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Scrapbooking 101 – Steps 3 & 4

Posted by PatriciaD on November 13, 2009

Step 3: Scrapbook Kits

Kits usually include papers (usually lots of them, some that are fairly plain, some with decorations and some that are actual scenes), elements (sometimes called embellishments, these are all the little things you add to a page for artistic expression like flowers, buttons, ribbon, and all the stuff), alphas (which are similar to fonts in that they’re letters and numbers but you can’t type them), frames (used to outline your photos – these are not always included but can be), sometimes kits will also include word art (which is words or phrases in some artist fashion), grunge, textures, overlays and masks.  These last four are used to add interest to your pages by adding grunge and swirls and things that are so creative.  We’ll see more about what each of these are how to use them as we look at these lessons.

One of the last things that a kit might contain is/are templates.  Templates are basically patterns that allow you to focus on the parts of the scrapbook page listed up to this point the photos, papers, elements, etc. but the design of the page is done for you.  Templates usually follow the rules of design so you don’t have to think about that part of creating.  That doesn’t mean you can’t change things in the template.  Most templates are layered so you can add, delete or move any elements of the template but at least you have a place to start.  And there are times that that is what you need.

One last part of some kits are Quick Pages (QPs).  These are pre-designed scrapbook pages with all the papers and elements and grunge or whatever is used already on the page and all you have to do is add your own photos.  They are great for doing an entire scrapbook very quickly but they really are personalized because they have your own photos.  And even if you don’t like exactly what is on a QP you can get ideas from them.  I personally am not a real fan of QPs because I like to do my own thing but some of them are so awesome it’s hard not to use one every now and again.

Okay on to finding a kit or kits now that you know what it might or should contain.  Kits can be found all over the Internet.  If you go to your particular search engine, like Google and enter “digital scrapbooking kits” you will find hundreds and hundreds of sites with kits for free or purchase.  But since that can be so overwhelming I thought I’d list a few of my favorite sites and then if you like those, fine, if not go look through some of the hundreds and eventually you will find something you like.  Having said that I should give a word of warning here.  It can be so addicting when you start finding and downloading all those kits.  I mean there are some sites that have a new FREE kit every month.  Oh my goodness, who knew!!  And just because they’re free does not mean they’re mediocre.  Some of them are truly fantastic.  And some sites are only about $20 a year with a new kit every month.  Some sites are quite a bit more than that to join their subscription program but you don’t always have to join in order to buy kits.

Here are some sites to check for yourself: (free Mega kit each month plus lots and lots of challenges and fun stuff) (really great lessons from Linda Sattgast and her crew.  Their monthly kit and lessons are fairly pricey but excellent) (I especially like their gallery because you can search by the type of layout you’re looking for an example of whether it’s technique, by size, by color, or whatever there’s quite a list.

Many of these have a daily, weekly or monthly newsletter you can sign-up for to have sent to your email.  This is nice if you would forget to check the web site periodically but frequently they send either free kits, pieces of kits or free lessons or other things.

Step 4:  Size and Printing

Once you have your photos and your program you’re ready to go.  It’s FUN time.  Well almost…

One of the first things you will want to decide is the size of pages you want to create.  Probably the easiest for various reasons is the standard (in the US) of 8.5 by 11.  This is easiest because it’s the conventional size paper but most scrapbookers seem to use the 12×12 page size.  Most of your difficulties will arise from the printing aspect if you choose the 12×12 size, which by the way is my preferred size.  I do not print all the pages I create.  Many times I just share my pages digitally either by email or up-linking to a scrapbooking site.  Having said that there are large size printers that have come down drastically in price to around $400 to $700.  I have to admit I have not purchased one yet but I am seriously considering the HP Photosmart Pro B9180 Photo Printer.  But what if you don’t want to spend that much money on a printer even somewhere in the future?  You can print these larger sizes at many printers.  I have found a place near me that will print 12×12 in full color for $1 a page and there are places on the Internet that print them for anywhere from $1.50 to $2.  I could print 400 pages and not have to worry about ink, paper or the machine having problems and not having to fork out the $400 up front.  That’s a huge consideration, too.

So back to 8.5 x 11 size pages, if this is the size you go with (which many do) you can print on most any color printer.  For archival purposes you may want to choose a better paper than the ones most people use for just ordinary printing.  I like at least a brightness of 110 International absolute minimum.  If you have never compared the brightness of paper you should just have a look, the difference is just amazing in how your scrapbook pages will look.  The glossy or matte finish is very personal but it is a consideration.  Prices vary widely on the exact same product with the exact same brand so check around at the places available in your local area and then check the Internet because sometimes even with paying shipping you may get a better price.  It is at least worth checking it out.


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