Creative scrapbooking with special paper

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scrapbook paper with writing
Write on special scrapbook paper to create a journal-style page.
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Make your scrapbook unique and beautiful with special paper

Scrapbooking is a way to capture an important memory or impression and make it tangible. One of the reasons why scrapbooking is so addictive is because there are no rules, no instructions to follow. Sometimes creating a single scrapbook page can be like solving a puzzle and a riddle at the same time: you’re working to express ideas, thoughts or emotions, but you also want the result to look pleasing to the eye.

Part of the fun of finding unique the right papers and embellishments is that you don’t always know what you’re looking for until you find it. The right paper and other elements can help you pull together a theme, set a tone, or provide an evocative background to compliment pictures and mementos. There are thousands of special scrapbook papers available on craft websites or in stores. The options are as varied as the ideas you come up with when brainstorming how you want your scrapbook to look and feel.

Stepping away from the ordinary

As beautiful as much of the “standard” paper is, sometimes you want something truly unique. That’s when you turn to special scrapbook paper – things that are one-of-a-kind.  Handcrafted, artisan or uniquely designed paper is a fun material to use when you’re scrapbooking. In fact, some of these unique pages might not even be made of paper at all! Some artists create special “papers” using metal, plastic, wire, plants or fiber.

If you have a scrapbook full of blank pages and you’re still not sure where to begin, picking out some extra special paper will help spark your creativity. Like any craft or project, sometimes the hardest part is getting started.

Getting started, working in the special elements

When you browse standard scrapbook paper, you’ll see that it usually comes from the shelves in a craft store, or in the form of a pad or packet. Typically, a single pad will include multiple styles, designs, patterns, colors, and themes, and often you’ll get two copies of each. Those standard papers will make up the bulk of your pages.

But….sometimes the fancier papers come in pads, too. That can make it easy to choose way more accent paper that you really need. (Trust me, I know!)

As the pile of pads you love slowly builds in your cart, consider the size of the scrapbook you are currently making.

Figure how many pages you’re actually creating to determine how many more elaborate elements you have room for.  Then…put the rest back!  Yeah, I know. It’s hard!! But your uncluttered craft closet and your budget will thank you!


Using the good stuff

When you’re ready to roll up the sleeves and 
start scrapbooking, make sure to have your special scrapbook papers within each. There are so many ways to use these accents to add sparkle or pop to a page, but for this article, we’ll just look at how to use them in three ways:

  1. Background and borders
  2. Tying together a theme
  3. Setting the right tone

Background and borders – When you’re choosing a design to use as the background or border for a scrapbook page, pull out your top three choices. Layout the items you plan to use on the page on top or beside the fancier papers and consider which aesthetic combination you like best overall.

The results may be surprising because every picture and memento is unique. If you’re trying to decide on a particular pairing, try asking yourself if you like the contrast of colors. Do they complement each other. Does a patterned border make you page look too busy, or does it make the content of the page pop?

And how do they look with the photos?  A great layout in lavender and sage might look perfect with one set of photos and terrible with another. Remember, the photos are supposed to be the start of show!

Tying together a theme – Special scrapbook papers are designed for every theme imaginable, from sports, and travel, to camping, and music. Most online craft supply stores have a search box to help save time. More detailed or elaborate themed paper is handy for giving a context to photographs that may have been taken at different times and places.

Setting the right tone – When it comes establishing a tone or mood for your scrapbook, never be afraid to experiment. This is especially true for your more emotionally significant pages.

Special events, such as a marriage proposal, a birth announcement, or graduation will inspire you to craft some of your best scrapbook pages. Try centering a single important photograph on a solid, textured background, or using an especially sparkly paper to mark a high point in your life.

Scrapbooking doesn’t happen over night

The process of building a scrapbook develops organically. Each page tells a story. Special scrapbook papers will help you tell a story as only you can tell it.

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