How to Assemble a Scrapbook

Use these simple step-by-step instructions to create a beautiful scrapbook.

by Dani Yokhna
Photo by Stephanie Staton
Create a scrapbook as a creative outlet and a way to tell your farm’s history.

If you’re ready to tell the story of your farm or family, get creative and put together a scrapbook that you can look at for years to come. Here are some tips to help get you started:

Step 1: Gather your scrapbooking materials.
Spread out photos and other documents you plan to include. Select items from this pile with an eye for consistency and unity. Select your papers, stickers and other materials to complement the theme of your album and to coordinate with your pictures.

Step 2: Organize your scrapbook memorabilia.
Sort through the photos and documents and order them in the way that makes the most sense.

Step 3: Group your photos.
Place the photos in groups of two to four pictures, and add the related memorabilia to the groups. This is the beginning of your individual pages.

Step 4: Crop your photos.
Crop (scrapbook talk for cut) your photos to remove distracting or plain backgrounds. Use scissors or craft paper trimmers, and don’t be afraid; cropping can dramatically improve photos and helps you fit more on a page. Have precious and vintage photos duplicated, and safely store the originals.

Step 5: Design scrapbook pages.
Arrange your photos on the page and move them around to find the best arrangement. Overlap and group them for interesting alternatives. You can also cut colored mats (a slightly larger piece of cardstock that shows as a border around the photo) to enhance the pictures.

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There are many ways to design the pages in your album, from plain to fancy. First, choose one photograph or item as a focal point, and use the other elements to support it. Imagine a triangle or tic-tac-toe grid on the page and place your focal point at one of the tips or crosses. Place your supporting items at the other locations, but don’t let them compete with the center of interest.

Step 6: Commit to your scrapbook pages.
Once you’re happy with the way the photos and mats are arranged, adhere them to the paper.

Step 7: Tell your story.
Add titles and photo captions to support and coordinate with the theme. Titles are sometimes added to identify the activity or time depicted on the page. They serve as both decoration and reminder, because as time passes, it’s easy to forget what was happening. That’s where journaling (another scrapbooking term that means writing on the page) comes into play. Journaling is used to add photo captions that narrate the action or tell a more detailed story for the future. Use archival pens for journaling and include, at minimum, the date, names of the people shown and the location.

Step 8: Add scrapbook-page embellishments.
If the page still needs something more, add accents and embellishments, such as stickers, in groups of three or five. Stickers and other embellishments add dimension and interest to your page.

Step 9: Finish your album.
Put your finished page into a page protector, and place it in your album.

Implementing Design Alternatives
Ready-made layouts with accessories and instructions instantly add unity and coordination to your whole album as well as speed up the scrapbooking process. They’re a great learning tool for the novice, too.

As an alternative method, Erika Bullard, a blogger at Scrapbook Obsession and a MemoryWorks consultant, recommends using an 8 1⁄2- by 11-inch album with divided page protectors that have six vertical or horizontal slots per page and following these easy instructions:

“On each page, you can slip five photos into the pockets and use the remaining pocket for describing what’s in the photos,” she explains. “You can also use the photo slots to hold receipts, small documents or other ephemera related to your project. Add papers and embellishments, such as ribbon and stickers, to journaling sections or right on the photos themselves.”

This approach removes the pressure of designing a layout and allows the flexibility to move the pages around. And, as your scrapbooking skills progress, “You can even include occasional full-page layouts in the mix,” she says.

About the Author: Monette Satterfield is an artist and author with boundless curiosity. She lives and gardens in Central Florida and makes her web home at

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