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Scrapbooking Advice and Tips


Well, here it is. My personal list of top scrapbooking advice and tips that I’ve gained from scrapbooking over the years as well as tutoring and running classes and crops.

This list will help those who have been scrapbooking for a while as well as those who are just starting out. If you are just about to start scrapbooking and are looking for specific scrapbooking information for take a look at our scrapbooking for beginners information.

This is not an exhaustive list of all scrapbooking advice and tips of course, just some of the more important ones.

Scrapbooking beach layout




Allanah's Scrapbooking Advice and Tips

Tip No.1

Your Photo is still the most important object on your scrapbook page.

Question: What’s the easiest and most powerful way to improve the eye-catching appeal of any scrapbook layout?

Answer: Improve the quality of the photo.

Kinda basic I know but I see a lot of people putting so much time into their ideas for scrapbooking pages but not much into the more technical aspects of creating a great photograph.

The photograph is the foundation of all scrapbooking and if the foundation is great, it will be so much easier to create great layouts for scrapbooking. Conversely it is just an uphill struggle to try and create those eye-catching layouts for scrapbooking when the photo just isn’t quite there.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t attempt to scrapbook photos that are not so good. Not at all. Clearly you may have a photo that because of the circumstances around it, you simply have to scrapbook it, and of course you should. But the point I make is that with all the scrapbooking advice and tips that can enhance page layouts, this foundation is well worth spending some time on.

Becoming a better photographer will immediately make all your scrapbook layouts more appealing. And here’s the exciting part. There are some very easily learned photography tips that will greatly improve us amateurs photography skills.

One of the best ways to do this is to take a digital photography class, because you will often benefit from having a professional showing you what to do in person. This is a really fast way to learn for most people and even one night in a class can boost your photography skills greatly. Improving your photography skills is my number one recommendation when people ask me about scrapbooking advice and tips that will really make a difference. Here are some great digital photography tips to read up on until you find time to take a class.


Allanah's Scrapbooking Advice and Tips

Tip No.2

Don’t care too much what people think.

One of the greatest barriers to maximizing you own creativity is being overly concerned about what other people think of your work. Every domain of life that has broken new creative ground has invariably been met with scorn and criticism by that persons peers.

One of the big shocks for me after opening our scrapbooking stores several years ago was the vast number of woman who would walk into my shop and tell me how lacking they were in their own creativity. The percentage of woman who made those types of comments astounded me. But here’s the irony, most of them, after they had been to a class and learned the basics as well as sought scrapbooking advice from a few others, then went on to produce a number of quite stunning works.

Shame on them for having such a low opinion of themselves. But I guess that's not really surprising given the self-esteem plague that exists among us. God has created everyone with some degree of creativity to produce ideas for doing scrapbooking. For sure, some will have more creativity than others but your scrapbook layout page idea should not be compared with the next persons. The only comparison should be of yourself with yourself ie to see how you are growing in your own creativity.


Allanah's Scrapbooking Advice and Tips

Tip No.3

Simplicity has appeal.

There are lots of absolutely stunning scrapbooking products out there and this promotes a tendency to cram lots of embellishments into a layout idea. But often the most pertinent scrapbooking advice I can give is that less is more. Appealing results can be achieved with quite simple scrapbooking. Since the photograph is what the page is all about, everything else should enhance and compliment the image and not detract from it. For sure, some themes lend themselves more to simple scrapbooking than others. For example, you might not be so concerned about simplicity with kids scrapbooking as you might be if you are completing a Heritage Scrapbooking project.


Allanah's Scrapbooking Advice and Tips

Tip No.4

Journal, Journal, Journal

I think scrapbook journaling is the most underrated aspect of scrapbooking. And furthermore personal handwriting is the most underrated aspect of journaling. Quite frankly it’s journaling that makes people cry. Of all the layouts that have emotionally moved me, layouts with journaling have been the most impacting.

I have noticed three main reasons why scrapbookers don’t write on their page. Firstly, because the material they write can be quite personal, we are not so keen on others reading it. But this needn’t be. You should always be in control of who is looking at your scrapbook album. Only show it to the people you would feel comfortable with reading your journaling.

There seems to be only a few instances where a scrapbooker’s fears are well founded about letting other people see what they have written. Most of the time this is a needless fear and the material is usually not so sensitive when people think it through carefully. In fact letting others read your journaling has some fantastic benefits. It is a great way to build relationships and to discover common interests with other scrapbookers at crop nights and classes.

One of our designers has a multitude of layouts plastered around our store with her journaling all over them. She is happy to allow others to be inspired by her great journaling. If you do want to restrict who sees what is written on your pages, you can use some very simple but effective hidden journaling techniques. Hiding what you have written behind a pull out slide, tag or envelope gives a nice sense of control over your scrapbook pages.

