Over 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!
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!
Step 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.
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!
Step 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:
The 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.
Our 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.
All of the writing on the first page here was done with my tablet in photoshop before printing it out.
This page is a collage of photos printed out 8.5×11. I love all photo pages the most.
I 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!
These 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!
I 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.
Here 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.
More 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.
This 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.
And 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!
P.S. Love this post? Check out 5 Simple and Easy Scrapbooking Ideas!
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! 🙂
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.
Love this idea!
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.
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!!!
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!
I love it !!
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
Fantastic! Love a photo based scrapbook!