Beginner Scrapbooking

what works and what doesn’t from a real-life scrapbooker

Beginner Scrapbooking Tips - I’ve put together my top 10 tips to get you started in beginning scrapbooking. I still love to look at my beginning scrapbooks. They are dated for sure and not anywhere close to what I do now, but I can tell you, the journey has been worth it. I treasure all of my scrapbooks and layouts and you will too.

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #1

Don’t set yourself up for failure! – More than likely, if you’re beginning scrapbooking, you’ve been to a scrapbook store or flipped through a scrapbooking magazine and gotten overwhelmed and maybe just a little bit discouraged?! But since you’re here looking up beginner scrapbooking tips, you definitely have the desire and that’s really all it takes. I should know. I’ve been scrapbooking off and on for about 10 years and I’ve gone through some overwhelming times. In fact, I still do. But what I’ve learned is that there is no perfect way to scrapbook! Just let that sink in for a minute. As you continue to scrapbook and learn and grow and try new techniques, you’ll develop your own style and dare I say… “system.” These tips are just what I’ve learned from 10 years of scrapbooking. They have freed me to enjoy my scrapbooking instead of feeling like I have to stay “up to date.” Stacy Julian has an awesome book all about this: how to overcome the barriers of scrapbooking and reap the rewards of your hobby.

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #2

Don’t think you have to scrap everything – In fact, I’ll tell you right now that it is impossible unless you have absolutely nothing else to do and even then, if you spend all your time scrapbooking, you won’t have anything to scrapbook (because you’re not living). Haha : ) So, choose your best pics…people, things, events, trips, etc. that inspire you to love and cherish your family and your life and then scrapbook those things. That is how you scrapbook so that your descendants will know the real you. Example: I am working on a mini album right now about my house. Someday, I won’t live here any more and I’ll want to remember all of the little things that made it home. What can you scrapbook that you will want to remember 20 years from now?

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #3

Maybe you’re asking? “But wait! If I don’t have to scrap everything, how will I preserve all of my pics? I thought that’s what scrapbooking is all about?” It is, but if you try to scrapbook all of your pictures, you’ll end up getting discouraged, because you’ll “get behind” and then you’ll quit and you won’t have any scrapbooks to enjoy. Here’s how I fix this problem. I put all of my photos in chronological order in acid free/PVC free regular photo albums and then just scrapbook the ones that inspire me. This way, I have the memories preserved and I don’t have a bunch of photos lying around in a “to do” pile that’s getting higher and higher because I am so discouraged that I am “behind.” All of my pics are preserved and I get the albums that have space for writing so I also have some basic journaling. Then, when I do a layout, I can flip back through my regular albums and figure out where it fits by date and what was going on in my life then. It helps my layout journaling to be fuller and more meaningful as well. So, here you are looking at beginner scrabooking tips and you’re probably thinking…”Ok, you’ve been scrapbooking for 10 years but I am just getting started, and all of my pictures are totally unorganized and out of order…HELP!” Well, if it makes you feel any better, I just recently got my pictures (just from the last 2 years) in order and into albums. My advice: start now. Every time you get photos developed, just put them in an album and they’ll be in order from now on out. Then just work backwards when you have some time.

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #4

Get a 40% -50% discount when you use coupons from JoAnns, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby. These are true in my town: JoAnns – sign up at the store to get their flyer with a 40% off one item coupon. Michaels – check your local paper for their weekly coupon. Hobby Lobby – sign up for their email flyer and check their weekly sales. Every now and then they also have a printable coupon for 40% off. This is a great way to build up your scrapbooking supplies and get cheap scrapbooking supplies especially when you’re beginning scrapbooking.

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #5

Start a Scrapper’s Library – Notice I said Start. I’ve collected so many books over the years - some good and some not so good. But here’s one that has some great beginner scrapbooking tips. It is called A Scrapbooker's Guide: Scrapbooking Fundamentals. You can find it at It’s a comprehensive guide to Getting Started - the essential tools, Protecting Your Photos and Memorabilia, Finding Your Scrapbooking Style, Scrapbooking Etiquette, Connecting With Other Scrapbookers, Acronym Translations and Smilies for Online Communication, and a Dictionary of Scrapbooking Terms. I have this one in my library – it’s a must for beginner scrapbooking tips!

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #6

Get a subscription to Creating Keepsakes…and study it! This is one of my BEST beginner scrapbooking tips. I do this myself. I keep copies of Creating Keepsakes laying around everywhere…by my recliner, in my purse, in the car, and well, you know, all of the other places to keep reading material. Then, I study it. I don’t just peruse it. I pick apart the layouts to see what makes them work. Then when I get ready to spend some time scrapbooking my subconscious starts working and I can start “downloading” all of the ideas I’ve gleaned while studying. It works! I promise!

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #7

Start a regular journal – Why?…because it helps you to practice for journaling on your layouts. One of the many problems that plague scrapbookers everywhere is journaling. So many people complain about it and don’t know how to do effective journaling. I’ve found that keeping a regular journal (whenever I have time) is sooo helpful when it comes to putting words on paper (or vellum) for my layouts. I even put entries in my journal specifically written to create a layout around later…this is a great time-saver scrapbooking tip.

Scrapbooking Tip #8

Subscribe to - The Real-Life Scrapbooker’s Resource

Beginner Scrapbooking Tip #9

Go to Crops – Here’s one of the things I did when I was just getting started. I didn’t have a lot of supplies at home or money to go out and buy a whole lot of scrapbooking supplies. So, I would take my pics to my local scrapbooking store and crop there. That way I could buy as I used. I got so many layouts done because all of the supplies where right there. I didn’t have to try to guess what I might need. Eventually, I got better at choosing supplies to coordinate and I started collecting supplies and now I can do a lot of layouts at home which saves me time. But it is so fun to crop at a real brick and mortar store. Most of the time, the people that work there are more than willing to help you choose supplies and they usually have their own beginner scrapbooking tips.

More beginner scrapbooking tips from time to time....

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