10 Myths About the Nitty-Gritty of Scrapbooking

In a previous post I covered the big idea myths that may be affecting you as a scrapbooker. Today, I'm going to look at some of the smaller ideas that may be holding you back just as much as some of those bigger ideas.

Thanks to everyone who posted their ideas here! Especially Rachel who created a lot of this list.

If this post is too long for you to read, just know that all I want for you is to know and to do what makes you happy. You are beholden to no one and nothing except yourself when it comes to scrapbooking. Pay attention to what you like to do and then do that.

1. You can't be formulaic.
Once I realized I was making stuff to make stuff and not necessarily for another purpose, I really started to pay attention to what I liked working with and what I liked doing. And you know what, it's okay if that's always the same thing. I have certain formulas I follow when I'm crafting, which may seem, well, formulaic to some, but it really allows me to have a good time. When I'm working in my travelers notebook I will pretty much always print a large quote on one side of the page and layer a bunch of scraps behind my photo on the opposite side. And I have a great time every time I do it. I can follow the same steps every time I sit down at my craft desk and now, rather than being embarrassed by this, I can point to how much I enjoy my craft time and also how easy it is for me to sit down and make something.

2. You can't use the same photo more than once.
When I thought I was beholden to scrapbooking for future generations, it seemed silly to repeat a photo since if I had already "documented" it, why would I do it again? Once I freed myself from being a heritage scrapbooker, I realized I could scrap the same photo again and again if I wanted. It's my craft time, I'll do what I want thank you.

travelers notebook layout

3. One photo layouts are a waste of space.
If you like the look of one-photo layouts, then that's what you should make. I will either make a pocket layout with 7-10 photos, or I will make a layout with one photo. That's how I roll, and it's good to know how you roll too.

4. You have to include journaling.
I have occasionally listened to scrapbooking podcasts, but eventually I end up stopping and it's usually because the hosts are obsessed with journaling. And telling other people how important it is. If you love journaling, that's amazing. I'm sure someone will appreciate it one day. But if it's like pulling teeth for you, it's totally fine to give it a rest. And if you want to be a heritage scrapbooker, but hate journaling, check out my post here.

digital scrapbook layout

5. You have to obsess over your shadows.
Some digital scrapbookers are a little obsessed with shadowing. Which is cool! You love shadows, you do shadows. But it has always mystified me a little because honestly it's not something I notice. I have two shadow styles saved which I use for everything. And I'm basically a professional. So it's fine for you too if you want it to be.

6. You have to have perfect pictures.
Actually, having a "bad" photo can really be a blessing when you're scrapbooking. I sometimes struggle with "hiding" a good photo behind all the decoration I want to do. So having a photo to has issues is perfect for really indulging your decorative instincts. A great photo can be great for a more minimal style layout. A less ideal photo can be good for really going all in.

digital scrapbook layout

But regardless of how you display the photo, a "bad" photo can often convey more than a perfect photo. So don't be afraid of scrapping any photo that means something to you.

7. You have to have photos on your layout.
This is one I have struggled with myself. I would love to be able to better create a layout without feeling like I need to include a photo. The collage kits I've been making have been my answer to wanting to play with a layout but not need to include a photo. I'm hoping with practice not having a photo will become more natural for me.

8. You have to compile or print your pages or why else are you even doing it?
When Rachel included this on her list, it really spoke to me. I've been struggling lately with certain projects or pages I want to do, but I do feel down in my heart I need some way to display them. Printing photo books or pages can be quite expensive and I don't want to be limited to this. A good digital display is what I want personally, and I'm on a mission to find it. I'll let you know if I do. In the meantime, don't be afraid to make something just to make it. It doesn't have to be displayed or shared to make it valuable.

digital scrapbook layout

9. You are too far behind, or have too many photos to catch up.
You know what, I'll tell you a secret. You can start scrapbooking right now and just scrapbook what you want. That is 100% okay. You may wish you had more time to scrapbook everything, but enjoying a hobby now is definitely better than waiting for an ideal time to start.

10. You have to scrapbook in chronological order
See my secret from number 9. You may not be a chronological kind of person. And that's okay. Work in the order (or non-order) that inspires and makes things happen for you.

