Scrapbooking Tips Are Everywhere — Even at the Mall!

by Lain Ehmann on February 27, 2011

One of the side effects of being a professional scrapbooker is that everywhere you look, you see scrapbook inspiration! My latest simple scrapbooking jolt of inspiration came from the American Girl store.

I won’t insult you by going into the full history of the American Girl franchise. Suffice it to say, if you’re a girl between the years of 4 and 12, you probably have — or want — at least one American Girl doll, outfit, magazine, or book.

This was the first time I’d been to the store, and it was an event in and of itself. From wall, to wall, it’s girl heaven. I was enthralled with the variety of merchandise, the way it was displayed, and the way my daughters interacted with the products. And, of course, I grabbed a few scrapbooking tips while I was there. And, of course, I’ve written them all down for you!

Scrapbooking Tips from the American Girl Store:

1. Small things are cute. I don’t care if it’s a tiny watch, a tiny pencil, or a tiny iron and laundry basket… small is adorable!

Takeaway for your scrapbooking: Don’t be afraid to use smaller embellishments on your scrapbook layouts. A grouping of tiny butterflies, a small selection of tiny brads, a sprinkling of small flowers… go ahead and use them! Sure, bigger items make more of a visual impact, but surprise your viewers with some smaller goodies, too.

2. Details matter. On the same note, details count! Look at these ice skates: You wouldn’t consciously notice if they DIDN’T have the cute plastic guards on the blades, or DIDN’T have laces that really tie. But you notice that they’re there — and it gives you an impression of the quality and care of the product.

Takeaway for your scrapbooking: People may not consciously notice how you finish the ribbon on your page, if photos are trimmed evenly, and if your title is spelled correctly. But they will pick up on the overall care you take with your page. Don’t go overboard, but do take an extra minute to eyeball your creation and see if anything jumps out at you.

3. Cohesion captivates. The thing you notice immediately when you walk in the American Girl store is how clean the lines are, how everything matches, and how it all looks like it belongs together. It just feels…right!

Image from

Takeaway for your scrapbooking: Have a vision for your page. It doesn’t have to be Garanimals-matchy-matchy, but have a feel for how things are going to fit together. Don’t add anything to your page unless it rolls up into your overall vision (for more about choosing products to help tell your story, you’re going to want to check out my “You Are a Storyteller” eBook coming out in a few weeks! Make sure you’re on my notification list to get first dibs!).

P.S. What stores have been inspiring you?

  • ~Ali

    Great article, once again. Thanx Lain!

  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked it! :)

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  • Christi Spadoni

    I took my niece to American Girl in Natick two summers ago for her birthday. Holey cow is it huge!  I was really impressed with the food. So if you have the chance, take your girls for lunch. They really go all out. 

  • Anonymous

    Will have to try lunch — didn’t know there was a cafe! Fun!

  • Kathy28

    LOL–you don’t have to be between 4 and 12!  My 25 year old has a great collection of AG dolls. Loves sewing for them too!  Her new apt has a room dedicated to her crafting and dolls.  I’m only giving here a few more weeks to get it all together before it becomes the subject of a Layout.

  • Anonymous

    Do that layout now!!!

  • Mikki McGehee

    Agreed. I am 29 years old and I remember reading the books, cookbooks, craft books ect. I have friends in their 30s that have the dolls. It has gotten WAY bigger from when I was younger, those dolls were mail order only.

  • Nathalie Nass-Peltier

    Hi Lain!
    I have never been inspired by a store so far… At least not consciously. But I will pay more attention now. Thanks for opening our eyes to another world of creative ideas!
    Nathalie (from France)

  • Anna Bradshaw

    I’ve always been inspired by the JC Penney’s and Nordstrom sale catalogs I get in the mail lol. Many a layout and card front has been prompted by their color choices and pattern mixing!

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