Choosing a Guillotine Paper Cutter

guillotine paper cutter old 150x150 Choosing a Guillotine Paper Cutter

A Few Tips to Help When Selecting a Guillotine Paper Cutter

There are several paper cutter styles for the scrapbook craft person to choose from. The type you choose will be a personal preference. One we enjoy is the guillotine paper cutter. Most of us became familiar with this handy tool when we were in grade school, or maybe at the office. This style of paper cutter has morphed from a school/business machine to a number of choices available, at reasonable prices, to the home paper crafter.

These super handy cutters make cutting a single sheet to several sheets of paper a snap. They provide a clean crisp straight cut. As you look to purchase one of these devices, we’re sharing some tips and ideas to consider in your selection process.

• What is the size of the paper you will most frequently be cutting? The size of the paper you plan to cut is an important issue. As a scrapbook creator, you most likely will be cutting 8½” x 11″ or 12″ x 12″ materials. However, there may be times when you need to work with a larger item. In making your decision you need to consider that possibility and determine if paying a little more for a larger cutter is worth the expense. You gauge the size of the paper you can cut by the length of the cutter’s base. You won’t be able to easily cut paper longer than your cutter base. This is a crucial fact to consider when you look at cutters. The cutting arm may extend beyond the cutter’s base which can then tear longer material you may be cutting. The base, should also be firm to allow for smooth cuts. A flimsy base will not give you the accurate cuts you want.

    • At the head or back of your cutter you’ll want a sturdy back stop that has rule marks to assist you in cutting the right size. Also, the cutting base should have ruled grids that can also help you in making those precise cuts you may need. They also allow for consistent cuts of the same size.

• How many sheets, or maximum thickness of a sheet can you cut at once? The primary feature of a guillotine cutter is in their ability to cut multiple layers or sheets at one cutting — called cutting capacity. This is a favored reason why some people prefer this style cutter. This ability saves time, and provides multiple cut sheets of uniform size. Like considering paper size, the number of sheets you wish to cut is equally important.  Generally the more sheets a cutter can accommodate, the sturdier the cutter must be, and the more expensive the cost.

    • For cutting quantities of more than a dozen or so, you’ll want to consider a “stack cutter” which can slice a whole ream’s worth with one cut. For the home craft user, however, this may not be needed. In the event you have occasion for such a need, consider paying a print service. Most of print shops have cutting machines that will handle large quantities of paper.

• What additional features do you need or want? Considering the primary function of a guillotine cutter is pretty basic–to cut straight line cuts. Their construction is based on that fact. The base will most likely be made of wood, metal or a plastic material to give it a firm platform. As noted above, you should look for a model that provides a ruler on the back stop and measurement grids on the base platform to help in gauging the size cut you may need.

Other helpful features can include:

1. an adjustable paper stop to help set the same size cut for multiple cuts while doing large quantity projects;

2. a clamp that will help keep your material in place as you cut;

3. an illuminated cutting line (on the more expensive models).

All in all the features you choose for your guillotine cutter will help determine how easy you may find your cutting jobs to be.

guillotine paper cutter with finger guard 150x150 Choosing a Guillotine Paper Cutter Safety Issues. There is no place like using good ole’ fashion common sense than when using a paper cutter. The guillotine paper cutter has been designed to cut things with ease. That having been said, serious injuries can occur if you’re not careful when using this machine–fingers can get in the way. When selecting the right cutter for you consider some of the safety features that can come with them. There may be an added cost to have these safety features, but the cost may well be worth avoiding a serious injury. Consider these safety features as you select your cutter:

1. a spring loaded blade that will help prevent the blade from falling down while you may be adjusting paper in the cutter;

2. a latch to secure the blade down along the base when you’re not using the cutter;

3. a finger guard–generally attached to the base that runs along the entire length of the cutting base. This will help protect fingers during the cutting process.

• Value of a Brand Name. There is perceived expectation of benefit and value when you consider buying a brand named item. Guillotine paper cutters are no different. There is always some implied quality and value when youpurchase a product backed by the reputation of a good quality company. As you contemplate the purchase of a cutter, give consideration to a brand name that has the features you are looking for, and at a cost you can afford. Quality, as implied with a brand name, often comes with a price to match. Some brands you may wish to look at would be (no specific recommendation is being made here): Martin Yale, Akiles, X-Acto, Dahle, Westcott and Swingline.

• Look for a cutter that has a fair warranty. As noted above, there is some implied benefit to purchasing a brand name product. The reputation of the company often tells us the quality level we should expect from the item we purchase. That having been said, purchasing a guillotine paper cutter that has a written warranty would be a plus. Most warranties are noted to last for at least a year. If one comes with one of longer duration that would be a plus.

