• There are so many combinations of papers, embellishments, colors, techniques, flowers etc it can be daunting to know how to put it all together to make a page. Sometimes it’s easier if we limit those choices. Everyone is different, but here are some ideas that work for me:


Flowers Made From Plain Daisies

1.  An Ideas Book

  • have a ‘scrapbook’ that you can add ideas to
  • this book could also be an online folder.
  • look everywhere for inspiration (it doesn’t have to be just scrapbook pages). Here’s is an example of how Kathie from ‘Linkage’ translated a scene into a scrap layout
  • look at everyday items and notice the design, color schemes, layouts e.g.
    • a color scheme – in a jumper, a magazine layout, a vase of flowers, a photo, label on your face cream
    • The placement of elements in an ad – on a billboard (take a photo of it), TV, magazines, a logo etc
    • sketches you like
    • layouts you like
    • you can also put your photos in the book, with an idea or scrap-lift that you want to use
    • Scrapbook.com – in this video, Jill demonstrates ways to keep and organize all of your ideas – a book each for ‘How to Use’ – Color, Embellishments, Ribbons and Layouts.  She suggests cutting out ideas and putting them into ideas books with repositionable adhesive (so when you’ve used the idea or you don’t want to use it anymore, you can remove it)

2.  Challenges

  • as I mentioned earlier, one of the things that got me back scrapbooking after my illness, was a monthly challenge at my local scrapbook shop
  • lots of websites and blogs have all different types of challenges that you can have a go at e.g.
    • sketch challenges – where you’re given a sketch and you can use any supplies
    • supply challenges – where you’re given the supplies and you can only use these to complete your page
    • journaling challenges- where you’re given a topic to scrap
      • Creative Therapy – is a creativity blog, but you will see scrap pages. It starts with a ‘Catalyst’ to get the creative juices flowing. Past Therapy contains all past catalysts
    • blind challenges – given the instruction for a page but don’t get to see what it looks like
    • creative challenges – given a list of techniques, supplies e.g. 1 photo 2 pieces of pattern paper, stitching etc that need to be included. Creative Inspiration Blog offer these challenges (although it’s a digital scrapbooking site, you can still use the inspiration)
    • color challenges – given a color palette to use in your layout
      • Color Combos Galore – is a color challenge website (but you do need to subscribe to see the whole website – well worth it!). You can participate in the challenges or just use them for inspiration
    • photography challenges – 365 (a photo a day), 52 (a photo a week and/or a weekly wrap-up) 12 (a photo a month and/or do a monthly wrap-up)
    • make yourself a challenge jar with ideas collected from the sites above (write on strips of paper and fold them up and put in a jar, then when you’re ready to scrap a page, pull out a challenge)
    • you don’t even need to upload your page if you don’t want to, you can just use the challenge to give you ideas
    • Sketches by Tamara lots of sketches and a mixture of challenges -  a layout sketch,  a card sketch, a recipe challenge (you’re given a list of things to include) and a journaling challenge (given a topic to journal about). It also has lots of examples from the design team. You can navigate by finding ‘Labels’ down the right hand side of the page


This is a workshop I did with Nic Howard using Basic Grey

3.  Classes, Tutorials and Kits

  • I have taken classes at my local scrapbook shop, at scrapbooking Expos and online and they have all taught me new techniques that I have then applied to other projects
  • although you’ll have to pay for most of these, if you really enjoy it, then it’s money well spent
  • scrapbook kits are a good way to get you started as a beginner. These are kits put together by most scrapbook websites, with coordinating papers and embellishments (sometimes they will also include instructions on how to construct a page-this is a good way to learn new techniques).
  • Big Picture Classes is an on-line scrapbooking workshop site and their classes are awesome. There are some for free, a lot between $5 and $20 and a few which are more expensive but include some of the big names in scrapbooking – there is a huge amount of support and the ones I have taken have been well and truely worth the money

4.  Make Your Area Inspiring

  • use whatever inspires you!
  • decorate it e.g. ribbons or flowers in jars, decals on the walls, hang framed pages, photos, inspirational verses etc.

