Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scrapbooking on a Budget

The rising cost of scrapbook supplies is something you are likely to hear come up in conversation with any group of scrapbook enthusiasts. I always stop the conversation when it heads in this direction though, and remind everyone that the cost of scrapbooking does not have to be a budget breaker, and that it really is an affordable hobby. It might take a bit of ingenuity on the scrappers part, but the quality and uniqueness of ones layouts do not even need to be diminished just because of budget restraints.



Consider the amount of supplies that the average scrapper already owns. Scrapbooking can be addictive and it is commonplace to walk into one persons scrap area, or open up their tote of supplies, and discover enough supplies to keep that scrapper in pages for years to come, even if they never bought another single embellishment or piece of paper. I have been in some scrap rooms, mind you owned by a single scrapbooker, and felt as if I had walked into a dream store that I had just discovered. Sure, they might run out of adhesives, or some other consumable, but for the few dollars to replace those, no other money need be spent for a long, and I mean very long time to come. This is so common actually, that it is ordinary to see no buying threads on online groups, where someone will post to see how many layouts they can accomplish before they need to buy anything new or replace something that has been used up.

In addition, for those of us who do not have that many supplies, scrapping within a tight budget is still possible. Consider some of what we might have already in our homes, and other places, that we overlook when it comes to thinking about using on layouts.

Other craft supplies
As someone who crochets, cross-stitches, paints, and does a myriad of other crafts depending on the season and what I am in the mood to do, I actually have tidbits of various craft items tucked away in drawers and closets. I now try to look through these when I need something before I run out and buy. Fabric from your sewing supplies is always a beautiful addition to a layout, or even sewing directly onto the paper itself.

Household
I cannot even begin to count the times I have found that perfect little whatever it is amidst my junk drawer mess, or found the perfect embellishment within my husband's tool shop. Do be careful about things being acid free, etc., but when in doubt, I just try to use the item creatively. For example, I wanted to use a couple very think metal spacers on a layout, and I was concerned about rust. To make it not such an issue, I made sure to adhere them away from the photos that I used.

Second Hand Stores
I have purchased everything from bottles filled with buttons to my newest acquisition, a Spiro graph, at a local second hand shop. Prices are always rock bottom, and not knowing what you might find can really get your creativity flowing when you do discover something. For example, I had never really given any thought to using a Spiro graph to make embellishments or to decorate backgrounds until I saw one sitting on a shelf with a mass of other toys. The minute I saw it though, my mind started filling with all sorts of ideas.

Desk
From paperclips to index cards, your desk is a wealth of scrapping supplies just waiting to be put to use multitasking for both work and imaginative fun. I actually keep a small glass candle cup on the back of my desk, and whenever I come across something that I think I might use, I toss it in it.

Your Own Photographs
How often have you looked through your stash of photos or files of them on your computer, and passed over a photograph as being nice, but not scrap worthy. What if you printed it and used it for a background, or cut it into strips to use as a border for another photo or phrase. For example, I had about a dozen photos of a beautiful sunset from a weekend getaway. After I scrapped the weekend getaway, I kept looking past the remaining photos. Then one day, when I was working on another layout that had very little color, and could not find much to sue to liven it up, I remembered the extra sunsets. I ended up taking two of them, and cutting them into strips to frame both the picture and a small phrase. It both livened up the layout, at no additional cost to me, and used up something that would have likely just sat in my photo folder forever, unused. To use a photo as a background image, just scan in to your computer, and in a graphics program, adjust the size of it to fill the sheet of paper that it will be printed on. You can even lower the opacity of it, or change the colors, even alter it to black and white or sepia tones for example. If you do not have a graphics program, there are free ones available online. A favorite of mine is Picasa that is put out by Google.

Be inventive and consider the possibility of almost anything you come across in your daily tasks. Some of the most ordinary items make some of the most awesome scrap supplies. It just takes some artistic creativity to recognize them sometimes!

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