My top ten scrapbooking tips


Hey gang! As I worked on a layout earlier, I found myself realising afresh a few thoughts about my method – so I thought I’d bob by and share them with my little scrap fam today.


One: use only products you love, in colours you love

If you’re excited about the materials you have to play with, you’re going to be excited about the process of creating.

Don’t feel pressured to buy new, but do have a rummage through your stash until you hit upon a few forgotten treasures that you’ve always rather liked, but not pulled out.


Two: have your product out on your desk

Have it right there – literally within arm’s reach. Once those juices get flowing, you don’t want to be running off to find things or having to get water for painty brushes.

So get prepared ahead of time and enjoy the preparation – it’s like the appetiser course of a favourite meal.

Ooh, and I always start with a really clean table. That might just be me.


Three: use only photos you adore

I like my photos to be pretty to begin with, so rarely choose images that are dark or not in ‘my’ colours.

Pick photos that are fun and make you happy to look at them. And make sure that fairly regularly, they’re photos of *gasp* you.


Four: warm up slowly

Get the creative juices going by picking out bits you like and putting them together on your desk. Just playing around like this, with no pressure to make anything, often brings about an idea or general direction.

Have The ScrapGals on your iPod to listen to and your favourite hot drink to hand: that way, you can really relax and not get anxious about whether your page is going to end up looking good or not.

Pop papers together to see if you like the result or pull out an embellishment or two that might be the ‘star’ of your layout.

Whatever you do, don’t think about end results or whether the page will be sharable. This is your luxurious playtime: revel in it.


Five: stay flexible

You might start with a vague idea of the kind of page you want to make, but your page may have other ideas.

Seriously! I just made a page which I thought would feature a beautifully stitched tissue shaker pocket. Only the tissue got mangled in my sewing machine and ruffled in unexpected places.

So I went with it. Instead of demanding perfection, I changed my plan and it’s turned out fine (in a ruffled and mangled kind of a way, ha ha).

I’ve found one ‘right’ decision usually follows another. So don’t over-think it or get too hung up on the end look you’re after.

Just put the photo on the paper you’ve chosen. Then see what makes sense next – doing that thing will probably lead you to your next decision and your next.

Trust yourself and trust your judgement and remember that every scrapbooker probably feels convinced that her page sucks at some point in the process.

Keep going – it will come together, and if it doesn’t? You’ve flexed those creative muscles and will try some different choices next time.

And then, before you know it, you reach that soul-crushing point where you realise your page is done and you really can’t put off doing the washing up any longer.


Six: change your format if you’re feeling nervous

I can’t recommend this one enough: I went through a year-long spell where I just couldn’t make 12×12’s. I have no idea why.

So I let myself work on a smaller scale, and the resulting splashy freedom I found has translated beautifully into bigger pages, now that I’ve got my confidence back with that format.


Seven: paint the walls before adding cushions

In my Bible Journalling group, this was the only piece of advice I gave my ladies. Because it’s not so easy to add background splashy stuff when you’ve already stuck down your sequins.

So chain-watch Wilna: learn how to be light with brush-strokes and how to layer up your materials. Only then think about turning to the smaller stuff.

The embellishment part should be the icing on the cake in my view, and comes at the very end: don’t rush to get there.


Eight: don’t worry about making the same layout every time

If you love a look and it works for you, then just do it. The times I’ve made pages I’m less than pleased with, have been the times I’ve been trying to be like someone else.

And you know what? God made us *us*. Kind of daft to fight it, you know?

Black and white and pink and mint, it is then.


Nine: don’t worry about trends

Do you know which scrapbooking look I love? That immaculate Ali/Jen one.

Do you know which scrapbooking style I struggle and struggle to pull off? That one. So these days, I don’t even bother trying.

Luckily there’s no Design Team boss to gulp at my crazily layered ‘explosion at the Haribo factory’-look. Just my daughter to wryly comment, “Wow, that’s… erm… crazy.”


Ten: layer, layer (and layer some more)

On that note, I’ve noticed that while I still love my white space and breathing room, nothing gives me more joy that going overboard on the layering. I love the visual interest of throwing loads of textures and techniques at one small space.

So don’t rush to finish. Get out your stamps and add one or two. Get out your thread and sew a tiny heart. Pop on a staple. Add a teeny peek of washi. Some splatters. A sequin.

More is more – but kept all in one or two (albeit mountainous) spots, it doesn’t look too much.

5 thoughts on “My top ten scrapbooking tips

  1. jeanninegarner

    It is a new year. I needed to read these words. I have so many pictures and things to be used. I am sure I will read theses words more as the year goes on.Thank you for this post !!!


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