How to Make a Scrapbook From Scratch

A scrapbook is a beautiful way to preserve keepsakes and mementos from important or memorable events in our lives. 

There is no right or wrong way of creating a scrapbook or a scrapbook page. They’re your memories. Create and arrange according to your personal style. We’re just here with a few ideas to inspire you and get started. 

You’ll need a few materials:

Paper and Cardstock — When selecting paper, check that it is acid-free. Cardstock can be used as background and photo mats. Patterned paper can be used for accents, backgrounds and borders. 

Adhesives — Look for acid-free and photo-safe glues, double-sided tapes and glue dots. 

a person using craft scissors to cut construction paper

Craft Scissors8” scissors can be used for general cutouts and curved lexan scissors for detailed cuts.

Use Craft Scissors for the Perfect Cut

Ruler — You will need this for a very straight edge cut, used along with the craft knife.

Craft Knives — Get a craft knife for trimming photographs, cutting borders and cutting out intricate accents and designs for your pages. 

a craft knife on a piece of paper with a chevron snowflake made of colored paper strips

Markers/Colored Pencils — Make sure these are acid-free, fade-proof, non-bleeding and specific for scrapbooking.

Extra Embellishments — Thousands of various items are available from your local scrapbooking shop.

Cutting Mat — You will need a cutting mat for cutting and protecting your tabletop. Cutting mats with built-in grids and rulers will help in trimming borders or photos evenly.

View Our Large Selection of Cutting Mats

Scrapbook Album and Sheet Protectors — Look for page protectors that are intended for scrapbooking. Albums in several sizes are available on the market. Pick the one that is right for you and your home and the one that will nicely fit all the photographs and keepsakes you’ve collected.  

Now that you have gathered your supplies and have a stack of photos and mementos, think about the theme and look of the scrapbook. Will the scrapbook include one event like a wedding or a family vacation or will it be an annual “diary” of family events? Will it be a minimalist and monochrome design or very colorful and whimsical? Or will each page reflect the memories and mood of the photographs or keepsakes. 

A short family beach getaway could be a two-pager, detailed with playful sea animal embellishments and bright colors like yellow and blue, which are commonly associated with the seaside. Whereas a 10-day European adventure could be chronicled in an entire book! There’s no wrong way to design the book and pages, but it’s good to keep the mood in mind so that it is visually communicated on the page. 

a person using a craft knife to cut a beach design out of colored paper

Sort through photos and saved mementos and edit out duplicates or similar items and photographs or bulky items that may not fit into a scrapbook. Pre-arrange in chronological order of the trip or the year. 

Then, select the backgrounds that complement the photographs and items, add embellishments and leave room for important information like dates, places and names. All too often we forget the name of “that street” or “that cafe.” Including it on scrapbook pages is a great idea!

Decide if you’d like to include any additional large motifs on the background page to place your photographs on top of instead of using a preprinted pattern. Or you can create the pattern by making a lino stamp and using archival ink for the design. Check out our blog on stamp making for more info.

a pair of craft knives next to a cutting mat with an unfinished heart stamp

Lay out the photos and items on each background and decide if the photos need to be cropped. Sometimes, there’s a lot of background in a picture that doesn’t need to be there. On a cutting mat, use measuring tools and a craft knife to neatly crop the photos. Try adding a mat behind your photographs and see if that works better against the background page.

Start with a simple layout of two or three images positioned straight on the page or see if overlapping the images at an angle better suits the theme. 

Work out the placement of everything you’d like to include on the page and decide what works and what doesn’t. Test out several options for journaling — that’s all the written information like dates, names or memorable quotes from the event — and use the one that tells the story best and fits with your overall vision. 

Once you’re happy with the layout and everything is included, use the adhesives to mount everything on the background paper. Then protect your creation by inserting the page into a sheet protector and into your scrapbook album.