Friday, July 6, 2012

Scrapbooking on a shoe string

So often I hear people talk about how expensive it is to scrapbook. Like anything, it CAN be, but it doesn't HAVE to be. In reality, there are only a few necessities that you have to spend money on.

  • You have to have a way to crop your photos and cut your paper
  • You have to have a way to adhere your pictures to your pages and in essence build your pages
  • You have to have some kind of pretty paper
  • You have to have something to write  your journaling with, even it all you journal is names, dates and places
Lets break these "necessities" down.

  • Something to crop your photos and cut your paper
You can use a pair of scissors for any and all of that. You can buy any multitude of of paper trimmers and the price tag shouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor. I have three pairs of (straight edge) scissors and at least five paper trimmers. Because I scrapbook and make cards a lot, it made sense for me to invest in a trimmer that doesn't dull with frequent use. I bought a Purple Cow combination trimmer that has a rotary trimmer and a guillotine trimmer for around $60. I worked my way up from the very basic trimmers and found myself having to replace the blades too often. Not having to constantly replace blades off set the overall cost of the trimmer very quickly for me. I found the same with scissors. My CutterBee's weren't cheap, but I've had them for probably 10 years.

  • A way to adhere your photos to the pages and to build your pages
Adhesives can be looked at the same way. I was buying tape runners at WalMart (which I still do on occasion) and they are relatively inexpensive.  However, when you  are using them as much as I do, it seems every time you turn around you need a refill. So, I invested in a Scotch 3M ATG (adhesive transfer gun) and after the initial investment (I think it was about $25) the refills are quite reasonable online. I still use liquid adhesive for some applications and usually use Arlene's Tacky Glue. It's inexpensive, easy to find and made for paper crafts. It adheres really well too, once you let it dry.

  • Here's a big one PAPER
Oh all the pretty papers!! I've learned to discipline myself to buy the DCWV (Die Cuts With a View) paper stacks from JoAnn's when they go on sale for 40%-50% off or when I have a coupon. I only buy paper by the "sheet" when I need something very specific. I also buy my white and black cardstock at WalMart  as that seems to be the most cost effective route and I use a lot of both. If I need a lot one color (say for making Christmas cards) I typically go to and buy it in bulk. I also "force" myself to use what I already have. I don't take my pictures into Archivers with me to match papers with themes or colors, because I'm sure I already have something that will work in my stash or at the very least I can MAKE work. (It also stretches your creativity if you make yourself use what you have.

  • What to write with
What you write with is important too. If you do all your journaling on the computer you need to make sure the ink you are using is acid free. If you hand write your journaling or do a combination, you still need to make sure whatever you are writing with is acid free. You don't need to have a pen in every color. Yes, it's fun and pretty, but a black acid free pen will still get the job done.

The point of all of this is that you can spend as much or as little as you want. I have a Cricut Expressions electronic die cutting machine ($300 when they first came out) and more cartridges than I'd like to admit, but I card making and scrapbooking are my PASSION. Rarely a day goes by that I'm not working on some project.

Basically, before you buy the newest and coolest anything, you have to decide how often you ware going to use it. Just like that pair of shoes that your REALLY like, you have to think about when and how often you are really going to wear them.

Yes, I have A LOT of scrapbooking stuff. But I've been collecting all of it since 2001. I didn't go out and buy it all in one shot. I bought stuff on clearance, on sale, with gift get the point.

Please feel free to comment and/or ask any questions. I would love all my blog posts to be interactive. And as always, you can email me at