Scrapbooking For Beginners (Our Family Volume 1)

Scrapbooking for beginnersOver the past year, I have been slowly easing my way back into the scrapbooking hobby. It started with the revelation that I hadn’t printed out photos in several years and that my husband and I had almost no printed photos or albums in our home (yikes!!) I talked about it a little here. I experimented with different ideas and eventually found a method that change my whole perspective on scrapbooking.

Today, as another installment of our Canon USA collaboration, I want to share the entire process for hunting down, printing out and scrapbooking our memories from our first year of marriage. I made a scrapbook of a whole year of life (a busy one!) in just a couple of weeks. What’s funny is that even though I’ve scrapbooked a LOT in the past, after taking a break for many years I felt like a beginner again. Everything was new to me from my goals to my priorities and even the look and feel I want from my albums. If you’re new to scrapbooking I hope this simple guide will help you navigate the waters and create the kick start that you need!

Step 1: Discover Your Goals

My two goals for my scrapbooks are simple. First, I want to enjoy the process because no matter how fast you do it, it IS time consuming. It should be fun! If I didn’t love all of the papers and stickers I would just make photo albums. My second goal is that I want to complete albums. I realized recently that it’s not as fun for me if I just make random pages once in a while. I don’t have to scrapbook every single photo, but I want to have scrapbooks for each year of our family’s life. I want these albums to include all the important milestones and all of our treasured family photos. I also discovered that it’s my preference that our photos are heavily dominated by photos and a little lighter on embellishments.

Your goals and priorities may be different from mine. Before you begin try to define what you want out of the experience. This is also a good time to decide what you want your first album to include.

Step 2: Choose An Album Size

The second thing I had to do to prepare was finally commit to an album size. In years past I’ve tried 12×12, 8.5×11, 8×8 and various sizes of mini albums. 12×12 is the easiest because it’s standard so it has the biggest variety of supplies available.

After probably a little too much obsessing I chose 8.5×11. I made this choice for two reasons. First because in the past two years we’ve worked on two books, the first with a square format and the second with a vertical format. I enjoyed the vertical format far more because I love full bleed photos and I hate cropping them into squares. The second reason might make me sound a little cuckoo because it’s so silly, but it really matters to me. I want my albums to fit on our bookshelf, with all the other books, and to not hang off the edge. So 8.5×11 is what I went with. It was a little more challenging to find the supplies and I had to do a little customizing, but it was worth it in the end!

Which album size do you like most? They all have advantages! 12×12 is the biggest and has the most supplies available in stores. 8.5×11 is awesome because you can print your vertical images full bleed without cropping off much at all. 8×8 is great because it’s smaller, faster and you can print full page photos without owning a wide format printer. Mini albums are fun because you can have a lot of variety as you get to start a new book for basically every occasion. It’s all good- so choose whichever you feel most comfortable with!

Planning my 8.5x11 layoutsStep 3: Planning Layouts

Now that you know what kind of book you’ll be making, both content and size, you can start planning your layouts. For my first book I wanted to keep it ultra simple focusing on large photos and solutions to mix our instagram photos with our DLSR photos.

Above I’ve sketched out the six most common layouts I used over and over while creating our album. 1-4 are layouts where I was able to print single photos (and collages) perfectly to size so all I had to do was cut them out, adhere them to a sheet of white cardstock and add a few stickers or a handwritten memory. Layout 5 is a fun solution I came  up with for mixing in my instagram photos. I use page protectors filled with tiny 2×2 squares (meant for coin collections) to store printed instagram photos and small bits of paper. Layout six is a pocket page that fits my album.

Something to note when you look at my sketches is that every spot where there is color is a spot for a photo. It’s mostly photos! I love this look, but I also love that I was able to squeeeeeeze a year of photos into one album. I didn’t even know that was possible!

Take some time to sketch out basic layouts that suit your album size, photos and leave as little or as much room to journal and embellish as you like!
Canon Pro 100 printerStep 4: Printing

I spent about 24 hours resizing photos in Photoshop, making collages and printing them out onto 13×19-inch photo paper. The Canon PRO-100 was of course great for the quality and rich contrast, but it also made it super easy for my bigger prints. I got CRAZY obsessed. After the first two hours you couldn’t separate me from that printer. I actually carried it up (and it’s heavy!) to my bedroom, so I could print while we watched our nighttime television shows. It was fun to end up with a giant stack of prints.

A whole year of memories printed at last!I spread the photos out on our giant dining room table (in two layers) to snap this photo. Probably the most satisfying part of this whole process except, of course, sharing the finished album with Jeremy!

Making scrapbook pages
Making scrapbook pagesStep 5: Putting Pages Together

This step was surprisingly simple. I trimmed my photos, adhered them to white cardstock and slipped them into pocket pages. I wrote a little journaling on most pages, but only wrote out a long story a couple times in the book.

Here are a few of my favorite pages:

1Scrapbooking for beginnersThe title page. I love the idea of having “volumes” for our scrapbooks so I chose to start with our first year of marriage. This is tradition that I plan to continue with future albums.

Scrapbooking for beginnersOur honeymoon. This is where our story begins. Did I ever tell you guys that I accidentally deleted a flash card with most of the photos from our honeymoon. SO SAD. This is most of what we have so I made a collage of SLR photos mixed with instagrams to capture the vibe of our honeymoon. Even though we don’t have a huge quantity of photos, this spread captures the happiness.
Scrapbooking for beginnersAll of the writing on the first page here was done with my tablet in photoshop before printing it out.

