Your Simple Guide For How To Start Scrapbooking
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Memories
Scrapbooking was one of my favorite hobbies as a young adolescent. I loved sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor, Polaroids and pictures of my life sprawled around me. I also loved finding scraps of bright paper and neon stickers to paste on the blank pages. With the help of Lisa Frank and lots of glitter (so much glitter), the pages would transform into a time capsule of special moments that I knew I’d be able to back on in the future.
It wasn’t until recently that I decided to get back into my long lost craft. While social media has replaced my once tactile hobby, and many of my photos are now on Dropbox and Facebook, my husband and I have recently developed (pun intended) quite a collection of printed pictures. Using his dad’s vintage Minolta 35mm film camera, we’ve been capturing our lives in a way that feels timeless and classic.
For our recent wedding anniversary, I purchased this scrapbook from Artifact Uprising to organize these photos. Of course, the book sat on a shelf for months, untouched, until one night, I worked up the courage to begin.
And as I looked at the images, so many memories flooded my mind. This wave of emotion felt comforting, like a warm blanket on a cold night, and tears fell from my eyes as I glued each one to a page. I felt joy, as well as longing for the past. The scrapbook offered me the opportunity to honor the people in my life I love and the times we have shared. It also ushered me to travel back through my life as a meditative method of self-care. Since that night, I’ve rediscovered scrapbooking as my own personal time machine.
In a recent New York Times article, scrapbooking is explored as a form of “radical self-care.” Tazhiana Gordon, for example, shares her scrapbook pages on Instagram, which include “her thoughts about the reckoning with Blackness the country must face.” Ms. Gordon tells the New York Times that “scrapbooking feels like a radical act of self-care, to write the words of my own life...No one can take this from me, even if they burn all my albums 20 years from now.”
A scrapbook isn’t only a hobby but a deeply healing journey we can all take. Just like any creative project, however, starting can feel daunting. But what’s important to keep in mind is that this is your time capsule, and you can make it as perfect or as messy as feels right for you. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. All you have to do is start. Here is some guidance from my own experience to help you lay the foundation.
How To Start Your Own Scrapbook
1. Collect Your Supplies
Scrapbooking is one of my favorite creative mediums, and I love how there are no rules. It’s a great way to get creative with what you already have, and I often find myself using items from my junk drawers and around my house, e.g., old newspapers, stationery, fabric scraps.
You’ll need glue, tape, and scissors (try this tape runner for recyclable and refillable cartridges or this plant-based nontoxic glue). You can also get stickers and paper from online suppliers. The online scrapbooking company Victoria Marie Designs is a helpful place to begin. Her site offers online scrapbooking workshops, videos, and supplies.
2. Sort Your Photos
If you keep pictures for a long time like me, you might already have boxes of photos to get started. Begin by organizing the photos into piles. You can organize by theme or dates. Most importantly, you’ll want to create a pile for the pictures that will go into your scrapbook and the ones that are ready to be stored or discarded.
If you don’t already have photos printed, look for conscious printing brands for affordable and sustainable printing options.
3. Select Your Space
My favorite place to scrapbook is on the floor. It’s easy to clean up and allows for more space to create. But now that I have a puppy and a cat, I opt to work at my kitchen counter or desk.
Wherever you decide to work, find a space that inspires you and allows for creativity to flow without distractions. You can also make the experience meditative by lighting a candle and playing your favorite music. With the right set-up, scrapbooking can be a very relaxing experience.
4. Contemplate Your Story
It can be easy to overthink scrapbooking when you’re first getting started. But instead of thinking it has to look a certain way, consider this: “How do I want to see these memories honored?”
Decide on the story you want your scrapbook to tell. Do you want to present the photos in a linear way, moving through the memories from beginning to end? Or would you rather tell a story on each page with different memories?
Pre-made scrapbooks can help with this, as they’re equipped with guided prompts, little pocket inserts, and other helpful interactive inspiration for starting. Just remember: these are your memories, and you get to give them honor anyway you like.
5. Allow Creativity To Flow
However, it's always helpful to gather inspiration for finding your style. And scrapbooking accounts on Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram can help you get started. Once you’ve decided on the look of your book, let your memories and creativity guide the rest.
Here are a few more of our favorite scrapbooking inspirations on Pinterest:
I’d love to hear from others who use scrapbooking to time travel! Feel free to share accounts you love and any other tips for those just getting started in the comments below.
Courtney Jay is a writer at The Good Trade. She is also a yoga instructor, health enthusiast, and sustainable fashion advocate. She believes the most powerful way to nurture the planet is to nurture ourselves. You can find more of her writing and take one of her online yoga classes on her website Coincide.