Frugal Village Forums banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

19,054 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Are you interested in preserving your family photos? Have you heard about scrapbooking, but are unsure of exactly what it is? I know -- I was there once too. Maybe you are a crafty kind of person, who has seen the adorable, acid free paper in your local craft store. Or maybe you have zillions of photos sitting in shoeboxes never being "ooohed" and "aaahed" over by anyone, just knowing that there must be a better way. Even still, you might be someone who is wants nothing more than to protect your photos from the destroying affects of acid and other substances. No matter who you are, if you have considered trying out this hobby called scrapbooking - welcome! I was a combination of all of the situations above. I had boxes and boxes of photos -- just doing nothing but collecting dust. I had also seen some really wonderful scrapbooking tools at my local craft store. They looked like so much fun, that I wanted them all. So, I knew that the time had come for me to try out scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is an old term that since the 1990's has been reborn. Today, scrapbooking is a craft that involves creatively adhering photos and other mementos to pages in an album. Along with the photos, it is a must to include information about the photos, such as who, what, when, where, and why. This is called journaling. The finished product is albums with pages of photos, that clearly tell a story.

One of the very first steps in beginning scrapbooking is organizing your photos. This is a big task -- actually the more photos you have stored, the bigger the job. I had quite a few, so I sorted my photos over several nights. Also, there are different methods to organizing your photos. Over time, you may find a method that you prefer. However, to get you started, I will share with you how I did it.

Step #1 To start, I collected all of my photos. Every single one! I went through my home and brought every photo album and every shoebox to my work space. I knew that I needed decent size work space, so for my sorting, I went to my living room floor.

Step#2 Now that I had all of my photos together, I began sorting. I started with a pile and sorted it by year. I was married in 1990, so the majority of our photos started in that year. I had a pile of 1989, a pile of 1990, and so on. I kept working my way through every single photo until they were all in their appropriate piles.

Step #3 After the sorting into years, I sorted each pile chronologically -- January, February, and on through December. I used one of my shoeboxes to make a sort of index with my newly sorted photos. At the beginning I had my earliest photos indexed with the first year. Every year after that was labeled also. When I was done sorting, I had boxes of perfectly sorted photos --all ready for my new hobby!

I will admit that before I started scrapbooking, it looked like an expensive hobby to me. All those scissors, papers, idea books, templates and such could add up! But I really wanted to give it a try, and even though I was on a budget, I was determined to find a way to make this something I could afford.

The first piece of advice I would give to beginners is to keep it simple. Many times the most impressive scrapbook pages are those which are simplistic - they are uncluttered and in my opinion these are much more appealing. Also, realize that removing your photos from those boxes and acid-containing photos albums is the most important step in scrapbooking. What you do after this step is secondary. Your main goal with scrapbooking should be to preserve memories.

When you first start scrapbooking there are a few things you can't do without. Here is a breakdown of those items and some suggestions:

For your first album, you will need to decide which album best suits your needs. You will find that there is a wide variety available. You must give thought to what will work best for you, what your budget allows, and what type of album it will be. One of the best resources I have found on the Net to assist you with your decision is at This site lists the pros and cons of several different options.

It is important to keep in mind with all paper that you use for scrapbooking, that it is acid-free. You may also notice that some papers say that they are "lignin-free" and "buffered" - and both of these terms (in addition to acid-free) describe qualities which are ideal for scrapbook paper. Many crafts stores that sell scrapbooking supplies will have an assortment of paper that is ideal for archival use. I advise the beginning scrapbooker to purchase a package of acid-free solid colored cardstock. The size of paper you buy will depend on the size of albums you would like to use. I prefer 12"x12" albums, but many scrappers prefer 8.5" x 11" --carefully decide which option will work best for you.

Having a pair of good, sharp scissors is a definite must. You may even want to consider buying a new pair just for your scrapbooking. I don't include decorative scissors in this section because they aren't a necessity. It is nice to use them occasionally, but your plain sharp scissors will be what you need the most.

Photo Safe Glues and Adhesives
Once you have all of the above, you need to have something to make your photos stick to the paper. Once again, there is a wide variety and you will have to determine what works best for you. Some of the options include photo corners, double sided tape, glue pens, glue sticks and photo splints or squares. Be sure that they adhesive you use is acid-free. I have used glue pens and photo splints for most of my scrapbooking. They are not too expensive and I have been satisfied with the results. If you would like something even less expensive, I recommend glue sticks, like the kind that children use. There are a few brands which are acid-free and usually you can purchase one or two sticks for about $1.

An acid-free, archival quality pen for journaling is a necessity. To start off, just buy a basic black pen, and if you want, you can add to your collection later.

Sheet Protectors
Sheet or page protectors are a necessity if you are preparing your own pages to be inserted into a binder. They must be acid-free and I recommend those that are top-loading. Don't skip the page protectors as this is excellent "insurance" against fingerprints, dust, and other materials.

Once you have your photos organized and have purchased some of the essential scrapbook supplies, you are ready to get your photos in your albums. In closing, I recommend that you visit some of the wonderful beginners guides for scrapbooking on the internet. Here are two sites you might want to check out:

The NewBee's Guide To Scrapbooking:

Learn 2 Scrapbook:

©2002 - Brandie Valenzuela
About The Author: Brandie is a freelance writing mother of three children. She is also the editor of the HomeMade Living ezine, and other services for parents and stay-at-home mothers. To find out more about Brandie's creations, visit:
1 - 2 of 2 Posts