Starting Out and Finding Your Style
Finding your style at the beginning may seem daunting however it really shouldn’t be. My best piece of advice when you are first starting out is to look for inspiration. You can use online sites like Pinterest or You Tube. There are many amazing scrapbookers on those sites to find a style that you like.
In the the very early years
When I began scrapbooking years ago at the age of five, there was very little in the way of extras to add to your layouts. At this age, you really don’t have a style or need to worry about finding a style. I took the newspaper articles about my dad and taped them on the page with Scotch tape. I bet you know what happened over time to that Scotch tape…yep, it turned a lovely yellow color. Somehow, my five-year-old self was smart enough to add the tape only to the corners of the photos.
After a few years, the scrapbook started to fall apart. Luckily, I was able to save everything from too much damage when I removed them. Although I had to trim the photos down a bit, they still looked good. I took the original photos and scanned them into my computer so I would always have a copy.
In the 5th grade, I had an amazing teacher. She gave the class a camera (old school film type) to use. Every week she gave the camera to a student to use. At the end of the week, she would have the film developed for us. We could take pictures on recess, at lunch and sometimes in class. My turn came the week before Christmas break. I was able to take pictures of classmates decorating the class for our Christmas party.
I did not have the best photo skills at 10 years old. The pictures I took outside of my friends at recess are out of focus. I still have a few of those photos and I will scrapbook them in the future. They will go along perfectly with the story of my amazing teacher and the experience she gave each one of us.
As time progressed, so did my style
At the start of my senior year in high school, I was elected to be the historian for the concert choir. My job was to put up the class decorations and make the scrapbook for that school year. My teacher would give me the photos, programs, itineraries, maps etc. and I put it all together.
Now back in the early 80’s, there were no scrapbook stores or websites or magazines. I was on my own. Where was I going to get the supplies to decorate the pages in a fun way? There was only one place…Hallmark. Yep, those pages are filled with Hallmark stickers, lots of them. I think back to that album and wish I had a way back machine. Oh, the layouts I would make now!
While I was pregnant and on bed rest before my son was born, I got a scrapbook kit from Target. The kit had everything I would need to make an album. It also included the greatest resource, a magazine! This was eye opening and amazing. To see there was a new way to scrapbook with things other than Hallmark stickers. I was hooked!
As I started making that first album in May 1997, I did basically the same process I had in the past. Placing photos on a piece of paper from the box (glue stick this time), I used the template from the kit to cut out letters for a title. I added a little bit of writing about the photos and used one cut out from the kit. That’s it. Nothing more, just simple and clean.
That was my style in the beginning. If you were to look through my early albums, you will see a pattern. Some photos on colored cardstock, a title cut from colored cardstock, and a few words. Maybe a die cut or sticker. I very rarely used patterned paper, it was too pretty to use or cut up.
As the years went by, more fun new products were being made. There were now a few more scrapbooking magazines being published. My favorites were Creating Keepsakes and Pagecuts. As new products started to come on the market, the design styles started to evolve.
Now scrapbookers were using borders, and ribbon and eyelets. To use eyelets, you needed a special tool and a hammer to flatted them. YES, you read that correctly – you hammered metal onto your pages! Scrapbookers were using brads. The same type of brads that we used to use to hold papers together, only colorful and pretty. I started to find styles I liked and seemed easy.
Taking a break from scrapbooking
I took a break from the hobby for a few years. Starting to get back into the hobby, I realized things had evolved yet again. Washi Tape, Silhoutte Machine, thin wafer dies, enamel dots, Thickers…the list goes on. No one seemed to be hammering eyelets onto their pages now. No, now they were adding tiny staples to add a touch of flair. Speaking of flair, there were Flair badges to add a bit of pop to your layout. It was amazing to see so many new products now that added dimension to your layout.
Scrapbookers were putting layers and layers on their pages. They were adding more and more paper, stickers and die cuts. The first time I heard the phrase mixed media, I thought it was a new form of magazine. Turns out it was a form of design using gesso, paint, ink, watercolors etc. It was all a bit overwhelming to me.
Doing What You Like, Trying New Styles
When I returned to scrapbooking after my hiatus, I almost didn’t even try to get back to creating pages. I shared one of my albums with someone and they made a comment about my album not being “stunning”. My feelings were hurt by a thoughtless comment. When you think about scrapbooking, it is an art form. Art is a project, in a medium and style that the artist creates that brings them happiness.
I had to remind myself that I make the scrapbooks for my family to enjoy in a style that makes me happy. I used to always ask myself “Will they like it, is this right”? It has taken me a very long time to realize that there are no scrapbooking police out there. No one is looking over your shoulder telling you “You can’t put that there”. There isn’t a hard and fast rule that says “You need to splatter that with black ink”. As a scrapbooker, you do what makes you HAPPY!
It’s your scrapbook, your photos and your memories. That’s why when you are starting out or find yourself in a bit of a rut, look for inspiration on the internet or a magazine. There are also many wonderful scrapbookers on YouTube to follow and learn from.
Evolving Your Style With The Trends
For me, my style has most definitely evolved into one that I love. On almost every layout I use the pretty patterned paper and I have quite the collection of washi tape. It turns out the tiny staples do look great on my pages and I love my Thickers! I am trying to learn the technique of layering and using my new Silhoutte machine*, mastering new skills I have learned.
I am evolving and changing the way I want to, when I want to. Some of my layouts are very simple and I love how they turn out. I also make layouts that have layers and cut files and even a splatter or two of mist. They all make me happy and, in the end, that’s really what matters the most.
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