5 Scrapbooking Mistakes to Avoid

Written by Mark Rogers

Years ago, a printed photo was a special one—film was expensive, and you had to make a special trip to get them printed by a professional. These days, with cameras on smartphones and the ability to print at home with just a click of a button, many people have stockpiled thousands of digital and printed photos that are just waiting to be put on display.

Not everyone has enough space to frame each and every photo, so enjoy them off the digital screen by creating long-lasting, memorable scrapbooks and albums. Just like a picture frame, however, there are some common missteps that new scrapbookers make.

1. Using the wrong type of materials.

When creating a scrapbook, one of the first steps is deciding how you will attach the photos. Some scrapbooks and albums contain sleeves, while others are filled with blank pages on which you can adhere photos. You may be tempted to glue every photo to make sure it doesn’t budge, but glue may not be the answer.

Glue is a permanent solution. Important photos that can’t be reproduced—and that you wish to preserve—will be irreversibly altered when using glue, as there is no way to detach them even if the glue is deemed safe for photos. There are plenty of photo-safe alternatives to use instead of glue, such as photo corners or adhesive-backed photo mounting sleeves that allow you to remove and rearrange photos.

2. Using inferior materials.

If you are sure your photos will stay put in the album, glue may be used—but be sure to use the right one! Standard glues used in children’s crafts, such as multipurpose glue sticks or liquid adhesives, may not be safe for photos. In addition, the glue in many sticks will become brittle over time, leading to loose photos that fall out of the scrapbook. Professional, photo-safe glue such as Lineco’s Neutral pH Adhesive is made specifically for artwork, and won’t cause the dreaded ripple effect that occurs with unsuitable glue.

Just like picture frames, every component should be safe for photos. The album or scrapbook pages themselves should be made of acid-free paper that won’t cause damage. Cheap photo albums found outside specialized craft and photo stores may not be made for long-term, archival storage.

3. Forgetting the stories.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes you need the story. With so many photos being taken each year—1.3 trillion photos in 2017, according to some reports—it can be difficult to remember all the details of each and every picture.

Accompany all photos in a scrapbook with a few details, including the date, location and subjects, as well as a short snippet or fun fact about the event. Not only will it help you organize, it will start conversations when looking at the scrapbooks with friends and family.

4. Going overboard with the decorations.

The scrapbooking sections of any craft store can be overwhelming, containing tons of ribbons, stickers, and stamps to adorn the pages of your album. The focal point of a scrapbook, however, should be the photos—not the embellishments. Limit the number of decorations you include on each page, allowing the photos to shine.

5. Adding every single photo.

Now that photo-taking is only limited to how much space you have left on your smartphone or digital camera, it’s a lot easier to take hundreds of photos where just one would suffice. You may be tempted to add every single photo you took at that birthday party or family get-together, but too many photos can be unnecessary—and be a little boring! Include only the best, most important shots, and let your memories take care of the rest.

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