Scrapbooking Supplies

To start scrapbooking, at a minimum you need some photos, an album, and a pair of scissors. From there, the possibilities for supplies and products are endless.

As you continue scrapbooking, you’ll learn more about different techniques and what products you prefer to work with. One of the best ways to learn how to use new products is to scrapbook with friends or go to classes.

Reference Book

Make sure one of
your first purchases
is a reference book.

Experts recommend that the first scrapbooking item you purchase is a good reference book. Some examples include:

  • Scrapbooking for Dummies;
  • Quick & Easy Scrapbook Pages: 100 Scrapbook Pages You Can Make in One Hour or Less;
  • Outstanding Scrapbook Pages: 250 of the Best Pages and Techniques from the World’s #1 Scrapbooking Magazine; and
  • Creative Keepsakes’ Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking.


The majority of scrapbooking albums are usually 8x8, 10x10, 12x12, or 8.5x11. You can find miniature albums that are 2x3, small albums (5x7 and 6x6). Over-sized albums that are 12x15 and larger can be difficult to work with, but give you many more opportunities for multiple photos layouts and designs. Your album size may be dictated how many pictures you have or whether you like to include a lot of journaling or embellishments. Practice laying out a few pages of each size to see which you prefer.

Albums are bound in two different ways: Post bound or strap hinge. Post bound albums are bound on the left-hand side by 2 or 3 steel posts or screw pins. Page protectors are loaded onto these posts and pages can be added or taken away with ease. Page protectors help keep the pages from dust or wear, make it quick to rearrange pages among the page protectors, and also help with expanding or decreasing the size of your album.

Strap hinge albums are bound on the left-hand side by an expandable, flexible strap hinge. Advocates of this style album argue that it is more durable; however, other scrapbookers say that it is more difficult to rearrange pages than with a post bound album.

A few other album options are available, including 3-ring binders, spiral, and glued or sewn spines. However, with the majority of these other options the pages cannot be rearranged, or the 3-rings interrupt double-page spreads. In general, either the post bound or strap hinge albums are the preferred choice of scrapbookers.


Stamping is a simple and easy way to add color and style to your scrapbook pages. Stamps come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and inks are available in all different colors.

If you would like to try heat embossing, pay attention to whether the inks you buy are pigment or dye-based. Dye-based inks are quick drying and ink well on nearly all papers. Pigment-based inks are longer lasting and can be used to emboss. On glossy and coated papers, the ink must be embossed.


Cutting is an essential element of scrapbooking. Most scrapbookers rely on a 12-inch mounted paper trimmer for straight cuts on photos and papers. Depending on the project, you may also want to use decorative scissors, punches, or a craft knife and cutting mat.


Embellish Creativity

Some ideas for creative, unique embellishments include:

  • A tea bag for an afternoon gathering
  • Footprints or handprints for a baby album
  • Newspaper clippings from the day of an event
  • Wrapping paper for birthdays or Christmas
  • Foreign money, drink coasters, or food labels from a trip
  • A ruler for a growing child’s album
  • Candy wrappers for a Halloween layout

An embellishment is anything beyond stickers and paper. This category includes ribbons, buttons, tassels, “found” items, or personal mementos like ticket stubs or maps. Although numerous embellishments are for sale, it’s also good to hang on to small items from special events or trips and save them for the scrapbook.


As with paper, it is important that adhesives are acid free to keep your memories preserved for many years to come. Adhesives are available in a variety of shapes and styles, to fit your particular project. This category includes:

  1. tape (double-sided tape is particularly useful),
  2. glue dots,
  3. foam mounts,
  4. glue stick,
  5. photo squares, and
  6. spray adhesives.

The scrapbooker also has the opportunity to visibly bind elements to the page, and incorporate the binding as part of the design. Photo corners, brads, and eyelets are all popular methods to affix photos to a page while enhancing the design.

Stickers/Die Cuts

Scrapbooking stickers are more than just scratch-and-sniff cartoons. Some are of realistic photo quality, while others can compliment the color and style of your papers and other page elements. Stickers are easy, colorful, and relatively inexpensive.

Die cuts can be easy and inexpensive or more of a commitment, depending on whether you choose to buy pre-made die cuts or a die cut machine and dies. If you are new to scrapbooking, you probably want to start with pre-cut paper shapes and, if you think they add a lot to your layouts, consider investing in a die cut machine and tools.

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