Scrapbooking for beginnersThis page is a collage of photos printed out 8.5×11. I love all photo pages the most.

Scrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersI used photos from our first home tour to create spreads to remember each room. We moved during our second year of marriage, so I’m so thankful to have these now!

Scrapbooking for beginnersThese are mostly photos that were taken for this blog and instagram photos. I always joke that when I get Jeremy to take photos for the blog, it’s really just a way to get photos together. I’m so glad we did. Whatever works!

Scrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersI love making collages and then printing them as one big photo. It saves so much time and I love the look. What’s crazy to me as I look through each page is HOW SAD it would have been if these photos had lived on hard drives forever. I’m so happy they have a place in our home now.

Scrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersHere are the coin pages I was telling you about. I fill them (sporadically, not completely) with 2x2inch photos, bits of patterned paper and little fortune cookie sized notes. This is also a great spot for memorabilia.

Scrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersMore pages with big photos. Clearly I’m obsessed. I ended the year with our 1 year anniversary trip. I guess that means it’s a little bit more than one year, but whatever— it seemed like a good place to end this book.

Scrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersThis is my final page. This constellation paper (and most of the paper show in this book) is from the Sunshine Edition of Project life that we designed (core kit + 12×12 papers). I like ending each album with this simple little thought.

Scrapbooking for beginnersScrapbooking for beginnersAnd just like that, I made a scrapbook. Complete… sitting on my shelf! I will say that this is more than just a scrapbook, though. This book is the beginning of a collection. It’s the end of my mental block that said, “you don’t have time for that” and it’s something that I’ll keep for the rest of my life. You can’t say that every day.

Here’s what I learned:

I learned that scrapbooks can be mostly photos, and I love that. I learned that it is possible to make a meaningful album packed with a years worth of memories in just a few weeks. I learned that I can make time for this and it doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. Most importantly, this project inspired me to take more photos of our family of two!

Until next time! Elsie

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson

  • This is just what I have been looking for to make an album. Questions: what did you use to adhere the pictures to the cardstock? What are the different sizes of pictures on your layouts? I like and want to use the layouts but not sure what size pictures to have printed out. Thanks!

  • Hi! I’m a new scrap booker & I was wondering if you could tell me what photo sleeves you’re using! 🙂

  • Hi Elsie!

    I just found your blog post, and have to say I love your style. The idea you had of combining photos in Photoshop before printing is genius. I have ordered 8×10 collage prints but it just makes so more sense to create them! I work for a photographer and work in Photoshop all the time, so this should have been a “Duh” thing but for some reason it wasn’t. I followed some of your boards on Pinterest. Hope you don’t mind. 😀

    I love 8.5×11 scrapbooking for multiple reasons (ease of storing albums, ease of duplicating pages, preference for rectangular format for single and double page layouts, small enough for grandchildren to hold on their lap, etc), and I am hands on, not digital, because I love the hands on, the papers, etc. I use the same We R Memory Keepers albums you do, I think. I have 13 full albums in this format, with more in progress. I love that my patterned papers and cardstock go so far with this format. My frustration is that many products, classes, and paper lines are designed with 12×12 format in mind. I’ve learned to be creative (like stretching a circular 12×12 paper over a double 8 1/2×11 layout), and I’ve adapted a ton of 12×12 layouts to 8.5×11 for my albums. Love that Becky Fleck still does some 8.5×11 Pagemaps.

    Anyway, LOVE IT! Keep up the scrapping and blogging!

  • Hi, I love your scrapbook. Can you tell me, where did you buy your leather 8.5 x11album? I think it’s brilliant. Because you can use those cheap inserts and put 8 1/2 x 11 sheets inside them. You can print from your own computer and put them right in. Thanks.

  • I love this post!! I’m also an avid scrapbooker and I stick to the 12×12 format. I took a break for awhile but recently returned to it and I’m starting to realize how much I love it. I love the new ideas and suggestions that this post has given me. Thanks!

  • I know this is an old post but I reference it a lot. I’ve been doing project life since 2014 and I think I just have way too many photos in my albums. I think that what I am drawing from this post is that you can tell the story without a zillion photos. Like your honeymoon pics. It tells the story without needs 300+ photos to do it. Also I really need to take pictures of my house because I love that you included that.

  • So, so happy to see your return to scrapbooking. One of the first scrapbooking books I purchased was your 52 projects. Your quirky and eclectic style was ahead of its time and and every now and again I pick that book back up for inspiration. I haven’t followed your full journey into decor and style as I am at a different stage of life, married 25 years, 2 teenagers and live in NZ. Anyway, just wanted to say, I am glad you have found your way back to this hobby, as it can give such joy. Your talent and style is still appealing and I also focus more on the photo and story again now, after doing many very busy pages. Thanks for sharing.

  • I love your scrapbooking style – so pretty!! Question for you… I have the Canon ip2780 printer and I use Photoshop as well… What settings do you have for your printer and Photoshop to get the colors to print correctly? Mine just isn’t turning out right and all the forums are so overwhelming.

    • If your prints are turning out bad it’s probably that you need to choose the correct paper before you print. Are you sure you are doing that? Every time mine turn out bad that is what I need to fix.

      I do not have my computer and printer synched in any special way.

  • I have been making memory books for my family and friends using 8 1/2″ by 11″ pages and using sheet protectors and loose leaf notebooks for several years . I have never thought of making photo albums the same way. Thanks for the inspiration. I think my next project will be to do a scrapbook of our recent trip to Alaska.

