Easy-to-Follow Tips for Creating Timeless Scrapbooks

Flipping through old photos can instill feelings of nostalgia, but it also can evoke disappointment and frustration when you no longer remember the people, details and emotions behind them.

Scrapbooks allow you to not only preserve photos and memorabilia, but to capture the emotions behind your precious memories.

Putting together a scrapbook can seem like a daunting project, especially when you first look at the boxes and piles of unsorted photos. Joy Macdonell, education director at EK Success, a scrapbooking company, offers these tips.

* Purchase the basic tools. To get started, buy adhesive, a paper trimmer, scissors, pens, paper and albums. Herma brand adhesive is recommended, as is the Zig Memory System line of pens. Always purchase products with the keywords “acid-free,” “photo-safe” and “lignin-free” to ensure the best quality.

* Organize your pictures. Sort your images by theme, occasion, year or people and store in an acid-free photo box with tab dividers. Write all the important details on the back of the photos with a photo labeling pen.

* Select the pictures. Choose the pictures that best illustrate the theme of your page. Store the others. A beginner should aim to have about three pictures per page.

* Sketch the layout and determine the colors. Sketch how you want your page elements to be organized and use temporary adhesive so you can move things around. Also, choose coordinating colors that complement the hues in your photos.

* Crop and mat the photos. Crop your photos to eliminate superfluous detail. Then create a simple mat, about a quarter-inch wide on all sides, to put under the photos so they stand out on the page.

* Embellish the page. Add life to the page with stickers, creative lettering or other 3-D embellishments. Start simple; you want your pictures to be the main focus.

* Write journal entries. This is the most important scrapbook element because it conveys the details and feelings about that moment, which can be forgotten with time. To make journal writing easy, write bullet points to highlight the main events.

* Take a class. Although these tips will help you get started, take classes to really hone your skills. Scrapbook Design & You, for instance, is a 10-class program available at more than 250 retailers nationwide.

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