How to Make a Scrapbook
With That Old Box of Photos!
Isn’t it fun to discover old photos that you had forgotten about? That just happened to me! Because of rainy weather, my morning plans changed and I decided to tackle the front closet once and for all.
The closet had been storing everything but coats and boots which I intended to store in there! As I was hauling stuff out, I came across an old box that contained photos from my childhood. These were pictures that were passed on to me from my mother.
As I began to look through the pictures, I realized that there were several pictures that I had never seen before! I am the youngest of four children and I was thrilled to discover pictures of my siblings when they were toddlers!
Immediately, I knew that I wanted to preserve these precious pictures in a scrapbook. As I began working on my project, I realized that the lessons I’ve learned regarding photos could certainly benefit those of you who are just entering the world of scrapbook making.
Lesson 1. Choose a specific theme.
Whether it’s a holiday, birthday party or obtaining a driver’s license, think “specific” not “broad”.
As I was sorting through the pictures, a smile came across my face each time I saw photos of one of my brothers, my sister or myself on wheels. There were pictures of us in strollers, riding pedal cars, on tricycles and bicycles, scooters and skateboards. I decided it would be fun to create a scrapbook entitled “Have Wheels, Will Travel”. Furthermore, I decided to make four identical scrapbooks so that I could give them as gifts to my siblings and of course keep one book for myself.
As you learn how to make a scrapbook, choose a specific theme. You’ll discover that you can provide more details when you have a narrow theme. Scrapbooks can be just a few pages rather than filling up an entire big album.
Lesson 2. Be selective about photos.
Out of the dozens of photos you have, choose the very best.
By the time I was through quickly sorting out pictures, I had found 24 photos that I knew I wanted to use for the scrapbook. There probably were close to 60 “wheel” photos, but some were duplicates and others were too blurry. Thus, I put aside ones that I thought would work really well for this project.
In terms of scrapbook making, you need to be selective with your photos. As you sort and organize photos, toss out photos that are unrecognizable or super blurry. If you have lots of photos of the same thing, decide how many photos you actually want to keep. After all, will you really do something with 20 photos of Niagara Falls? If you can’t handle tossing out perfectly fine photos, pass them on to family members.
Lesson 3. Layout each spread.
Designing your pages in advance will help you in creating your scrapbook.
My most favorite part about scrapbook making is creating the layout of each spread (the two side-by-side pages). This particular scrapbook contained only six spreads. Initially I thought that I would do a spread on each child; however, as I began to move photos around, I decided each spread would contain one or two types of “wheels”. I was able to find patterned paper that tied in with the photos perfectly.
As you make a scrapbook, do the same thing. Plan your pages in advance. A simple way to do this is to use manila folders. Open each folder and number the spreads. Choose what photos you want to use for each spread first, and then decide on your backgrounds.
Lesson 4. Decide whether to scan, crop or keep photos “as is”.
Before you start adhering photos, here are a few things to think about.
If you decide to make multiple scrapbooks with the same theme, you’ll want to scan your photos or take them to a store to get reprints. When scanning, be sure to use paper that is designed for photos. Regular copier paper will absorb the ink and the photo will just look like a copy rather than a reprint. I scanned the photos that I used and it was hard to tell the difference between the originals and the scanned copies.
If you have photos that have a lot of extras in them that distract from the main attraction, then crop your photos. Use a template or grab something that is in the shape that you want and trace it. When cropping, keep your shapes simple–stick with ovals, rectangles and squares. If you like everything that you see in a photo, then simply use it “as is”.
Lesson 5. Make journaling fun.
Journaling is more than just jotting down names, dates and locations.
My second favorite part about scrapbook making is journaling. I love to make the journaling fun and interesting. Because my handwriting isn’t the best, I usually type rather than write. I use a cursive style font that gives the appearance of awesome handwriting! Since I don’t want the journaling to overpower each page, I use black ink on a light beige paper which I cut into strips.
To give you an example of keeping it fun, in one of the photos my brother Carl was riding his tricycle and it looks like he’s going to run into a stop sign. I wrote, “STOP Carl! Oops! He’s too young to read! Carl, age 3, our street while growing up.”
Hopefully you can apply these lessons whenever you make a scrapbook. Pictures are meant to be treasured and enjoyed–not kept in a dusty old box. Happy scrapbooking!