Managing Memories: Paper Scrapbooking

Paper ScrapbookingFor those moms who spend too much time at a computer already, paper scrapbooking provides a creative outlet that can be almost therapeutic. (That and we really like the feel of ribbon and looking at pretty paper.

If you want to give paper scrapbooking a try you’ll need a few essentials to get started.

Essential Tools

Paper Trimmer. A must have for making straight cuts. OUR PICK: Fiskars Portable Rotary Trimmer, $32 at

Small, Sharp Scissors. For scrapbooking you want scissors that are smaller than the average kitchen or sewing ones (closer to kid-size and are sharpened along the entire edge with a pointed end. These features provide better control for detailed cutting. OUR PICK: EK Success Cutter Bee Scissors, $10 at

Two or Three Black, Archival Pens. For handwriting the caption for your photos (or “journaling” in scrapbook speak. OUR PICK: Zig Photo Signature Pen, $2 at

Large Square Punch. Cropping your photos in squares is a handy way of getting more on a page. You need a large enough punch that will allow you to capture the details of a photo. OUR PICK: Marvy Uchida Clever Lever Craft Punch – Giga Square, $21 at

Large Circle Punch. A circle punch also comes in handy for cropping photos. OUR PICK: Marvy Uchida Clever Lever Craft Punch – Mega Circle, $18 at

Corner Rounder Punch. The details really do make a difference and simply rounding the corners on a photo can be an instant upgrade. OUR PICK: Paper Shapers Corner Rounder Punch – Medium, $6 at

Ruler. A see-through ruler with a grid is the most useful. OUR PICK: Deja Views 12-inch Grid Ruler with Stainless Steel Edge, $6 at

Pencil. To make sure your words fit, you may want to trace out your journaling in pencil first and then go over it with pen. OUR PICK: Surely you have one of those!

Eraser. For removing those stray marks, you will need an eraser that will not discolor or leave marks on your paper. OUR PICK: Staedtler Eraser, $1 at

Must-Have Supplies

Paper Adhesive. Any acid-free glue stick will work. OUR PICK: UHU Glue Stick, $2 at

Photo Adhesive. A dry adhesive that will not damage your photos and allows you to reposition them if necessary. OUR PICK: Herma Dotto Dots – Removable, $12 at

Lettering. Your own handwriting is perfect for journaling, but you will want some decorative lettering for making headlines on your pages. If you like to stamp, alphabets stamps work great, but if you are stamping challenged (like us! there is self-adhesive decorative lettering available. OUR PICK: American Crafts Thickers in a variety of fonts, colors and materials such as vinyl, chipboard, foam, felt and glitter. $3-5 at

Albums. A place to display all your beautiful pages. OUR PICK: American Crafts Cloth Albums, $17 at

Page Protectors. The clear, plastic sleeves that hold your pages and keep them safe from sticky fingers. You can usually pick them up at a local craft or office supply store. OUR PICK: American Crafts Page Protectors, $5 for pack of 10 at

Optional Embellishments. An embellishment can be just about anything — memorabilia such as a ticket stub or product label; or purely decorative items like a piece of ribbon, buttons, brads, eyelets or stickers. The embellishments on a page are really where you let your creativity run wild. As long as it is fairly flat (so it can fit in the page protector and you love it, then by all means use it in your layout. It really is fun, and you’ll see yourself looking at everyday items in a whole new way.

Buyer Beware

There is so much available to buy for scrapbooking, and it is easy to buy too much, especially when it comes to paper and embellishments. Since you likely have limited space and resources, Julian recommends you start by buying a supply of black and white cardstock. She also suggests picking a palette of four or five “happy” colors. Look around your house and in your closet — the colors you see are likely the ones you use most and will be drawn to for your designs. Buy solid paper, ribbon and a few embellishments in your “happy” colors only. By limiting what you have, scrapbooking will be less overwhelming.

At first, it is wise to avoid buying printed and patterned paper. We know, they are so pretty, but they can also be so difficult to work with. You can still use them, but you will be happier with your results if you pick out pictures first and then go looking for printed paper to match.

A lot of first-time scrapbookers wonder what size paper to use — the most common options are 8.5×11, 12×12, 8×8. Honestly, it doesn’t matter which size you choose. Don’t fret, just pick one. You can always experiment with other sizes for special projects.

Since Julian specializes in paper scrapbooking, if you plan to go this route be sure to take a look at her books or visit Another great online resource is

Bettijo Bridges

Administrator at Paging Supermom
Bettijo is the founder and designer of Paging Supermom where she shares creative ideas for family fun. Known for practical and kid-friendly activities, free printables and holiday entertainment. Bettijo was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and has frequently appeared on local TV. Her work has also been featured in national magazines including Real Simple, O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, and Health. She enjoys art, retro-modern design, photography and making new things. Mom of 4 kids.

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