers. You could even showcase previous pages you're most proud of in frames on the wall. When you feel happy your creativity will blossom and the inspiration will come which will make it easier for you to create eye-catching scrapbook layouts!
my scrapbooking space
Having good natural light is one thing I definitely recommend. But if you can't then there are some really desk lights on the market that can help you see that all important detail.

I use LED lights as my scrap room is an internal room and they are really good. Focus on creating a positive space and the ideas will flow!

2. Selecting and organizing photos (my top ideas!)

The central part of scrapbooking is your photos.

So organizing them is an important project you can do . If your photos aren't already sorted, take time to organize them before you begin. It will save you a lot of time.

One of the slowest parts of putting together an album is deciding which photos to use. This is why getting your photo collection in order (deciding which pictures are scrappable) will save you time in the long run.
photos to scrapbook
Here's one of the easiest and most helpful scrapbooking organization ideas you'll hear and it's one I love – purchase clear plastic bins (about the size of a shoe box) and label the top and front of each bin.

Labels might include: family, relatives, vacation, wedding, holidays, etc. As you begin to sort through scrapbooking photos, quickly place them into the corresponding bin. This way they'll be at your fingertips when you're ready to start working on a page.

Since you're in the sorting mood, be sure to check desk drawers, closets and any other place where old photos might be stashed.

Once you have gone through all the photos, you can then begin to organize each bin. Use large index cards to separate and label the photos inside each bin.

Sidenote - I also like to store my paper using a similar approach. I use clear plastic bins (the big ones), and sort my paper by colors that go well together OR by theme (birthday, love etc).

I have a lot of my photos on line so print as I go. I use my cheap printer (which I love!) with photo paper and its works really well. My photos come out clear and sharp. And once you have the printer, the paper is relatively in expensive!
printing photos for scrapbook pages with printing paper
Gather the photos that you want to use for your scrapbooking album. Keep in mind that you'll probably have more photos than you'll actually use, but you can narrow the choice when you get ready to work on your scrapbook pages.

Tip: I like to use the paper scraps from my home printed photos - you can ink these scraps of cardstock and use them as borders, flourishes or even use them as a 3D underline for your page title.

Here's one of my favorite scrapbooking ideas for beginners. Scan or photograph your precious (one of a kind) photos so you can keep the original one super safe and use the scanned version (Print out on good quality printer paper or get your photos printed at your nearest printing service).

To get more ideas on creating scrapbooks that are stunning, click here.

3. Gather scrapbook supplies without burning through money!

As tempting as it might be to purchase a lot of scrapbooking supplies at once (cardstock haul anyone??), stick with the basics.

I remember walking into my first scrapbooking store and wanting to buy the LOT. Be warned, that eyeball inspiration can be a real trap for beginners! It's tempting to buy everything and anything that appeals to you when shopping for scrapbook supplies. If you can, practice restraint :)

A worthwhile project is to create a list of exactly what you need and then stick with the list! I would also at this point consider a style you want to start with - did you want to try a vintage style, modern style, masculine etc. Deciding will help focus the different options when it comes to what paper, albums to purchase etc

Your list of scrapbook supplies should include:
  • page protectors
  • patterned paper (acid free)
  • plain cardstock
  • photos you want to scrap (see above for tips on organizing your photos)
  • an album (or two!)
  • die cuts
  • die cut machine
  • plain paper (for your scrapbook page)
  • stickers
  • scrapbooking embellishments
  • beginners supplies like scissors, washi tape, glue etc
  • scrapbook magazines (flicking through one of these can give you loads of ideas for your pages that you'll love!)
  • a book on scrapbooking (we sell a few of these to help you!)
Make sure anything you want to adhere to your page is acid free. Some items (such as old ticket stubs) can contain acid, that over time erodes your pages and can ruin your photos.

One of my favorite products is Krylon's 'make it acid free'. This is a scrapbook spray that literally removes the acid from almost anything. It's a great way to protect your photos and scrapbook page by making them acid free.

For example, some stickers contain acid and using this miracle spray will remove the acid and make it ok to use on your layouts.

Did you know you can use some basic household items for scrapbooking supplies? This is a great option for those who want to learn to scrapbook in a budget.

Check this blog out for6 essential scrapbook toolsin more detail

As you continue learning how to scrapbook on a budget, you can gradually add to the basics. For now, this beginners article covers the basics to get you started.

4. How to layout your scrapbook pages

Now you're ready for the fun part of learning to scrapbook, creating your first scrapbook page! With pictures sorted, scrapbook tips in mind and supplies on hand, you need to get focussed on the layout of your album and pages.