5.  Page and Album Kits

  • create your own individual “page kits” where you put all the supplies together, such as photos, sketches, a scrap lifted layout, papers and embellishments etc for each layout and place them into a page protector or folder/binder. Then when you have time to scrap simply pull out your ‘page kit’ and you’re ready to go. No agonizing over what to do or what to use
  • the same idea goes for an ‘album kit’ e.g. if you’re doing a baby album, holiday album etc
  • pizza boxes are perfect for holding ‘page or album kits’

Inspired By A Layout At Sudio Calico (Scrap-Lifted)

6.  Scrap Lifting

  • scrap lifting – if you haven’t heard the term before, it’s about looking at other people’s layouts and picking one you like and using it as the basis for your layout. Lots and lots of people do it to get a jump start – whether it’s the way the page is set out, the color combination, the placement of the embellishments, the topic etc.
  • you may use a little of it, or the lot, or somewhere in between e.g. you may like the way they’ve done the edges of the page and use that idea to combine with others, or you may use the whole layout
  • use galleries to find layouts you like, you will begin to notice similarities and this will help you identify your scrap style
  • galleries also help you to see how others use different embellishments e.g. ribbons, buttons etc
  • just remember to give credit if you upload your layout to a gallery or enter it in a competition
  • the best place to find lots of layouts is on scrapbooking website or blog galleries
  • looking for inspiration is best done as a gathering activity and then keep the ideas in a folder/binder of the layouts you like.  When you’re ready to scrapbook you can look at these files
    • a physical folder/binder – right click on the photo and ‘save’, then right click and ‘paste’ into a word document and then print off copies to go with other ideas
    • a computer folder – right click and ‘save picture as’ and this will save as a picture in a file. I would suggest having a folder on your computer for scrapbooking, and then a sub-folder to save your ideas.
    • if you have a physical file of ideas and you think  “I have just the photo for that idea” – put the photos into the file as well. This way you always have pages ready to start
    • if you start looking at galleries when you’re ready to scrap, you’re likely to get side tracked and you’ll spend all of your time looking instead of doing. So If you’re going to look at galleries, select one that you’ve seen before (and liked) and stay at this one, then set yourself a time limit e.g. 5 minutes
    • another place to find inspiration is scrapbooking magazines
      • you can cut pages up and add them to your ideas book
      • The Artful Crafter suggest leaving your books complete and having a project booklet with the name of the magazine, page number, project title and a brief description
      • I used to put my photos into the magazine with an idea I liked – I always had a layout ready to work on
      • Lily Bee Designs – even though there aren’t any ‘Categories’ for navigation, I love to scroll through and get inspiration from the beautiful pages on this blog
      • Linkage – I love Kathy’s work – lots of inspiration

7.  Sketches

  • check out the sketch links to find lots of great free sites
  • sketches are a great way to get an idea for a page and again, you don’t need to use all of it – it’s up to you
  • sketches can also be varied by rotating (900, 1800 or 2700), or flipping (vertically or horizontally)


8.  Technique Tuesday

  • there are lots of websites and blogs where you can learn new techniques
  • when I see a new technique I like, I will try to use it in my next challenge page e.g. stamping and masking by Heidi Swapp – I just loved this idea and couldn’t wait to use it!

9.  And Last But Not Least – Do It!

When I was a very new scrapper, I knew a lady called Edith. She and I attended some of the same workshops together led by her daughter, who was a Creative Memories consultant. Along with my Mum, the three of us often sat together and scrapped, especially on retreats. Each time, Edith would come back with finished albums to show us (in contrast to me, as I usually had to scratch around to find a few half-finished pages I’d started last time!)

I began to watch how Edith worked…to discover her secret. The answer was surprisingly simple – in the words of Nike – ‘Just do it!’ She would get in and churn out album after album while using every piece of scrap paper she had. For her it was all about getting the photos in and sharing the story. She finished albums for all of her children and her grand children (When she died at 81 years of age, her amazing life story was told in great detail, in the dozens of scrapbook albums she produced).

She is a great inspiration to me when I start getting bogged down by the process and creativity of scrapbooking, rather than the final outcome I want – which is to tell the stories of my family! The times we laughed, the times we cried, the big moments but also the small ones that make a big impact. Here’s to you Edith.

How do you come up with your ideas? Please leave a comment below


Kaye xoxo