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How do I Make a Family Scrapbook?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Making a family scrapbook can be the ideal way to organize all those piles of old photographs that many people have stored away in boxes or drawers. Having basic, acid-free scrapbook materials such as papers, markers and stickers can go a long way in helping you create a family scrapbook to hopefully pass down through generations. The first step in beginning the scrapbook should be to look through all of the photographs and other items you may have, such as sports ribbons or certificates and special school papers. After you pick out the materials you want to include, re-examine all of the family-themed materials you have to help you come up with organizational ideas for your scrapbook.

One method of making an interesting family album scrapbook is to organize the materials by date. For instance, if you have old black and white photographs of grandparents or other relatives, you could order these at the beginning of the family scrapbook. Of course, use only those photos that you can identify with the person's full name and at least the approximate date. Adding a beautifully patterned, acid-free paper under a photograph isn't going to work for future generations if "Grandpa's Farm" is the only identifier. If you can't provide a reasonable amount of detail such as "Grandpa Paul Jackson's Dairy Farm, 1950s, Hillsboro, Wisconsin," or "Uncle Melvin and Aunt Hilda Murray's home, December 1965, Perth, Australia," it's probably best not to use the picture in the scrapbook.

Another method that's popular when making family-themed scrapbooks is organizing everything by titles on the pages. For example, a family scrapbook page labeled "First Birthdays" could display this event for all of a couple's children. Another page titled "Family Pets" could feature photographs as well as information such as names, favorite toys and other notes about each pet in the family's life, past and present. The variation on these theme pages are endless; you may want to include exterior and interior shots of different places the family has lived in or vacationed at.

Take your time not only in creating the pages for the family scrapbook, but in choosing the album itself. You may decide a certain color suits the family best or not to get a light-colored scrapbook cover because it may show dirt more after many years. Again, it's important that all of the materials you choose for the project, including the family scrapbook itself, are acid-free to help ensure the album's longevity.

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Discussion Comments
By anon261196 — On Apr 14, 2012

I am just getting started in scrapbooking but I can't seem to get the right book to scrapbook in. Any idea?

By jennythelib — On Jan 06, 2012

A lof of people are worried about scrapbooking old family photos, because they don't want to cut them or attach them to the page. You don't have to! It's totally fine to scrapbook with the whole photo, of course.

And you can be very careful about how you add old, cherished photos to a scrapbook. One option is to buy photo corners. These attach to the scrapbook page and you gently bend the photo and slide it into the corners - nothing actually attaches to the photo.

Another option is to just use photo stickers, but to use only one side of a scrapbook page. That way, if you ever need to remove a photo later, you will be able to cut it out without damaging any of the photos. (There will, of course, still be paper stuck behind it.)

By ElizaBennett — On Jan 05, 2012

A lot of people are really daunted getting started, because you go a scrapbook store, for instance, and just in the baby scrapbook section they have such a bewildering array of stuff!

But you don't need a whole lot to get started. You need acid-free pages, some acid-free way to attach the photos to the pages, and acid-free pens, at a minimum. If you throw in some colored paper for making borders and cut-outs, a couple sheets of templates for cutting shapes, and a few simple stickers, you can make your pages look quite nice for a minimal investment.

It's natural to want your scrapbook to look nice, but remember that it is a record of a moment in time and it's OK for your scrapbooks to get fancier as you go along!

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