Featured Article: How to Scrapbook: Essential Tools for the Beginner
If you are learning how to scrapbook, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that this is a fun hobby, and there really is no wrong way or right way to make your layout pages. The bad news is that since there is no clear cut way to do things, it can take some time until you find your own scrapbooking groove - it's a matter of trial and error, and over time, you will develop your own style and way of doing things.
I do have a few suggestions, however, that will help you learn the ropes. In this article, I would like to talk to you about the essential scrapbooking supplies that you will need to begin working on your albums. If you have ever browsed the scrapbooking aisles at your local hobby store, such as Michael's or JoAnn's, you probably already realize that you can easily spend a fortune on supplies. You don't have to buy everything you want at once, though. A few well-chosen supplies will help you get off to a good start, without overwhelming you.
You will need to invest in a good paper trimmer. This hobby involved a lot of cutting, and to get the clean, straight lines that you need for your projects, you will need a paper trimmer. Trimmers do come in a variety of style and sizes. For beginners, I recommend a portable 12" trimmer. These are fairly inexpensive and the blades are easy to change.
You will also need card stock and patterned paper. Make sure that these are acid and lignin free, so that your pages last and your photos are not destroyed by chemicals that are in regular paper. I generally use the card stock as the base for my layouts, and then use the patterned scrapbook paper layered on top of the base for border trims and other details.
Elmer's craft glue won't do for scrapbooking. You will need to use acid and lignin free adhesives that are archival safe for your layouts. The sheer amount of adhesive types available can be very confusing. In the beginning, I recommend getting a permanent adhesive tape runner with a few refills. These can be used to adhere your photos, as well as all your different page elements, including mats and die cuts, to your layouts. As time goes on, you will probably add to your collection. For example, Zig glue pens and pop dots are handy to have, but you probably will not need them immediately and can add these to your tool arsenal over time.
Stickers are also handy for beginner scrapbookers. Letter stickers are great for creating page titles, and until you own a die cut machine, stickers can be used to add interest to your pages. You can also cut shapes out of your scrapbook paper or use rubber stamps to add interest to your pages. Make sure any stickers you use are safe for scrapbooking.
Journaling is a great way to explain what the pictures in your layout are about or to tell the story behind them. As with other scrapbooking supplies, you will want to make sure any pens that you use for journaling are acid free. Pens can also be used to add faux stitching and other doodles to your layouts.
Don't forget to pick up an album and page protectors. As you complete your layouts, you will need a place to store them and keep them safe. Before selecting these, however, you will need to decide what size your pages are going to be. Many scrapbookers use 12x12 for their main albums, and then use mini albums to scrap special events, such as vacations.
The final tool that beginners will need to get off on the right foot is a little inspiration. There are many different magazines and books that provide ideas and tutorials for learning how to scrapbook, but you can also find a wealth of information online. There are many different forums and blogs, where people post their projects and discuss their experiences.
Do you need more ideas for putting together your first scrapbook layouts? Dawn Hall is the author of Easy Scrapbook Sketches. Visit her website to download a sampler pack of her sketches, which provide not only a visual aid for putting together layouts, but also gives dimensions for the page elements used.
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