Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

May 21, 2009

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.

Originally published June 2007 as part of my AEzine newsletter series.


  • 1.
    Megan said…

    Great inspiration for the long weekend!

  • 2.
    Meital said…

    great post!
    it’s the midle of the day in Israel so i can’t just go NOW but you inspired me so much that i want to escape from my job and go to my craft room :-)

  • 3.
    Asta said…

    Thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring post.

  • 4.
    christen said…

    thank you…makes me feel creative!

  • 5.
    Gale said…

    WoNDeRfuL tips!!!! I’m printing the list off so I can have easy access to it.

  • 6.
    Lee Currie said…

    Thanks for all of the reminders. Just what I needed today! I will start my day in the studio. I will go NOW :)

  • 7.
    {vicki} said…

    I did a layout this weekend entitled
    “how i see it” it was photos my son had taken on me and my husband. Great idea!!!!!!!
    I like layouts with layers–but, I’m not very good at putting such a layout togther. Could you give us some examples and/or more ideas, suggestions?

  • 8.
    Linda said…

    Thank you! This is just what I needed. After a long time of no scraping.

  • 9.
    jakki said…

    i love this. this is my favorite post ever.

  • 10.
    Jennifer said…

    What a great post! thanks for all the inspiration/food for thought! Have a great weekend…

  • 11.
    Anika said…

    Amazing…. Thank You

  • 12.
    Charlotta said…

    BRILLIANT way to start my day…you’re a World of wisdom when it comes to Scrapbooking…thank you…as I have a few projects to get started and finished.
    I have a GIVEAWAY going on on my blog this week…make sure you take a visit and enter…you never know!

  • 13.
    Hazel said…

    I love this. Thanks for being such a wonderful source of inspirations! =)

  • 14.
    Terri Sullivan said…

    I love it – “stop whining…..start now”

  • 15.
    carla stolte said…

    ditto…I love the “stop whining” part and the “get yourself in the picture” part. Thanks again.

  • 16.
    Peggy said…

    love this Ali – no matter how long we have scrapped 1 day or 20 years, it’s always good reminders.

  • 17.
    conniemelancon said…

    Thanks for the tips!

  • 18.
    Ana F. said…

    I’m printing it right now and puting on my board. I always have an excuse: the house has to be clean, the laundry done, toys put away. Guess what? It never happens!!! Tip #20 is the best! Thanks, Ali.

  • 19.
    Vitali K. said…

    Try out A great way of getting scrapbooks done without getting your fingers glued together :-)

    • ….
      Wind said…

      This does look prsiiomng. I’ll keep coming back for more.

  • 20.
    Aimster-KY said…

    What a fantastic post!! I’m gonna print it, frame it, and live by it!!
    You’re truly an amazing person — I wish we were neighbors or something… LOL!!

  • 21.
    Ann said…

    I’m the Queen of Overthinking my work! Trying hard to move a little faster while still enjoying the process and the results.

  • 22.
    KateinCleveland said…

    Love it! Stop whining and just do it now … the best advice I’ve heard in a long time! Thank you.

  • 23.
    Jen said…

    Thank you.

  • 24.
    Angie said…

    I LOVE IT! Thanks for all the advice. I’m going to really start using it this week…probably even today during my kids’ nap time.

  • 25.
    Christina said…

    I love these tips! I will be printing them out and putting them in my “idea binder”!!!
    P.S. Hope you don’t mind if I leave an additional comment.
    Visit and check out their product catalog and also take a minute and go to to cast your vote for me!
    I am in the running to win a scrapbook desk!

  • 26.
    Katie said…

    Love this! I’ve got prints coming in the mail & will definitely keep these tips in mind as I tell the story of spending a month in Hawaii four summers ago.
    I love the smile on your face in the last layout – so relaxed and free and joyful.

  • 27.
    Molly Irwin said…

    l love EVERYTHING about this post. what a great boost today. Happy weekend!

  • 28.
    Sabina said…

    Thank you for the tips. My mood is much better from this :)

  • 29.
    louise chester said…

    fan frikkin tastic Ali you rock!

  • 30.
    Cindy said…

    Thank You! You are such an inspiration. Your words are so motivating.

  • 31.
    annie samuels said…

    love these tips…thank you.

  • 32.
    Anne Alley said…

    Thanks for the tips, I desperately needed a creative kick start :)

  • 33.
    Sarah said…

    You have no idea how much I needed these reminders. I have been so caught up with my stuff being “good enough” and last night I told myself, “there is no such thing as good enough in scrapbooking!” I just need to tell the story. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration yet again!

  • 34.
    Heather Hopkins said…

    Love this list!

  • 35.
    Malin/malwa said…

    What a wonderful list! So true – when you get to think of it. :) Thanks!!!

  • 36.
    Julie said…

    Great tips. I’m printing them out and hanging them in my scrap space!

  • 37.

    I really love #8….”there is no perfect layout”! I tend to get hung up on making sure my layouts are “perfect”, but really I need to focus on telling the story and documenting that moment.
    Thanks for the gentle reminders Ali!
    Jessica Woodford

  • 38.
    Kelly said…

    Well said!!

  • 39.
    DeborahW said…

    Awesome post! I think I’ll go make a scrapbook page RIGHT NOW!
    Deborah at Webajeb

  • 40.
    Lora B said…

    I love reading your blog… I don’t comment much, but you are my “go to” blog. I have been in such a scrapbook slump lately and it’s so weird for me… I tried to scrap last night and it just wasn’t flowing… thanks for reminding me that sometimes it is best to just stick it down and move on. HA!

  • 41.
    Karen de Castro said…

    You do what you do so well. I hope you know that you are a bright spot on the internet and the world.
    Thanks for all that you share.

  • 42.
    CindyP said…

    I would love to see you elaborate on your inspiration journal. I need help with condensing and keeping everything in one place!

  • 43.
    Ali Edwards said…

    I will add that to my list for a future post Cindy :) .

  • 44.
    Jill said…

    Thank you! Exactly why you’re top on my blog reading list.

  • 45.
    Toni said…

    Wow! What great advice. I am in the midst of cleaning out my scrap room and took a break for some inspiration. Your post hit the spot! I am so ready to get focused on getting pages done. Thank-You!

  • 46.
    Miranda said…

    I recently started scrapbooking again after almost a 10 year hiatus. I quit because after working at a scrapbook shop I was so frustrated that people (including myself) were forgetting that scrapbooks are about PICTURES and WORDS not embellishments. I’m so happy to have found your blog and your wonderful philosophy of documenting and sharing stories. I can’t wait to get rolling again. Thank you.

  • 47.
    Kelly Jo said…

    This information is most excellent.
    I am “taking away” number #5.
    Ideas will surge in my head at the most inopportune time and by the time I get to my scrap room, the ideas has long-left my brain.
    This will be a big step in helping me complete better pages so they are more meaningful.
    I am currently working on capturing every day moments and I am excited for a long weekend of projects!

  • 48.
    Kathy said…

    Your blog is one of the great things about my day. Thank you for taking the time to put this out there for those of us who aspire to tell our stories the way you do.

  • 49.
    chris said…

    fantastic tips! this is one to bookmark and come back to for inspiration.

  • 50.
    Cynthia said…

    Oh your a creative jewel Ali. Thank you so much for reprinting this…. so needed some reminders.

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