A scrapbook is a creative and expressive family keepsake for generations


A scrapbook is more than a decorated photo album, but different from a photo album because it preserves something more than just the photos. A scrapbook tells the story behind the photos, as well as memorabilia (tickets, certificates, letters, etc.)

Scrapbooking safely preserves your photos and memorabilia. You might have a family album as well as smaller theme albums for vacations, home improvement or a baby's first year.

Remember those “magnetic” albums? Ten years after carefully placing photos in these albums, people found that the glue had harmed their photos.

By using acid-free and lignin-free papers and adhesives, photos can be preserved beautifully and safely.

Even better, the papers and accessories available now give us lots of creative options for doing more than just filing photos in an album.

Scrapbooking is a creative and expressive family hobby!

It's really all about getting those photos out of shoeboxes and attics and into albums where they can be seen and shared. Best of all, no experience or expertise is required—it's as simple as cutting and gluing.

Are you looking at those big boxes filled with photos, wondering how you'll ever get around to all of them? If scrapbooking seems like a monumental task, don't worry - it's really not. All you need are a few basic materials and some ideas. You are finding pictures stuffed between books on the bookshelves, under the bed, and in drawers! Help - what are you going to do with them all? Why not make a scrapbook? Gather as many pictures as you can to assemble a book of memories.

Look at other scrapbooks and think up ideas of how you want to organize your scrapbook. Think about who it is for - what would that person like etc. If it is for your own collection, have all the fun you want! The main thing to remember is CREATIVITY!

Catagorize and Organize Decide on a theme for your scrapbook. Themes can be related, like a scrapbook on world travels - which is more specific. The other type, is a family scrapbook, which probably has a variety of themes. These themes can include: Birthdays, 1st job, Christmas, fun family get-togethers, special events, new home, graduation, new baby, 1st day of school, wedding etc. ANYTHING you can think of!

Sift through your pictures and decide which pictures you want to use on a page of your scrapbook. As you are looking through you pictures, try and remember where you were, or what was going on in the picture and write it down. Use post-it notes and group all the pictures which are from the same event, time period, or individual. You can catagorize however you want!

Re-sort and decide... Now, look in each of your catagories and decide whihc pictures you want to use. Decide on how you want to order your scrapbook. A family scrapbook is best done cronologically, but perhaps a world travels scrapbook is in no particular order. You decide.

Do you want a lot of pictures on your pages? You can also include other types of memrobelia on your pages like concert tickets, programs, etc. Anything which sparks a memory in your mind can be used. You can also write special stories, poems, phrases etc. on your pages.

On the page... Some people like to write alot to describe what is going on in the pictures featured on their pages. Others like short phrases. Both are types of "journalling". There is bullet form, captions under pictures, storytelling, and poetic type journalling. You decide what you want to do depending on your own personal style and who you are making this scrapbook for.

When you are mounting your photos on the page, think first. Are these pictures a permanent addition to the scrapbook? If not, you might not want to permanently attach them. There are 2 basic ways of mounting pictures on the page; permanent and non-permanent. Glue sticks come in permanent and non-permanent, there are also photo corners which are temporary, and attach on the corners of the pictures, you can also use photo-sleeves or double-sided sticky tape.

As for design on your pages, when you are writing, you might want to use more decorative lettering. This gives your scrapbook a more professional look. It is good to title your pages too. Behind your pictures, to mount them, you can use die-cuts or cut frames out of colored or patterned paper. Stickers can also be used - make sure you don't use too many! Stencils can be used to give a neat outline to your pages, or punches can also be used to add a creative touch. Let your imagination and creativity run wild!

One page at a time! Slowly but surely, your pages will come together. The main thing to do is to plan. Usually scrapbooking projects are long term - get started early!

Storage while not working Shoe boxes are good, cheap storage places when you are not actively working on your scrapbook. The best thing to get is an acid-free photo box. These boxes keep your pictures safe.

The FINAL product! This is the best part! If you are giving the scrapbook you made, as a gift, I'm sure you are dying to see the look on the persons’ face when they see what a special gift you have created for them.


The Issue of Acid and Lignin - Anything that touches your photos should be acid-free and lignin-free, including paper, glue, markers and stickers. Why? Otherwise your photos will discolor and disintegrate more quickly than they would naturally. Products that are photo-safe will be labeled as such. You can also look for the CK-OK label, which means the product has been tested by Creating Keepsakes magazine's experts for photo-safety.

What Is Acid-Free—and Why Does It Matter? Acid causes paper and photos to disintegrate. This aging process is slowed significantly when acid is removed from paper during the manufacturing process. Not all scrapbooking materials are photo-safe, so be sure your paper, glue and markers are labeled acid-free or archival-quality before you purchase them. Paper Pizazz® papers are tested and guaranteed to be acid-free and lignin-free.

What's Lignin? Lignin is the natural bonding element which holds wood fibers together. Newsprint contains lignin—you'll notice how brittle and yellowed a newspaper becomes after just a few days. Like acid, lignin can be removed during processing to make scrapbooking paper safe. If you want to include newspaper articles or announcements in your memory album, photocopy them onto acid-free, lignin-free paper. Copy onto an off-white paper that resembles newsprint for an authentic look.

Archival quality - This is a term used to indicate materials which have undergone laboratory analysis to determine their acidic and buffered content is within safe levels.

Buffered paper - During manufacturing, a buffering agent such as calcium carbonate or magnesium bicarbonate can be added to paper to neutralize acid contaminants. Such papers have a pH of 8.5.

pH Factor - This refers to the acidity of a paper. The pH scale is the standard for measurement of acidity and alkalinity. It runs from 1 to 14 with each number representing a ten-fold increase; pH neutral is 7. Acid-free products have a pH factor of 7 or above. Special pH tester pens are available to help you determine the acidity of products..

Photo safe - This is a term similar to archival quality but more specific to materials used with photographs. Acid-free is the determining factor for a product to be labeled photo-safe.

Sheet protectors - These are made of plastic to slip over a finished album page, They can be side loading or top loading and fit 5”x7”, 81/2”x11” or 12”x12” pages. It is important that they be acid-free; those that are will be labeled as such on the box they come in or the album they come with.

Cropping - To “crop” a photo means to cut the photo. Most of the time, you'll do this to trim out excess background like sky and grass to better focus on the main subject of the picture. When scrapbooking first started, I often cut our photos into shapes like hearts and stars. Sure, you can do this—but you'll get a cleaner, more classic effect if you keep your photos in a square or rectangle shape. I do warn you though: Don't get overzealous with cropping—you might inadvertently cut out something like a car or house that will have personal, historical or sentimental meaning later on. And please, please don't crop those one-of-a-kind heritage photos! If you really want to, make a color copy of the photo (yes, make color copies of black and white pictures too) and then crop the copy. But save the original! I like to use the Kodak Picture Maker for creating duplicates of heritage or one-of-a-kind photos; you can also use it to clean up photos that might be showing a bit of wear.

We hope enjoy this creative and expressive family hobby.

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