Guillotine cutters are a great tool to have in your array of paper crafting supplies. Having the right one for you will be very important as you tackle your scrapbook or paper craft projects. The cheapest may not always be the best. Shop around for those with the features you feel you need. Look at reviews, consider recommendations of friends and other crafters. Having the right guillotine paper cutter will help you enjoy your crafting and make things a bit easier.

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Ron on February 11th, 2013 | File Under Basics, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized | No Comments -

Make Your Own Pre-made Scrapbook Kit

Supplies for Pre made Scrapbook Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit
Pre-made Scrapbook Supplies


How to Create an Inexpensive Pre-made Scrapbook Album


With a little effort and some supplies you can put together your own Pre-made Scrapbook Albums. Here are some of the supplies you’ll need to create your own pre-made book:

1. Scrapbook Binder: You will need a binder – a 12″ x 12″ three ring binder will work. You may purchase a plain binder that you can decorate with the theme or subject of your book, or you can buy one that has acceptable decorations already for your project. plain 12 x 12  scrapbook binder 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit.
2. Sheet protectors: You will need some 12″ x 12″ sheet protectors to insert your completed scrapbook pages into. You’ll need enough for each page you wish to place in your book. Although you may want to put back to back sheets into each protector sheet–facing out on each side. 12 x 12 scrapbook sheet protectors 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit
3. Scrapbook paper: You want to select your scrapbook paper with a design or theme that is in keeping with what you feel the book aught to be about. paper green pattern Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit
4. Cardstock: Here you’ll want to select cardstock with the colors that coordinate with those colors found in your scrapbook design or themed paper. cardstock display 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit
5. Paper Cutter: You’ll need some type of paper cutter or trimmer. cutterpede paper trimmer pink 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit
 6. Adhesive/Glue or Double-stick Tape: You will need some sort of adhesive to put your scrapbook pages together, and to add embellishments if they do not already have adhesive on them.   glue and adhesive display 4 views 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit
 7. Embellishments: Select the embellishments you want to go with your theme. (Stickers, stamps, cut-outs, ect.)  embellishments Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit

Okay, now with your supplies in hand you can begin to assemble your Pre-made Scrapbook Album. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

1. You should have already selected a theme for your book as you were getting your design paper and cardstock in coordinating colors.. Themes can be focused on colors, an event or special occasion, or maybe you want it to eclectic with various themes. This is your album, so you decide. (Unless you are putting this album together for someone else, then you need to be directed by their theme or interest needs).

2. You should have the paper[s] selected and set aside that you want to use in this specific album.

3. Select one of your designer sheets of paper to use as your background.

4. You want to make frames to hold your photographs.scrapbook photo mats 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit You can create mats by cutting your cardstock and designer paper ¼” to ½” larger than the previous one. Determine where they should be located on your background paper and glue them together with the smaller one atop the larger one to form a frame background for the photos, and adhere them to your background mat cutting templates 150x150 Make Your Own Pre made Scrapbook Kit You may just want to use a single sheet of cardstock and cutout a decorative opening to frame around your photos in a less formal way. These mats could also be used for areas to put title and journal entry items. With some of the scrapbook tools available, you can produce whimsical as well as fancy or elegant cutouts.

5. Now some of the fun starts. You’re at the point where you can begin to add the embellishments. You can add your stickers, buttons, stamps, brads or any other embellishment you have chosen for this album to help focus on your theme.

6. When each page is completed to your personal liking, you can then insert them into your sheet protectors and place them inside your binder.

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Ron on February 8th, 2013 | File Under Basics, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Pre-made Scrapbooks

Why Should You Consider Pre-made Scrapbooks?

 pre made scrapbooks 150x125 Pre made Scrapbooks

There are several answers to this question. The three of prominence would be (1) time, (2) expense and (3) creativity. Let’s consider each of these issues one by one.

  1. Limited Time:Some people have a limited amount of time to engage in scrapbooking. For some people engaging in a craft that consumes a great deal of time, like scrapbook crafting,  may be put off by the time and effort required to finish a book. Having a complete kit that includes all one needs to put a scrapbook together is a great way to soften the issue of time commitment.
  2. Total Expense: Buying all of the elements one will need to put a decent scrapbook together could be overwhelming. While a pre-made scrapbook has some cost involved, they could be looking at a much smaller  drain on their wallet buy investing in a complete  pre-made kit. Buying individual items can easily be more costly–especially when the crafter has to include all the supplies and tools they may need to use. If beginning scrapbooker really think they’re going to jump into scrapbook crafting with both feet, then maybe doing a pre-made book is a waste of time and mone–go get the necessary tools and supplies and jumb in.
  3. Creativity: The newbie to scrapbook crafting may feel overwhelmed with getting started in this paper craft craze. There may be some hesitation because they feel they lack the creativity they see in others who are more experienced and practiced in the craft. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Everyone has some measure of creativity. Besides, these are for and about the creator of the scrapbook. All of that having been said, getting started for the first time can be a challenge. They may want to consider pre-made scrapbooks as “training wheels.”They’ll be able to become involved in the process without all the issues noted above. This way they will see how it’s done, and hopefully get a feel for whether or not this is something they want to get involved with in a bigger way.

