Scrapbook charms: 3-D illustrations for your personal history book

Scrapbook charms are an innovative way to add life to your scrapbook entries, imbibing them with a realistic feel and providing them with the means necessary to garner the interest of friends and relatives – not that they need it. Typically, scrapbooks prey on the natural curiosity of people for what drives, motivates and moves other people. They're similar to autobiographies in the sense that they take the reader/viewer into the very depths of the writer's mind and soul. Keeping that in mind, scrapbook charms tend to be of a personal nature, sometimes having hidden meanings and messages only understood by a fortunate few; to others, they're just trinkets that may or may not make sense in the context of the scrapbook entry with which they're associated.

Scrapbook charms: evoking powerful memories

Scrapbook charms are often used to heighten the sense of nostalgia. For example, if your three-year-old is into model steam engines and that's all he ever talks about, even taking one to bed every night, you might want to create a scrapbook page that contains a charm in the form of, say, a broken wheel from one of his former companions now retired to the bottom of the toy box. Years later, just seeing that wheel will instantly take you back in time to that exact moment when he brought the model engine and the wheel to you to be fixed, looking at you with the eyes of admiration reserved for someone in awe of your omnipotent god-like abilities as a problem-fixer. The beauty about these charms is the fact that they're like time capsules, only not buried, but mounted for all to see.

'Go with the flow' scrapbook charms

Choosing scrapbook charms is sometimes a tedious process if you want to go about it in a planned way; the easy way is to let the charms make themselves known to you or to let them show themselves in their own time. Example: A lock of hair from your baby's first haircut is a great example of marking milestones in a child's life and that's not something that you really plan for. Another example: your eight-year-old daughter's first knocked out tooth (after careful washing and disinfecting) might be something that lands in your lap, so to speak, as the perfect start to the 'pre-teen years' section of your scrapbook of her childhood. Similarly, a lot of charms will just 'show up' at the right moment, or even be the source of a new page in your scrapbook.

Pointers for premeditated preservation

There are also some great ways of getting scrapbook charms for a particular subject. What you need to do is think of things that will represent that subject without making your scrapbook too bulky, or take away from the main purpose of the entry – the memory that you want to preserve. A good example would be cooking: if you're a pasta lover and you want to make an entry about your hobby, it might not be practical to paste a lasagna in your book, though Garfield might consider that to be an excellent way to read a book; instead, you could try zinc powder coating some flattened, cooked macaroni bits and sticking a few of them around the text. The zinc will keep the ants away, and flattening them will keep your book as thin as possible. There are several ideas you could come up with if you put on your creative hat and keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to find treasures for your trove of memories.

The right number of scrapbook charms

The last tip is to not overdo the scrapbook charms thing. Too much of a good thing can make your scrapbook look like museum of unnatural history rather than a memory preservation tool. The right balance will be achieved when you only pick the few really precious memories and complement them with visual additions. Use common sense here because there's no right or wrong; it's more what you like and what you don't. In the end, you need to be happy with the way your scrapbook charms bring out the authenticity and warmth of your reminiscences.