  • Wow! Possibly my favourite ABM post to date. I have the exact same feeling towards scrap booking as you. I always want to do it & I’m always stocked up with supplies & then realise I haven’t printed a photo & jumped right in in years. I absolutely love the idea of more photos, less embellishments. I just need to learn to like my own handwriting. Thanks for the push, time to start printing.

  • Quesion:
    What type of adhesive are you using to stick the photos to the cardstock? Some that I have used in the past has made the photo and the card stock bow. Great tutorial btw!!!! Thank you for taking the time to do this!!! Looking forward to the next one.

    You are constant inspiration!!!

  • Hi, Elsie..

    Thank you for sharing your lovely scrapbook. I hope i can try to make one too… But somehow, i’m not a creative person, so i need to look for some inspiration. And thank you for give me one.. ^_^

  • I love this! I keep meaning to start a scrapbook and never get round to it. I think you’ve inspired me to get my stuff together and just do it.

  • Awww, I love that you’re back in the habit of scrapbooking again! As a longtime reader, that is definitely something that I miss seeing you do! 🙂 Glad you’re back at it! xoxo

  • I’ve been a scrapbooker for 16 years and have tried every way, every day. lol I figured out finally that simple is good!! lol Love your album! It’s awesome!

  • Keep up the beautiful work, you are lucky to be so on top of it! I have 5 1/2 years of marriage and 2 kids to catch up on :/ I was thinking about purchasing the pixma pro-100, so I had a question…does it work as a regular printer and if so is the ink way more expensive? I really want a photo printer, but our regular one is on it’s last legs so id love for it to work for both, just don’t want to pay a fortune for ink on regular documents. I
    Thanks for this post! I love your work!

  • I’ve been thinking about making a scrapbook for a while now, and this has given me the inspiration and confidence to start my first one. Would love to know where you got the stamps for your lettering from? Thanks, Tilly x

  • Thanks for the inspiration!
    Most scrapbooking looks like way too much work..
    Buy this seems very dueable and still a very nice result 🙂

  • This is lovely. It’s cool to see how your style has changed since we first met you at the store doing your class!

  • Such a great idea to keep memories forever! Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi! I rarely comment on anything, but this I just have to say! I LOVE these albums, and it looks wondeful! I can’t wait for the next post on scrapbooking. I got online and bought an album right as I saw this. I’m from Norway, and I haven’t seen any albums like this, so I was so happy when I found it online.

    You guys really inspire me every day, and I think it’s great that you post so many different things. Personally, I have made lots of your projects, and sooo many has complimented me on them. I really do recommend this site for everyone who is looking for inspiration.

    Love, Vilde
    Sorry if there is any faults in my English!

  • This post is truly amazing! Gorgeous photos. This has really inspired me to start compiling all of my photographs in one place! Another goal/project to add to my list for 2014!

  • This inspired me to start one as one of my 2014 goals! Here’s my post about it:
    (There is a link to this post!)
    Thank you so much for the beautiful example and inspiration!


  • This is brilliant. I have been umming and ahhhhing about how to put all of my photos into something I can hold for so long. I too wanted to do it in yearly increments, but kept thinking do I want albums, or a scrapbook or what. But I had in my head something like what you have done. But it was a lot messier and incomplete in my head. I can do this. This is just perfect. Thank you. 🙂 Your album is gorgeous by the way. Stunning photos throughout. And Dolly is adorable.

  • Elsie I’m soooo glad you are scrapbooking again! I was going through my SB stash the other day and came upon my all-time fav collection – the pink, black, turquoise and white collection you did. So many years ago. You had such a distinctive style I see carried through to your current pages. Just makes me happy to see!

  • Love to see you scrapbooking again, and I love the simplicity!

    We’ve been talking on our show (do you remember being on the Paperclipping Roundtable with Ali Edwards?) about what teens think of scrapbooking. We’ve been haring that a majority of teenagers don’t have any interest in printed photos — that they grew up swimming in digital photos in a way that we never did; that for them, photos are quick, fun disposable moments to share with friends and not much more than that; that they don’t care about looking back at them in the future. Knowing you have a lot of teens who follow you, I’m very curious about whether you find that to be the case with your readers, and whether this post entices some of them to give it a try.

  • what a lovely scrapbook. You make it seem so easy…
    What paper were you using to print the photos?
    Do you think its possible to get this with a regular printer (that allows photo printing)?

  • Hey Elsie!
    I’ve been planning on doing a album for weeks now. I have adobe Photoshop Elements 8 & have made several attempts to do a photo collage to no success. Do you recommend any alternatives for making a collage to print out?
    xoxo- Madi Elizabeth

  • Oh, these are lovely! Nice job. I always find it hard to begin to tackle big photo projects like this, but it feels GREAT when it’s done!

    When I saw your story about erasing most of your honeymoon photos, I was so sad because I know what it feels like — I did the same thing! Here’s my story: We had just gotten a new digital camera (in 2005) for photos of the wedding and honeymoon and all. Late in the week during our honeymoon in Florida, we decided to visit Disney World for a day because I’d never been and my husband had only been once as a kid. We thought, why not? Waiting in line for the It’s a Small World ride, I was messing around looking at our camera’s settings and accidentally erased the memory card. Heartbroken. All the while that ANNOYING Small World song was going on in the background… the worst. I never want to hear that song again, but for very different reasons than most people have!

    So, all this to say: I hope you find comfort in knowing you’re not the only one who’s done that. For me, it was good to remember that just because I didn’t have the photos doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! And we were at least able to take some photos for the remainder of the week so we do have some visual reminders to “capture the happiness,” as you so aptly said. 🙂

  • Thank you for posting such and awesome article. This is really an interesting idea. I’ll make one for my sister’s wedding present 😀

  • I am so excited to see you scrapbooking again! I just rekindled my love of it after a few years and I am so in love with it again. This was a marvelous post that will show people that scrapbooking isn’t an intimidating craft. Cheers!

