Scrapbooking | The Basics

Here’s a question I’ve been pondering lately: Why has scrapbooking become so complicated?

    1. Is it because we have too many photos?
    2. Are there too many product choices available?
    3. Are we trying too hard to make our pages look like the ones we see published?

I’m guessing it’s a combination of all of these things and it all adds up to frustration.

The Basics

When something becomes too complicated and overwhelming, it can be helpful to go back to the basics. So what are the basics of scrapbooking?

At the heart of it, memory keeping is essentially about three things:

  1. The stories we want to remember
  2. The photos we want to share
  3. The products we use to design our pages

Our own scrapbooking process then, is not only what motivates us to scrapbook, but how we manage all these elements and combine them on our pages and projects. If you’re like me, the process got a whole lot more complicated when products became plentiful and digital technology expanded.

The Old Days

When I started scrapbooking in 1999, I had to use whatever products I could find at the craft store. (There wasn’t much of a selection.) My photos were hit or miss because I was still using a film camera. Sometimes I had great photos to work with, sometimes the photos were awful. Regardless, I never the lack of product or bad photos stop me from making my pages. And yes, many of those early pages make me cringe today. For example:

Car Trouble – Circa 1999

This page is full of sticker sneeze, bad photos, a silhouette shape, several decorative edges and creative lettering. None of these things on their own is necessarily any crime, but all together on one page? Yikes!

But I didn’t have any problems putting this together. Why? Aside from the lack of imagination, I had very few supplies and just three photos. Less opportunity to get bogged down in the details.

As much as I dislike the products and the overall page design (I had so much to learn!) this layout preserves an important memory in the life of my teenage self. At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

Why Process is Important

If you are willing to pare down your photos and challenge yourself to scrapbook with limited supplies, that would certainly make the scrapbooking process a lot easier. But how realistic is that? I happen to like things better today – an explosion of really cool products and embellishments and higher quality photos mean more control over my layouts and projects.

No matter how far products and digital imaging have come, the basics haven’t changed. Scrapbooking is still about stories, photos and products and design. But there is a trade off – the more stuff you have, the harder it is to manage. A clearly defined process can mean the difference between being productive and being paralyzed by choices.

Has scrapbooking become complicated for you? Tell me why or why not below. Your comments may be featured in an upcoming article.


  1. Loved the old photo and the use of swirl punch. Brings back memories!!

    • Thanks! I sometimes wonder if we take for granted how good we have it today? The products are so much better, the photos are so much better. But back in the day, it was a lot simpler. This was a good reminder for me!



  1. Scrapbooking: Breaking it Down - [...] distractions and allow you to make pages faster when you do have time to scrapbook. In my post, “Scrapbooking:…
  2. Weekend Challenge | The Results - [...] you ever shake up your process? If so, what kinds of things do you do differently to get your…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.