Whether you get involved in the scrapbook family of crafters or not is a question only you can answer. The point being made here is that you have the option to be involved in the craft at a low level of cost, time and having to rack your brain for creative things to produce.

Another advantage of some of these pre-made scrapbooks is that in those kits that require some assembly they come with examples or instructions to follow. These kits can come with easy to use pre-printed photos mats on the page. All the person has to do is put their photographs in the right places.

Even the well healed scrapbook crafter may find a pre-made book the way to go for a particular theme, or because of time constraints–someone asks you to produce a book on short notice for them. Pre-made books can also be a nice gift, and are not necessarily difficult to construct.

There are some disadvantages to these books, however. The biggest one is being locked into a defined or limited set of themes available and what the kit provides. What ever the kit offers is what you have to work with. There is little room for you to modify the book–things like the number of pages, the number of photos you can use, etc. So they aren’t perfect, but they answer the needs for many would be crafters for the reasons noted above.


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Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook Pages

tips and tricks graphic Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook Pages

Helpful Scrapbook Tips and Tricks

Whether you are a novice or a well experienced scrapbook creator, we all look for new ideas and helps to get our precious masterpieces completed. We want to do them with ease . . . yet be as elegant or thoughtful as possible.  Making scrapbooking as fun as possible will help us want to craft more pages. Each new tip or trick we learn will bring variance and increased skill to our task. Our artistic ability will be enhanced as we learn new ways of doing things. We can learn from others tons of things to make our efforts easier and richer. Scrapbook artistry comes differently to each one of us. Our creations, however, are as individual as we are. If the page tells your story then you have been successful. Even our mistakes can be seen as an amazing touch. Still, there is always room for improvement. We can, and should, learn from others when we can. Here are 10 tricks and tips to help you in your scrapbook crafting.

The tricks and tips noted below are not presented in any order of priority. They are presented simply as helps to you in your scrapbook crafting.

1. Let each page tell its own story. 

 layout sketch2 150x108 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesAs you layout your page, consider the story you are hoping to tell. Each picture you use should add to the story. Layout the page in such a way as to make the story flow from the top to the bottom. Be sure to add the right comments, titles and embellishments to focus your page on your story. Even though you may be conveying a story over several pages, make each page a separate chapter in your book or story.

2. Organize your page before you glue things down.

glue arts logo Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesOnce you glue things down, and then you have a change of mind, getting them off can be tricky. In the process of removal, you could damage your page. So, with this though in mind THINK BEFORE YOU GLUE!!! You may want to use a moveable adhesive until you are sure where things really are going to go. Stickers can be a real problem. Don’t remove the backing that exposes the adhesive until you are sure of its placement. Stamping can also be a challenge. If you use a stamp, try stamping on a scrap piece of paper first, cut the stamp out and place it where you want it to go. Once you’ve found the right spot, you can do the stamp for real. Another way to use the stamp, would be to use a solvent ink on some plastic–clear inserts and packaging can work too.

3. Use themed paper when making cards.

greeting card Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesCreating your own personal cards adds a little something extra, a special touch for the receiver of your card. The nice thing about themed paper is having the paper say something about the occasion for the card. These cards are much more appreciated than commercial cards because the recipient knows your own personal effort and touch went into its making. You can layer the cards, or add pockets to put money or gift cards inside. This is where the saying, “It’s the thought that counts,” really comes to life.

4. Don’t throw away those scraps!

scrap odd and ends 150x150 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesAfter every paper crafting project there are scraps. The “round file” is home to many of them. The prudent and frugal scrapbooker would do well to collect them and put them away for use on another project. There are several reasons you would want to save your leftover scraps. Saving money would certainly rank at the top of the heap. Who knows what creative opportunities may come as you begin work on some future project that paper scraps, odd embellishments, etc. may be just the thing you need to complete your page. Those kits we often buy may have several elements we don’t use for a specific project. Try the challenge to create a page using only scraps . . . will the creative juices begin to flow then?