I'm sure I've missed some things on this list, but I hope it has gotten you thinking about your own creative habit. I can't wait to hear your thoughts, please share below.

Recent Comments

Louyse Toupin
Louyse Toupin Sun, 07/18/2021 - 12:24

These layouts are so beautiful and the tips are very useful.Thank you.

Charlene Ang
Charlene Ang Fri, 07/16/2021 - 19:52

Love these tips... Thank you. Makes me feel a whole lot better.... I especially relate to ones including journalling... because sometimes the photo tells the story or the caption... Journalling can at times just be superfluous... I also struggle with #9 and 10... I usually print out a bunch of photos and then never get around to it... I guess this is really a mindset and I just have to let go....

Linda De Los Reyes
Linda De Los Reyes Fri, 07/16/2021 - 06:15

Oh gosh, this is such a great post! So many of these myths held true for me until I finally let them go. In particular - one photo layouts, must include journaling, reusing photos, chronological order, perfect photos - these were major obstacles to my scrapbooking. Here's another one - must have a Title. I scrapbooked so slowly before but now that I embrace the idea of "doing whatever I want to do whenever it happened", I'm so much more motivated. I pop around between old events and current ones, between my projects for my girls and our vacations or everyday life. It's so freeing. I've also embraced the idea of using templates and scrap lifting (giving credit where credit is due, of course) just to get layouts done or trying a different style.

Years and years ago, I did get caught up in the mentality of creating layouts that editors would like just to get my layouts published. That was a huge hindrance to my finishing layouts quickly or even deciding what I wanted to do. While I have several layouts published, it screwed with my creative freedom. And I just couldn't get projects done. I'm so glad I just don't care about that stuff anymore because right now, I'm having the most fun scrapbooking after leaving it for decades.

Becky Wooler
Becky Wooler Thu, 07/15/2021 - 15:04

This makes me feel much better about my template habit! I enjoy starting from scratch for things like the recipe challenges, but when my crafting time is limited— which happens a lot with the ages of my kids— I get so much more done when I have a starting point. It often makes me feel like I’m less creative than others on this site, though.

The other good point about the templates, though, is that I don’t have to obsess about shadows. I love using them, but I mostly just copy the style and paste it throughout my new layers as needed. :D

tobreth hansen
tobreth hansen Thu, 07/15/2021 - 11:06

i LOVE your last layout! I struggle with layering. I feel like I have mastered one thing and then realize there is another I need work on. Guess that keeps it rewarding. I like creating but am too caught up so I kind of like the idea of creating for a digital display. I am a big believer in journaling, but also feel like a digital display might alleviate my "need" for it. Interesting thoughts. I may have to read the BIG MYTH one.

Lisa Burgard
Lisa Burgard Thu, 07/15/2021 - 08:38

Another thing about "bad" photos, is it gives me an opportunity to work with filters. Normally, I just stick with the usual color, b&W or sepia filters. But, if something is really grainy or out of focus, I will play with watercolor or oil painting filters. If it is under or over exposed, I may play around with a combination of filters to artsy it up. I can still keep that picture for memory sake or illustrate a journaling page.

Bina Greene
Bina Greene Thu, 07/15/2021 - 08:31

Thanks, Marisa, great post. We must have listened to very similar podcasts ;)

My pages better include the 5 W's but other than that I find placing the journaling can be time consuming so I mostly resort to putting it on a separate page altogether.

Janice OConnor
Janice OConnor Thu, 07/15/2021 - 08:14

Love this post. Every point spoke to me. I'm reatively new to digital scrapbooking and already lost my wayt a bit. Point 9 and 10 are spot on for me as I've huge collections of didigtal photos to work with and I've been bogged down trying to sort and work chronoligically. I'm just gonna let photos grab me and run with them whatever year I took them.

Robynne Lozier
Robynne Lozier Thu, 07/15/2021 - 07:40

Some of these are so true for me. Especially the "You CAN scrap the same photo over and over again" I have a limited number of photos, and currently no camera to take more - (plus being in lock down) - so I have to reuse my photos. It is so freeing to know that I can do this!!