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Scrapbooking 101

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Updated on Aug 30, 2011
Scrapbooking is a serious business. And sometimes it seems that scrapbookers themselves are pretty serious, too. But don't let all that passion get in the way of your testing the waters. You don’t need a design degree to try it out.
 
Scrapbooking is fun, and it’s a creative way for families to preserve precious memories. Plus, it’s a great family activity! Any kid old enough to cut and paste can create their own book right next to mom or dad.
 
These days, there are hundreds of hobby stores, websites, and catalogs devoted to scrapbooking, and they all insist you need to spend a fortune before you can get started. We beg to differ. True, you do need an album and paper. And since the whole point is preservation, you’ll want to make sure everything’s archival quality and acid-free. But most of the other materials are negotiable.
 
Start with a neutral, solid colored background so your photos and cutouts will show up better. If you like, you can also purchase thicker cardstock to glue behind photos and heavy cutouts to provide support. Thin, translucent vellum can go through your printer and makes beautiful journal pages. You may also want to buy page protectors to protect your work from dust and time.
 
You’ll also need sharp scissors and an exacto knife for trimming your work. A simple ruler will help you cut straight lines. Paper cutters are a nice luxury, as is a cutting mat to protect your table, but you don’t need them.
 
What do you need? Well, glue – either liquid or a glue stick. Adhesive photo corners will allow you to remove photos at will. Double-sided tape and adhesive tabs are also popular.
 
If you want to write captions in your scrapbook, you’ll want good-quality pens or colored pencils. A grease pencil is handy for writing on the back of photos, since, unlike a pen, it won’t bleed through. You’ll probably also want a white eraser for the pencil and a glue eraser for the, well, glue.
 
Many people also buy decorative stickers, rubber stamps, and collections of fonts to beautify their books.
 
If you have friends who scrapbook, sooner or later you’re going to get invited to a “crop” party. Although you can certainly carry your materials in a regular bag, many serious “scrappers” prefer large, wheeled totes.
 
Sound like a serious investment? It doesn’t have to be. You can start with the basics and buy more as you go along. And, of course, the souvenirs that make scrapbooks truly priceless – your daughter’s blue ribbon, ticket stubs, the dried flower you picked on a family vacation, tickets from the school concert – are absolutely free!
 
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