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What are the Different Scrapbooking Tools?

By R. Roberson
Updated Feb 18, 2024
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For many people, gone are the days of simply sliding photos into clear plastic sleeves in order to display them. The art of scrapbooking can be a fun way to preserve memories in ways that are more creative, with embellishments that can provide flair to tell a story from the photographs. The basic scrapbooking tools include a scrapbook with plastic page protectors, markers, glue, construction paper, stickers and a few pairs of scissors with different blade designs. More complicated scrapbooking tools include die-cutting machines, adhesive remover and pens that can remove red-eye in photographs with a simple dot.

Photographs very rarely stay in their standard rectangular shape once they are selected for scrapbooking purposes. For this reason, cutting mats are very popular. They vary in sizes and prices, but they are sturdy and are an excellent companion to the variety of cutting and cropping tools used to repurpose photos so their focal points can be prominently displayed. To go along with those cutting mats, scrapbookers also use a variety of cutting tools, such as scissors, knives, trimmers and blades. These can be used to do things such as trim photographs, cut decorative borders on pictures and construction paper and produce shapes such as borders, corners, hearts or stars with a quick punch of the cutter.

To make lettering pages easier, stamps, stencils and rulers also are popular scrapbooking tools. So are a good variety of acid-free pens, whose ink is less likely to run or fade. A good arsenal of stickers makes it a cinch to add whimsy or charm to pages.

One of the most important scrapbooking tools is the proper glue. Mounting photos in a way that ensures that the pages will stay perfectly preserved requires special types of adhesive. Regular glue sticks and school glue found in most stores won’t work for scrapbooking. Instead, adhesives and glue that are acid-free are needed. Photo tabs, which are small squares of double-sided tape, also are a good option.

There also are a variety of scrapbooking tools available online from commercial websites. Digital scrapbooks have their own set of scrapbooking tools, such as decorative fonts, clip art, borders, templates and the ability to fit any number of photos on one page. These can be used on online projects, and the finished product can be ordered by the user. Websites often give users the option of having their finished product delivered digitally or having a printed version sent to them.

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Discussion Comments
By Sara007 — On Nov 23, 2011

What are some of the most unique scrapbooking embellishments you have seen in your trips to the craft store? Or even ones that you have made yourself?

I am working on a scrapbook for my children and would really like to include some great imagery, as well as decoration to make them something they will keep for many years after they leave home. So far I have found some nice handmade stickers that give my pages texture, but am wondering if there is anything else I can do to really give it personality. I have considered using some of their old artwork, but it pains me to alter it to fit the book.

By Mae82 — On Nov 23, 2011

There is some great digital scrapbooking software out there if you are looking to move beyond paper and paste. For myself I found some great freeware that offers me scrapbooking layouts and all the digital scrapbooking tools I could ever need to create something I can share with my whole family.

I travel a lot and don't have a home base, so it just isn't feasible for me to scrapbook with real materials. I suppose I like how much fun it is using the computer to make a cute scrapbook that I can easily show to anyone with access to a computer.

By icecream17 — On Nov 22, 2011

@GreenWeaver -That used to happen to me. I was always overwhelmed with all of the pictures I accumulated and never thought that I would ever put together a scrapbook album, but one day I did.

I was in the craft store and I bought a kit that had all of the starter supplies and that was pretty nice because it took all of the choices away and I could no longer procrastinate. I think that is the biggest problem with getting into scrapbooking because there are so many scrapbook ideas that come to mind that it is really overwhelming and easy to put off.

By GreenWeaver — On Nov 21, 2011

@SarahSon- I wish I could make time to put together some scrapbooking albums but I don’t. I also still have my pictures in the original sleeves and always feel a little bit guilty for not creating a scrapbook to restore my family’s memories.

When my daughter was born I remember that my husband and I took pictures of her doing everything and immediately made a scrapbook but when my son was born we started to put off the scrapbooking and now we have a huge mountain of pictures and I feel bad that I didn’t take the time to put them in a nice scrapbook.

I was thinking of taking a class at my craft store so that I could get some scrapbook ideas and maybe start a book.

By SarahSon — On Nov 21, 2011

As popular as scrapbooking has become, I have never made a scrapbook or even made one page of photos like this.

Yes, mine are still in the same envelopes that I picked them up from the store in. I do have them arranged by date, but that is as far as it gets.

When I go to the craft see and see aisles and aisles of scrapbooking supplies I am simply overwhelmed. I have seen beautiful scrapbooking albums that my friends have made, and can't imagine ever having the time to do that.

Sometimes I think I use the time factor as an excuse. I really don't enjoy doing crafty things, and don't have much a desire to sit down and make a scrapbook with my photos.

Buying scrapbooking tools and supplies has become a big business, and even though I can understand why people enjoy doing it, I can't see myself ever becoming a scrapbooker.

By honeybees — On Nov 20, 2011

I am hooked on scrapbooking and this is one of my favorite ways to sit down and relax. The problem is, this hobby can become very expensive. There is always a never ending list of new scrapbooking tools I would love to add to my collection.

The great thing about the tools is that they can easily be shared. We have a scrapbooking party every so often at our church. Everyone is invited to bring their supplies and we all scrapbook together.

This works out great as we can share supplies, get ideas from others and have a great time socializing at the same time.

There have been times when I have tried a different tool like this and found out that I really wouldn't use it as often as I thought I would. But of course, there are those other times, when I use a new tool, and then just have to have one for myself!

I think the best scrapbooking tools are those that you will use on a regular basis, and give your pages the unique creativity you are hoping for.

By jennythelib — On Nov 20, 2011

@dfoster85 - I think your suggestion to start with a few basics is a good one. You can pick up scrapbook tools as you get more experienced and as funds are available! You can also put them on your Christmas list, etc.

I think it's important to remember that you're not entering a contest - you're preserving your family's memories. Whatever you do will be better than leaving the photos in a shoebox!

A nice, though not cheap, way to get started is to hose a Creative Memories party. The consultant will bring some basic tools and you and your guests can make your first basic pages. Naturally, you will be encouraged to buy their albums and tools. Creative Memories stuff isn't cheap, but it's good quality - the pens, scissors, etc. will really last.

By dfoster85 — On Nov 19, 2011

If you go into the scrapbooking aisles of a craft superstore, the array of scrapbooking supplies can be intimidating - not to mention expensive! But it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

If you are just getting started, you need an album with acid-free pages, of course, and just a few other basics. Try a photo cutter, which is like one of those paper cutters schools use, but much smaller; it will help you trim photos down to size. A rounded corner cutter is handy.

Instead of fancy tools for cutting shapes, you can start with just some flexible stencils for tracing shapes on your photos before cutting with scissors (a special pencil wipes off the photo easily). Add some acid-free pens, photo squares and some stickers, and you're ready to get started!

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