5. Move things around your layout before you make them permanent.

layout sketch 150x150 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesHaving a hand drawn rough layout can often speed the process of putting your scrapbook pages together. Even after you have been skilled at laying out pages, you can often see changes as they actually develop on your card-stock. Moving things around a bit may put things in their right place as you visualize them. Do this before you put adhesive to them and make your choice permanent. Undoing a misplaced item may be difficult to undo. Before you put glue to your items, take the time to do a dry run. Even if you follow the original design you sketched, you’ll be happy you didn’t glue them down as you placed them. If you find you need to keep something in a particular space while you construct your page use a bit of tape that can be removed when you are ready to make things more permanent. Also, you can use moveable adhesives, but keeping things dry makes the most sense until you’re ready to glue everything in place.

6. The Rule of Odd Numbers.

odd number of scrapbook items1 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesAs you create your scrapbook pages remember the artistic rule of odd numbers. 3′s, 5′s and the occasional 7 work best as you select your photos for each page and the embellishments. This may possibly mean having to do more than one page because you have more pictures, or the one’s you’ve selected create an even number on your page. This practice is equally true of the embellishments you use. While this is an artistic rule, this is not a rule that you can’t break from time to time. The object here is to not let even numbers be your rule, but odd numbers.

7. Create mini-scrapbooks with a hole punch and some ribbon.

coner ribbon bound mini scrapbook1 150x150 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesSometimes bigger is not better. For a variety of reasons you may not want a full sized scrapbook. Maybe the subject your are scrapping is small and limited in the amount of pictures you have. Perhaps the object of your creation is structured around a simple yet important activity, event or special person. In that case, you may want to craft a small book. You can do this by using a single hole punch in the corner and threading a piece of string, yarn or ribbon through the hole. Finish the decorative binding with a secure knot and a nice bow.  If you want to, you can do two holes along the binding side so that the pages leaf open like a regular book. You could also put the holes and fasteners at the top of your booklet. Folding over a sheet of card-stock and adding additional pages secured with holes on the binding side with the string, yarn or ribbon make an elegant touch. You may want to reinforce the holes, but no ring is needed.

8. Improvise when you have to.

improvised letters 150x150 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesThings are going great on your latest project. All of a sudden you realize you are short a letter or two to complete this page. What do you do? You could go to your favorite paper craft store, or if it’s too late to do that, you could do a bit of imaginative improvising. Let’s say you need another “E” or two. The number “3″ could be the right improvising solution by turning it around. How ’bout an upside down “h” in place of a missing “y”? If your page isn’t really too formal, you could create a letter from scraps as well, or just pen one in.

9. Switch things around a bit. Make them different.

paper layering 150x150 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesConsider switching things around a bit to create a different look with the same materials. Try layering colors or papers. This can add depth and a new character to your scrapbook project. Try cutting your paper with decorative scissors, or use different shapes to change the look. You could use the “tearing technique” to give a completely different feel to the paper.

10. Stretch the scrapbook kits you buy.

scrapbook themed kit 150x150 Tips and Tricks for Scrapbook PagesWhen you purchase a scrapbook kit for one of your projects, you may find there are some pieces that you don’t plan to use. That doesn’t mean those leftover pieces should go to waste. Look at them as elements for other projects you may be planning to work on. In fact, you may buy a kit to get just one or two pieces from it and there are many pieces left over. Keeping items you don’t need for one project may be just the right pieces for another. Besides, think of the cost savings that go along with making the maximum use of the things you buy for your scrapbook crafting. A penny saved is a penny earned.

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Ron on February 7th, 2013 | File Under Basics, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Themes For Scrapbook Pages

Every Scrapbook Has A Theme or Topic of Focus

page title Themes For Scrapbook Pages

One of the first tasks you must under take when constructing your scrapbook and its pages is selecting themes.   A theme designates what your scrapbook or pages is all about.  As you contemplate this task, consider these elements: 1) What is the overall purpose of the scrapbook? 2) Who is the scrapbook for–who will be viewing the book? and 3) What and who should the book be about?

The process of selecting a theme, topic or premise of your work will often take place as you sort through your photographs.  Groups of photos with similar focus or attention may be your starting point.  Or, you could decide on a subject or idea, and then look to see if you have sufficient snap shots to create a page or pages.  Sometimes this process just happens in a normal sort of way . . . other times you have to do some thinking and projecting to find a theme to use.  For the most part, the pictures will do the talking.

You don’t have to be constrained to the pre-packaged theme kits you can buy at your local craft store, although doing so might be a good first start.  Unfortunately, they are limited in scope and what your particular needs may be.  That means you need to be creative . . . designing your own.

