Scrapbooking Basics

Digital Scrapbooks, Photos and Fonts

By David Seidl | Posted 10/21/08 | Updated 3/22/23

With the emergence of digital scrapbooking many options for users have arrived. Websites that offer applications to enhance your photos and create scrapbooks online are numerous nowadays. They have become popular due to their ease of use and versatility. Scrapbookers are provided with an opportunity to turn their cherished photos into works of art by editing the background, borders, fonts and more. They can then share them with their family and friends in any part of the world.


Photos come in standard sizes of 8 x 8", 8.5 x 11" or 12 x 12". You'll want the style to match the content of your pictures. Once you come up with a theme, organize the layout of your photos so that you will know how much room you have to work with. If you plan on printing your photos make sure the resolution is set to 300 dpi in your digital layout to avoid printing errors.


Many people know that photos are a big part of scrapbooking but many don't know the importance fonts can have in scrapbooking and the effect they can have on their designs. Everybody has heard the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words", which is very true, but sometimes the right font can have equal importance. Consider a wedding scrapbook without an elegant cursive font like Crestwood or a family vacation scrapbook without a fun, playful font like Pepita. Fonts have personalities of their own that can really help convey the mood and tone of the project.

One of the best styles to use fonts in is the ephemera style. It involves layering photos to create a collage effect and lots of writing. Dark backgrounds with metal accessories for embellishments in traditional style scrapbooking are usually used here. The dark browns and blacks of the background or black & white photos indicative of the ephemera style make it particularly effective if a masculine design is desired. A handwriting font like one from might be a good fit here.

Digital Scrapbooking

Traditional scrapbooking will always have a place in the crafts community because of the bond it brings between those who participate in it together, but as previously mentioned the ease of use and efficiency of digital scrapbooking make it much more attractive to most people now.

All you need is a computer and a digital camera and you can get started. Another advantage of digital scrapbooking is that you don't have to worry about wasting expensive supplies and ruining photos if you make a mistake. Even so, fonts can still be utilized in traditional styles by printing titles and text boxes and pasting them onto your scrapbooking pages.

©2008 David Seidl. All rights reserved.

David Seidl is the affiliate manager for the Ascender Corporation. He graduated from Oakland University in 2006 and currently lives in Chicago.

Making Your Own Paper Layouts

By Cindy Schrauben | Posted 10/6/05 | Updated 3/19/23

Home made scrapbook layoutAs scrapbook artists, our preferences, skills and overall style change over time. As new products are introduced, our choices multiply. Technology allows us to enhance our layouts (LOs) in countless ways.

As is evidenced by many scrapbooking websites, many scrapbookers, like myself, create LOs entirely through digital means. The computer and its related components can also be used to supplement pages for scrappers who choose more traditional means. Paper scrapbook artists can use the computer to edit and print photos, create graphics and title blocks as well as perform a number of other functions.

I do not profess to be skillful at paper scrapbooking — far from it! I am a digital artist by choice. I would, though, like to share some tricks of the digital trade with paper scrapbook artists in an attempt to enhance their creative experience. I'm sure my ideas are not unique, but sometimes it helps to put them all in one place.

In an attempt to illustrate these techniques, I will share the few simple paper pages that I created before I discovered the digital side of this art. Because there is so much to be said on the subject, this article will give only a brief overview of a few alternatives and include some very general instructions. You can find more detailed descriptions in the form of tutorials.


  • Digital Device
  • Photo quality printer, ink and various papers
  • Graphics Program (such as Print Shop Deluxe)
  • Camera
  • Photo editing Software *(such as Microsoft Picture It, Digital Image Pro, Jasc Paint Shop Pro, Adobe PhotoShop, etc.)
  • Scanner*
  • Internet Access* (for downloading elements, backgrounds, fonts, etc.)
  • Digital Scrapbook Software* (contain backgrounds, elements, etc.)

(*useful, but not required)

Digital Device, Printer, and Graphics Programs

The basic necessities for digitally enhanced scrapbook pages are a computer, graphics and a photo quality printer. The type of ink and paper needed will depend on the elements you wish to create.

There are a number of ways in which to add digitally created text and graphics to your paper creations. Graphics programs such as Print Shop Deluxe often provide thousands of graphics, backgrounds and patterns to use on your pages using the techniques described above. Printing directly onto vellum, cardstock or virtually any scrapbook paper allows for limitless possibilities.

Graphics printed on glossy photo paper using a photo quality printer result in amazing sticker-like embellishments. The difficulty here lies in cutting out these graphics. One solution is to print on clear sticker paper: although this results in a more matte finish, they are easier to cut out because the transparent edges disappear when adhered to your LO page. It is rare to have a whole page full of graphics, text, etc to print at once.


"stickers" printed on photo and transparent sticker paper, poem printed on transparent sticker paper

To prevent wasting the rest of a whole page, cut your specialty paper to 4 x 6 inches and send it through the photo paper slot in your printer. I have also adhered a small piece of vellum or specialty paper to a regular sheet of paper using temporary adhesive and sent it through my printer. Be careful though, as it can jam your printer if the small piece comes loose while printing. Make sure that the edges are secure first! To use this technique, print your text onto a regular sheet of computer paper using your word processing software. Then, adhere a piece of specialty paper over the text and pass the paper through the printer again — voila! Don't forget that your child's digital artwork created in computer paint programs such as Kid Pix and Paint make great backgrounds, borders, graphics and photo frames for your pages.

