The Ultimate Guide to Scrapbooking for Beginners
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The Ultimate Guide to Scrapbooking for Beginners

The Ultimate Guide to Scrapbooking for Beginners


Have you ever wondered how you start making a scrapbook? Do you want to keep a scrapbook of your own? If you want to keep a log of memories for yourself or someone close to you, a scrapbook is always a great idea! It is amongst the most popular of paper crafts after centuries of its usage by people worldwide. With the multitude of accessories and decorative tools available for you to use, it is easy to get your own one-of-a-kind scrapbook.

  This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, The Curiously Creative may earn an affiliate commission to help support the site at no extra cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info. 

What is Scrapbooking?

If you haven’t made a scrapbook before, you may not know what goes into a scrapbook! It is a common question of what the “rules” of scrapbooking are. To sum it up, scrapbooking is a craft in which you will be placing text, pictures, and other decorative materials, presenting them in a way that tells a story. Scrapbooking is known for its use in recording history, both personal and familial. The initial purpose of preserving important information expanded over the years, including the beautiful memories you make along the way when photography became commonplace.

Scrapbooks are a way to personalize and visualize the history you live through to look back on later. It is commonplace to see scrapbooks adorned with different pictures, magazine clips, artwork, or other decorative materials. Personalizing your scrapbook is based entirely on your preferences, making this craft perfect for someone who wants full creative control.

scrapbooking photos

The History of Scrapbooking

While scrapbooking as we know it today may not have been amongst the first of papercrafts, there are many ancestors to scrapbooking that can be found in its history. Some early journals are considered to be forms of scrapbooks, though the actual term “scrapbook” wasn’t until the early 1820s. The term was used to describe a blank book that you can paste different items onto, recording a story in some way.

It was with the invention of photography that scrapbooks started becoming what we know them as today. It was common for people to take photos of events or family and keep them recorded in scrapbooks, helping to maintain familial as well as general history.

Scrapbooking in Modern Times

Scrapbooking today has a self-care feel about it, as it is a papercraft that most do as a break from the hecticness of their life. While it hasn’t necessarily changed much since the inventions of photography, there have definitely been some advancements. Advancements in the scrapbooking world come in the form of different cutting methods and further innovations for other embellishments.

Even with the advancements seen in scrapbooking, you can also find peace in the methods of the past. Scrapbooks do not need every space filled, nor do they need to be complicated. If you simply want to post a photo on top of a piece of decorative paper in a blank book, that can be your scrapbook too.

scrapbooking supplies

What Supplies Do I Need for?

  • An album or other book
  • Cardstock
  • Adhesive
  • Writing utensils
  • Cutting tools
  • Cutting mat
  • Embellishments
  • Page protectors

An Album or Other Books

When you gather the items that you will need to start scrapbooking, an empty album or blank book will be the first thing you will need. The book or album will store the scrapbook pages you create along your crafting journey, protecting the information you are trying to preserve. It will also keep all your layouts and designs together rather than each page being loose.

Usually scrapbooks are 12 x 12, given you a good amount of space to determine where to place your photos. However, you do not need to stick with these dimensions at all! Some scrapbooks albums are also self-adhesive as well. You can check out the local craft stores to see what’s available and see what works best for you.


You may be most familiar with cardstock paper in the form of wedding invitations. Cardstock is a type of paper that is thicker than the average writing or printing paper. It is commonly used and recommended in scrapbooking due to its sturdy form that can reliably hold whatever you may paste to it.

Since scrapbook albums are usually 12 x 12, you’ll find tons of scrapbook papers that are of the same dimension. Even if you aren’t using a 12 x 12 album, you can always cut them to the size that you desire. A trip to any craft store will lead you to at least an entire aisle dedicated to papers in every color that you can imagine.

Patterned papers are also popular among this craft and the part that many scrapbookers enjoy the most. You can find patterns in almost every color and topic (like sportsbabies, and holidays). You can even find metallicembossed, and glittered paper as well. 


Adhesives that you use in crafting are relatively the same adhesives you would use in other papercrafts. Some popular options for adhesives in scrapbooking include glue sticksliquid craft glue, and glue dots. You can even get a variety pack (as pictured here) to get the best of different types of adhesives. There are also photo corners for any pictures you put in your scrapbook. There are also adhesive removers available, giving you a potential solution to any pasting accidents.

Writing Utensils

While it is general for visual representation, scrapbooking can have written text in the layout as well. When you want to have written words in your scrapbook, you will want to have several writing tools for your use. The utensils you may want to gather include pencils, pens, markers, highlighters, and colored pencils. Each of these can provide a different look for your scrapbook, depending on the tone you are setting.

