Posts Tagged ‘thoughtful gifts’

Scrapbook on the Cheap!

I am one of those people. You know, the weird “grandma stuck in young body” women who like to clip coupons. One of my absolute favorite pastimes is to scrapbook. I have been scrapbooking for years and have mastered the skill of scrapbooking on the cheap pretty successfully.

The first scrapbook I made was in high school and not only did I spend too much money on it (over $100 I’m sure), I also didn’t really know what I was doing. I spent lots of money on individually themed papers, stickers, embellishments, tools and so forth. I had never scrapbooked before and really it was just a clusterfu-k. I learned a lot after doing it though…like you need a plan, ideas, materials…and you need to do as much of it as possible without breaking the bank! Here are my tips:

1. Start stocking up on materials.
I always have an eye out for materials long before I need them. If a pair of craft scissors are on sale, I buy them. If paper packs are on clearance because they are out of season (Christmas paper, Valentine’s Day, etc.) I snatch them up. If I see Glitter pens at the dollar store, I grab them. It may seem annoying to keep this stuff around, but trust me it’s really nice to have them on hand when you need them. Just store it away in a shoe box in the closet like I do until you need it.

I got these packs of papers for a dollar each in the dollar section at Target along with the stickers. Total cost for 52 papers and stickers: $8. Normal cost of a pack of 36 papers alone: $7.99 in the scrapbooking aisle.

2. Use nonconventional materials and ideas.
I did a wedding scrapbook two years ago and a cheap and awesome idea I had was to use the cards from the guests. It was an awesome way to keep all the cards and well wishes from the guests and it also was an interesting twist to the scrapbook. It made it more personal and fun to look at later on. It was also cheap, since it was free. I used some of the fronts of the cards for wedding quotes and love quotes instead of spending money on the quote stickers at the craft store. It also was an easy way to theme my layout because I would use the colors on the card/font as my color scheme. More unconventional materials may be gift bags (baby shower bags are great for baby scrapbooks), wrapping paper (hella cheaper than scrapbook paper), buttons, etc.

This is actually my wedding scrapbook and here I used actual cards from guests.

3. Use craft scissors.
These are amazing. They seriously make any page look better. They are also expensive so buy them when they are on sale, when you have those beautiful 40% off coupons from Michaels and/or JoAnn Fabrics and at garage sales. And never let them go because you can use them for making cards too.

This is a page from my latest scrapbook for the baby I nanny (more pictures below) and you can see how I used craft scissors to make the pictures look more interesting. I love craft scissors!

4. Get ideas for layouts from the library or online-like here.
I go to the library almost weekly because I love all things free and I like to research. I absolutely love looking at scrapbooking magazines and books, which are plentiful. In these you get so many layout ideas that it really eases the brain fart you get when you sit down at your desk with a 12 x 12″ page and a million stickers and pictures to choose from.

5. Get prints on the cheap.
Get your pictures printed out when you have coupons, when stores have photo deals or print them out yourself from home (although, surprisingly I think this sometimes turns out to be more expensive).

6. Rough draft layouts.
It is really important for me to layout all my ideas first before I even purchase my glue stick. Once you start gluing and realize you f-ed up it’s going to be a pain the ass. I always lay out all my pages that I want to use, then place the pictures I want to use along with the embellishments for that page first. Then I usually go to bed because if I go any further something is going to end up messed up.

7. Editing the rough drafts.
Editing, editing, editing. Everything is edited. How many pictures can you fit on a page? (Sure you have 20 great pictures you can use for this page but how many are actually going to make the cut?) What is the color scheme? Which quotes fit the theme? Editing is so important when scrapbooking because once you glue something you can’t go back without having to get a new piece of paper, new embellishments, new pictures, etc. Very annoying. Ask my husband how many curse words I can rattle off when I f up a page.

8. Get the actual book (album) on the cheap.
Same as the papers and other materials, you can also find scrapbook albums cheap. They are usually quite spendy but if you are like me, you will use coupons, buy clearance albums or go to surprising places like Marshalls, Home Goods, and/or TJ Maxx and find them in the home decoration aisle on the severe cheap. I have been known quite often to find albums that are normally $30 for as cheap as $7. Holla! I just keep these like all other materials around until I need them.

It’s not a pretty process!

Scrapbooks are hard work man and usually take weeks to complete. In the end it’s usually always worth it. There’s nothing more thoughtful than something you made yourself to give to someone. I’ve made scrapbooks for boyfriends, girlfriends, babies, weddings, etc. and it’s always a winner. My latest project was a scrapbook I made for the parents that I nanny. I nanny their little baby girl and throughout the last 7 months I took pictures in secret and made them this scrapbook for Christmas. Get inspired and steal some of my layout ideas! Happy crafting!

Last name blurred out for privacy reasons 🙂

More pictures and CLOSE UPS! Click to enlarge pictures:

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