Scrapbooking for Dummies

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Scrapbooking is sweeping the nation! This hot hobby is a fantastic way to preserve your memories and family history—and have a lot of fun doing it. Now, here’s an easy-to-follow guide that will have you creating great scrapbook projects in no time.

Scrapbooking For Dummies is perfect for you if you’re a new scrapbooker who wants to create your own personal scrapbook (or who would like to make a special scrapbook for a friend or loved one) or if you’re already an avid scrapbooker...

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Scrapbooking is sweeping the nation! This hot hobby is a fantastic way to preserve your memories and family history—and have a lot of fun doing it. Now, here’s an easy-to-follow guide that will have you creating great scrapbook projects in no time.

Scrapbooking For Dummies is perfect for you if you’re a new scrapbooker who wants to create your own personal scrapbook (or who would like to make a special scrapbook for a friend or loved one) or if you’re already an avid scrapbooker who’s looking for helpful tips and new ideas. This friendly guide takes the guesswork out of creating well-designed albums. You’ll discover how to:

  • Organize your photographs and memorabilia
  • Assemble the right tools and materials
  • Research your personal history and tell your story
  • Design attractive, foolproof page layouts
  • Network with other scrapbookers

This plain-English guide features clear, close-up photographs and sketches that illustrate just what you want to know about scrapbooking tools and techniques. You’ll learn about the different styles of scrapbooking, how to create unity in your albums, and how to take better pictures (including advice on digital photography). You receive hands-on guidance every step of the way as you:

  • Choose a theme or occasion
  • Crop and mount photographs
  • Accessorize with stickers, stamps, and more
  • Enhance your albums through journaling
  • Avoid costly, time-consuming mistakes
  • Take proper care of photographs and negatives
  • Extend the life of your old photos

Complete with ten great scrapbooking projects and a list of online resources, Scrapbooking For Dummies gives you the tools you need to create beautiful albums to share with family and friends—and pass on to future generations!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764572081
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/4/2004
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 296,042
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Wines-Reed is the founder of the Great American Scrapbook Company, which hosts the Great American Scrapbook Convention.

Joan Wines, PhD, is a scrapbooking consultant and assistant coordinator of the Great American Scrapbook Convention.

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Table of Contents


Part I: The Amazing World of Scrapbooking.

Chapter 1: Previewing the Scrapbook Scene.

Chapter 2: Getting Ready to Scrapbook.

Chapter 3: The Basics of Making Dynamite Layouts.

Part II: Focusing on Photos.

Chapter 4: Taking Good Pictures.

Chapter 5: Enhancing Your Photographs.

Chapter 6: Caring for Your Photos.

Part III: Materials Matter.

Chapter 7: It’s All Covered: Albums, Adhesives, and Page Protectors.

Chapter 8: Following the Paper Trail.

Chapter 9: Cutting-Edge Tools and Templates.

Chapter 10: Accessorizing Your Scrapbook.

Part IV: Where’s the Story? Journaling in Scrapbooks.

Chapter 11: Finding Your Journaling Inspiration.

Chapter 12: Researching Your Story.

Chapter 13: Generating Your Journaling Content.

Chapter 14: Integrating Journaling and Scrapbook Design.

Part V: Putting Your Talents to Work.

Chapter 15: Getting Your Scrapbook Items Together.

Chapter 16: Creating a Unified Style with Colors and Materials.

Chapter 17: Laying Out and Completing Your Scrapbook Pages.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 18: Ten (or So) Great Projects to Grow On.

Chapter 19: Ten (or So) Terrific Scrapbooking Web Sites.

Chapter 20: Ten “To-Do’s” for the Beginning Scrapbooker.


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First Chapter

Scrapbooking For Dummies

By Jeanne Wines-Reed Joan Wines John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-7208-3

Chapter One Previewing the Scrapbook Scene

In This Chapter

* Doing some initial organizing and planning

* Finding out about photos

* Picking out your materials and tools

* Telling tales through journaling

* Getting down to business

Scrapbooking has become a spectacular phenomenon in recent years, in part because it's an ideal creative outlet for women. Men like it, too, even though right now most scrapbookers are female. People love scrapbooking because it's liberating. You get to show what you want to show and say what you want to say - in your own creative style and your own voice.

Scrapbooking certainly must mean something to you already; otherwise, you wouldn't be taking advantage of this book. And yet, maybe you're not sure exactly why scrapbooking attracts you. Perhaps you want to leave a legacy for future generations or to record the one your ancestors left for you. You may care more about scrapbooking current family events - for the enjoyment of those living now. Or you may want to scrapbook all of those things (and more) simply because you've grown to love the craft.

Whatever your motivation, we introduce you to the important points of scrapbooking in this chapter - styles, photos, tools, and materials, and strategies for putting everything together. We also tell you which chapters to head to when you want detailed information about something in particular.

Getting Set to Scrapbook

The process of getting ready to start scrapbooking involves a fewlittle search and rescue operations: searching for and rescuing your photos and memorabilia, searching your memory to rescue the stories you've stored there, and searching for a permanent scrapbooking workspace that you can rescue from your current living area. (Head to Chapter 2 for detailed information about getting ready to scrapbook.)

