Beginning Scrapbooking: Tools of the Trade
With any new craft, there are always supplies you will need. Below you will find the basic supplies needed to begin scrapbooking, along with a short description of each tool.
They are similar to photo albums, but instead of the protective pages being attached, they come apart so that you can design your pages first, and then put the cover over your creation. Scrapbooking albums are available in several sizes, the most common ones being 8×8 inches, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, and 12 x 12 inches. You want to find an album that is going to have enough room to fit the photos you would like to include in your scrapbook, so use larger albums for more photos, and smaller for less. Albums are usually either 3 ring, post-bound or strap-bound. The 3 ring is basically a binder, with readily removable pages. The post bound is similar to the 3 ring, only it lies relatively flat when opened with no space between the pages. The strap-bound features a strap that binds all pages together, which is hidden, to create a clean and finished album. Any of these albums will work fine for your project. The 3 ring is the easiest to change pages around, while the post bound and strap-bound are a bit more difficult. All albums usually come with pages and/or page protectors, and if you decide to expand the album, you should just be able to purchase additional pages and protectors made for that specific album. You also want to make sure your album is archival quality, with acid and lignin free pages and protectors. This will ensure that your photos and pages stay in the best condition they can and that they will not become discolored with age.
Paper Cutter or Trimmer
This is a MUST for any scrapbooker, beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Sliding cutters and rotary cutters tend to do a much neater job of cutting the paper, as well as more precise in cutting smaller pieces of paper off, than older type paper cutters that have just an arm that swings down. Typically, you can just buy refill razor cartridges for most good quality paper cutters, so you don’t have to purchase a whole new cutter when the blade gets dull. With any paper cutter, you want to make sure it has a ruler guide and that it can measure at least up to 12 inches by 12 inches, as this is the standard size for most scrapbooking paper and cardstock.
You will also need scissors, as occasionally you will have pieces of paper that are just too small to cut with your trimmer. You can use smaller craft scissors or plain old household scissors, whichever you feel more comfortable with.
There are several different kinds you should consider when you are beginning scrapbooking. First, you will want to get photo splits. These are double sided adhesive squares that go on the back of your photos to adhere them to your page. Next, you will want to get a glue stick and/or a glue or tape runner. Glue and tape runners are essentially a double sided adhesive in a rolling dispenser. They are usually the best holding and the least messy. The down side to these is that you go through them much quicker than a glue stick and they are a little more expensive. However, they make scrapbooking very easy by allowing you to just run adhesive where ever you need it. Last, you will want something to give your page dimension: pop-up adhesives. These thick adhesive pieces allow you to make things pop up off your pages and make them 3D. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and usually come in circle and square shapes to conform to your specific project. They are great for adding dimension and detail to any layout.
You can buy special journaling pens and markers in a variety of colors that are safe to write in scrapbooks with. You can also buy journaling boxes or stickers that have lines pre-made that you can directly write on and then attach to your page. On the other hand, if your handwriting is not so neat, or you would just rather type everything, you can use your computer to type out your journaling, just be sure to print on 8 1/2 x 11 scrapbooking paper that is of course acid and lignin free.
Like scrapbooking albums, scrapbooking paper is available in several sizes, the most common being 6×6, 8 x 8, 8 1/2 x 11, and 12 x 12. You want to make sure this is also acid and lignin free, so that your photos and paper do not become yellow with age and start to fall apart as they age. Scrapbooking paper is available in one sided or double sided printed and solid sheets. It can be textured, embossed, glittery, or have foil accents. There are literally millions of different paper designs available, with themes and colors to go with every occasion.
Cardstock is a heavier weight paper that is commonly used with scrapbooking and card making as well. It is available in a multitude of colors. Some are thicker than others, and some are colored all the way through, while others have white cores. This means if you rip the paper, the edge of the paper is colored or it is white. If you find that you like to use torn cardstock as an added effect for your pages, you may want to go with a cardstock that is colored all the way through, as this will give you a nice finish, with the color being consistent throughout the page.
Stickers are readily available in several different kinds of themes and finishes. You can find stickers that are title stickers, alphabet stickers, theme stickers, and more. Some are just like any old regular sticker, while others can be thicker chipboard stickers (almost like a light, thin cardboard). These should also be acid and lignin free.
Alphabets are available as stickers, punch-outs, or pre made die cuts. You can use these to add titles, names and dates to your pages. Sticker alphabets are nice, as they are quick and easy. Punch out or die cut alphabets usually require you to put adhesive on each letter and stick it to your page. On the upside, you could use a dimensional adhesive and give your title the 3D effect. You will find that some alphabets only come with 2 or 3 of a particular letter, so depending on your title, you may need more than one package. Another good reason to buy extra of the same alphabet is so you can get more than one use out of that particular style alphabet. With two or three packages, you have more letters and numbers to work with.
Embellishments are basically anything you can use to decorate your page. This includes felt accents, metal accents, pressed flowers, buttons, brads, badges, chipboard accents and more. You should always look for things that are acid and lignin free, when applicable. Use different kinds of embellishments to decorate your pages and add details to make it your own personal creation.