  • I love this so much Elsie. You’ve really inspired me to get my scrapbook out and finish it up! X

  • Thank you for this, I am so inspired! Can you please tell me where you bought your scrapbooking book and papers in 8 x 11?

    Love, Mia

  • I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, I was really interested by your tips on how to get beautiful pictures. Now I’m addicted to your blog every new post you make I lear something new arty and beautiful ! Thankyou so much, you guys are now one of my biggest inspiration.
    Have a great day !
    Kisses from France,
    SoumeyaOfTheForest ♥

  • Thanks for this. I’ve been wanting to scrapbook my photos for a while I just couldn’t decide on a style. I love what you have put together, its given me heaps of inspiration!

  • You’re such a talented scrapbooker! I wish I was into scrapbooking… I just don’t think I have the patience as much as I want to have patience! lol

    Great Post!!


  • I love the follow-through of this, and more than inspiring me to scrapbook, it’s inspiring me to TAKE more pictures. For me, capturing the everyday moments is harder than doing the actual scrapbooking.

  • How did you create the photo collages? This is such a cute scrapbook! I may have to try a mini version 🙂

  • So inspirational! I’m definitely going to be getting into this, it’s so true that nothing beats a real print of a photograph.

  • Beautiful! Love the simplicity of the album in general….Makes me realize that I haven’t printed photos in ages! And should get to it….

  • this is awesome!! how ever did you do photoshop on your tablet? i do everything the old fashioned way…. 😉

  • Loved this post! I love how simple, yet special you made your album. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the cute products on the market and seeing how all these designers make their layouts so dang cute and I have to take a step back and tell myself to keep it simple, that it’ll still be great with less products and more photos. Oh AND I saved your blog post as one of my rewards I treated myself to after I finished cleaning our bathrooms. 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your scrapbooking journey! I was so inspired I went out and bought the whole Project Life system to get started! I couldn’t find the Sunshine Core Kit, but I am hoping to pick it up very soon! Love your blog, love your style, and look forward to reading ABeautifulMess every day!


  • So lovely and inspiring!! I’m wondering what type of photo protectors you used, aside from the coin one? Thank you for all the inspiration!

  • This was absolutely precious. I’m antsy to start one now– guess I’ll have to make a target run today!

  • This post is amazing! and inspiring! I can’t wait to see vol. 2!
    May I ask you what pen you use?

  • Any suggestions for 8.5×11 page protectors that will work nicely w/ project life?

  • ahhh I’m so glad you posted this!! I love to scrapbook but I often put it off because it is so time consuming & I want it to be perfect. silly reason to leave sometime undone, I know. sometimes I get too wrapped up in the pretty paper & overload of embellishments & I think I need something on every page so I love how you put photos on white cardstock. genius!!

    thanks for sharing!!

  • I’m also getting back into it after somewhat of a hiatus (I’m also within my first year of marriage, and want to document stuff), but I’m sticking with 12×12 because I have a ton of supplies for that size already! Plus I’m doing kind of a combination of Project Life/regular pages, and I like having the space to stick a lot of photos on pages for more picture-heavy events.

    I’ve found that the Project Life format works well for me, because I can just knock out several pages at a time in front of the tv while hanging with my husband. I also print my instagrams as collages within a standard 4×6 photo, cut them into 2×2″ photos, and then stick them on a card with writing. Easy peasy. (I got your Core Kit for Christmas this year, and have been having fun mixing it in so far! Love the colors!)

  • beautiful! i love love love scrapbooking & looking at others pages. thanks for inspiration this friday morning!

  • Best scrapbook i have ever seen!!!!! You are such inspiration to me, Elsie and Emma! I wish I could be as artistic, creative and resourceful as you two are! I wish I could meet you both in person!! Hugs and kisses! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing some of your album! I’m someone who also loves full albums, rather than random pages here and there, which is why I started Project Life originally… A whole week of stories is way more fun! I enjoy the peak in to your process too… It makes me want to start working on my Europe photos to get them into an album! 🙂

  • I have so many incomplete scrapbooks calling my name. My son is graduating from high school this year and I keep putting off scrapbooking. I love it as well, but it can be so overwhelming and hard to get started. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Love this post, thanks so much! I feel totally inspired to do some scrapbooking now 🙂

  • So hang on… scrapbooking can be what I want… not what everyone else does? Oh wowzers, you’ve given me a whole lot to think about Mrs Larson, a whole new world has just opened up to me… thank you! x

  • I love this post! I’ve been meaning to start scrapbooking for a couple months now since reading your posts, but I never really knew where to start. This is so helpful! Thanks so much – and I absolutely love the way you did yours!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  • I adore this and YOU! I am a 12×12 fan but only because of my CURRENT goal: finish up what you have before you make the switch. I want to do more of the layout you are using, with handwriting and self-printing at home. However at current I have a lot of supplies for 12×12 and am sticking to the goal. I am totally inspired to get crackin’ on it next month though thanks to you!

  • Oh my goodness I am so far behind on scrapbooking. I make those Snapfish photo books every year so I have all of the pictures from the year on paper but it’s not personalized at all past the cute backgrounds. I have THREE blank scrapbooks and a ton of scrapbooking material. This is a great post and I definitely need to re-read this and then sit down with a plan… and a huge clean floor to sprawl everything out on!

