By Marci Leishman
I once heard that scrapbooking is a work of heart, not a work of art. I really liked that! It takes the pressure off. Your scrapbook pages are for you and your loved ones to enjoy. It is important to keep the focus where it should be: telling stories and highlighting photos, to keep our cherished memories alive.
Whether you are a beginner, or an experienced scrapbooker, I think that keeping it simple is the way to go. There are so many amazing products and embellishments out there, it can be tempting to put as many as possible on a page. Keep in mind that scrapbooking should be all about telling your stories and highlighting your photos.
These are 6 key elements that I believe every good page should have:
- Photo Mats
Paper is the foundation of every scrapbook page. The paper you choose sets the tone of your layout. Whether you want your page to be whimsical or formal, masculine or feminine, playful or serious. Choose paper that will help create the mood you are seeking!
You can decide between pattern paper or solid cardstock, but whatever you decide, pick a background paper that enhances your photo. I like to pick a color that matches whatever I want to stand out in my photo.
For instance, in a group photo of my son and his friends, I will pick a background paper in the same color as what my son is wearing. That helps highlight him in the photo.
The background paper on this page fits with the school theme: the green paper has a subtle alphabet pattern, and the lined paper definitely fits the school theme. Choose background paper that will emphasize your subject, if possible.
Not every page needs a big title, but most of mine have a title. I think a good title will help whoever is looking at your scrapbooks know at a glance what the page is about.
An interesting title will hopefully encourage your viewer into checking out your great photos and reading your clever journaling. Your title can create a mood, add humor or simply tell the who, what, when and where of your page.
The title shown in this page pretty much says it all! These four certainly are “so happy together”. The brown journaling strip along the bottom contains the date, just to keep things labeled and accurate!
Where would scrapbooking be without photos? I like my photos to stand out! I usually pick a focal point photo, and maybe a few more from the same event or theme. It is not necessary to scrapbook every photo you’ve ever taken. Pick the best ones to highlight what you are scrapbooking: photos that tell your story, or highlight the memory.
This photo is priceless and definitely deserves a place in my scrapbook! It shows my grandparents as high-school sweethearts. I photocopied their yearbook page, which shows them side by side in the class pictures.
4. Photo Mats
I can’t talk about photos without talking about matting! Nearly every page I scrapbook has matted photos. I honestly feel mats are THAT important!
Matting your photos keeps the focus on the photos, and helps them “pop” and stand out against your background. If I have a photo that I want to emphasize, I will often mat it several times to help it really stand out.
Matting your photos will always give your page a more finished and complete look, but be careful when it comes to matting! Cutting precise photo mats is key.
Crooked edges can detract from the photos you are trying to emphasize. Invest in a great cutting system to ensure your photo mats are straight and accurate. I prefer to use Perfect Layers Rulers, which is an easy, cost-effective not to mention ultra portable tool system that every scrapbooker should have in their supply!
I used Perfect Layers to cut the ultra-thin borders that mat this photo. Subtle pattern paper in one of the layers emphasizes the elegant theme of this wedding page.
I feel the need to say a few words about embellishments. They should ENHANCE your page, not overpower it! Your eye should be led straight to the photos on your page, not the embellishments. That being said, the incredible embellishments that are available today, really put the fun in your scrapbook creations! I have a growing collection of awesome scrapbook accents that I’m just dying to put on future pages. Just be sure that, when adding embellishments to your pages, you carefully choose accents that will illustrate your theme, highlight your photos, and are pleasing to the eye. Easy, right?
How cute is this photo of my nephew, Kody? This page is super-simple, with a darling chipboard elephant embellishment that enhances the baby theme. Nothing more is needed!
Please, please, please resist the urge to skip the journaling. Your journaling should tell the rest of the story that your photos and title do not. At the very least, you need to be sure your reader knows who is in the photos and the date. Don’t count on your memory for these important details! Even better, take the time to write down your feelings, stories and little details. You will be oh so glad you did!
Making a list is a fun and unique take on journaling. This list highlights ten things I want to remember about Collin at this stage of his life. I also used Perfect Layers to emphasize my favorite photo. I picked my favorite three to use for this page, although I had taken many more!
There you have it! Every good scrapbook page should have a good background, a clever title, fabulous photos (preferably matted), exciting embellishments and interesting journaling.
It really isn’t that hard, is it? Scrapbooking really is something that anyone can do!
Creating scrapbook pages is so much more rewarding than stuffing your precious photos and memories in a box. It is important to put those cherished memories where they deserve to be: in albums that your family and loved ones will treasure for years to come.