Today's scrapbooks aren't your grandmother's memory albums. Elaborate pages spring to life with wonderful art, three-dimensional paper mechanics and themes galore. With so much detailed attention going into each memory, it's no wonder the modern scrapbook is a treasured family heirloom.
Here's a look at the products you'll need in order to make your own:
Search the scrapbooking aisles of your local craft store and you'll find albums with spiral, three-ring, strap-hinge and post bindings. Spiral types are usually the least expensive, but you can't add pages to this type of book. However, they're great for beginners and children and for commemorating special occasions that require only a limited number of pages. Three-ring, strap-hinge and post bindings allow you to add pages to the album, increasing the capacity in ongoing scrapbook projects.
Over time, papers, glues, tapes and inks containing acid can render yellowish stains and eventually cause disintegration, ruining the very photographs and mementos you're working so hard to preserve. So, though usually a bit more expensive than their acidic counterparts, acid-free products are the scrapbooker's friend and highly recommended.
Oh, the selection. Circle cutters, jumbo and miniature paper punches, valley-edge scissors, wavy-edge scissors, utility/craft knives, straightedge paper trimmers-it's enough to make your head spin, but you'll love the diverse results. Cut perfect circles using a circle cutter without so much as lifting a pencil or a pair of scissors. Cut or score perfectly straight lines just as easily with a straightedge paper trimmer that features a built-in ruler and grid for getting it just right. Make paper waves, valleys or mountains with specialty edging scissors that work just like pinking shears. And if there's an occasion, there's a punch out there with a shape designed especially for it. Or go freehand with scissors and a utility/craft blade to cut out design details.
Available in every color of the rainbow and then some, paper comes plain, patterned and embellished with photographic images in a variety of sizes and weights. I found paper in plaids, stripes, marbleized, holiday themes and even sheets that looked like grass, clouds and fields of flowers. You can buy it in single sheets or packages or bound in books. And most local craft stores have entire aisles dedicated to acid-free paper.
Stickers and Die Cutouts
Those with less time to punch or cut embellishments will love the assortment of acid-free die cutouts and stickers that are perfect for dressing up scrapbook pages. You can also print your own onto acid-free sticker paper that works with computer printers. Note: Be careful not to adhere stickers directly to photographs. Though the products are acid-free, the sticky adhesive that holds them down could damage pictures.
Rulers and Templates
Rulers and templates are terrific for scrapbooking, particularly if you're timid about placing the images or journaling on the pages. Use rulers to make erasable pencil marks and lines on the scrapbook page. Place the images and embellishments, write on the page and then erase the pencil lines. Or try templates designed to help not only with embellishments but also with page layout and journaling. Visit your local craft store or check out Internet sites for the latest selections.
Scrapbooks and sticky stuff go hand in hand. Select from among acid-free glue, glue sticks and tape in a variety of shapes, lengths and sizes. My preference is for double-sided tape. Look for brands that are gradually permanent. That way you can move an element of the page from its original position if it's not exactly where you want it.
Page protectors are a great idea for safeguarding all the hard work that goes into making scrapbook pages. These clear plastic sleeves are designed to slide over pages to protect the images and art underneath. Some albums have built-in page protectors. Experiment to find which is right for your projects.