Documenting your life with scrapbooking is one of those things that gets a bad wrap. Scrapbooking often conjures up visions of soccer moms pasting puffy stickers onto construction paper. Maybe said mom is even cutting borders around photos with wavy scissors. Joking aside, I really do admire anyone that records their lives in a creative way.
I was a crafty kid, so I was always making scrapbooks of some kind. In grade school I toted a disposable camera everywhere. I collected prints from the film and made themed scrapbook pages about Halloween or my 4th grade graduation party. Physical traces of our memories are harder to come by these days. When is the last time you actually held photographic prints in your hands? The photos taken on phones hardly ever make it to a computer, let alone become a physical print.
In high school I made scrapbooks similar to the soccer moms’ of my imagination. I would spend tons of money on pretty, patterned paper and adorable stickers. Scrapbooking became overwhelming when I was trying to design an entire page for one event. If you’ve ever tried scrapbooking, you’ve probably been there. And if you’ve never tried, I promise it doesn’t have to be this way! I finally figured out a process that works for me and keeps my scrapbooking simple and stress-free.
My Scrapbooking Process
1. Project Life
I made my first Project Life album in 2013, and I haven’t looked back. I now have a shelf filled with photo albums that don’t feel a bit cheesy! It makes my scrapbooking process a heck of a lot easier and faster (no sponsor here, I just love their products!). I buy Project Life’s clear Photo Pocket Pages, which perfectly fit 4×6″ and 3×4″ photos and cards. The card kits are designed to fit together stylistically, which makes my albums feel super cohesive. For 2017 I used this kit. I don’t have to think about what papers go together, they just do.
My first few Project Life albums were 12×12″. I made a spread for every single week of the year. Once I graduated and became a working woman, I realized this was a bit too much commitment. Now I make 6×8″ albums and I’m not so concerned about organizing by week.
2. Organzing & Ordering Prints
I’ll admit I get really behind on ordering photo prints, but I typically end up ordering quarterly. It’s important that I keep my photos organized as I go even if I only order photos a few times a year. After I’ve shot something on my professional cameras that I want to print, I’ll save it in a folder called “To Order” on my desktop. Once a month, I’ll also transfer my iPhone photos from my phone and sort through them. I order prints from Shutterfly even though they’re not the best quality. When I’m ordering this many prints and combining them with the card kits, I don’t need every photo to be a fine art print.
3. Saving Physical Mementos
I save any ticket stubs, Polaroid photos, or physical mementos that are a part of the memories I’m documenting. These little mementos add so much texture to my albums and will be really cool to look at years down the road. I simply slip them into a folder until I am ready to place them into a page.
4. Writing & Captioning
I don’t do too much writing in my albums, but I will occasionally add captions. I wish I wrote more, but I put more effort into the photos. If you buy a Project Life card kit, you’ll have cards with plenty of room for writing if you are more prolific! I like adding short lists as a quick way to caption what’s going on without writing a novel.
5. Extra Embellishments
I can’t resist adding at least a few fun stickers or embellishments. Sometimes a page doesn’t feel complete without them! The patterned cards are so pretty that they speak for themselves. It really just depends on the vibe I’m going for on that page!
Why I Love Scrapbooking
What I love most about scrapbooking is the feeling of gratitude it gives me. After I complete a page or look back at a previous year’s album, I’m like, “Look at all the cool things I did and amazing people in my life!” Scrapbooking is one hobby I will definitely do forever! I’m so excited to share these with my kids in the future. And yes, I will make a million scrapbooks of their lives and they will be embarrassed by me, but eventually they’ll realize how epic their scrapbooks are (that’s the plan anyways).
I want to hear from you! Do you scrapbook? What’s your process? If you’ve never touched a piece of patterned paper or wavy scissors in your life, are you interested in trying scrapbooking? Okay, you don’t have to use wavy scissors if you don’t want to.
Don’t feel discouraged if you fall behind on organizing, ordering prints, and putting your albums together. I often will carve out a few days to put together half of an album. Work at your own schedule, and don’t stress about it!
If you’re interested in learning more, these are some of my favorite places to find inspiration!