Scrapbooking Essentials

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With so many scrapbooking supplies out there, it’s easy even for an experienced scrapbooker to get confused about what’s truly necessary. This brief guide will show you the basics you’ll need to be on your way to scrapbooking bliss.

The first thing you’ll need is an album. You’ll also want to take size into consideration. Some scrapbookers want all their albums to be the same size, while others like for them to be different. The choice is up to you, and you can always change your mind. You’ll also want to find an album with a color or pattern that fits the theme of your scrapbook. And don’t forget refill pages so you’ll be sure to have the right size and manufacturer.

You’ll also want to invest in a good, sharp pair of scissors. Be sure they comfortably fit your hand and are fairly lightweight. Heavy scissors can tire your hand quickly, so the lighter the better. You may also want to purchase a small pair of scissors for cutting detailed items. Adhesives are also essential. An acid-free adhesive that works on both cardstock and photos is a good one to start with.

Later, you may want to experiment with glue dots and even double-stick tape. Unless you are going to be doing a great deal of scrapbooking, you may want to stay away from glue sticks as they have a tendency to dry out fairly rapidly. If you want to use glue sticks, select the type with both wide and narrow applicator points so you can use them in a variety of ways. You’ll also need cardstock and printed papers. These should be in colors that accent your photographs.

Don’t be afraid to have fun with this and mix up different colors, textures and patterns. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll come up with. If something doesn’t work out like you thought, you can always use it later. Finally, don’t forget journal pens. Again, look for acid-free, permanent pens with fine tips for your handwritten journal entries. If you do calligraphy, you may want to also check out the great calligraphy pens available with various sized tips. Black ink is the most popular, but you may want to have several colors to coordinate with your scrapbook color scheme. Again, don’t hesitate to experiment with different colors and tip sizes to find your individual style. Because when it comes to scrapbooking, that’s what it’s all about!

-Take the Sticky Issues Out of Adhesives Scrapbooking

Even if you’ve been making scrapbooks for a long time, choosing adhesives can be a sticky subject. There are just so many to choose from and often it’s hard to know which adhesive works best for which items. These tips will serve as a quick, basic guide to help you choose the adhesive is best for your needs.

1. Glue sticks. These are generally the first thing people think of when it comes to choosing scrapbooking adhesives. And glue sticks are a good, all-around choice when it comes to scrapbooking because they work so well on paper. However, they can be messy and tend to dry out quickly. Also, be sure the glue stick you choose is acid-free.

2. Glue pens. These also work well on items that are not paper and are particularly good on fibers. They generally have a fine point which makes them come in handy when you need to put glue on small accents or in hard to reach places.

3. Adhesive dots. That’s a fancy name for clear sticky dots, and they are probably the easiest of all adhesives to use. They come in different sizes, and you simply peel them from a roll. Adhesive dots have the advantage of being usable on anything from jewels to buttons to fibers to fabrics. They can also add a cool, 3-D effect to your scrapbook page.

4. Mounting tabs and photo stickers. These are great because they’re so easy to use, and you won’t have to worry about getting glue on photographs. They also allow you to move your photos around if you change your mind about where you want them or if you decide to take the photos out of your scrapbook.

5. Glue and tape rollers. These are perfect for adhering photographs and paper because they prevent wrinkling. They’re also a good investment because you can buy refills and use them again and again.

6. Vellum adhesive. Vellum adhesive lets you glue all kinds of vellum together without the adhesive showing through—which means you won’t have to cover the glue with any sort of embellishment and well worth the cost. Now that you know the basics of adhesives, you can easily choose the type or types that best suit your scrapbooking needs. And the less time you spend shopping for adhesives is more time you can spend shopping for all those fun things your scrapbooking heart desires!

- Helpful Tips on Using Embossing Powder

Using embossing powder when making your scrapbook pages doesn’t have to be time consuming or a lot of trouble. A few helpful techniques will make it easy and enjoyable.

1. When working with metal items such as craft wire or metal tags, you don’t want to burn your fingers. Simply use craft pliers to hold them in place while heating to prevent injury.

2. Make embossing powder adhere better to metallic and shiny surfaces by first gently rubbing items such as eyelets and fasteners with steel wool or a light sandpaper.

3. You can save a great deal of embossing powder by catching the excess with scrap paper and replacing it in the jar. By saving the excess embossing powder like this, a jar will last practically forever.

4. When you’re embossing a paper that’s a lighter weight than cardstock, back it with a piece of cardstock. This prevents it from warping when heated.

5. Mix embossing powders for unique, funky looks for your scrapbooks. It’s usually better to do this with coordinating colors, but don’t be afraid to get creative and have some fun. Write down the “recipes” for successful mixtures for future use or for sharing with friends.

6. If you make a mistake when using embossing powder, don’t panic. Usually, you can remedy the error by simply re-melting the powder and trying again. Luckily, embossing powder forgives easily.

7. Using your fingers when applying embossing powders can be messy and cause smudges on your layout page. A paintbrush can help you apply the embossing powder just where you want it. Use another, clean paintbrush to brush away any powder that’s not in the area you want it to be.

8. Only use a heat tool designed for embossing. Sure, your friends may be using irons, light bulbs, etc., but these can be dangerous and even cause burns. Investing in the right tools ensures not only that you get the best results, but also ensures your safety—which assures your scrapbooking adventures will be fun ones!

- 4 Quick Tips on Creating a Focal Point

Whether you’re a scrapbooking beginner or a seasoned one, creating a focal point may be a challenge. A focal point is the first thing you notice on the page. It’s helpful to remember that a focal point has two other goals as well: to show your viewer where to start and to set the mood or tone of the layout. Here are four tips will quickly and easily have you on your way to creating great focal points.

1. Size is important. Generally, larger photographs make terrific foal points. They tend to catch the eye first and make building your page around it easier. If you have a photo that you love that’s small but that you think would make a great focal point have it enlarged.

2. Matting matters. When matting a photograph, you should always select colors that compliment it, not overwhelm it. You want the mat to enhance the photo. The width and size of the mat is also important to consider. A mat should be proportional to the size of the photograph. In other words, a large, wide mat is probably not a good idea for a small photo. Grouping several small photographs together and then matting them creates a nicer focal point for your scrapbook layout page.

3. Consider the shape. Then matting your photograph, it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of limiting it yourself by following the shape of the photo. To call attention to your focal point photo, try using a contrasting shape. For instance, try a circular or oval mat on a square photograph. You’ll be surprised how easily this increases the overall effect of your focal point.

4. Accent, accent, accent. Embellishments and enhancements are a fabulous way to make your focal point photo stand out. This is especially true if the photograph by itself isn’t all that eye-catching. Don’t get carried away, though. Remember that the embellishments shouldn’t detract from the photograph. It is, after all, the star of the layout. Following these quick tips will help you create dazzling focal points on your scrapbook layout pages. And hopefully they’ll encourage you to get creative and come up with some great focal point enhancing ideas of your own!

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