I love nothing more than to settle in for a long, carefree weekend of scrapbooking.
The problem is I can’t remember the last time I experienced one of these. As much as I would like to spend hours on one single layout, that is not a realistic approach to accomplishing what I want to accomplish with my memories and pictures.
This is why I’ve developed a creative process that I call Finish Line Scrapbooking.
Finish Line Scrapbooking will help you assemble (in record speed) a 6×6 scrapbook using anywhere from 25 to 50 pictures. The basic tenets of this process are limited time, limited space and limited product with a commitment to under-planning and under-thinking.
When we let go of the angst we’ve developed around scrapbooking (that it takes time and planning and just the right products and a master’s degree in journalism and design) then we free ourselves up to simply follow our intuition and combine photos and pretty papers and then discover great and clever ways of embellishing our work.
A Finish Line Scrapbook is a storybook – an extended story that comes together at the very end because you select photos around a theme and use versatile products that coordinate and support the process.
To create a Finish Line Scrapbook, you will need:
25 to 50 4×6 prints
Almost any photos work well with this process, but you will enjoy particular success when you gather photos taken at the same event or occasion, photos from a vacation or travel, photos that have a variety of subject matter (people and landscape, close-up and far way etc..)
- A kitchen timer
- Sharp scissors
- Paper trimmer
- Fast adhesive (like a tape runner)
- A 6×6 album
- 3 Sheets of 12×12 cardstock pre-cut into 6×6 pieces
- 5 Sheets of two-sided 12×12 pattern paper pre-cut into 6×6 pieces
- 50 small embellishments*, like buttons, brads, photo turns, tags, labels, bookplates, photo corners, etc …
- 1 sheet of small letter or word stickers
- 1 yard of ribbon
Count each and every brad and make sure you don’t exceed fifty individual pieces. As you pull together your collection of embellishments, gather multiples—so that you have 3 or 5 of each kind of embellishment. As an exception, you may include one sheet of decorative rub-ons and count it as one embellishment.
Once you have gathered stack of pictures, a stack of papers and a nice pile of embellishments, the basic process from start to finish is as follows.
NOTE: I create Finish Line Scrapbooks in two evenings at home. I do the first 10 steps on the first night and then follow the process for ordering, color balancing and embellishing on the second evening.
Step-by-Step Assembly Stage
- Turn on some really fun, upbeat music. You can click on the orange “my music” tab from my homepage to access a playlist created with Finish Line Scrapbooking in mind.
- Set your timer for 1 minute and quickly flip through all of your pictures to select one focal point photo. This is the photo that you would keep if you were only permitted to keep one from this group. Set this focal point photo aside.
- Turn your music on and do a quick sort of your pictures, while you listen to just one song. A quick sort results in no more than four piles of pictures. Each pile represents a different type/location of photo – quick sorting will help you find the pictures you need FAST when we get to the assembly step.
- Work in your quick sort piles and begin cropping your photos. Crop (I like the term resize better) as quickly as you can. Try to crop all of your photos in just 3 or 4 “songs,” or about 10-12 minutes. Keep in mind you are working with a 6×6 workspace or canvas, so you need to eagerly resize 4×6 photos so that two, three or even four cropped photos will fit on one 6×6 page. Crops that are very versatile are 3×3, 2×2, 2×6, and 3×6.
- Take a quick break – drink some water, stretch and clear away all of your scraps.
- Set our your 6×6 papers so that you have one pile for cardstock and piles for each pattern (or side) of pattern paper. You want to be able to see all of your choices and easily reach for them.
- Begin assembling 6×6 pages. Do NOT over-think this step. Just grab one, two, three or four photos and stick them down on a piece of paper. You are not creating pages in order. You are simply combining a few photos that work together on each individual page. Use pattern paper to fill in some of all of the leftover space on your pages. Do not pre-cut pieces of pattern paper, rather – line up and adhere pattern paper flush with the edge of a photo – turn over the page and cut off anything that extends past the edge of the page. Think of each page as a little puzzle.
- Remember that a page is ‘done’ at this stage when it has a photo(s) and some pattern paper. That’s it. Photo + pattern paper = done.
- If you are using a 6×6 album with the standard 10 page protectors, your album will have 20 pages. You will need one page for your title page and one page for journaling (or the story) so you will need to assemble 18 6×6 pages now. Don’t feel obligated to use every single photo you prepared.
- When you have 18 pages complete, shout HOORAY! Then take a break and get a drink.
Balancing and Decorative Touches & Wrap Up
- Flip through all 18 of your finished pages and put them in order. Decide where you would like to insert a page of journaling (your story or dedication)
- If you have room, layout your entire album with pages in left and right pairs as they will sit in your album. If you do not have room to lay out all 19 pages then layout out 4 or 6 at a time.
- Examine each pair of pages (left and right) and remedy any obvious color imbalance with the addition of a strip or piece of pattern paper.
- Now look at all of the pages again and notice whether there is a flow overall of color and pattern. If for example you used a red pattern paper on 6 pages near the front of the album, you’ll want to add some bits of red paper to some of your pages near the end of your album.
- Begin embellishing individual pages in groups of 4 or 6. In other words, pay attention to the flow and repetition of accents so that it is easy for your eye to move from the top of one page down to the bottom and across to the other page and back up again – creating a sense of up and down flow throughout your album will create a strong sense of visual unity.
- Use only embellishments you gathered before you began. Finish Line Scrapbooks are viewed as one complete story. They do not require heavy embellishing or lots of decorative touches. Use repetition and keep things simple.
- Create your title page. Use your focal point photo and two or three patterns that you have used a lot of throughout your album. Add one or two embellishments and a title and you’re ALMOST done!
- Handwrite or type a full page of journaling that offers the viewer some written context for the story you are sharing.
- As an option, you can add paint or ink to the edges of your pages – this brings an additional element of harmony to your album and often covers up a few imperfections. You might also consider customizing your album itself!
- Slip all pages into page protectors and then go run around the block with all of the energy your harvest from CROSSING the FINISH LINE!
In reality it is usually quite late when I finish my Finish Line Scrapbooks. I usually make a cup of tea and sip it while I flip all the way through the album. This helps me find calm so that I can sleep — it also fills me up with an incredible sense of accomplishment.
I am working on a self-paced class at Big Picture Scrapbooking that will go into greater detail and feature LOTS of visual examples and explanations.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Email me email@example.com