  • I used to create scrapbooks also as a hobby, and I loved it, these are great memories to look back on !

  • I first discovered you in my scrapbooking magazines years and years ago. I was drawn to your creative, colorful, whimsical and warm page decorations. I’ve been so pleased to see your career bloom and that you’ve gotten to explore all of your creative avenues as your life has blossomed. Your new scrapping style reflects growth and change in you personally as well as the probable shortage of time to devote to just one enterprise like scrapbooking now, which certainly can easily become very time consuming when you let it. I appreciate the practicality, cleaner lines and faster assembly of this method, especially to help us busy people get started or keep up, but I must say, I do so miss that early Elsie style too and would love to see some of those type of pages too!

  • i love this! i often find that my problem with beginning a scrapbook is that i don’t have enough photos hahaha! often than not, i forget to take my camera with me when i go out and do interesting things and when i do remember to take it, i barely use it. i suppose that’s just a habit i have to get into in order to have enough to scrap. thank you for sharing your process!

  • I love this idea, the images are so clean and bright! I am in love with Dolly! I have a sausage of my own and love him very much, I feel small dogs have big personalities. I have been following your blog for ages now and just wanted to let you know it is very beautiful!!

    Love from England!

  • Do you have any suggestions for another good quality printer? I see the Canon you’re using has quite the hefty price tag on it, and as much as I would love to get it, it’s a bit out of budget. Thanks!

  • I love this post. I’ve recently started Project Life! Let me tell you, I am OBSESSED. I’ve already got plans for multiple scrapbooks. Your tips are very helpful 🙂

  • If you haven’t tried it before Smash books are good, they are a bit like scrap booking made easy!
    Your book and blog have got me to be creative again! Thank you!

  • Love this post today, Elsie! I want to do something similar with Project Life – one month at a time. Here’s an idea for a future blog post – could you do a tutorial on how you make your collages? I would love to know how to take my photos and cut them down to make them 2×2 or 3×4. Please?

  • This is so inspiring! I’ve made all kinds of excuses as to why I can’t make time for scrapbooking, but what you’ve done is so beautiful I have to find a way! My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years and many of our photos in the beginning are terrible {taken with disposable cameras} so that’s been a huge deterrent. Also, the fact that we probably have over a 1,000 photos, yikes!

    Thank you so much for sharing, this is amazing! I just envision children and grandchildren discovering these years from now, and enjoying how much your love shines through the pages. Perfection!

  • what kind of pen do you use to write on the photos? i need one for glossy photos. thanks! your layouts look lovely!

  • I absolutely love this! I’ve wanted to get into scrapbooking for the same reasons, but it really is overwhelming to start off with. These tips are great and I can’t wait to start my own scrapbook!!


  • Hi Elsie!

    I am so excited you posted this! These are my absolute FAV posts of yours! I see someone asked about what version of Photoshop you use, would you ever consider a quick ‘tutorial’ on resizing photos?! I have the photo edition with the tablet for writing, but not sure if that is enough for the collages you put together…

  • La la la love this post. And your not cuckoo.
    I’m not a fan of scrapbooking, always think about what happen with those plastic sheet. I’m an album fan. The new ones are gorgeous (Blurb) but I’m a romantic so love the old way.

  • Hi Elsie,

    How often are you needing to replace your print cartridges when you are printing photos. That is always my biggest concern. It seems like it would be often when you are printing a bunch.

    Great post as always! : )

  • Due to a move and family sickness, life has been a bit tough lately. My wonderful friends got together and gave me a box of cards and letters to help cheer me up when I need it the most. I was trying to find a way to keep everything together in a neat, beautiful way and this is perfect. Thank you so much for posting this! I can’t wait to start!

  • You have seriously inspired me! I have regular photo albums from the time my daughter was born through roughly her 4th year. Then I started making photo books on Shutterfly – our wedding albums, annual family albums for 2008 and 2009, and various big vacations. THEN I made one more regular album for 2010 before being introduced to Project Life. I used PL for 2011-2013 and I got bogged down. I still have stuff to finish in all three of those albums before they are “complete”. I wanted something equally gorgeous but simple and fun for 2014 and THIS IS IT! Thank you so much for showing that simple can be beautiful! You rock! 🙂

  • Great stuff!!thank you for sharing withus .Between What camera have you used to take these pictures ,they are beautiful.:)

  • The way you scrapbook helps me to believe I can do it, my style. I love your modern, simple, photo-centric album…Thanks for sharing the loveliness

  • I have been looking for a less stereotypical way of scrapbooking both my wedding and my daughter’s first year of life and I have finally found it! thanks so much for sharing this simple, yet beautiful thing!

  • Scrapbooking is something I’ve always wanted to get in to but never known where to start – I found this post to be very helpful. Thanks!

  • I love your fresh take on scrapbooking! What paper do you use to print your photos? I can’t seem to find one I like yet…

  • HI! just wanna ask where do you get the pages that has pockets? cause I cant seem to get a hold of those alone or do you have any alternatives. I’am starting to do scrap booking as well but the page like yours I dont know where to get. tried at our local supply stores none. Pls help?

  • Although this took you less time than anticipated, do you think you will always spend a couple weeks scrapbooking or will you begin to make your new volume little by little as the year goes by?

  • I love this idea, especially the emphasis on photos, which is the most important part of the scrapbook, anyway.

    In the future if you’re looking for really high quality 8.5×11 format books you should check out pina zangaro. They’re designed to be portfolios, but it makes them super sturdy, there’s a variety of finishes and they look gorgeous.