Here are some general themes to help you get going.  This is not a comprehensive list.  As noted above, your stock of pictures will do more to direct you to the specific and special themes you will want to use, but these ideas will help–especially the beginner:

  • Heritage/Family – This can be a general–all inclusive–theme, or you can break it down to correspond to your family tree. Further breakdowns could zero in on single individuals: parent(s), sibling(s), child(ren), etc.
  • Travel – You could arrange books and pages in a chronological order, or by specific locations or areas visited.
  • Holidays/Special Occasions - Again, you could arrange books and pages by the specific Holiday or Special Occasion, or chronologically.
  • Birthdays – You could do them by individual or by month (especially when there may be several birthdays in a month for different family members).
  • Graduations/School Promotions – These could be for each individual event, or inclusive of several events per individual, i.e.  promotion from elementary to middle or junior high school, promotion to high school, graduation from high school, college or technical/applied school, etc.
  • Anniversaries
  • Reunions – Family, school or other group gatherings.  These could be created for each reunion gathering, or in some chronological order.
  • Pets – Nearly all of the opportunities that apply to humans could also be subjects for pets and animals.
  • Seasons – This broad topic could incorporate many of the titles noted above.
  • Hobbies or Special Events – Occasionally we have unique or special things that happen in our lives we want to capture.  We may want to capture highlights of our personal interest and hobbies.

This list could easily go on, but the intent here is to give you some ideas to get going.  Your own needs and imagination will be the best guide.  There are not hard and fast rules here.  Do what you feel makes the most sense as you tell your stories in your scrapbooks and scrapbook pages.

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Ron on May 25th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized | No Comments -

Easy Steps To Starting A Scrapbook

A Scrapbook Beginner’s First Challenge:
Where To Get Started?

Okay, you have a bunch of photographs . . . some old and some new.  You feel this sudden urge to put them all in a scrapbook.  Then comes the age old question for novice scrapbook crafters, “Where do I begin?”  As a newbie to the craft you want to keep things as simple as possible in the beginning.  Here are some simple ideas and helps to get things “kick-started.”  These suggestions, while simple in concept, will require some time and thought.  What you need to do first is create a plan and follow it.

Be sure to check our Alpha Listing above to find specific articles that address these concepts individually and in more detail.

Organize Your Photographs


photo sorting box Easy Steps To Starting A Scrapbook
Photo Courtesy of
Creative Memories

Your goal or focus here is to select and organize your photographs into groupings that have some similarity:  scenes, people, things, etc.  You need to know what you have to work with.  If you have any sizable amount of photos this task can take some time.  How you organize them is really up to you.

To help you in this process, have containers you can put each category or grouping into and put a note or label with them so you know what they are.  This will help you a great deal as you engage in creating your pages and books.  The more definitive you make your categories or groupings the easier things will be in selecting themes or a focus–whether for a page or for an entire scrapbook.  Remember, however, the more you defined your groups or categories are to be, the more time it will take you.

Select Themes For Your Scrapbooks and Scrapbook Pages

topper 1 Easy Steps To Starting A Scrapbooktopper 2 Easy Steps To Starting A ScrapbookOnce your photographs have been organized you need to consider the themes, title or topper you want to scrap your book or pages to.  Some themes will be immediately recognizable from the pictures themselves, others may take a bit of thought and creativity.

topper 3 Easy Steps To Starting A ScrapbookStart with the theme of your scrapbook first.  Next you may need to break your book into sections if you are using more than one defined theme:  vacations may include more than one, or events, or holidays, etc.  Lastly, identify themes for individual pages.


Plan Your Scrapbook Book and Page Layouts

sketched scrapbook layout title Easy Steps To Starting A ScrapbookWith your photographs organized and you’ve selected appropriate themes for your book and pages, you can now focus on the general layout of them as you would like them to appear.

layout sketch2 Easy Steps To Starting A ScrapbookHand sketch is the easiest way to get a general view of how you would like your book and pages to look.  In the case of the book, you simply need to determine if you are going to combine themes or make a single themed book.  If you choose to make a multi-themed book you’ll need to insert some dividers to denote the changed theme or focus.  For pages, you want to denote where the pictures will be placed, where your journal entries will be placed, and where your embellishments should go.

embellishment wedding theme Easy Steps To Starting A ScrapbookEmbellishments need to be considered that work with your theme, the paper and your photographs.  Used just enough to add interest and attention to your page.  Don’t be garish or over due them.

journaling Easy Steps To Starting A ScrapbookJournaling is essential to each page, because viewers may not recognize individuals, places and things as you would.  Jot down on paper what you feel is important to say about these elements.



At least now you have some idea of what it takes to get going on your own scrapbook project.  Scrapbooks are not a “happening” but are a “process.”  You will surely spend more time and effort learning more of the details and methods of creating your masterpieces.  Good Luck, and Get Going!!!

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Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Embellishment

Without the benefit of embellishment, personal cards and scrapbook pages would generally be passe or unattractive–plain.   So, with a little attention to or flourish of embellishment you can turn an otherwise bland looking card or scrapbook page into something of interest with elegance or pizazz.

