20 Scrapbooking Tips

1. Get over what you "think" it should be and just allow it to be ("it" will be something different for every person).

2. Examine how you look through the lens of your camera. What do you really see? What are you looking for? Next time you pick up your camera let yourself play a bit more by looking up, down, to the sides, etc. of your subject. There are so many interesting things out there in the world. I am particularly interested in the ways things meet together - people, places, things

3. White cardstock is always a solid choice for the foundation of your layout. I love it. It is my go-to color of choice.

4. Mix up your page sizes. For the last year I have been experimenting with all sorts of different sizes - this is a huge creative boost. Online lately I have seen really cool pages that are 6 inches x 12 inches, 4 inches x 12 inches, 8 inches x 8 inches, etc. Don't limit yourself to one size.

5. Keep an inspiration journal. This is one of the best things you can do for your creative self. Don't judge what you write in it or put in it - just use it and abuse it and let it be a place for the things that are scrambling in your head. For a long time I have had too many of these and it began to feel way to scattered. Recently I have combined it into one notebook - forcing myself to use just one and go with it.

6. Repetition. Probably my favorite design principle: do something once and then do it two more times. Three is a very nice number. Repeat colors. Repeat shapes. Repeat accents.

7. Expand yourself. Find something else to learn about next: a new interest, a new subject. Learning stuff fills you up, gives you more to draw from when you sit down to create.

8. Note to self: there is no perfect layout. Forget about perfection; rather adopt an attitude that you will learn something from each layout you complete. Maybe it will be a new way to combine colors, create embellishments, or crop your photos. Maybe it will be that you totally dislike the way you did something. Make a mental note and move on to the next thing.

9. Alphabet stamps in classic typefaces are great for the long haul. Here's a couple favorites: Hero Arts Printer's Type or Basic Upper Case.

10. Layer. When you are putting a layout together think in terms of layers: cardstock, patterned paper, transparency, stickers, stamps - what can you add on top of the last layer to make the piece more interesting?

11. Learn how to be self-critical without putting yourself down. How do you do this? As you create stuff ask yourself "does this really need this accent? Am I adding to the overall story or am I adding it just to add it?" There's no right answer - it's more about developing a general awareness and connection with yourself as you are creating. Be ok with stopping yourself and moving on to the next piece.

12. Just stick it down. If you have been looking at a single layout for days and days and days it is probably time to just stick it all down and move on the next. Isn't it awesome that there is always another story to

13. You can never go wrong with circle or square punches.

14. Collect stuff (and not just scrapbook supplies). Mail pieces. Tags. Bits of stuff. Cut it up. Grab a manila folder or a basket or a box (don't make it complicated) and stick stuff in there. Regularly dip back into that spot for ideas and inspiration.

15. Read more about the Art of Finding.

16. Make sure you are in your scrapbooks. Take photos of yourself. Set your timer. Hand over your camera. Get together with friends to take photos of one another. Your kids and your family will thank you.

17. Bring your scrapbook talents into your home environment (also known as living with your art). Create collages to hang in your home. Enlarge and frame your favorite photos or layout. Create cool accents for your mantle with your supplies. There is so much that can be done with all those supplies you have collected to bring your hobby into the living areas in your home.


18. Take some time to go back over all the layouts you have created and give yourself a hug for all the stories you have told. Taking a look at the body of your work will give you a whole new perspective on what you have done and where you want to go next.

19. Create less. Rather than doing a bunch of layouts just for the sake of filling up an album, spend more time on just a few stories that really have meaning for you and your family.

20. Go make something right now. Stop whining. Stop coming up with excuses. Start now.

76 thoughts

  1. anna

    2009-05-21 18:36:29 -0400

    thank you for this.
    such down to earth goodness.
    great inspiration!
    love the layout of you as a baby. the layout and pics. you look like a porcelin doll!
    love the fact that you are smilling and simon is not, and thats okay and you made a layout. i would of been to scared too.
    thanks for sharing with us!

  2. Priscilla Gilmore

    2009-05-21 18:44:34 -0400

    I agree with some of your points, not with others. For me, one of my life rules is "make your own rules, and you will find yourself living freely." Now, of course, I have many sub-rules, but they all fit quite nicely into this one, come to think about it!