  • Are you still doing Project Life style pages too? Also, would you be able to do a tutorial on your photo editing process? Love your style!

  • Hi Jasmin,

    I would highly recommend building the table for your space. Measure your dining room and build one the size you want (with room for chairs to easily pull in and out of place). Elsie’s dining room is quite large, so her table is pretty long and slightly more narrow than the “average.” That’s one of the advantages of building your own is you get to select the *perfect* size.

    Check out our original tutorial post for tips on how to make the bottom secure:

    Best of luck to you and your husband!

  • I see teens making scrapbooks because aside from enjoying on it, scrapbooks can keep their memories until the reach older age. Scrapbook making can also be enjoyed by moms and their kids.

  • I switched to 12×12 for 2013 because I couldn’t find 8 1/2 x 11 supplies that I liked, and I love the Project Life stuff. I agree about the book hanging over on the shelves. Because we have adjustable wall mounted shelving in our office, all I would need to do is buy longer brackets and deeper shelves to make it work. I have 38 years of life in 8 1/2 x 11 albums, so the 12×12 change was huge for me!

    But – no matter which format people choose – the most important thing is to back up your pictures and then print them off and enjoy them – and record the memories!!!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • How creative! What edition of Photoshop do you have (you mentioned tablet)? Thank you.

  • Oh Elsie, thanks for sharing this, i recently found a bunch of photos that i printed polaroid alike and didn’t know what to do with them, now i’m inspired!

  • It’s great to see you scrapbooking again!

    I am curious about the printing. I don’t currently print at home because in my mind it’s more expensive then sending it out. I’m wondering If you know about how many pages you were able to print before getting more ink?

    Also is there a reason you didn’t just do a photo book? Also something else I’m debating on. I do love the scrapbook look! Thanks!

  • Like I wrote many times I love that idea with a pics and album. Before many years we had it to.. But now.. Only in pc what is “O( But I am strarting to print a pics too an I weould like to have an album for a next generations. xa

  • hi elsie!! i recently had thousands (!!) of pics printed at my local lab (some of which I’ll need to cut into squares for project life). I plan on scrapbooking our 3 year relationship (from right when I started dating my bf!). as my pics are already printed, i won’t be able to add text to them (although I’m def going to invest in that tablet!). i was wondering if you have ever experminted with writing on your actual pictures? if so, do you have any amazing marker recommendations? if not, i’ll just need to get creative :)…

    ps. i have read even your pre-ABM blog (aka your major scrapbooking days!)but i have never seen a book with as much love as this one. the most special 😉 xo

  • Fantastic, that’s so inspiring.
    I use to prit my photos and add them to a classic photo album but your solution is way more creative, thank you for sharing this !

  • Love so much your work!
    COuld you tell me a site in internet to buy sheets like yours ???
    I cannot found them in my city

  • I love this! I scrapbooked a lot in high school, got out of it in college, and really want to document our married life.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!


  • That is so gorgeous- you can see how much love went into it!
    I just created yearbooks for our first two years of marriage and thought that was good! So inspirational!

  • love, love, LOVE this post! I’ve started countless scrapbooks and have never finished them because they are exhausting! I like how you use a binder and the pocket pages. This looks like it would be less time/money consuming than buying an expensive scrapbook and trying to cover an entire page with paper/designs! Ugh.

    Thank you for making this so simple! You rule.

  • That book is beautiful!! I made a couple of scrapbooks for friends birthdays when I was younger and was very proud of them at the time! Definitely need to sit down and do one for myself sometime! I’m a huge fan of your blog – constant inspiration 🙂 x

  • Love your scrapbook. It inspires me so much.

  • Scrapbooking hasn’t taken off in the UK in the same way as in the US – well, not since Victorian times anyway – they loved a bit of scrapbooking, although it would feature more flour and water paste glue than photographs… I love the really contemporary fresh approach you have to it 🙂

  • What a useful tutorial for beginners of scrapbooking! Your photos are so charming!

  • It’s a lovely scrapbook! It inspires me want to make one for our first year together, but I’d have to buy a new printer, mine is getting very temperamental 😉

  • How many pages would you say are in this album, and do you think the binder could hold any more??

  • I always love your posts on scrapbooking, I am just curious where you get the plastic inserts? It seems like you always have a massive variety of layouts and sizes.

  • love love love this post. i really want to start putting all my photos into albums, this post is some great inspiration!
    thanks for haring 🙂
    xo, cheyenne

  • Love this! You make me wanna skip work and class and rush home to bury my head into working on this!!!

  • Cute! I like this look and approach much better than traditional crafty scrapbooking. Thanks for thinking outside of the square 🙂

  • Absolutely love this idea!! Although I don’t think I can get this done before our anniversary next month (and giving it to my boyfriend as gift, like I would like to), I sure will try– what a great idea!

  • I love scrapbooking but haven’t made the time to do it for awhile. I love this style and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Hi Elsie, where are your letter stamps from? I used to have a set but I have lost them =[ and I have been trying to find where to buy them again but I can’t find anywhere that stocks them – not even my local scrapbook store. Any leads would be appreciated!!

  • This turned out so beautifully! That printer is amazing! I’ve been meaning to print out some of the thousands of digital photos that I have. It’s just something I never get around to doing. I want to make more of an effort because time goes so quickly and this is such a wonderful way to keep memories. Thanks for sharing!

  • Totally inspired to scrapbook now!! And thanks for the reassurance that it can be photo-heavy, because honestly I have about a billion photos but wasn’t sure I’d have enough to say. This is beautiful!

