By Christina VanGinkel
Creating a scrapbook does not have to be an expensive venture. It is tempting with all of the available products on the market, to spend x amount of dollars on fancy papers, embellishments, and the such, but combining those items with found items will do two things, keep your albums unique, and save you on the overall cost. Some common household and everyday found objects that can be incorporated into your layouts to keep them fresh and avoid the run of the mill pages that you can end up with by using just store bought embellishments include:
Paper bags in assorted sizes
Recycled Christmas and other occasion cards
Small candy tins
Lunch Sack Album
Many of these items can be incorporated with some typical scrapbook supplies to create some unique, even stunning scrapbooks. For example sized paper bags can be folded in half to create an album. I used white and brown bags, but keep in mind that they come in all sorts of different colors, adding to the unlimited possibilities for creating your albums. Choose a theme to make into a scrapbook, and then start with two or three bags, depending on how many pictures and journaling spaces you want to incorporate into each. Fold them in half, length wise, and you will begin to see the intention of the shape of the album. You will also need a scrapbook binding book binder at this point. They are reasonably priced and can be purchased for less than forty dollars, and though this initial investment may seem costly, you will use it repeatedly. The one I purchased came with an initial ten combs to get me started. You will use the machine to punch holes through the folded area of each bag, one at a time. You then put the comb in the machine, place the bags back in and the machine places the comb into the holes you just punched. The comb can be easily trimmed with a pair of scissors once you remove the finished book from the machine, to give your finished book a professional overall look. If you wish to decorate your book before or after binding is totally up to you. I do mine after binding, but I know some people who decorate the bags, insert all their pictures and journaling, and then only bind the book when they are confident that it is a finished product. If you only wish to make a single album or two in this manner, many schools and churches have these machines for making cookbooks and other easy books. Contact some organizations such as these to see if they would bind the lunch sacks for you, or contact a local printing place to see if they would. Most will for a very reasonable charge, making this project still much cheaper than buying a scrapbook.
Purse Sized Tin Album
Can you believe that you can make a mini album from a deck of playing cards and a candy tin? Look for an Altoid type tin container, or other small tin that can fit playing cards inside. Cards can be trimmed if needed. Cover the tin in whatever craft materials you have, such as paper and Modge Podge, polymer clay, even leftover contact paper. Finish by decorating with embellishments to create the look you want to highlight the pictures you plan to place in the tin. Depending on the size of tin you go with, alter the playing cards if needed so that they will fit inside, then lay out a strip of the cards in the number of pages you want your album to have. Lay a strip of double sided tape down the middle of the strip of cards, giving each card a small space between the one next to it so that once assembles, the album will fold easy. Go back and place a second row of cards over the top side of the double-sided tape. You will now have your cards ready to decorate. Print your photos on your photo printer in a size that can fit the cards. Decorate in any manner you choose, incorporating journaling and the pictures as you go. Fold up and place into the tin for a perfect purse sized album to share with whoever asks you how your scrapbooking is going.