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A Quick-Start Guide to Scrapbooking
Written by Melissa Williams
I started scrapbooking about three years ago. When I decided to take the big leap into what has become a beloved hobby, I had no idea what supplies I needed or even how to plan layouts and purchase supplies based on those plans. I ended up buying more than I needed, along with items that I didn’t use and still don’t use to this day. If I had taken the time to research and plan, I would have saved a lot of time and money.

Over a long period of time, scrapbooking can and will be a very expensive hobby. But the longer you scrap and the more familiar you become with tricks and techniques, the more supplies you will need to be able to accomplish what you’d like with the pages you’re planning. That doesn’t mean that you need to buy all of those supplies at once, though. The best way to start – and determine whether or not scrapbooking is a hobby you’d like to continue – is to start with the most basic supplies and add as you go.

There are three things in my scrapbooking supplies that I find to be indispensable:

*Bullet* A 12” paper trimmer is useful for trimming both 12” by 12”, as well as 8 ½” by 11” papers. It works better than scissors at cutting straight lines, and can cut more than one piece of paper at a time.

*Bullet* Both 12” by 12” and 8 ½” by 11” cardstock paper in several colors. You can purchase “starter packs” of both at stores like Wal*Mart for a low price. I also purchase white cardstock in packs of 500, because I use it for printing pictures, titles, journaling, and more, and go through white faster than I do colored cardstock.

*Bullet* Adhesives are needed to secure the elements of the layout to the page. I stock everything from pop dots, to photo corners, to double stick tape. Metal glue also comes in handy if you plan to add metal embellishments to your layout. Spray-on adhesive is handy when utilizing vellum, because it dries clear and leaves the vellum unblemished.

Other items that I find I use frequently since I started scrapbooking include:

*Bullet* Eyelets and tools are a popular way to add some interest to your page. There are several different kinds and sizes of eyelets, so some companies make eyelet tools that are ‘universal’, meaning they have removable pieces to fit the size of the eyelet you’re placing on the page. The most useful eyelet tools are a hole punch, a hammer, and an eyelet setter. Other tools include tweezers, pliers, paper piercers, and needles.

*Bullet* Specialty and patterned papers help add unique touches and variance to layouts. Specialty papers include mulberry paper, handmade papers, vellum, transparencies, cork, and many others. You can use these types of papers as the background for a page, mattes for pictures, borders, and so much more. I keep patterned papers and vellum in both 12” by 12” and 8 ½” by 11” sizes, while the others I generally stock in only 8 ½” by 11” because it can be pricey and I tend to use them in small quantities.

*Bullet* Stamps are also a great addition to any scrapbooker’s inventory. Stamps are available for any season, holiday, and various occasions, as well as alphabets. I tend to purchase my stamps as needed, because they can cost anywhere from $1 to $13 or more, depending on the size of the stamp. If you stock stamps, you’ll also need to stock ink pads. I also purchase the colors and pigments as needed.

*Bullet* No layout is complete without photos. I find my digital camera to be irreplaceable, as it allows for me to print my photos at home without having to take film to be developed, edit photos to the size I want or to fix flaws in the photography, and prevents me from having to scan images in to my computer to be printed. If I do use developed photos, I try not to use the original unless I have the negatives.

*Bullet* Ribbon and other fibers help dress up and add depth to layouts. I use everything from ribbon that costs $.49 a spool, to specialty fibers and mesh.

As you develop your scrapbooking hobby, you’ll find that you have a need for other items, or you may find that you don’t use the items listed above as much as you originally intended. Each scrapbooker develops his or her own style and habits that can’t be predicted when first starting out. The best way to get started is to buy what you think you might use, and add to your inventory as you find a need for an item. But most of all, it helps to preplan layouts before you purchase anything, as most people tend to purchase things he or she won’t use.

Scrapbooking is a very fun and addicting hobby, and can get quite expensive in the long run. But it is worth it when you view your completed layouts and preserved memories!

About the author: Melissa Williams is a wife and mother of a beautiful baby boy. She is an avid scrapbooker, card maker, crocheter, and all around creative person. She lives in Michigan, and aspires to start her own business selling handmade cards and scrapbooking services. You can view her works of written creativity at her online writing portfolio: http://mworden.Writing.com

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