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Getting started with scrapbooking

Dec 16, 2011, 6 a.m.

If you've ever longed to create envy-inducing scrapbooks, take heart. Armed with materials from the local craft store or a computer program, you, too, can produce memory books worthy of applause.

Choose an album

Some people prefer three-ring binders with page protectors because they're easy to add to or rearrange. Screw-and-post or post-bound albums use pages or page protectors with holes that fit over the posts, which are then screwed together. This style is also simple to change, rearrange or add to, and extenders allow extra pages to be inserted. Book-bound scrapbooks have a set number of pages bound into the spine; remove a few to accommodate bulky items. Size is up to you. Albums 8 by 8 or 6 by 6 inches work wonderfully for a single theme, such as recording a trip or celebrating an individual,

Use the right materials

Basics include scrapbooking paper in coordinated colors for backgrounds and photo mats, adhesive to glue down pictures and memorabilia, sharp scissors, and a good journal pen for page titles and captions. Sites like scrapbooking.about.com have sections devoted to adhesives. Acid-free varieties will prolong the life of your photos. If you want your scrapbook to last, choose one of these.

Arrange before gluing

Post-bound and three-ring albums lend themselves to experimentation, letting you lay out the entire scrapbook page by page before committing to a particular sequence and arrangement. A good rule of thumb: Don't put more than two pictures on a page. This leaves you room for background papers, photo mats, accents like stickers, and other items that otherwise would crowd the page. Be sure to leave room for page titles, journaling and/or captions. When you like what you see, use the glue. Sample layouts are available at sites such as everything-about-scrapbooking.com, scrapbooksetc.com and allscrapbooking.com.

Go digital

Creating scrapbooks using special scrapbooking software is a super-easy, no-tears way to go. Upload your photos and try out page designs without getting stuck with mistakes. Digital books are cheaper, too--no adhesives, special papers, etc. Sites offering free software and advice include MyScrapNook.com and DigitalScrapbookExperts.com, or you could check out your local photo center or store to see if they have the option.

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