  3. Melissa

    2009-05-22 00:07:28 -0400

    I love this! Very inspiring and will definitely get me back to scrapbooking again! Thank you for sharing this ...

  4. Melissa

    2009-05-22 00:07:44 -0400

    I love this! Very inspiring and will definitely get me back to scrapbooking again! Thank you for sharing this ...

  5. Tina

    2009-05-22 00:43:32 -0400

    Another fabulous post! I take everything in that you write about and try to apply it. "I want to be like Ali" (in my own way) :-) -Tina

  6. Tina

    2009-05-22 00:43:39 -0400

    Another fabulous post! I take everything in that you write about and try to apply it. "I want to be like Ali" (in my own way) :-) -Tina

  7. Tina

    2009-05-22 00:43:55 -0400

    Another fabulous post! I take everything in that you write about and try to apply it. "I want to be like Ali" (in my own way) :-) -Tina

  8. Sarah W.

    2009-05-22 00:52:00 -0400

    Fabulous and funny. Thanks!

  9. Christine

    2009-05-22 02:35:18 -0400

    I love this post. I listed my hurdles that I have been working on getting over in regards to scrapbooking. Hope it helps someone, who is feeling uninspired or not good enough: http://christine-mary.blogspot.com/2009/05/scrapbooking-what-works-for-me-i-am.html

  10. Jonnelle

    2009-05-22 05:36:38 -0400

    I've read that list three times now, I just love it, it's very inspirational - thanks!!

  11. Andrea

    2009-05-22 07:35:51 -0400

    Thank you for the refreshing reminder before the long weekend.
    I too am experimenting with different page sizes. Just a question though...if you've made and 8x8 page, how do you fit it into your albums? Do the holes line up with the rings? I am going to switch from post-bound to 3-ring soon, and I want to make pages that will fit in the albums rather than only attach at one ring and get ripped out. Any tips for those?

  12. MargVP

    2009-05-22 08:38:11 -0400

    Once again....great, practical advice with a dash of optimistic motivation! Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. Adrienne

    2009-05-22 09:28:41 -0400

    Thank you for this post - especially #20. Off to create RIGHT NOW!! :)

  14. Sue

    2009-05-22 10:19:44 -0400

    Thank you Ali! I always need tips and these are some of the BEST ever. Thank you and I miss you AEzine.

  15. Renee

    2009-05-24 21:13:10 -0400

    Thanks for the tips! I shall pass this on to my scrapping buddies.

  16. Rebecca W.

    2009-05-25 15:17:23 -0400

    Those are some verry good tips!

  17. g5cents

    2009-05-25 19:33:45 -0400

    Your tips, as usual, are great. Isn't it amazing how quickly we forget common sense? Thanks for keeping me grounded. And a very special thank you for the link to sewgreen. (It's now bookmarked as a fave.) The 2 hours spent relishing her blog (and remembering raising my children on our farm) really brought me back to what is important. Ginger

  18. Jen

    2009-05-27 05:12:48 -0400

    I think you read my mind on some of those points Ali! What a fabulous list - I think I'll go create something right now!

  19. Pilbara Pink

    2009-05-28 17:33:28 -0400

    Thanks so much for the reminders - having for the first time a whole craft room has seen me spend most of my time decorating, furnishing and arranging the room, with very little craft created! This weekend I will create. I have printed tip 20 - this will be hung in several places including my office and home. This is great advice for life - I feel a series of postcards coming on .....

  20. Claudia Fanelli

    2009-05-30 02:43:33 -0400

    This is fantastic. I think it's going to help me get out of my rut. So glad I found your blog.

  21. Teresa

    2010-02-15 06:55:23 -0500

    Number 20 is the most important. And I think you can also add a 21: Not to get distracted and discouraged by the internet and all the amazing creations you see online.

  22. Tracy

    2010-02-24 21:14:51 -0500

    Many thanks for these words of wisdom! I am off to create now!

  23. Jerrica

    2013-05-07 11:57:00 -0400

    I just found your blog and I am absolutely in love with it! You have such great content and you are so inspiring! I can't wait to follow along from now on!

  24. Leena

    2014-03-18 23:02:48 -0400

    This is such an inspirational post. Thanks for sharing Ali! :)

  25. sherri

    2014-03-19 23:46:55 -0400

    Great tips for scrapbooking -- AND life.

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