Although we take you through the process of finding and organizing all your photos and memorabilia, you can start separate organizational projects at the same time. Say, for instance, that you know you're going to make a personal history album or albums of your own life stories (not necessarily right now but sometime). When you're collecting all of your photos and memorabilia, put pictures of yourself in a separate holding place. Don't forget to look in old albums and family bibles, if you have any, or to ask family and friends whether you can copy pictures they have of you. Make at least two copies of each photo of yourself and keep them separate from the originals, which you can now put back with your other photos or store in a three-ring binder. (See Chapter 12 for a step-by-step description of how to organize material for your personal history scrapbook albums). Loosely arrange your copied photos and memorabilia for your autobiographical albums into page protectors by date.


Getting your personal photographs together helps you tell your stories. Every photo you look at is bound to trigger memories. If you put the stories on paper or record them on tape as you're doing your initial organization, you'll remember even more about them later when you start assembling your album and reviewing what you've recorded.

Surveying Some Scrapbooking Styles

Styles are nowhere near as formalized in scrapbooking as they are in fashion or in art. But what happens in the art and fashion worlds happens in scrapbooking, too. The style pendulum swings one way and then the other. For now, we'll leave it to the scrapbookers themselves to determine what's in this season and what's not.

To some extent, scrapbooking reflects fads and fashions of your local and national cultures. When you look closely at scrapbook designs during the cropping parties along the summer scrapbooking convention circuit, you find echoes of the fashion world. Cropping parties are similar to old-time quilting bees (and just as buzzy!). Scrapbookers spend hours at big round tables with their work spread out in front of them, cropping (or trimming their photos), arranging, adhering items to pages, sharing tools and ideas, and having fun.

In Chapter 3, just for fun, we've taken some of the style categories from art and fashion and applied them to scrapbooking. You may want to try some of these basic styles on your own pages:

  •   The shutterbug style focuses almost exclusively on the photographs and limits the use of accessories.
  •   The artist's style uses art materials like watercolors and colored pencils.
  •   The classic style ignores what's in or out with fashion and creates a timeless look (think basic black dress and pearls - or Jackie Kennedy Onassis).
  •   Crafty-style scrappers love to cut and glue and construct.
  •   Shabby-chic-style pages reflect a vintage look (worn and torn).
  •   Heritage-style albums hearken back to the good old days - often in sepia tones, blacks and whites, or hand-tinted photos.
  •   Modern-style scrapbooks, like modern-art pieces, make use of clean shapes and lines.
  •   Pop-style scrapbooks are bold, edgy, and fun.

Just as your wardrobe includes different styles for different occasions, your scrapbook style, to one extent or another, also is determined by occasion and purpose. The scrapbook you make for a 50th wedding anniversary differs stylistically from the one you make for your preschooler's birthday party.


Look at the design principles that we give you in Chapter 3 before you start adapting or creating you own pages from scratch. You'll want to know how to build a three-color palette for an album and how to use the tic-tac-toe grid, an imaginary template you lay over your scrapbook pages (or your camera's viewfinder), to create dynamite layouts and photocompositions.

Highlighting Photos in Your Scrapbooks

Moving images interest people - the unending popularity of television and movies makes that crystal clear. Still images found in art pieces and photographs are just as interesting, though in different ways. A photograph, especially one that makes good use of light and detail, invites study and reflection. The better the photograph, the longer you look. Photos that tell the stories of personal lives are the real stuff of scrapbooking. If scrapbookers want people to look for a long time, having good photos is essential.

Snapping great photos

Here's a quick list of tips for taking great photos:

  •   Get a quality camera that takes good photographs, and practice, practice, practice.
  •   You can take it with you. You'll need your camera when that perfect shot presents itself. If you already have a good camera, resolve to carry it with you everywhere you go (do the same whenever you buy a new one).
  •   Read up on photography, and start implementing the tips you read about. Photography For Dummies by Russell Hart (Wiley) is a wonderful, easy-to-understand book on how to take great photographs.
  •   Enroll in a continuing-education photography workshop.
  •   Talk with professional photographers when you get the chance. Corner them at the next wedding you go to. Watch them and ask questions.
  •   Work to gain the cooperation of the people you're photographing.
  •   Use natural light whenever possible; use flash when you need to.
  •   Fill the frame. Get in close to your subjects - they won't bite! Unless you're deliberately taking a photo of the sky, you don't need to have three-quarters of your picture full of it.


If you're interested in photography, head to Chapter 4, where we explain how to frame your subject using the tic-tac-toe grid and share some of the best tricks of the trade. We also cover tips for using digital cameras in Chapter 4.

Enhancing the photos you have

Your photographs reveal how you see things and what you think is important. The more you learn about photography, the more accurate and attractive your revelations are.

