You walk into the scrapbooking section of your local craft store, and you feel terror-stricken: where do I start? What do I need? Can I do this inexpensively? If you’re a beginning scrapbooker, the answers to these questions are simple.
The first thing you need is an album. You’ll need to decide on a few things before you purchase your album: first, decide what size album you want. The most common size is 12″ x 12″, which allows you to put quite a few photos on each page if you want; other sizes that are readily available are 8″ x 8″, 6″ x 6″, and 8-1/2″ x 11″. You will also need to decide on an album type: the most popular is probably the post-bound album, with two or three posts holding the pages in the spine; you may also choose a loose-leaf binder-type album. Both of these types of albums often allow for additional pages to be added. You may also be choosy on the album cover: some have fabric, some are cardboard, and some have slip-on covers, for example. Make sure your album is acid- and lignin-free and photo-safe.
You will next need a selection of papers. This can be a difficult process, or it can be very easy: many craft stores and scrapbooking stores sell single sheets of paper, and the choices can be overwhelming. You also need to choose between solid-colored cardstock or patterned paper, or a selection of both that compliment each other. These days, thankfully, some companies sell sets of papers that are coordinated by color or theme; these sets often include patterned and solid-colored papers, are very affordable, and can often complete more than one scrapbook. Make sure your papers are acid- and lignin-free.
Next on the list is a pair of sharp scissors and a paper trimmer. Sharp, fine-point scissors are great for cutting paper and cropping photos; as you get more involved with scrapbooking, you will use these for cutting embellishments or lettering. A paper trimmer (particularly a 12″ size) is great when you need a long, straight line for a border or to cut a larger photo or piece of paper.
Pens for journaling in your scrapbook can be more affordable than many would think. While you can get large sets of pens – sometimes 48 pens to a set – chances are you will only use a small percentage of the colors. I recommend sticking with basic colors – black, dark blue, red, and possibly green and brown; if you want to start writing on darker color paper, invest in a good white gel pen, and possibly metallic gold and silver pens. Look for each color in a fine or narrow tip and a wider tip for titles – you may even find double-ended pens with both tips. As you continue scrapbooking, you may decide to venture out and buy different colors, different types (metallic or glitter pens, for example), or even buy that large set. Make sure the pens you chose are acid-free.
Finally, you need a couple of different types of adhesives. You can choose a basic crafting “glue stick,” which is great for large surfaces like photos or photo mats; make sure it is acid-free and non-toxic. You may also like a glue pen, with a small tip which works great on borders, small embellishments, and die-cuts like letters and shapes; again, make sure it is acid-free. There are also different types of glue dots, mounting squares, mounting tapes, and small sticker-making machines that will add adhesive; as you continue scrapbooking, you may start using specialty adhesives like vellum glue.
Looking for a “simple” solution to scrapbooking? Check out this article about simple scrapbooking.