PRECIOUS FAMILY MEMORIES // how to start a scrapbook

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The days are long, but the years are short. 

I don’t think there’s a truer saying about parenthood: one minute you’re wishing a tough day away, the next you’re begging the universe to slow down so you can cherish the little moments.

My family all live back in New Zealand, so they don’t get to see girls growing up day-to-day. Which is why it’s even more important to keep them updated with photos and news about the girls. Facebook is amazing for keeping in touch, but scrolling through messages isn’t the same as having something in your hands to look through and admire.

So, one of my lockdown plans is to make them a scrapbook filled with pictures and stories about the girls – a slice of our lives, from the other side of the world.

You might be surprised to find out that scrapbooking has actually been around for nearly 200 years; originally families used to keep notes, birth announcements and obituaries tucked into the pages of the family bible. Over the years this evolved to filling blank books with drawings, musings, recipes and memorabilia – literally ‘a book of scraps’.

Today, this crafty pastime is more popular than ever. Millions of people around the world use it as a more creative alternative to photo books to preserve their precious family memories.

There is a huge range of crafting accessories to help bring your scrapbook designs to life, including art pens, ribbons, graphics and background patterns. Design Bundles is a brilliant place to find inspiration on how to start a scrapbook: this dedicated site includes a wealth of fonts and graphic design, with hundreds to choose from – from vintage florals and glamorous glitters, to bold prints and industrial themes.

Their scrapbooking kits cost as little as a few pounds and offer brilliant value, with combinations of backing papers, fonts, illustrations and labels; literally everything you need to create your perfect page.

If you like the idea of making your own, here’s my guide on how to start a scrapbook:

• firstly, have a think about what you’re going to put it in – it can be a ring-binder, an unlined exercise book, a blank journal… whatever you choose.

• work out what you want to focus on – holidays, family memories, art, musings on life, or maybe a bit of everything? It’s your space, so you can include what you like (but a general theme might help you keep focus).

• start collating your content; if you’re focusing on family history, start digging through those old albums and shoeboxes for images that bring back good memories and interesting anecdotes.

• sort them according to the date (or rough date, if you can’t recall exactly), so they’re in chronological order, from oldest to newest. Use Post-its to make little notes about each picture – where is was, what happened that day.

• decide on an overall design and colour scheme. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it helps to have a sense what you want (vibrant colours or muted shades, moody darks or soft pastels) so you have continuity throughout.

• make sure you use a pigment-ink pen to write captions and stories, as this long-lasting ink won’t fade.

• invest in some good quality acid-free paper or card that won’t degrade over time or damage your cards and photos. You can also buy plastic page protectors.

• frame your images and text with background papers and patterns (like this one I bought and downloaded from Design Bundles). If your photo is simple, go for an ornate design behind it, if it’s a busy image, try something plain. Make sure all your colours are complementary, both to the photo and the entire scheme of the scrapbook.

• write your captions and stories in your own style; this is a slice of you people should be able to hear your voice as they read it. Include names and dates where you can – memories and timelines fade more quickly than you expect!

• create a mock up each page first. Make sure all the colours and elements fit together before you secure anything down to the page.

• select your adhesive carefully – I prefer photo mount, which is a sticky glue spray that goes on quite dry and allows you to reposition if necessary, but you can have glue sticks or dots, or adhesive tape. Steer clear of ‘wet’ glue, unless securing heavier embellishments.

• Finally – take time to relish all the lovely memories that get stirred up as you scrapbook. Enjoy that wander down memory lane!

how to start a scrapbook close up

If you enjoyed reading about how to start a scrapbook, you might also like ‘How to Make Dried Lavender Pouches‘. 



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