I often get emails from people who are ready to start scrapbooking, but don’t know where to start. Their natural inclination is to head to the craft store and start perusing the aisles, grabbing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But you can soon become lost and overwhelmed if you start with product before getting your brain around exactly what scrapbooking is and why you’re drawn to it. Here are five ideas to keep in mind before you take the plunge:
1. Forget about “shoulds.” Don’t worry what your neighbor, your sister, or Martha Stewart tells you that your scrapbook must have or be. The biggest enjoyment I get from this hobby is when I take an idea that is purely mine and run with it! I’ve seen scrapbooks on the side of a refrigerator, sewn into a memory quilt, or created on a blog. Scrapbooks can be any size, shape, or medium — it’s up to you.
2. Start with a memory. For me, the “best” pages I create aren’t necessarily A-plus designs, or with all the latest and greatest products. Instead, my favorite layouts are those that accurately capture an emotion or memory. To make sure I’m off to a good start, I begin my pages with a memory I want to document. Sometimes that’s perfectly matched with a photo; other times, I have to take a photo or use a photo from a different time. That’s okay! It’s the memory that’s important, not when the picture was taken.
3. Give yourself permission to explore and experiment. You may have in mind that you want to create a certain type of page or design before you start, but allow yourself to spread your wings along the way. You may change your mind, or want to try a different combination of papers or colors. Go for it! Remember, you can always toss the whole thing and start again!
4. Don’t buy the whole store. The “toys” we scrapbookers get to play with are so tempting that we can want to grab one of everything in sight! But trust me, all these products will overwhelm, rather than inspire, you. Start small, make good use of the things you do purchase, and then add something new. Just as a new cook doesn’t need every spice on the supermarket shelf, you don’t need every color of brad, glitter, and colored marker.
5. Enjoy the process. This is probably my most important “rule.” If you enjoy the process, nothing else really matters all that much. And if you don’t enjoy the process, it doesn’t really matter that you’ve created lovely pages if you did so grudgingly or full of stress. If you start to feel anxious or worry about making a “mistake,” take a deep breath and remind yourself: This is supposed to be fun!
P.S. Want some specific guidance as to how to start your first scrapbook? Check out “Start Scrapbooking: Your Essential Guide to Recording Memories” by Wendy Smedley!