Inspiration
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Dec 27, 2018

When Scrapbooking Is Not Really Scrap

As the 19th-century Irish poet, playwright, satirist, and novelist Oscar Wilde once said, "Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us." This idea is perhaps best embodied by the art of scrapbooking, one of the easiest, incredibly fun, and most creative art and craft ideas for documenting the story of your life and preserving your memories.

Keeping the past alive through scrapbooking

Scrapbooks have been around for hundreds of years. In the 15th century, people in England compiled documents such as poems, letters, and recipes in what were called commonplace books, while in the 16th century, friendship albums containing colorful memorabilia such as local artwork became commonplace in Europe. It also wasn't uncommon to see types of paper art like decoupage in scrapbooks of yore to enhance the aesthetics of individual pages. The invention of photography in the 19th century added another dimension to the visual pleasure of scrapbooking, and pictures were used to supplement written entries and clippings.

Famous scrapbookers throughout the years

Whether you're thinking of collating your personal memorabilia simply or jazzing them up with paper designs for decoration, you'll be in good company, as a good number of luminaries from the distant and recent past were seriously into scrapbooking. They include:

Mark Twain. This 19th-century American author of beloved classics like Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was an avid scrapbooker. He filled his scrapbooks with pictures, souvenirs and newspaper clippings about his works, and was also the inventor of the self-pasting scrapbook.
Queen Victoria. The long-reigning British monarch had in her possession a red-bound scrapbook in which she preserved relics such as pieces of fabric from her wedding dress and locks of her hair.
Thomas Jefferson. One of the USA's founding fathers and the country's third president, Jefferson's passion for literature can be seen in his scrapbooks, which contained clippings of poetry along with his handwritten reflections about them.
Walt Disney. This American businessman, film producer, and cartoonist par excellence—when he was a teenager working with the Red Cross in France during World War I—brought a scrapbook with him to the trenches to sketch cartoon rats and war-related themes.

These people all led busy lives, yet found the time and inclination to capture moments of their lives—for themselves, their loved ones, and the generations to come. It isn't hard to see why scrapbooking is one of the most gratifying types of paper crafts for adults…and for kids, too!

Scrapbooking essentials to transform your memories into mementos

As with virtually all other cool things to make with paper that is easy or a bit more difficult, it's important to use high-quality products to help ensure your creation's durability and longevity. Fortunately, there's no shortage of premium yet affordable scrapbooking supplies you can buy online or from arts and crafts stores. Scrapbooks can be as simple or as ornate as you want them to be, but here are the basic things to keep in mind if you're just starting.

Scrapbook size. The traditional scrapbook measures 12 inches by 12 inches square, though various other sizes are available, from small ones you can fit into your purse to huge albums—some of Mrs. Bush's scrapbooks measured 2 feet by 3 feet.
Type of paper. Experts recommend using card stock, patterned paper, or any other type of paper that's free from acid, lignin, and sulphur. These keep the pages stable and pristine regardless of what you write, draw, or glue on them.
Ink for writing and drawing. Pigment-based inks are colorfast and usually waterproof, making them ideal for scrapbooking. Using these will ensure that your handwritten thoughts and illustrations won't fade or otherwise deteriorate over time.
Mounting media. These are essential for attaching photos to the pages of your scrapbook. You can use photo corner mounts, double-sided tape, or acid-free glue.

You can add a touch of whimsy to your scrapbook by incorporating various types of paper craft to decorate the pages. From origami flowers to paper leaves and lace cut in the psaligraphy method to paper coils and spirals crafted via quilling, there's an abundance of choices to let your personality shine through in your scrapbook.