  • So inspiring! I love the layouts you did, but I am now motivated to start myself. Although, I don’t have as nearly many pictures with my hubby.

  • Hi Elsie, love the blog, seriously! I, too, was wondering if you would do a post about your thoughts on the pros and cons of making an actual book (whole year) via shutterfly, mpix, or blurb vs. scrap booking as you have shown. I have been throwing the idea around of having a huge book made for some time now but after seeing your post I see there is a simpler way to scrapbook as well. I didn’t know if you might have a cost break down for the pictures you printed on the Canon vs. having them printed at a lab and or shipped to you. I know that ink can sometimes be very expensive. I love the idea of this scrapbook you did but not sure if I am creative enough to follow thru. Also, what if a person doesn’t have that many pictures from their first year of marriage ( I was pregnant and very sick the whole time nearly), what should be the filler? Thanks!

  • question for you! what is the brand of pen you are using? i’d like to order photo books and want to get the perfect pen that won’t smear and will last.

  • You are so ambitious! I just made a family yearbook of our first two years of marriage & thought that was rough. Man- yours is awesome! Here’s a recap of mine:

  • This is great. I’ve been scrapbooking forever, but my style has evolved like yours into hybrid-design, full bleed, photo-centric pages too. As someone who has dabbled in the industry, I became tired of design teams needing to load product on pages and reduce photos per page so more pages are required. It’s just about playing with and looking through memories, right? And maybe a bit of fun paper 🙂

  • Thank you Elsie for sharing this beautiful album. I have been your blog follower for 7 years, no kidding…I visit ur blog every single day. Im so so glad that you are finally back to scrapbooking. You truly inspire ppl. 🙂

  • I’ve always been so terrified of journaling in scrapbooks but your posts give me hope!
    As always the pictures are so pretty!

  • Elsie I love it!

    I have a random question I’m hoping you can help me with. My husband and I want to build your dining room table, can you give me the measurements and what kind of wood you made?

    It would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  • This is perfect… I always feel like scrapbooks have to be these old-timey, over-embellished books with just two photos and ridiculous phrases on each page that aren’t even mildly relevant to the photos…

    But this… This is perfect. And I am going to do this. Thank you so *SO* much for this. So much. This is so perfect!!

  • Love how this turned out Elsie! This is exactly what I’m planning on doing with my daughter’s photos from high school before she graduates this year .. but on a little smaller scale (6×8).

  • I have all of the supplies for my USA Road Trip album, but I still haven’t ordered the pictures. Reading your post has inspired me to look into printing them myself! Maybe that will give me the motivation to finish this project 🙂

  • This is amazing!!! I’m so inspired right now! Thank you for sharing.


  • I just wanted to say that my boyfriend has the EXACT same bike as your husband (but the tires are white) and I have the same bike as you but I have the baby blue one! Yay to PUBLIC BIKES!

  • This is by far the coolest scrapbook printed I have ever seen! I scrapbook but not like this. I print the pictures individually and use all the die cuts, different papers and all that jazz that one can find at any craft store and can spend at least an hour on page.

    This I think I will have to try! SO very cool!

  • I’m jealous, it is SO cute!


  • Elsie, I’m SO excited to see scrapbooking back on ABM, as that is what drew me here originally many years ago 🙂

    Like you, I had a hiatus for awhile, but it came back in full force last year…I recently switched to doing 8×8 layouts instead of 12×12, and I love it even more that before. Such a fun size to work with!

  • This post came at the most perfect time! I have just started a project life album (using the sunshine edition of course 😉 and this is my first time making an album like this! I am always so inspired by your posts and your style and it’s nice to have some guidance like this to help me on my way. I absolutely love the idea of printing out photos, but could never figure out exactly how to organize them. I’m excited to get started! Thank you for always keeping me inspired! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! I’m making an embellished, pocket page album to document my first year of marriage and I’m excited to share it with my husband on our anniversary on Valentine’s. Your album has inspired our second volume!

  • I love how special and personal this is, really want to make one myself it must be so rewarding to see the finished book :p


  • This is gorgeous. I have so many photos and nothing creative to do with them. This will be a project for my summer! Gives me time to save up for the printer too.

  • Thank you for some great ideas. I’ve scrapbooked for many years but not so much lately. I do have some of your products in my stash 🙂 I have bought a bunch of Smash books and similar albums because I love their small size for making a simple scrapbook.

  • I love your fresh & modern approach to scrapbooking. This post has really inspired me to create some albums of my family. Thanks for sharing Elsie!

    She Adores Vintage

  • I would love to get back to scrapbooking. However, we have to get a house set up before I can. We still have boxes and piles everywhere. So until I can get it down to a manageable mess my blog will have to continue to be our scrapbook. Though, I might just do that – get a printed version of the blog and add some extra photos to it.

    Your scrapbook looks lovely, and I’m glad you had a wonderful time doing it.

  • Elsie, I love this. love love this. Its lovely.
    Two Peas in a Bucket

  • I’m one of your earlier fan Elsie and SOOOOOO GLAD “your back” !!!
    XOXO, Lilou from France ^_^

  • Elsie! 🙂 I love this so much…I haven’t scrapbooked for years but bought some project life supplies awhile back and have just been trying to get organized enough to get back into it. I love the idea of smaller books to fit on my bookshelves! That’s not so crazy, it seriously bugs me when they don’t fit. 😉 Thanks for the inspiration!


  • You are brilliant. Every single photo layout and idea you have in this blog post is just lovely. Thanks for putting all of this advice into one post! It is truly inspiring…I can’t wait to make my next scrapbook!

