Crafts · Scrapbook

My Scrapbooking Process

I often get asked how I have time to scrapbook.  To me, it’s something I both treasure and enjoy so it’s what I spend the little free time I have on.  Right now, free time comes in the form of whatever time there is between when Carter goes to sleep (with the time change, it’s been around 8:45) until when I stop to get ready for bed.  That leaves me about 1.5-2 hours a night to scrapbook if I don’t have other things that need done around the house.  I always joked with Adam that we weren’t having kids until our scrapbooks were caught up – I’m to January 2013 with a few big events scrapbooked between then and now (engagement year/wedding planning, wedding, honeymoon, trip to Sprain and Portugal) – but as you can see, that didn’t happen.

Over the years my scrapbooking style has evolved and I love to look back at the books I made in high school/college to see my style change and skill improve.  It’s also neat to see how I scrapbooked pre-Cricut.  Sometimes I feel like I was a lot more creative without the Cricut but I love the accents it adds to pages, especially titles.  I can remember the days of tracing letters and then cutting them out!

For about the past 2 years, I have started incorporating Project Life style pages (pocket pages with either 4″x6″ or 3″x4″ slots) with the traditional style pages.  I’ve found that using both styles accomplishes several things:  utilizing as many pictures as I want, incorporating media (i.e. things other than pictures) and allowing me to be creative on certain layouts when I want/time allows.

All that being said, I have a pretty set process for getting the pictures off the phone/camera and into the books.

At the beginning of every month I round up all our iPhones and my DSLR and upload the prior months pictures to both my external hard drive and to Shutterfly.  I’ll share my process for organizing digital pictures another day.  I can’t think of a time recently that those are the pictures that I started scrapbooking because as I mention, I’m pretty far behind!  It’s important for me to keep everything transferred and backed up and I always am running out of storage on my phone!

Years ago, I ordered pictures in bulk and right away – then I had to store those pictures until I got around to scrapbooking them and I found I was not using quite a few of them.  So they were taking up space and I was wasting money.  Plus, once I started using Project Life, I started mixing picture sizes and styles (i.e. collaged pictures) so printing in advance no longer worked for me.

Now, I find that it’s easiest for me to sit down with my laptop, external hard drive, notepad and my One Line a Day journal and literally sketch out my pages/designs.  I have always been a chronological scrapbooker so for Carter’s book I have generally scrapbooked the pictures in the order that they happened.   Now when I say I sketch, I’m not talking about fancy artwork, it’s literally a roughed out box with which pictures I anticipate will go on each page and any fun accents I know of right away I want to be sure to include.  Note: sometimes it’s weeks/months between when I make the sketches and when I actually have time to make the physical page so it’s important to me to make good notes of ideas as I have them for a certain layout.  I also label each box with a B for back or a F for front.  I learned many years ago to keep up with this so I don’t throw off a 2-page spread.  Sometimes I list out a bunch of pictures and then look at what size and how many of that size I have to determine the best layout option.  I generally try to make pictures fit into a Project Life style page because it’s quicker/easier but for special pictures, I like to make a more creative/traditional layout.  For Carter’s scrapbook, it’s the milestones that I’m trying to highlight – first tooth, first time setting up, first bath, etc.

Here’s a glimpse into my “creating” process:


Like I said, it’s no work of art, but it works for me!



sketch 1

Let’s focus on a specific sketched out layout and I’ll show you how it comes together.  This sketch is for the pictures of Carter’s first meal.  I knew I wanted to use several Cricut cuts from the Baby Steps cartridge so I went ahead and jotted those down on the layout sketch.  I also knew I needed this to be a 2-page spread so that I would have enough room for all the pictures and the Cricut cuts.

I use Picasa by Google for picture editing and collage making.  I knew generally which pictures I could make smaller to fit more on the spread and my trick for doing that is to collage the pictures and then cut them apart (or leave together, depends on the page).





Here’s what the collaged picture looks like.  With Picasa, you can also add a white border but since I cut these pictures apart, I didn’t need the border.

I generally try and sketch out ~30 pages at a time so I can get a good price on printing bulk pictures.  I’ve been printing locally at Walgreens for the last 3-4 years and am pretty pleased with the quality.


Once I get the pictures, I spend a few minutes sorting them/putting into order.

IMG_0321[1]For pictures that I plan to do as traditional layouts, I group together and put a scrap piece of paper with to keep together and keep the pictures where they go chronologically.


When I have pictures that are going into pocket style pages, I go ahead and round the corners and pop them in their pocket.  Then, all that is left is whatever journaling and embellishing I want to do.  I make one stack of all the pages and then, when time allows, I work on whatever comes next in the scrapbook.

food layout.jpg


Going back to the first food layout sketch from above – here’s the next step.  I got the pictures prepped (corners rounded, trimmed down) and laid them out on my plain cardstock.  I had a general idea of where I wanted to place them and then cut out the pieces with the Cricut to accent the layout.


Once I added the Cricut accents, I wrote out the journaling card & added a sticker, matted the pictures and tweaked the layout a little more.  Once I was happy with the layout, I adhered everything.  The last step is my favorite – sliding the pages into the page protectors and into the scrapbook!

I hope this gives you some ideas for your creative process – it’s taken me a few years, but I’ve nailed down a process that works for me.  Happy crafting!


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