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Taking the First Step: How to Start Scrapbooking

The art of memory keeping has a very special place in the history and shaping of our world. The desire to preserve our experiences; our memories, and share them with future generations is a very important part of the human experience. The history of scrapbooking  in the sense that we think of it, with photographs being the predominant feature, can be traced to the early 1850s, after photography became a versatile way of preserving an image.  To begin your own path into the world of preserving those cherished memories, here is a step by step guide to getting started:

1. Decide the Format of your End Product

Ask yourself how you envision your family members looking through these memories. Are you wanting to create a physical book that your family members can flip through? Are you wanting something that is digital only and easily shared with family near and far? What happens when children grow up and have families of their own? Do you envision them having a copy of these books, or is it going to be something to enjoy when they come back home for visits?

I highly recommend starting in a digital platform, with the option of printing. The Project Life method by Becky Higgins is one of the most versatile, as you can create pages quickly, with an entire library of customizations and tools.

Image by Krista Faulkner


You can then easily export pages for printing in the traditional 12 x 12 scrapbook page size, or create beautiful photo books. Additionally, the Project Life app is one of the most user-friendly platforms in the industry.

2. Start Small

Start with one thing; the smaller the better. Maybe it is a single page. Perhaps one book is the way to go. Take a look at this article from Martha Stewart on single scrapbook ideas to help give you some ideas of what a single book project could be comprised of.

3. Shop for Supplies

Although the creative process is certainly enjoyable, this is definitely the fun part!

If you are going to start digitally, walk through the Project Life App and determine which style kits you would like to purchase that suit your project.

If you are starting with a physical copy, check the scrapbooking section of big box stores like Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, but also do a search for small stores in your local area. The majority of these are single proprietor or family owned shops, and they need your business, so do take the time to check them out.

Online shopping is, of course, the most convenient for some, so here is a good starter kit that you can order on amazon to get started today:

If you would just rather order individual items, you will need these three things as basics:

12 x 12 Scrapbook Album (get the binder style/3 ring for the ability to move around completed pages)

I love this set that comes with the Scrapbook (12×12 size) as well as Accessories to get you started!

You will need to fill your album with 12×12 Page Protectors:

Each of your pages needs a background to place your photos on. This Starter Pack of Assorted Scrapbook Paper is a great investment to get started at a great price.

The best and EASIEST way to attach photos to your pages is to use a Roll on Adhesive for Photos:

Then you can add on a variety of stickers, embellishments, and more paper selections, depending on how customized you would like your project to be. Some of my favorites are:

This Christmas set that includes paper, stickers and embellishments:

This Easter set that includes paper and stickers:

These amazing scrapbooking sets from Echo Park for Baby Boy or Baby Girl:

A great first thing to document is a family vacation, This complete scrapbooking kit has EVERYTHING for you to detail your Disney Vacation:

  • Photo safe, alphabet die-cut stickers, acetate adhesive borders, word die-cut stickers and die-cut cardstock
  • 12-inch by 12-inch album includes 10 top-loading page protectors
  • Includes 321-piece: scrapbook, paper, dimensional stickers, epoxy stickers

There are many wonderful small shops online to purchase handcrafted embellishments. One to check out is Briar’s Handmade Crafts.

4. Organize Your Photos

The next step in the process, and probably the most critical, is to get organized!  This sometimes takes a little digging, especially if you are catching up from previous years. If you have boxes of printed photos in the back of your closet, this article is a very handy guide for how to start tackling them.


tart small – do not get discouraged, the whole pile does not have to be done today. This post also gives you some great strategies for organizing digital photos into folders in a way that you will be able to easily reference them. If you are going the physical route, photos will need to be printed. You can easily use online printing services from Costco, Walmart, and the like. However, your easiest and most economical option is to print your own photos at home.

I Highly Recommend adding the Canon Selphy portable photo printer to your arsenal.

This has saved me countless hours of time in that I can easily scrap a single page in about 15 minutes by printing the photos I need on demand. The ink and photo paper is re-ordered easily together in a pack , and the cost per print runs around 20 cents.

That is the ultimate combination of saving time and money.

5. Make a Page! Or 2, or 3….

Once you start, you will feel a sense of accomplishment in that you are beginning to preserve your family’s memories; your family’s legacy.

One page will easily become 10, and one book will easily become a full collection over time that tells your family’s story. And that, is something you can do for your family that is ultimately priceless.

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