As each scrapbook and personal card is crafted careful attention is placed on the amount and type of embellishment used.  Judicious care should be directed in the construction of your project.  Consider the gathering of photographs focused on your theme or subject; identify a focus or specific theme for your project; make a careful selection of the colors you plan to use;  the appropriate paper or card stock to be used should be ordered around your theme and color scheme.  Lastly, direct your attention to the types and quantity of embellishments you feel you need to complete your page or card.

When selecting your embellishments take into account these three elements:  1) Can I make it myself, or do I have to purchase it?  2) Is there an item I can use that has another purpose, but would work well for my project?  3) What embellishment best meets my need that has been produced for that purpose?

When selecting things that you make or has been manufactured for another purpose, be sensitive to the item’s thickness.  As a general rule, try not to use things thicker than a 1/4″.  Eliminate pointed aspects of the item to keep them from harming your page or card–poking holes in them.  Standing your completed scrapbooks up will help keep unwanted weight from becoming a damaging agent.

Also, be aware that things made for another purpose may be harmful to your project because of acid or lignin.  These selected items need to be neutralized wrapping them in plastic or putting them in small plastic bags will help.

The first rule in the use of embellishments is:  “a little goes a long way.”  Over use of embellishments can cause clutter, create a page or card that looks too busy or garish.  Keep in mind the photo is the prime element of scrapbooks, and the statement or quote is most important for a card . . . everything else should help accentuate them.

Below are some embellishments you may want to consider. This is not a comprehensive list, but one to get your creative mind going. They are not listed in any order of priority:

brads1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Brads

Brads come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. They can easily add a touch of elegance to pages and cards. They are easy to apply. Brads are often used to attach other items to your cards and pages as well as for their pure decorative value. See article on “Brads” for more helpful information.

buttons shapes1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Buttons
(and sewing notions) 

Buttons need no introduction. We all use them–mostly for clothing–each and every day. Given the vast array of variety, sizes and colors available, they make a great addition to scrapbook pages and cards. See article on “Buttons” for more helpful information.

chalk pastels1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Chalk
(or Pastels) 

What a great way to add color, texture and some depth to your paper projects. They can be used as accent or shading to die-cuts and letters. Chalk can liven up otherwise dull looking elements. One thing to be aware of when using chalk is that it can be messy. Be sure to use a clean area, and be sure to clean the area thoroughly after use or you’ll add chalk to other projects where you may not have wanted it. See article on “Chalk” for more helpful information.

charms scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Charms

Charms like buttons and brads can add variety and interest to your cards and scrapbook pages. These little tidbits come in a vast array of subject material–finding one that meet a theme can be just the ticket you need to say something or add emphasis.

Charms are small machine pressed imprints of items. Some are painted to add detail or emphasis. Most have a small hole so they can be attached to bracelets or necklaces, but today, many are produce exclusively for the paper crafter.

Charms can be attached to your project with glue dots, or maybe a brad, or stitched . . . to this end you can be a bit creative.

Like the warning giving so often when adding things to a scrapbook page, be sure the item is acid free–doesn’t have sharp points or edges which could damage your pages. Take the necessary precautions to protect your project from these potential problems.

Loveland Die cut Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Die-cuts

If you want a quick infusion of interest and focus on your card or scrapbook page you should use die-cuts. Die-cuts are available in thematic packets, individually or you can have your own cut at your favorite scrapbook store. For those who are believers in the value of die-cuts, and who have the capital resource, will be investors in a personal die-cut machine. There are several different models in various price ranges available to the paper crafter.

Die-cuts can be made from various materials–mostly card stock–but there are other mediums you can use.

eyelets decorative Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Eyelets

Eyelets are little rings generally made from metal provide both a visual touch on their own, or can be used as holes to thread other material such as yarn or ribbon through. Eyelets come in the colors of the metals they are made from (typically aluminum or brass), or they may be color coated. These decorative facets can also be used to attach other elements to personal cards and scrapbook pages. Eyelets do need to be set and may require the use of a setter to bend the flanges back to secure them to your project.

scraps of fabric Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Fabric

Fabric, like buttons, is something you see every day. Using fabric with your personal cards and scrapbooks can add texture, dimension, focus, elegance and warmth to name a few attributes. The only additional tools needed to work with fabric are spray adhesive or iron-on transfer paper and scissors or pinking shears (to help keep ends from fraying).

What fabrics can you use? Try denim, satin, corduroy, twill, linen, tulle, burlap, leather, cotton in a myriad of patterns. You can attach your fabric with eyelets, brads, stitching, spray adhesive or iron-on transfer paper. With shear or transparent fabric you may have to experiment on attaching to your projects, but spray adhesive may be your best bet.

