Finding Your Scrapbooking Style

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Knowing your own style is important. It will help you conserve time, money and energy for scrapbooking. By clarifying your personal tastes, you focus on what you want to accomplish in your layouts, and avoid distractions created by the fads, hype, and promotions--all part of the scrapbooking industry. In short, by knowing what you want and the things you like to work with, you scrapbook your way.

One great way to determine your own scrapbooking style is to look at the work of others. Most Scrapbookers I know started out as “scraplifters.” A scraplifter is one who sees a great technique or layout design in another scrapper’s album, in a magazine, or online (e. g. the Scrapbook.com Layout Gallery) and copies it using their own materials and photos. An interesting thing happens when this approach is taken. I call it “style discovery and imprinting.” The Scrapbooker admires layouts, mimics their designs, and ends up completing layouts that she learns from. The more she does this, the more her confidence grows, and the more apt she is to break out, have confidence and find her own style. I've included some basic tips here below, but if you'd like to learn more and really delve in, I suggest taking my free class Learn How to Scrapbook here at Scrapbook.com.

Learn How to Scrapbook

Mood Boards
Before introducing a new clothing line, many fashion designers give their buyers and suppliers an overall impression of the image they want to portray. They often do this through a collage method called “mood boards.” A fashion mood board may contain cutouts from books or magazines, key words or phases, fabric swatches, music selections, and much more. Any sensory item that gives the viewer an idea of the designer’s direction is attached to the mood board.

In scrapbooking, you can use this same image-collage technique to determine your own style which will help you design and construct your layouts.

Making Your Mood Board

1. To begin, flip through some of your favorite magazines (general living, fashion, home design, etc.). Find pictures that appeal to you or represent your personal taste. They don’t have to make sense or even fit together. You don’t even have to understand why a certain picture appeals to you. If it makes an impression or elicits a positive response, tear it out.

2. Next, look for colors, embellishments, techniques, or any other sensory items that please you. You may want to pick your favorite song or download a sample of your favorite fonts. 22 Be creative with what you use to pull together as you work at discovering your own style.

3. When you are through collecting, fasten each item onto an appropriately sized piece of cardboard or a bulletin board in collage form.

4. Finally, study your work. It’s okay if your mood board doesn’t feel quite complete yet. Analyze what you have so far. What impressions or moods do the grouped items give you? Is there a general theme to your style? Can you narrow or even pinpoint your idea of beauty? Figure out what your mood board is telling you.

Your mood board will become an individually tailored reference point when choosing from the many artistic aspects of layout and album creation. You will be surprised at the affect your mood board will have on your scrapbooking decisions. When you go shopping you will purchase items you want to have in your scrapbook, not those that others think you need. Keep your mood board in a place where you can review it often. Add to the board when you find some new inspiration to incorporate into your work.

Idea Notebooks
An idea notebook is a three-ring binder containing a collection of layout ideas, gathered together as reference points, to be incorporated into future layouts.

Making Your Idea Notebook

1. To begin, flip through some of your favorite scrapbooking magazines. Tear layouts and articles that most appeal to you and place them in a three-ring notebook. Note: Some scrappers prefer to use 3”x5” cards in a storage box referencing the magazine issue, page and date. Either method is effective. Since there are many excellent layouts posted on-line (See e. g. The Scrapbook.com Gallery) you can also search for and print out layouts you like.

2. When you have a collection of fifty or more ideas, lay all of them on the floor and study the elements each has in common. Look at color, shapes, products, whether the layouts are complex or simple, strong, or soft. List your observations for future reference. Place this list in your notebook.

3. When looking for a layout inspiration or an opportunity to learn a new scrapbooking skill, pull out your notebook and select an idea to focus on.

4. Once that idea is used in a layout, throw it away. Alternatively, for those layouts and articles you want to hold on to, file them chronologically as you collect them or make a numerical index page filed in the front section of your notebook.

You may find that your idea notebooks reflect your mood board style. To keep growing in scrapbooking skills, learn a new scrapping technique taken from one of your favorite articles and incorporate it into a layout. Create a list of desirable skills and set goals in many different areas to try in layouts. Through this process, you are certain to find an approach to scrapbooking as individual as you are.

Designing a layout is all about preserving history through your own creativity, personal taste, and style. Once you discover the comfort of knowing your own scrapbooking preferences, you will put a layout together. Save yourself frustration, and clarify whether you like those punch-wove designs; asymmetrical or symmetrical; detailed or minimalist layouts; and bold or subdued color.

Knowing your own style is a key to placing you among successful well-seasoned scrapbooking pros. To discover your “style,” gather, organize and arrange materials for a mood board and make an idea book from layouts samples you find appealing. Finally I hope that fear of the scrapbooking police isn’t keeping you from becoming a real scrapbooker. Those who say you must do it this way or do it that way are usually trying to be helpful, so say thank you and start creating layouts to your hearts content. As long as your scrapbook reflects the artist within, there will never be a scrapbooking law broken. Welcome to the amazing, wonderful, fulfilling and important world of scrapbooking!