You may think of scrapbooking as an archaic process befitting those from your grandparents' generation, however, it is more of an art form that is an expression of your personality, whether it be eccentric or traditional. Megan Thome, a scrapbook expert at K&Company, a craft company based in Parkville, MO, refers to scrapbooking as "a trendy new verb [which has] the unique capacity to be a tangible personal expression of something meaningful to the individual."
According to our experts, a wedding is the perfect time to start a scrapbook. "[It] is a milestone, and milestones are ripe with opportunities to scrapbook," says Thome. "There is usually a beginning (the proposal), a middle (the engagement) and the grand finale (the wedding) which are three components to any great story." Courtney Cochrane, a scrapbook buyer at Michaels' headquarters in Irving, Tex., says that with a scrapbook you can capture the particular moments that made the day special. "So much time and effort has gone into planning a day that reflects your personality and your love for your spouse, you don't want to forget any if it."
Now that you have decided to start your scrapbook, read these tips to make the process easier and to ensure a truly original work of art!
- Journaling is just as important as the pictures Cochrane says: "It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words—but in 10 years from now you may forget how you were feeling and what you were thinking. Journaling is the best way to relive an event with feelings and thoughts."
- Let your wedding scrapbook tell your personal story. Julie McGuffee, host of Scrapbook Memories, a television program on PBS, says it is perfectly fine to use the computer for funky graphics and fonts, but to ensure there's something handwritten in your scrapbook. "It is possible to have a font created from your own writing, but nothing beats the real thing."
- Make as many scrapbooks as you like. Melissa Ierlan, a photo scrapbook expert at Eastman Kodak's corporate office in Rochester, N.Y., suggests having two scrapbooks, one for the professional poses and one filled with other photos such as from your engagement, bridal shower/bachelorette party, reception and honeymoon. "The engagement, bridal shower and other wedding-related events are just as much a part of your wedding day as the big day itself!" says Madsen. "So don't be afraid to include everything in one all-inclusive album."
- Use supplies that are archive-friendly. Marianne Madsen, managing editor of Creating Keepsakes, a scrapbook magazine based in Salt Lake City, Utah, says acid-free adhesives, pens and papers will extend the life of your photos and memorabilia.
- Size matters when selecting a scrapbook. Ierlan suggests basing this decision on the number of photos. A scrapbook usually has at least 20 pages (10 pages, back and front). The traditional 12x12" two-page layout has room for four to 10 (4X6") photos depending on how the photos are cropped. Smaller sizes include 8.5x11", 8x8" and 6x6" scrapbooks.
- Choosing a motif for your scrapbook is not as difficult as you think. Thome suggests getting inspiration from your wedding theme. Whether you are having (or had) a funky, traditional, romantic or trendy wedding, Thome says there are an abundance of coordinating accessories to choose from.
- The color wheel is your friend. Cochrane says use a color wheel (found at any craft or paint store) to choose complementary colors. "[It] provides foolproof direction on colors that complement or contrast with each other."
- Creative cropped pages are the key to a finished look. Ierlan suggests to crop people from the background, cut pictures into shapes or use scrap pieces of photos as a border or other decoration on pages.
- Perfect photos. Thome suggests using the pictures from your professional photographer in your scrapbook, but to first scan copies and print them so you don't ruin the original. Ierlan recommends using an editing device such as Kodak EasyShare software for correcting red eye and contrast. Also, Adobe Photoshop provides many more editing tools to create perfect pictures.
- Don't forget the groom. Thome advises that although you are the one creating the book, you should also include the groom's thoughts and views. "If he isn't the type to directly contribute to the scrapbook, remember things that he said at certain points and use old notes or e-mails that refer to wedding plans or feelings."
- Include as much memorabilia as you like. "The goal is to acquire the mementos as they are happening; you can decide what you'll use and what you'll toss later," says Thome. If it is too bulky, photocopy or photograph it. Things to include: invitations, napkins, a flower from your bouquet, local newspaper announcement (spray it with a deacidification spray or scan the article itself) and news from that day. The list goes on: a champagne cork, garter, cards you received, sheet music from the ceremony and reception, menu, ribbon and charms used on the bouquet, your place cards, scraps from gift wrap, fabric swatches, plane tickets from the honeymoon. You can use these items as either the background or the focal point. "A page could include a faded image of a cake as the background, or scan greeting cards from guests and shrink them for use as decoration on pages," says Ierlan. Other things to include are cute stories told by the guests and groom, funny things that happened on the wedding day or the days leading up to the wedding.
- McGuffee says digital scrapbooking is on the rise since digital cameras are more affordable with easy-to-use software. You can design your pages on the computer and then print them out yourself.
- According to Thome, wedding scrapbooks are becoming more elegant and timeless in their design. Also, "we're seeing loads of layering and dimension along with coordinating textures, [which] can be incredibly inventive."
- Madsen says mini albums are very popular for documenting the engagement, bridal show and other wedding-related events.
Tools of the trade
- Photos and memorabilia
- A post-bound album/book (12x12" is the most popular, and look for ones that can accommodate extra pages/protectors)
- A 12" fixed blade paper trimmer to crop papers and photos (McGuffee uses Fiskars' 12" Euro Trimmer)
- Fine point, straight edge scissors
- Straight edge
- Acid-free paper/card stock; solid colors or patterned papers
- Acid-free adhesive, such as Tombow, and glue dots, adhesive tabs, tap runner, etc.
- Acid-free black marker
- Acid-free journaling pen with archival ink
- Different color pens including metallic, glitter and pastel pens
- Corner rounder for pictures
- Embellishments (decorative stickers, glitter paper, embossed vellum, pearl brads, engraved metal photo corners and charms, punches, flowers, buttons)
- Other items are decorative scissors, paper punches, page refills, stamps and inks, die-cutting systems, computer and printer for creating titles, captions and writing stories
- Scrapbook magazine, Web site, or TV show for inspiration
- A space to work
- Trimming/cutting systems, which encompass shapes, punches and corner-rounders
- Photo software, such as Photoshop Elements
- Photo printer
- Die-cutting systems and accessories, such as from Sizzix
Getting started: sources of inspiration
- Creating Keepsakes
- Scrapbooks, Etc.
- Simple Scrapbooks
- creatingkeepsakes.com (also a magazine; runs Creating Keepsakes University)
- twopeasinabucket.com (an online scrapbook community that offers message boards for scrapbook enthusiasts to offer each other tricks of the trade
- Scrapbooking (on DIY)
- Scrapbook Memories (on PBS)
Craft stores (teach the techniques of scrapbooking)
- Creative Memories (hosts events for scrapbookers of all levels to learn the basic and more advanced tricks of the trade)
If you don't have the time to make a scrapbook, Thome recommends consulting your local scrapbook retailers since they offer classes and know craft teachers who may be willing to take your project. But keep three things in mind: "It will cost you more than you think, ask to see their previous work, and give the crafter as much info and memorabilia as you can." McGuffee suggests you add journaling. "This way it will be your story and much more personal." Ierlan says this is a fairly new service but check the phone books under photographers, wedding coordinators, bridal shows and photographic publications. She also suggests contacting storybookjournal.com, which provides higher-end photo scrapbooks.