But you don't have to be an excellent photographer to make good scrapbooks. In Chapter 5, we show you some interesting ways to enhance your photographs (the good ones and the not-so-good ones) before you put them into your albums. Here are a few of those tips:

  •   If you haven't filled the frame in a photograph, but you like the photo and want to use it, you can crop it - that is, cut it or trim it to get rid of the excess so whatever you focused on stands out clearly.

Here are a few things about cropping (a major scrapbooking activity) to keep in mind:

Make a quality print from the original. You make a copy of your original photo so you can crop the copy - and not the original. Never cut or crop a one-of-a-kind photo, especially when you don't have the negative.

Scrapbookers often crop their photos into shapes that complement the themes they're working with. Make shapes by using a template (manufactured or handmade) and drawing around the shape you want to cut out. You also can cut the photo into any shape you want without a template.

Although scrapbookers sometimes cut out people's heads or certain objects in a photo to use on their pages, cropping the photo to its bare bones is not the best idea, particularly when something in the background helps you tell the story or serves as a prompt for your journaling. (For the scoop on journaling, see the section on "Telling a Story with Your Scrapbook" later in this chapter.)

  •   Experiment with color tinting on your black-and-white prints.
  •   Find out how to mount a photo on a page to show it off to its best advantage.

Taking care of your treasures

After going to great lengths to get great photos, you want to be sure that they're going to last. In Chapter 6, we talk about how to store and care for photos and negatives so you can preserve them for as long as possible.

Here are just a few important points to keep in mind:

  •   Negatives can last longer than prints, but they're more sensitive, too. Handle them with care! If you ever need more prints from your negatives, you'll be glad that you did.
  •   Store negatives in a dark, dry place, and to make sure they're not touching each other, put them in negative sleeves, or holders.
  •   Prints need to be kept dry, too, out of sunlight, and stored in an environment that doesn't have extreme temperature fluctuations.
  •   Use descriptors (names, events, or dates) to organize your photos, negatives, and digital images (using the same system on everything you have). Use a sticky note on the back of the photograph to date it and to identify persons, places, and things in the photo. Label photo dividers if you're storing photographs in archival-quality storage boxes. Don't organize them using a numbering system; you'll be hopelessly confused in no time if you try it.

When you shoot pictures with a digital camera, you just take your memory card to your local photofinisher to have your images printed on quality photographic paper, or you can set up your own home-printing system. You'll need a printer (Canon, Hewlett-Packard, and Epson make good ones at a reasonable prices) and photo-quality paper (read the package labels). You also want to make sure the printer you buy uses a pigment-based ink.


If you're shooting digitally, save your images on two backup disks - floppy or compact disks (CDs) - in case your hard drive or one of your disks fails. That way you'll still have your information. Keeping the two disks in separate locations also is a good idea.

Choosing Proper Materials and Tools

You don't have to make a huge investment of time and money to be a scrapper. You can simply start with your photographs, a good album, and page protectors, buy your paper, maybe some stickers, and a good journaling pen with pigment-based ink to journal, or write, with, and you're all set. We tell you about the basics and the more advanced tools and materials (shopping lists too!) in Chapters 7 through 10. But remember, you can do plenty of scrapbooking with only a few inexpensive items.


In Chapter 7, we show you some ideas and make some suggestions about how to determine which scrapbook album is right for what you want to accomplish. We also provide you with a couple of tables that help you decide which adhesives you need, and we give you information about how to pick a peck of page protectors to preserve your pretty pages.

Albums and page protectors

Albums and page protectors come in a variety of sizes, but the standard sizes are 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches and 12 inches x 12 inches. You can choose from strap-hinged albums with side-loading page protectors, post-bound top loaders, three-ring and bound albums, and other kinds and types. Good-quality polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-free, lignin-free, and acid-free albums and page protectors won't destroy your photographs or your memorabilia.

We emphasize the importance of page protectors not only because they protect your pages from sticky fingers, acids, and spills, but also because they serve so many useful purposes in scrapbooking - not the least of which is their crucial role in the organization process, which we cover in Chapter 2.


Adhesives can be wet or dry. They can be removable, respositionable, or permanent (or a combination of two or more of the three). The big point with adhesives is to use as them as sparingly as possible in your scrapbooks. After that, remember that you use different kinds of adhesives for different tasks and adhering different items. For example, vellum adhesives work well for adhering vellum papers together. Metal adhesives work well for attaching metal embellishments, and other adhesives are better for attaching fibers.


In Chapter 8, you discover just how big of an item paper is in scrapbooking. Plain cardstock (a stiff paper) is the main staple for scrapbook pages. It's commonly used as the base (or foundation) page onto which photos and other items are adhered. Cardstock papers come in all kinds of colors, and you use your album color palettes to choose the colors that suit your purpose. (You can also match your other accessories to your palette.) Papers can be purchased in individual sheets, in paper books, or in bulk.


Carry a small color wheel when you're shopping for your scrapbook supplies.


Excerpted from Scrapbooking For Dummies by Jeanne Wines-Reed Joan Wines Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012


    I would definately recommend this book for someone who is just starting to scrapbook. It didn't exactly have what I was looking for, however, I did get some new ideas from it.

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