What can you do with fabric to spice up your scrapbook pages and personal cards? Consider sewing items on your fabric; Use iron on transfers to add a touch of something to your fabric, or in place of putting it through your printer; tear sections into strips; use them as photo corners; add words–stencils, hand written, rub-ons, stamp or print; use fabric as a stencil backing that can be seen through cut out openings; you can stamp or paint images or lettering on the fabric; make die-cut or punched images or create your own tags. These are just a few ideas to help you consider ways to use fabric.

Fabric will give you a means of adding several elements to your pages and cards. Your own creativity will be a big boost to your finished products.

fibers scrapbook1 Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Fiber

Fibers, like fabric and buttons, can provide you with an added dimension to your cards and pages. They are varied and versatile. Consider yarns, string, waxy flax or linen, embroidery thread, fancy fibers, cording, etc. The various colors and textures of these fibers will add utility and dimension to any paper craft project. Fibers can be single strands from wide woven fabric.

What are some of the ways you can use fibers in your scrapbook and card projects? Consider using them as borders on photos and other embellishments; as a means of creating a dangling effect–like hanging charms;
stitching around items or attaching other embellishments; sew on fancy buttons, or add beads and sequins threaded on fiber; make decorative bows; lace through pre-punched holes. Fibers can be affixed to your projects by stitching, weaving, wrapped around eyelets and brads, and with adhesive or glue dots. Any way you use fiber you will find a fun and easy way to add texture and interest to your scrapbook and cards.

silk flowers Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Flowers

Flowers are such a natural addition that can add a touch of elegance to any scrapbook or card project. The first impression would be to use real flowers. They are delicate and will dry out. Dried flowers are even more delicate, and will require some extra care and attention when using them. Putting them in plastic will help keep any material that may break-off from going all over your page or book. Also, the plastic will help eliminate the worry about damage to your pages from the lignin which plants are made of. Use flowers wisely.

When project’s layout calls for flowers you may want to consider using silk ones. Silk flowers will get rid of most of the problems noted above.

You may also want to consider paper flowers. They can be purchased or you can make your own.

washers hardware store items Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Hardware Store Things

The hardware store has a lot of “non-traditional” things you could use in your card and scrapbook layouts. Consider sandpaper to give the appearance of sand. Washers–painted or plain–offer a variety of uses where circles may be needed. Wire or plastic mess or screening. Plastic electrical tape in various colors. Wire–steel, aluminum or copper–coated or uncoated. These suggestions should get your creative mind going . . . hardware stores have a lot to offer in this non-traditional effort.

metal sheets decorative Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Metal

Be sure to take advantage of metal in your card and scrapbook layouts. Metal can be in many different forms from sheets: aluminum foil, steel, copper are the most common, but others can be used. There are many high quality die-cast embellishments you can purchase through your favorite scrapbook outlet.

When using metal sheets, be aware that thin sheets can be torn . . . while thicker sheets can be sharp or too heavy if you use too much. Where the material is sharp you may consider bending over the edges or sanding them with emery cloth.

paper clips decorative Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Office Supplies

When cost is a serious consideration, you may want to check out your local office supply store. These outlets have a number of items you could use in your card and scrapbook efforts. Things like: paper clips–including colors and various sizes; staples (in colors); address labels–self adhesive and in different sizes (great for journal entries); tags–in various sizes; brads; small envelopes (make great pockets).

crepe paper ruffled Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Paper

One of the most versatile elements you can use for embellishing your scrapbook pages and personal cards is paper. Paper comes in many different weights (thickness); textures and certainly colors. Consider crape paper, tissue paper, corrugated paper (cardboard), card stock, etc. Add a pair of scissors or a die-cutter and you have an almost limitless array of opportunities–along with your own creative juices. You can cut, tear, shred, color, layer, etc. paper to give you unique pieces to add to your pages and cards. You can layer paper or add shading with paper. Let your creative imagination go wild!

scrapbook punches Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Punches

Punches are simply single purpose small die-cuts. They come in a wide array of shapes–some are big, some smaller. Punches can be used for borders or as free standing elements. Small scraps of paper that otherwise might be thrown away can be used to make cut-outs.

Punches can be used two ways: 1) from the punched out piece being affixed to your card or page; 2) the punched out design in the page or card (add a color backing for an additional affect). See article on “Scrapbooking Punches” for more information.

ribbon dispenser Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Ribbon

Ribbon can be used in a number of different ways–similar to those for fiber noted above. The finished nature of ribbon can give a little touch of elegance to your project. The right type and color of ribbon can equally give a more masculine look. An extra wide ribbon can be punched for the benefits noted in the “punches” ideas–either for the punched item or for the punched hole affect.

rub on Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Rub-ons

Rub-on or transfers as they are sometimes referred to are similar to stickers. They started out as alphabet transfers; phrases came next, and graphic designs were added. So now rub-ons come in a wide array of choices for varied uses in your scrapbook and personal card creations.