Cutting Tools

With how many crafting hobbies there are in the world, there are a few options for cutting your paper. You can go for the commonly used scissors, the tool utilized in most basic crafts. There are also specialized scissors that create fun and unique edges for your photos or papers. If you want to feel a little more advanced, you can also find rotary cutters, which provide more freedom in your cutting.

If you need precision, there are also paper cutters that will give you quick and clean straight cuts.

Cutting Mat

If you will be using any cutting tool that involves touching the surface you are crafting on, it is a great idea to get a cutting mat. Cutting mats provide a layer of protection between the blade and the area in which you are crafting. There are cutting mats labeled as self-healing that should last you a while, even if you craft a ton.


When you are looking to embellish your scrapbook pages, there are dozens upon dozens of options of materials that you can use. Some of the more popular embellishments that you can find used in papercrafts include stickers, gems, washi tape, and patterned papers. These elements can be added to your scrapbook to give it a personalized pop.

Personally, I think the embellishments are the best part of scrapbooking. I tend to get carried away with collecting all the cute types of stickers, washi tape and gems so be careful before you end up hoarding embellishments like me! 

Here’s a few of some embellishments in my collection: 

Page Protectors

If your scrapbook’s pages are not already protected by something, you may want to invest in paper protectors. Paper protectors will cover the material that you have pasted onto your paper of choice. If you are using cardstock and page protectors, your scrapbook will be able to handle some rougher handling.

How to Scrapbook for Beginners

  1. Gather all your supplies and decide on your focus of the page by going through the photos you have.
  2. Select a few photos you would like to use for the page. 
  3. Select the base page you want. This can be a solid or patterned background. 
  4. Plan the layout of the page by using the photos with your other material. You can also cut other scrapbook pages into smaller shapes to create interesting visual elements. Research other scrapbook layouts online to get ideas. 
  5. Once you have started to finalize your layout, make cuts to your photos (if needed). 
  6. Start adhering the items, photos, and other embellishments to the paper. 
  7. Place your final layout in a page protector.
  8. Admire your first completed scrapbook page! 
  9. Start planning for the next one! 
pattern scissors

Scrapbooking Tips for Beginners

Print Multiple Copies of Photos

Scrapbooking can take a minute to get used to as a beginner. As you are starting out, you will probably make some mistakes. Some of these mistakes may happen with any photos that you are attempting to post in your scrapbook. It’s recommended that you print multiple copies of the same picture just in case a mistake happens with the first photo you intended to paste. Even if you don’t need them for your scrapbooking, you can always find another use for them in another craft!

Practice with Newer Photos

Many people will find their way into learning a craft because they see a project they would love to replicate. When you are learning, use newer photos. You don’t want to use a photo taken during the 19th century of your ancestors for any of your first scrapbooking projects! Just as you should print multiple images just in case, you should avoid using precious photos in your scrapbooking until you are more advanced in the craft.

Give Your Scrapbook Dimension

Many crafters who love scrapbooking add dimension to their projects by layering paper. You can layer multiple pieces of patterned paper to provide designs and colors and then paste a photo (or write!) in the layered paper’s open space. Having these layers will make your scrapbook seem that much more appealing!
ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Choose a Focal Point

Choosing a focal point of your scrapbook page layout may help you develop your page faster. If you know where you want the mind to focus, you can place your piece there and then begin to decorate around it. This is a great time to add decorative elements, especially any that can frame your focal point.

Empty Space is Totally Fine!

There can be a way to utilize the negative or blank space that you have to your benefit! Within the pages of your scrapbook, you are telling a story, and stories do not need every detail. Utilize blank space to add dimension to your scrapbook pages.

Let Yourself Have Fun

Scrapbooking is supposed to be a fun craft for you, so do your best to keep it that way! Do your best not to stress about your scrapbooking. If you happen to find yourself suffering rather than enjoying your time, it is okay to put your scrapbook down and come to it later! Everyone has different energy amounts for approaching crafting, and you don’t have to give all your energy if you have it dispersed elsewhere! It’s your scrapbook! Make it something you love.

scrapbooking embellishments

Scrapbooking Online Courses or Workshop

Taking online classes or workshops can be helpful for beginners! Online courses or workshops can help you learn from experts in the field from the comfort of your own home.

Here are a few of my favorites!

Scrapbooking Layout Ideas for Beginners



Scrapbooking is a craft utilized by many for many reasons, with a large focus being on the creative outlet the act provides. Keeping familial and other historical records is an incredible thing to do, as you never know what may be found 100 years from now. There are no rules to scrapbooking, so long as you are visually telling your story with pieces of materials that can be used on their own as well.

Remember, you do not need to be perfect at something immediately. It is okay to struggle while you are on your learning experience. This is for you to take control of and make personally yours. It’s up to you now. Go create!