  • this looks absolutely fantastic!
    sometimes i wonder how you are able to do it all…always so impressed 🙂

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  • Hi Carley!
    I actually just print all my instagram photos in collages (using photoshop) it’s super easy. The 2×2 photos that are on the coin pages were just cut out from big sheets of prints. 😀 It’s super easy!


  • There is nothing like having printed out pictures in a scrapbook to look at! If they are just stored on your computer, you never see them. I’m so inspired now, and I love the idea of the coin pages! Thank you for the ideas!


  • Needed this post!! Scrapbooking has always been so overwhelming to me! The look you created is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you for your inspiration!
    I do have a question, I’ll probably be sending my prints to my local photo lab. What is the easiest way to print Instagram photos?

  • Good job, elsie. I knew you as a scrapbooker before your blog. I still have your books and most of your Love, Elsie, haha. Nice to see this from you. Thanks.

  • Maybe you already know this but, if you ever delete a flash card in the future you can still rescue the photos!! Just don’t use the card to take more photos (or you’ll override the deleted ones) and download one of the many free rescue software programmes available. You just connnect the card to your computer and the programme does all the amazing tech stuff for you. I did this myself a few times and rescuing them has always worked a charm! Stopped many a heart attack that’s for sure. Still think your honeymoon photos look great though, even if you have a limited selection! 🙂

  • I just love this post and it comes at the perfect time for me personally! I have had the some problem, not enough PRINTED photos of the hubs and me. And now we’re getting ready for baby in the summer, so I really need to get on the ball! This post will really help!

  • Hey Lisa, I’m not sure. Probably in the same range, though!
    xx- Elsie

  • the cover page on the bed with feet is AMAZING. that cropped shot tells a story all on its own. love it.

  • Hi Devon,
    Glad you relate with my post!

    I don’t have any templates for printing my photos, I just create my collages in Photoshop to fit the 8.5×11 size. Do you have photoshop? I hope that helps.

    Thanks so much for your kind words! Send me a link when you get some books made. I’d love to see!
    xx- Elsie

  • love this idea! I’ve always fancied doing a scrapbook/photo album and doing one at the end of the year to remember all the past years memories is such a good idea! I might try and do that from 2013, but this year I shall do it and take more photos!
    Lauren | OhHay Blogs!

  • I’m so glad you posted this now! I’m in my first year of marriage right now and I have a hard time taking photos, but always wish I had after the fact. I think if I have a project like this it will seriously help motivate me to take pictures.

  • I’d be interested to know how much you spent on Ink and photo pages (and supplies) vs the cost of making a custom photo book online each year (which is what I do via shutterfly). My family yearbooks are about $100 each.

  • Love this! I having been planning to make a scrapbook of each year for a while now 🙂 Which program do you use to create the collages?

  • Oh the questions I have for you!! First… Will you PLEASE teach a class locally on scrapbooking! I’d pay good money to attend. haha! =)

    Where did you get the 8×11 album? Is it just a We R Keepers or some brand I can find at Michaels?

    My husband and I struggle with the same issue. For our wedding and our daughter’s first year we printed a photo book, but now that I look back, as beautiful as they are… they just don’t have the personal touches that I crave. Also, like you, I just can’t get over the fact I have to lie them flat on the shelf because they stick out past all the rest. I’ve recently purchased the new 6×8 Project life album to attempt at least one or two small albums for momentos. My husband is a cameraman for television and a photographer, so I’d love to take what you’ve explained in this post and “redo” all our albums with some personalization rather than sitting on our hard drives!

    Also, we have the Canon 7120 printer and I am having a rough time figuring out how to create some templates that work well with it since it only prints up to an 8×11 page.. do you have any tips on creating the templates to print?

    Thank you again for such a wonderful post AGAIN and constant inspiration!!!

  • Where did you get your 8.5 x 11 album? I didn’t see it in the post but skimmed it!

  • That was so inspirational, it’s sad having tons of photos sitting the my hard disks. I will start a scrapbook this year for sure.

  • I absolutely LOVE this. I’ve been trying to do this since we got married – 4 years ago in May and I’ve done about 3 pages. I really get bored with traditional scrapbooking so this is absolute genius!

    I think I might be stopping by the craft store on the way home to get my supplies! I have almost 4 years to document before May and before our baby arrives in June so I best get on it 🙂

  • I would love to get into scrapbooking, such a cool thing to have sitting on your coffee table 🙂


  • I love that the scrapbook is in a binder type setting. Makes it so much easier to flip through it. I started a scrapbook a couple years ago but haven’t really added anything sense. I just haven’t printed out pictures in a long time! I want to start up again. This is a really motivational post!

    xo Denise

  • Great guide…I’m slowly but surely converting my old scrapbooks to 8.5 x 11, from 12 x 12. I cannot stand the hangover on shelves, like you mentioned! From now on I will only do that size. Love the coin pages idea…and I need that printer.

  • Where is that scrapbook from? I love the the metal edges and the insert for the vol. # 🙂

  • This made me SO. HAPPY. I kept intending to do something like this, and to back up my photos, etc, etc…and then my computer crashed. 🙁 I wasn’t expecting it since it is a 4 year old Mac, but it’s in the shop waiting to see if my photos are able to be saved or not. Out of everything on that computer, I just want our pictures. So sad. Luckily i blog so I have those memories…but I will never go a long period of time without printing and backing up my photos again, boo. Love what you did!

  • It is GOOD to see you scrapbook again. I’ve been missing your fresh style, awesome photos, incredible talent 🙂

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