Do you need a fabulous, meaningful gift? Or perhaps you would like to record a particular event so that you'll be able to look back on it in the future? Think about creating a scrapbook!

Creating a scrapbook is a great idea because you can put in as MUCH or as little effort into it as you'd like. There is no right or wrong way to scrapbook, so it's all up to you! There are no rules when it comes to scrapbooking, it's all about creating.

Of course, scrapbooking is a billion dollar industry, so there are lots of things that you can do with it. There are tools, machines, classes - heck, you can even go on scrapbooking vacations! But for the beginner (or even a more advanced scrapbooker that needs a refresher), here are some great overall tips for creating a scrapbook. Every scrapbook needs...

There aren't really any "must have" things in a scrapbook, besides the obvious glue and paper/cardstock. You can include anything else that you'd like (anything that will lay flat when the book is closed, of course). Here are some ideas about what you can include:

  • Photos
  • Paper/Ribbon/Plastic - you can get these in a WIDE variety of colours, textures and patterns. Go nuts!
  • Mementos - tickets (movie, plane, show, concerts), programs, posters, wrappers, etc
  • Journaling (write a few thoughts about what happened, or include an appropriate quote)

Ensure that you collect anything and everything that you'd like to include in the book. If you're short of things that you can include, try asking others around you - for example, if you attended a birthday or wedding, ask your friends for copies of their pictures, or if they have their ticket or invitation left and wouldn't mind giving it up (or making copies!). Another idea is to perhaps include quotes directly from your friends and family, or come up with some questions and 'interview' them for information to include.

2. Decide on your format

You don't even have to put it in a book! If you find that you only have a few really good pictures, why not make a 'scrapboard'? Or maybe you have enough for only a few pages. Make a book out of stapled sheets of paper, cardstock, or cardboard. Or, for the more traditional way, go to a store and pick up a book. Choose your format based on the amount of items that you have - if you have a ton of stuff to include, you may want to opt for a bigger, expandable book (most scrapbook supply stores sell albums up to 12x12 pages).

3. Decide on a theme

This is where many first timers go, "What the heck am I going to do with all this STUFF!?". It's easier if you decide, ahead of time, what the 'theme' is going to be. For example, here are some common themes:

  • Events - is this book going to be about a special event, like a wedding, birthday, or graduation? layout
  • Is your book going to say something, like an "I love you" theme directed to an individual? Or some thoughts to leave a child, to have them review when they grow up?
  • Are you simply trying to record your (or someone else's) life? Pick a point in time and try putting the events in chronological order (TIP - If you decide on this method, get a three ring binder or another type of scrapbook that allows you to move pages around. It will make it MUCH easier to add and subtract pages in case you mix up events!).

Deciding on a theme usually keeps the focus of the book in mind, and helps you keep the message of the book clear.

4. Do some research!

The internet is a great place to get some ideas about how to present your items. One word of caution though - some of the ideas and layouts you'll see on the internet are from individuals that have been scrapbooking a LOT longer than you, or do this professionally. Don't get hung up on how their pages look versus what your pages look like! If you think to yourself, "I'll never get my book to look like theirs", chances are you never will. As with anything, the more time and practice you dedicate to the craft, the better you'll become. And if this is a one time thing, that's okay too - you don't have to be perfect, that's part of the charm of this hobby! It's a unique and individual way to express yourself.

Try out some sites like:

The great thing about these sites too is that they have very strong community content, so you'll be able to ask for help and ideas!

5. Go on, scrap!

This is the easiest part! Now that you're prepared, go on and arrange the items on your page. Once you get them into an arrangement you like, use that glue stick (or adhesive of choice) to secure the items to your page.

Don't be worried about how you think others will see the page. If it makes sense to you, it will likely make sense to everyone you show the book to- or you could include a little explanation on your page.