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Some scrapbooking tips…..

I just spent the past couple hours scrapbooking. And while it wasn’t me that was actually doing the scrapbooking, I had such a great time. One of my best friends from high school recently finished her basement and had sectioned off part of the basement for a craft room. Since she is the queen of organization (and if you don’t believe me, check out her blog –, I wanted to get some tips on how to better organize my scrap room. She wanted to get tips on new scrapbooking ideas, so we decided a wine and scrapbook night was in order!

If you scrapbook solo, I highly recommend that you work with a friend or find a scrapbooking group and try to get together once a month. I know when I work by myself that time flies by and I always enjoy my crafting time, but I found it to be much more enjoyable – and not just because of the wine! My friend Amanda and I have known each other since the 4th grade (I won’t even tell you how many years that is, but when we found a pencil that she had from elementary school, we figured out how many years it’s been!!), so there’s a lot of history in that friendship!

Anyway, back to scrapbooking – I was teaching her some of the tricks that I have learned over the past couple of months. It’s easy to get stuck in a scrapbooking rut, especially if you do more than a couple of pages in one day/night. I wrote a blog on some ideas of how to get out of the rut, but that’s not what this post is about. I gave Amanda some tips and she said that I should write a blog about things that I’ve picked up that will maybe give others some new ideas for when they feel like all their pages look similar. And believe me, I definitely have days where mine do!

So, here’s a tip that I found is helpful for before you even start scrapbooking. Once I get my pictures printed (which BTW – snapfish is doing a 99 prints for $.99 sale right now – best time to buy prints!!), I put them in order. I’m a scrapbooker that likes to (try to) keep the book in chronological order. Since I’ve been doing so many other side projects, when I finally get a chance to scrap my pictures, I may not remember what happened when. I usually keep them in the envelope that they come in once they’re in order, but I saw something at Amanda’s house that I liked better. She got these plastic picture containers (from The Container Store I believe) and she keeps hers in there. That way dust and dirt (or wine!) can’t get to them.

After my pictures are in order, I eventually pick a scrapbook for them to go into. Once I’ve picked the book, I start dividing the pictures up into how many I want on a page and then place them in the sheet protector. I also choose the background paper that I want to put with the picture. The reason for this was, when I first started I didn’t do that. I would work on one page at a time and then I would get to a certain page and say, oh, that background I used would have looked better with this set of pictures. I tend to be a perfectionist in some respects (eyeballing it Amanda?? Really??? lol) and I don’t like when I think I could’ve used my paper better. This works for me, I don’t know if it will work for you. Also with this, you can make sure your pages that are next to each other coordinate, if that’s the style you are looking for.

Now that you have divided up your pictures and are starting to work on your pages, my second tip is about multiple pictures on a page. Often we will have some of the same pictures, just at different angles or with one subtle difference in them and we want to include all of them on the same page. So, how do you get 5 or more pictures on the page without cropping  them? Simple – mats that open!! This was a trick that I taught Amanda and she loved it! She was working on her daughter’s first trip to Disney and was scrapping the Character Breakfast. She had a bunch of pictures of her with the characters and I thought this would be a good way to show her how to do this neat trick I learned.

First you take either 3 landscape or 3 portrait pictures and determine how much of a mat you want them to have. We decided on 1/4″, so I had her cut the mat to 6 1/4″ by 8 1/2″. NO EYEBALLING AMANDA!! Then I told her to score the 8 1/2″ side of the paper at 4 1/4″. We then folded it and attached a ribbon to the middle of the left side of the paper when it was open. This will allow you to easily open and close the picture mat. She then took the three portrait pictures she picked and attached them to the three sides of the paper, leaving the back blank so that she could attach it to her background paper. She did the same thing for the landscape pictures. There was a single picture left over and so we matted that one so it looked similar to the other two sets of pictures and then glued it to the background.

This technique works best when you have one event and multiple pictures, or even one theme and multiple pictures. Recently I did this for my brother and future sister-in-law’s album and I did it for shots of the cousins over a couple of Christmases. The good thing about it is if there’s a picture that you like and tells part of the story but it’s not perfect, you can still include it by having it “hide” in the inside pages. Here’s an example of how it looked for the book that I made for my brother and sister in law. Instead of using ribbon to open them, I used a heart punch and a scrap piece of paper to create a banner.

Home pageOpened

My third tip is how to mat two pictures that are so similar. Say you have two pictures of almost the same thing – it happens a lot to me now that you can do rapid shots with digital cameras! You love both of them and they catch basically the same moment and you can’t choose between the two of them. What are you to do? Use them both!!

For my brother’s album, I did just that with his birthday pictures. There were two pictures of him blowing out his candles and I wanted to use both of them. I put them over and under (you can also do side by side) and matted them. Usually I’d mat each one individually, but this makes it look like one big picture in sequential order.

double mat

My last tip is for using multiple pictures of the same subjects, just at different times. I had two professional photos and one candid shot of my brother, sister and myself that I wanted to include in one layout. I wanted them to be in a cluster under the word Family (that was part of the background paper), but I wasn’t sure what to do. I matted them on shiny brown card stock and played around with the positioning on the background paper. When I was playing around, I realized that I should layer them! I had bought some shaped foam board cut outs awhile ago from the dollar bin at Target. There’s lots of excess around the shapes, so I cut that off and made foam tape layers. I adhered the bottom picture right to the background, the picture on the right with one layer of foam and the left picture with two layers. It gave the page dimension and I thought it came out well!


Hope these tips are helpful when you are looking for some new techniques. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of moving pictures or embellishments around on the page to come up with a new idea! Please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!