The second reason I have noticed that people don’t like writing on their pages is that they don’t think they are very good writers. Hey come on, I haven’t met a woman who isn’t a good talker...well writing is just putting your good talking on paper. I think the person that dislikes your writing the most is you! You can write well, it’s only a few chatty words to help explain your story.

Finally, and this is very common, many woman who do choose to add words to their page, don’t like using their own handwriting and they restrict it to rub-ons, die cuts or computer lettering. Now some of these embellishments do look very nice, but personal handwriting is in a class of its own. If you feel your handwriting is really that bad you can improve it quite quickly with a little practice.

“Heidi Swapp's - Love your Handwriting” is a fabulous book that will help you improve your handwriting style. Or you may like to join a scrapbook journaling class.

I would like to encourage you to give journaling a go if you have not already done so. And if you have then why not push your scrapbooking journaling boundaries a little further by making a commitment to write something on every page. It will generate so much more warmth and appeal on your scrapbooking projects. If there is one piece of scrapbooking advice that will make your layouts stand out from the crowd, it is to reveal more of your own self through scrapbook journaling.


Allanah's Scrapbooking Advice and Tips

Tip No.5

Scrapbook Little and Often

Try to create some regular time to scrapbook so that you don’t wake up one day and discover that you have hundreds of photos that you wanted in albums but because you haven’t scrapbooked for so long, the task now seems insurmountable. This one piece of scrapbooking advice that will give you a great sense of order and control around your photos and albums as time progresses.

A great way to do this is to get into the habit of going to a crop night or class on a regular basis. There is something about dedicating a block of time to your photo albums away from all the distractions of the home. And nothing provides greater energy than working alongside other scrapbookers where you can receive inspiration and motivation by viewing and discussing each other’s scrapbook page ideas. ‘As iron sharpens iron so one (wo)man sharpens another’.

One of the wonderful things I see happening in classes and crops, is when one scrapbooker sacrificially gives up her own time to help someone else with their layout.

Another side benefit of having some regularity to your scrapbooking is the advantage of bringing some balance back into a busy life. One Sunday recently I stayed home with my daughter and two year old while my husband took the other five to church. It suddenly struck me that this was the first time in a long while that I had the chance to slow down for a morning and appreciate the simple things in life. Life had become so busy that I hadn’t allowed any time for me and my stress was noticeable by those around me. We do need to love our neighbour as ourselves and loving ourselves begins with looking after ourselves.

I think of the analogy of the flight attendant’s instructions before takeoff on a flight. “If you have a child with you, put on your own life jacket on before attending to them”. That seems really selfish until you think about it more closely. How much help can you give to a child floating around in the Pacific Ocean if you don’t have a life jacket on and are struggling to save yourself? First we must save ourselves before we have any opportunity to save others.

We are living in a very high-tech, extremely fast paced culture today and as futurist Alvin Toffler suggested in his insightful book ‘Future Shock’, the more high-tech the world becomes, the more low tech people will want to be in their leisure time to restore balance to their life. Consequently he predicted an increase in people doing crafts as well as other low-tech activities as life speeds up.

Scrapbooking with others is a great way to relax, unwind and have some fun with other woman away from the kids. It is one of those things you can do to keep balance in your life in a world that seems to be accelerating at warp speed.


Allanah's Scrapbooking Advice and Tips

Tip No.6.

How come Mum isn’t in the photo?

Here's a piece of scrapbooking advice for moms, get yourself on the other side of the lens more often. As a professional who helps families create eye-catching photo albums, one thing that I notice in many family layouts is the lack of photos that have mum in them. The reason for this is that most of the time it’s mum who is the photographer.

We see plenty of Dad and the kids but not many of mum and the kids. And this is unfortunate. Any time I raise this issue with mothers they reply something like “The kids photos are the most important thing for now; I don’t need photos of me”. But what this well intentioned mum could be doing is depriving her kids of great photographic memories for her children. Your kids when they are grown will want photos of you and them together. Kids alone don’t make a complete family; you need to be in their photos too!

The answer to this dilemma is simple; your camera’s self timer. Almost all cameras have a self timer these days and they are nearly always easy to operate. We find that most people are aware that their camera has a self-timer but they infrequently use it, often they have never bothered to figure out how it works or just aren’t very motivated for being in the photo....remember your kids when you are gone.

Another potential barrier for using the self timer is that you need to have some solid object to put your camera on and feel confident it is not going to fall off. You can improvise with objects on hand but this is where a lightweight portable tripod is invaluable. There are tripods these days that fold up to fit in your pocket, so they don’t have to be a burdensome piece of equipment to lug around. They are a great investment and not too expensive.


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