Creative Scrapbooks on A Budget
Scrapbooking at its essence is really about storytelling, but with a visual and tactile, rather than oral, focus. Scrapbooking is also a method for preserving a legacy or history in the form of photographs, printed media, and memorabillia contained in decorated albums, or scrapbooks.
The tremendous growth of the Internet has resulted in more creative scrapbook approaches as well as online scrapbooks. The digital photography revolutions has been accompanied by an explosion in creative scrapbook ideas.
Scrapbooking stores and online sites are popping up around the world, and these are places scrapbookers can visit to take classes and buy endless amounts of paper, stickers, adhesives, embellishments, and tools. Unfortunately, not everyone has an unlimited scrapbook budget for these products. Working with a small bank account to create a beautiful album can be a challenge, but with a little effort and creativity, you can scrapbook frugally and no one will know the difference.
Starting an album is always going to be the most expensive part of the scrapbooking process, because you have to purchase the empty album. One way you can side step this expense is to create a digital album instead. However, for those of you who want the traditional bound album, my best advice is to watch the sales fliers at your local craft stores. Don't skimp on quality-you want to be sure you're getting an album that is well made and safe for your pages, but you can often find albums at up to 50% off during annual scrapbooking sales. Stock up if you are an avid scrapbooker; you're sure to need another album before sale season comes around again.
There is no wrong way to scrapbook. Typically, the more creative and resourceful the person, the better the page. The main focus of each page should be the picture, letter or other momento, whatever is the most important to the creator. If you are interested in starting to digital scrapbook, or incorporate digital techniques with traditional scrapbooking, there are a myriad of Web resources available.
This is a good time to buy other supplies as well, but if finding store sales is not convenient, another good way to save money during start-up is to buy online. Many discount companies offer scrapbooking kits for beginners that include an album, paper, and embellishments. Beware of poor quality since you cannot physically touch the items you are buying, but you shouldn't have problems if you buy from reputable companies or make sure the company has a good return policy. Television channels such as QVC or catalogue companies such as Oriental Trading also periodically offer scrapbooking specials, so keep your eyes peeled.
Once you have some starting supplies, use them frugally. Save your scraps-my personal policy is to keep any piece of paper larger than a credit card. Many times, I've used these scraps to create mosaic-like pages, and I've been very happy with the results. Also save papers which are slightly damaged. You may be able to create a page at a later time to cover the mistake, or at least you can use the white back for a simple page. If you have friends who also scrapbook, you may want to organize a scrapbooking party. That way, everyone can use one another's tools and you might be able to trade some of your unneeded supplies for things your friends no longer need but that you can use.
Lastly, stay organized and clean. Look at your supplies and albums as an investment; all of the papers, tool, and other supplies you purchase cost a lot of money, so they need to be protected from things like water spills and over-excited pets or children. Acid-free boxes placed on high shelves or in drawers work well for this. Clean your tools and your space when you are finished for the day to keep everything in good working order. By doing this, you can stay an active scrapbooker even if your budget is small.
About the Author: Michael Saunders edits a site on Creative Scrapbook Ideas and is president of Information Organizers, LLC.