Friday, June 23, 2006

Scrapbooking Fun with Fonts

By Christina VanGinkel

If you have a computer, with a basic word processor installed, such as Microsoft Word, along with a printer, you have everything you need to make fun, font engineered embellishments to personalize your scrapbook layouts. These same techniques will also work well for embellishing note cards and other handcrafts too.

To start, let us look at some of the many ways you can put to use your printer and your collection of fonts.

Depending on the type of printer you have, you will be able to print on a variety of materials. From fabric, to overlays, to cardstock, most printers, whether inkjet or laser, you should be able to find a variety of compatible consumables that are made specifically for whichever kind of printer you happen to have. Once you know what can safely be run through your printer, consider how these products might be used with your scrapbooking.

Once you have an idea of what can and cannot be printed on, consider the fact that most word processing programs have the capability to print fonts in a variety of sizes. With this most basic feature in mind, print a large font, much like a monogram, to begin a spot of journaling, or to make some or all of the letters of your title be much more prominent.

Print your own stickers with the use of sticker backed print safe paper. No longer will you have to worry about finding a sticker that says exactly what you want it to say, just print your own. Overlays can also be created, and your imagination is pretty much the limit.

With fonts available for purchase and for free, the possibilities for creating embellishments are nearly endless. I know I have talked before about this, but you can even print on twill ribbon. Imagine the possibilities. However, all of these suggestions would be mundane without the use of a variety of fonts. No one wants to flip through a scrapbook and see the same font, page after page. Variety is good.

So where do you find that perfect, elusive font to use in your next layout? Start by looking through some of the many places you already turn to for scrapbooking ideas. The magazine Scrapbook Answers is available in two versions, with or without a CD. The one that ships with a CD includes a selection of fonts, free to use for personal use, on each disk. I can say from personal experience that if you go this route, chances are you will never need another font, scrapbook wise or other, at least for those projects that are personal in nature, and not intended for profit.

An online search for free fonts with any major search engine will provide you with quite a selection. Many online sites that are intended for those individuals that scrapbook will often have free fonts and dingbats suitable for layouts. Many will also offer fonts that are for sale. Dingbats are fonts that look like pictures, and are great for adding decorative touches in addition to your lettering needs.

Lettering Delights online is another example of how your computer can be used to help you with your scrapbook lettering needs. They specialize in decorative lettering a bit more refined than your typical font, but that are ideal for all your creative lettering needs. They also offer a free downloadable image browser that allows the user to work with and customize the alphabets that they sell.

Once you start downloading fonts, free ones and those you buy, you will soon need a way to help keep them organized. Font organizers are a great way to keep you scrapping instead of wasting time searching through your fonts for that elusive one that you know you have, but just cannot remember the name. A search online for a font organizer will provide you with a wide selection from which to choose. Many offer demos for you to try, as each seems to work a bit differently. Sample a few and you are sure to find one that works for your needs.

With fonts such an everyday part of so many of our lives, it is no wonder that we have overlooked them when it came to our creative activities. We are so use to working with them and seeing them that it can be easy to forget just how useful they really can be! The next time you have a scrapbook project in the works, look to your computer first, before you spend another dime on any store bought embellishments.

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