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What you need to get started scrapbooking

Which items do you need to start scrapbooking?

While social media chronicles life through photo ops of memorable moments, some people prefer saving and celebrating memories the old-fashioned way: through scrapbooking. If you’re new to the pastime, all you need to begin with are a few photos, an album and some supplies.

Like other arts and crafts, scrapbooking calls for a unique set of supplies. Decorative-edge scissors and paper scraps, for example, are among the most common. Other supplies, such as photo-safe adhesive, are free of ingredients or chemicals that may deteriorate scrapbook pages or materials. 

What to know about scrapbooking

What is scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking is a hobby that involves saving photos and other mementos in albums that are decorated and personalized with creative layouts and captions. They allow individuals to revisit happy moments, both while they assemble albums and when they sift through them later in life. 

Scrapbooks are usually made with materials that withstand the test of time, namely those that won’t discolor or damage photos and other mementos. In addition to scrapbooks with acid-free pages, most hobbyists stick to photo-safe adhesive, permanent-ink pens and paper supplies that are free of harsh chemicals. 

What personal items do I put in a scrapbook?

Scrapbooks usually hold photos and a wealth of sentimental items, like love letters, newspaper or magazine clippings, snippets of greeting cards or concert and movie tickets. Many people stick to flatter items, like these, to make sure scrapbooks close easily. 

What not to put in scrapbooks

While you can get creative with your scrapbook designs, there are a few items that experienced scrapbooks advice against including. 

  • Regular tape not only discolors and dries out over time, its adhesive may damage photos and certain paper supplies. 
  • Perishable or scented items, like candy or flowers, may leave residue or give scrapbooks peculiar odors. 
  • Bulky materials, like jewelry or pompoms, may cause pages to crease or bend. 

As far as paper crafting materials are concerned, it’s best to stick to supplies that are marked as non-damaging to photos and safe for scrapbooking.

Do all scrapbooks have themes?

Many scrapbooks are period- or event-specific, such as those made to about proms, weddings, college years, pets or vacations. Other scrapbooks are memories over the years, which may include historical events, personal milestones or just years in review. Some people compile scrapbooks in memory of loved ones who recently passed and include personal items or tokens to honor them. 

How much you can expect to spend on scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a hobby that involves an ongoing investment in supplies that begin with albums that are priced between $15-$50. Affordable scrapbooking supplies cost $1-$3 per package, whereas specialty supplies or premium materials may cost $10-$50 per package. There is also the added cost of printing photos, which may cost between $0.35-$1 apiece.  

Best scrapbooking supplies


Vienrose Self-Stick Scrapbook Album

This self-stick album has acid-free pages that are safe for photos and various types of paper. It has a simple linen cover and photo cutout, giving the album a retro design that is display-worthy. The album is available in over a dozen colors and five sizes. 

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Scrapbook adhesive

XFasten Double-Sided Scrapbook Adhesive Runner Tape

Acid-free and archival-safe, these double-sided tape runners are easy to use and mess-free. The rollers have jam-resistant designs to ensure smooth, flat rolling. They also have ergonomic designs that are suitable for children and adults to use. 

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Craft scissors

UCEC Decorative Paper Edge Scissor Set

These decorative-edge scissors, which come in a set of six, are ideal for trimming photos and paper into unique shapes. They’re color-coded for easy identification, and they have extra-large finger holes for comfortable maneuvering. 

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Colorful pens

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pen Set

Write out colorful captions with these rainbow felt-tip pens by Paper Mate. With fine tips, the pens allow for precision lettering and design. While the ink is bold and vibrant, it won’t bleed through paper. 

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Designer paper

Colorbok Designer Paper Pad

Add pops of color to scrapbooks with this affordable paper pad, which includes 50 sheets featuring subdued designs. The 12 x 12” pad even features a few scrapbooking layouts and design tips on the back, making it a beginner-friendly investment. 

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Scrap paper

Deluxe Scrap Paper Pack

If you’re on the hunt for unique paper, this Etsy shop offers 30-piece paper scrap packs featuring cuts from greeting cards, premium paper, newspaper clippings and even sheet music. Each bundle is unique, which means your scrapbook will have one-of-a-kind materials. 

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Washi tape

Agutape Washi Tape Set

Washi tape is decorative paper tape from Japan used in scrapbooks and other paper crafts. This 48-roll collection, which features 3mm rolls, is ideal for lining page edges or creating photo borders. 

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Stamp set

Dedoot Vintage Alphabet Stamps Set with Ink

This 70-piece stamp set lends itself to plenty of scrapbooking use. It includes upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols and 10 colorful stamp pads. The pieces are packaged in an elegant wooden box, which also makes it a popular gift for scrapbookers. 

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Instant photo printer

Kodak Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer

A pocket-friendly device that weighs less than a pound, this compact Kodak printer makes it easy to print photos from your phone. The printer has a companion app that lets edit images using fun photo effects. 

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Photo corners

Pioneer Self-Adhesive Photo Corners

If you’d like the option to remove photos from scrapbooks, mount them with these photo corners instead of adhesive. The package includes 250 self-stick clear corners that are acid-free and photo-safe. 

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Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Beginner Bundle

This versatile craft device does it all: decals, wireless cutting and in-app design creation. Despite its countless capabilities, the Cricut is a beginner-friendly device that budding scrapbookers can learn to use within an afternoon. 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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