Digital Camera and Photo Editing Software

With a digital camera and photo editing software you can not only crop and edit your photographs, but create decorative accents and elements as well. By changing your photos to black and white or sepia tone, resizing or reshaping them, you can make the photos match your vision for a layout — instead of always trying to work around the photos you have (see butterfly above).

Photo editing software also enables you to create backgrounds and elements for your pages that match your photographs exactly. By taking a picture of fabric or simply matching colors from the photo, your pages can be coordinated perfectly. I have been known to take pictures of very strange things — the ground, a rock, even a spider web to use as background designs. Digital editing software allows you to use photos such as this and add special effects such as watercolor, sketching, chalking, etc. The finished product is often very dramatic.

Made with Print Shop Deluxe

all graphics, fonts, and frame from Print Shop Deluxe, sheet music was scanned


My favorite tool for creating digital scrapbook items is my scanner. There is an unlimited list of things that can be scanned to include on your paper scrapbook pages. From actual paper items such as your child's artwork, journal entries, schoolwork, recital programs, sheet music, ticket stubs, postcards, etc. to 3D items such as your Grandmother's button collection, jewelry, artwork, fabric, frames — the possibilities go on and on. I find that by including my children's work in this way I am able to resize it to fit on my page perfectly.

Page done with child's point of viewHere is a page that is done very much from a child's point of view. It is entitled "Our Cottage". The background is a painting my daughter did many years ago depicting the lake at our summer cottage. I included a journal entry she wrote in school about our summers at the lake and her drawing of the cottage itself. Although it may not be the most polished pieces I have ever created, it is, in my mind, one of the most special because it is a part of my daughter!

Internet Access and Scrapbooking Downloads

Last, but certainly not least is Internet access and digital scrapbooking sites with downloadss. There are many places on the web including Elemental, a division of Pages of the Heart, to download items such as backgrounds, elements, frames, etc. for your scrapbook pages. Digital scrapbooking options offer many of the same items. Although people most often think of using these items for digital projects, many can be printed off and included on paper pages as well.

Remember to always be true to yourself, your own style and preferences when scrapbooking. With so many choices out there it is hard not to imitate others in an attempt to keep up. Be careful, you can easily lose your vision and your creativity. Believe me — I'm guilty! Never forget the reasons you scrapbook: whether it's simply a creative outlet or a way to leave a legacy, be sure to enjoy yourself!

©2005 Cindy Schrauben. All rights reserved.

Cindy Schrauben is a self-taught digital artist and small business owner.

‘I Didn't Know These Are Slowly Destroying My Scrapbooks!’

By Palyn Peterson | Posted 12/18/13 | Updated 3/19/23

Once you spend your precious time and energy creating a scrapbook, make sure it lasts! There are a few simple things you can easily do to ensure that your scrapbooks look just as good as they day you finished them, for years to come.

The first thing to avoid is paper that is not lignin-free. You've probably heard that before, and it is true, but what is lignin anyways? Lignin is a stiff component of a plant that quite literally holds it together. Although lignin is necessary for plants and trees, you want nothing to do with it! After a while, lignin will cause photos, fabrics and other paper that touch it to turn brown. Yes, lignin-free paper does cost more, but it is a vital part of preserving your cherished scrapbooks.

If the paper is not lignin-free, it will eventually discolor your photos and other materials touching it. So when buying paper for your scrapbooking projects, be sure to look for packages that say "lignin-free," because if it doesn't say it, then it most likely isn't.

Fabric is a big concern for preserving your scrapbooks, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Many people assume that all fabrics are acid-free, but they aren't. Silk actually goes through an acid bath during the manufacturing process, as well as many tie-dyed fabrics. This isn't to discourage you from using it, not all. Just try to make sure that no photos directly touch fabric, and if you need them to overlap, make sure there is a layer of paper between the two.

Another consideration when using fabrics is if the color will bleed off onto your page and other things touching it. To test for this, cut a square inch off and soak it in a glass of water over night. If there is no color bleeding from it the next day, then there isn't any risk to your scrapbook. But if you do see color in the water, or collecting at the bottom of the glass then don't use that fabric in your scrapbook at all.

When using glitter, be sure there is a top layer of spray adhesive to lock them down, or better yet use special glitter glue where the glitter is mixed right in. If this is not done right the glitter will slowly fall off, and loose glitter means scratched photos.

After you have planned the layout for your photos, be sure that you are using the right kind of mounting tape for them! Regular mounting tape is fine for buttons and bottle caps, but when it come to mounting photos you need to use special photo mounting tape which is completely acid-free. If you don't, your photos will slowly discolor. The tape should say "acid-free" right on the packaging.

These are just a few simple things you can do to ensure that your scrapbooks last and last.

©2004 Palyn Peterson. All rights reserved.

Palyn Peterson publishes Scrapbooking News with scrapbooking tips, tricks and techniques.