Welcome to my world of the practical scrapbooker

Here is ten years of scrapbooking my photos and memorabilia onto actual paper .....without major art projects or (too) complicated techniques.

I blend traditional paper and "new" digital techniques to tell the stories of my family's fun, travels, and history.

Here are my thoughts as I sort, shop, crop, organize, arrange, journal, and decorate my scrapbook pages.


What scrapbook supplies to buy ?

My basic scrapbook style is photos and other "elements" ("things") mounted on 8 1/2 by 11 (standard size) paper in 3 ring binders. This is a classic (old-fashioned) and very versatile style for practical scrapbookers. My tween daughter loves newer and trendy 12 x 12 paper for her very artistic pages. I find 12 x 12 harder to use because I print some titles and text directly on the page, and 8 1/2 by 11 fits in the printer and 12 x 12 paper requires its own special printer. I have made some 8 x 8 scrapbooks of single events.

Basic "starter" supplies can be bought at large chains such as Target, Joann Fabrics, AC Moore, Michaels, some KMarts, and even some CVS stores. I do not buy basic items on-line unless I have seen the them in person first. For some items there are better selections and prices at office supply stores. Local scrapbook stores tend to be more artistic, and I use them for embellishments (decorations), unique papers, and special tools.

Scrapbookers need paper, specifically "acid-fast," so no construction paper or printer paper.
To start, buy packages of SOLID colored paper labelled "card stock" or scrapbook paper:
  • one package of blues
  • one package of neutrals
  • one package of colors that suits your fancy and your scrapbook event or topic -- jewel tones, pastels, browns, or brights.

There is a bewildering assortment of a la cart papers. Buying and accumulating too much pretty paper for a future undefined project is a real risk. Simpler paper is easier to work than patterned paper. I usually avoid "stacks" of assorted papers because I end up not using a sizable amount. I do buy a "stack" of neutral 4 x 6 cardstock to mat photos.

A large package of 8 1/2 x 11 page protectors is necessary so each piece of paper goes into a page protector in a 3 ring binder as the "working" scrapbook. The one inch size binder is easy to handle. Some have a clear front sleeve for inserting a title page. Pages can be re-arranged very easily.

A significant and important purchase is a paper trimmer /cutter to use for paper and photos. It is almost impossible to trim straight and square with scissors. The trimmer/ cutter should be sturdy, simple, and big enough to cut 12 inch paper. I use an office style.

The final item is appropriate adhesive. I find 1/2 inch square adhesive "photo squares" the simplest to use. They come on a roll of 250 or 500 or 750, and there are several brands. Just one is good for tacking. The "repositionable" ones are handy in case you need to reposition.

I try to avoid the cute titles, stickers, letters, trims, ribbons, pens, and punches without a specific project in mind, but they can be hard to resist. The basic supply list is:

  • packs of solid card stock
  • page protectors
  • a 3 ring binder
  • adhesive squares
  • a page trimmer