Now don't expect inspiration to flow right away. So be gentle with yourself. This is a process, and some parts of it may come easy, others not so easy :)

Tip for beginners: The first page of your album will be the title page. You might want to do this scrapbook page last so that the title that you choose truly reflects what the album contains. Although I do have some scrapbook albums that are miscellaneous in theme and that's ok too.

Begin with the next two side-by-side pages. You may want to have one scrapbooking theme per spread. Rather than thinking of each page as a separate unit, think of what you want to capture on the double page scrapbook spread.

When someone flicks through an album of mine, I want each turn of a page to be a new immersive experience!

Choose your photos and temporarily arrange them onto the scrapbooking pages. Then select a patterned paper that fits the theme. Hopefully you'll like what you see!

Now start arranging the elements and photo (s) on the page till it looks eye catching and beautiful. What you'll find, is as you're doing this, the inspiration will start to come from just seeing the photos on the paper, and the other elements on the page.
girl scrapbook album page
For beginners, I highly recommend using a scrapbooking sketch or template to give you lots of ideas for your pages.

Sketches are so helpful, they can help you understand where to put the photo, the title and I find they're super helpful if I need to finish an entire album in record time.


You can also navigate to the product menu here on our site and see our layouts for scrapbooking book if you need the additional ideas!

Okay, now it's time to adhere the scrapbook patterned paper to the scrapbook page.

scrapbook inspiration
Use complimentary colored scrapbook patterned paper to matte your photo on to create a frame.

You will want your photo to stand out on your scrapbook page.

Check this blog out for more information on matting your photos on your paper to make them stand out.

On your scrapbook page, you'll need to embellish the patterned paper with stickers, confetti, die-cuts and other small items, but be careful to not overdo it. In fact I love the philosophy of keeping it simple.


One of the biggest mistakes beginners make with their layoutsis complicating things. Here's many other mistakes new scrapbookers make and how to avoid them.

I recommend placing your scrapbook embellishments or stickers around your photo or in a cluster on your scrapbook pages. If embellishments are too far away from the photo then it can draw the eye onto other things.

Check out this article for more ideas on working with clusters on your paper to make your pictures eye catching. 

scrapbooking pictures inspiration with stickers
Heres a blog post with some ideas on how to give your scrapbook pages that extra eye catching element

To create more dimension on your scrapbook page you can add pop up dots or foam dimension dots - if you place photos / pictures or embellishments on these you really can see your page come alive.

scrapbook layout with plain paper
Once you've finished your scrapbook page, be sure to use page protectors to ensure your cardstock and page won't accidentally get ripped, torn or stained.

If you want more of a challenge and want to create a keep sake or beautiful gift to a loved one check out this amazing Ultimate Mini Scrapbook tutorial.

5. How and Why to Journal

One of the key components of scrapbooking is journaling.

Remember the old photo albums that contained little or no room to write information about the pictures?

As you flipped through someone's album you would constantly have to ask, "Who is this?" "Where was this taken?" "What's happening in this picture?"

One of the benefits of learning to scrapbook is that you have space to journal! Of all our scrapbooking tips, we want you to remember to make journaling something you love and enjoy.

You can write down key phrases that describe each photo or make funny captions reflecting what's happening in a picture. As you journal, be sure to include names and dates. A few years from now you'll be glad that you did!

Here's some ideas and inspiration for adding scrapbook journaling to your page:

  • Consider adding journaling to your layout as a border (write directly onto the cardstock).
  • Think about incorporating journaling into a tag.
  • Hide your journaling on your layout inside its own envelope.
  • Create a mini book of journaling (credit card size) and add to your page.
scrapbook design and inspiration

After you have completed each of your eye-catching scrapbook layout, it's time to create a catchy or inspiring title page. Include just one picture, the title and the year. 


By keeping the title page simple, it makes it very clear what the viewer can anticipate seeing in the next few pages.

Place the pages inside of the page protectors once they are thoroughly dry. Then it's time to put your album together.

If you have used foam dimension dots or cardboard to raise elements off your page you might find it hard to fit it in your page protectors. I recommend trimming your page down just a little every side and it will slide into your page protectors easily.

Albums make a fantastic gift too! Perhaps you have some friends getting married or celebrating an anniversary. There's lots of ways you can bless others with your love of scrapbooking.

Keep our scrapbooking tips in mind throughout your creative journey!

As you learn scrapbooking for beginners and get started on this wonderful adventure, you will discover that scrapbooking is a super fun and relaxing hobby. It's something that you can enjoy time and again and your family and friends will enjoy the albums and pages you put together. 

Your pictures will come to life and pop off a page that your family can pass down through the years.

Good luck creating your first scrapbook page and enjoy this new time of discover! Feel free to start looking around our site for more helpful ideas, tips and inspiration!

Your first album isn't far away!

Topic: Scrapbook page ideas

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