Is There An Easy Button? | Scrapbooking Process

Do you have a creative switch?

My schedule has changed a bit recently and my crafting hours have become unpredictable. When I do have time, it’s taking me longer to shift from “get stuff done” mode into “just have fun and create” mode. I sure wish I had an easy button to push that would take me into that creative zone immediately.

Instead, I do what I can to make it easier. I’ve always been a process driven scrapbooker. When I do have time to devote to my scrapbooking, I’m finding I spend that time in one of two ways: the non-creative step of organizing and gathering for kits or the creative step when I pull a kit and actually create a layout. I thought I would share it how splitting up the process is working for me.

The non-creative step – putting a kit together

For the most part, my layouts start with the photos. Unless I’m creating for assignment, challenge or playing with new products, the photos come first. When I get a new stack of photos printed, I divide them up by the layouts I think I will create with them. (Quick side tip: printing photos is a big time saver for me. I am much more productive when I have a stack of photos to work with rather than going to the computer and printing a few photos at a time)

After they are divided up, I take one set of photos and think about what I want to do with them. One page layout? Two page layout? Do these photos make me think of any particular paper lines? Is it going to be a themed layout? Do I have any ideas for what my journaling might be? Do I have an idea for my title? I don’t literally answer these questions, but I just start thinking about what I want to do.

The next two steps could be interchangeable. Sometimes I sketch first, sometimes I’ll pick products first. It really doesn’t matter.

While I always have ideas swirling around in my head, my left brain needs to “see” something to trigger them, so I usually turn to Pinterest. I will look through sketches, starting points, layouts, galleries or magazines to get some ideas. Then, I will create a preliminary sketch. Not because I will follow it exactly, but because it may be weeks before I actually work on this layout. If I don’t sketch it, I’ll never remember that great idea I wanted to try. When I start working on the layout, it may go in a different direction, but at least I have a place to start.

Next, I’ll find products. Sometimes I have something in mind and I’ll go through older collections, sometimes I’ll go straight to my new stuff. I also look through 6×6 pads and my stash of scraps.  I try to pull some embellishments too. Because my most of my supplies are down a hall away from my crafting space, I gather as much as I can during this phase so that when I actually create a layout, I’m not running around trying to find something.

At this point, I stop. I put everything for one layout in a page protector and put it in my space. I move on to the next set of photos.

I know, it’s not particularly spontaneous. Sometimes I really do wish there was an easy button and I could turn on the creative at a moment’s notice. But since that’s rare for me, I’ll just keep coming up with strategies that I can employ when I need them.

Next time, I’ll show this layout from start to finish.

Do you have a creative switch you can just turn on when you need to?

Thanks for stopping by today!


  1. I think this is a great idea, Tammy. This way you’re ready any time you’re able to fit some crafting in!

  2. i am with you totally on this one! i always make up little kits for my projects- in fact i got up early this morning- 4:30 am- yikes!! and made a kit for my next project. put the photo, paper, my hand drawn sketch and all the embellies in the bag- i will hopefully get to it later this week. this process totally helps me!!

  3. I have a similar process. I like to get a bunch of photos printed at once…I’ve never really liked printing as I go…even for journaling. I then sort them out and put them in the page protectors in the scrapbook they will go in. From there I choose a page to work on when I feel like it. Occasionally I put the paper(s) I might want in the page protector too…I love seeing others’ process! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great process!
    I prefer printing up stacks of photos as well. I just wish there was an easier way to get current photos quickly rather than printing at home. I see other scrapbookers who have layouts with photos from that day or the day before and I am in awe.
    I just don’t scrap that fast! (lol)

  5. I like the way you do a sketch and add it to the kit. Thanks for sharing your process. Printing the photos is not the fun part for me either. I’d much rather play with pretty paper.

  6. That must save you so much time because everything you want to add to a page is right there. Wish I was that organized!

  7. Thank you for sharing your creative process.
    I don’t really have one for layouts…maybe that’s why I haven’t really been making any lately 😉

  8. A switch would be nice, but I have the next best thing. I come in my craft room & it’s like creativity is waiting to meet me here. Some days I’m not sure what I want to do, so I’ll start organizing something or flipping through a storage binder or scrolling some blogs for inspiration – then BINGO I’m ready to scrap or art journal or something!

  9. This is so how I create. I usually have a list, a sketch, pull the papers and embellishments and go from there. Last night I cut the pieces for my cards and tonight I actually assembled them. It’s difficult for me to “just create” I have to have a process too 🙂



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