The prime differences are in their application and permanency. Rub-ons are hard to remove once you’ve applied them to your project–covering them with something else is a good way to hide a rub-on mistake. Like stickers, rub-ons have an adhesive backing, but are applied by rubbing over the item with a stylus (a Popsicle stick is ofter used as the stylus). They can be used on most any clean flat surface . . . textured surfaces may cause distortion to the look of the transfer.

Rub-ons (alphabetical and word phrases) are often used for page titles, or in place of hand written journal entries. Don’t be shy in trying something new. They are a great help to scrappers who take the time to used them, and they’re not overly expensive compared to other embellishments.

To help eliminate errors from rubbing a part of an unwanted transfer from a sheet (usually how they are produced), before transferring, cut the desired item from the sheet–ensuring both the backing and overlay are cut at the same time. Then rub-on the individual item to your project.

rubber stamp collage Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamps are another of the very versatile tools available to scrapbook and personal card crafters to help provide exciting embellishments. Crafters can purchase ready made stamps in a wide variety of designs, or you can have personally designed stamps fabricated for your use.

Using rubber stamps is easy. Simply load or our rubber stamp with a thin layer of ink or Acrylic paint (the most preferred medium now) using a foam paintbrush (or a clean make-up sponge). Inks come in a wide broad range of colors. Stamp pads are not the preferred method because you don’t often get a fully loaded or covered stamp. A poorly layered stamp will provide a poor result–one lacking detail and clarity. Once the stamp is adequately inked press the stamp straight down on your project with firm even pressure, and lift straight up after the impression has been affixed to your page or card. Rocking your stamp as you lift it off will give the stamp a slight distressed look–you may want that.

After each use be sure to thoroughly clean your stamp pad. This allows you to use your stamp with new colors and with out ink build-up which can cause poor future impression and add color you may not want on other impressions. See article on “Basics of Rubber Stamping” for more helpful information.

stitching scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Stitching

Stitching is a fantastic way to add a special look to your cards and scrapbook pages. Crafters can hand stitch their projects or use a craft sewing machine.

Stitching can be done with thread, embroidery thread, waxy flax, fancy fibers and ribbon (small sizes usually). Hand stitching may require pre-punching or piercing your project to allow the fiber material to be sewn. Stitching is most often used to border or outline other elements. It can also be used to attach items to your pages and cards. See article on “Hand Stitching Scrapbook Pages” for more helpful information and“Machine Stitching Scrapbook Pages”

stickers scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Stickers

Stickers have become one of the favorite embellishments for paper crafters. They are readily available in a myriad of colors, shapes and sizes. If you needed to, you could create your own, but their is a probably a commercially produced one already available. Stickers come in sheets, rolls and individually. Using stickers is a simple as finding the sticker you want or need peeling it from its backing and placing it where you want it on your project. Most stickers are forgiving and will allow you to lift and replace them as needed. Their versatility of use only requires a bit of a creative mind. See article on “A Scrapbook Sticker Technique To Use” for more helpful information.

tags scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Tags

Tags are a draw from shipping tags found at the office supply store. Tags can be found in many shapes and sizes. They can be hand made–best with the help of a template, or purchased from your local paper-craft store. Scrapbook crafters have a number of innovative ways to used them.

Here are a few suggestions: As a photo mat if the tag is large enough for the photo; One of the most used ideas is as a journal medium–including stuffing them in a pocket as a hidden journal note; As a title with the addition of other embellishments; When arranged properly they can be a unique border to a page or an element on a page; Use them as a quote caption; Mini-scrapbooks could be made from them; For the card makers in the crowd, you could create a personal card from a tag. See article on “Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Tags” for more information.

template scrapbook Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Templates

Templates are a useful tool when creating your scrapbook pages or personal cards. The template is a “blueprint” for what you want your page to look like, and how the page is laid out. They are a guide to follow. You can make your own template or utilize the designs created by others.

Templates are also useful in making elements for your project–tags, photo frames, embellishments, cards, etc. These templates help you follow a pattern to make your item. Each succeeding items created from your template should be identical.

chipboard naked Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Embellishment Wood/Chipboard

Chipboard and pressed wood are useful in scrapbook designs because they are thicker material and present a nice dimensional look. Most often you find these items already die-cut and ready to use. Some tags come ready to use with adhesive already on their backs. Another nice feature about them is they can be larger in size because of their thickness. They are durable and less flexible.

Wood and chipboard that has not been produced with a design–called “naked”–can be made into most anything you would like. They can be die-cut, but require equipment designed to handle these thicker pieces. You can paint or cover them in many different material. They can be attached with glue, large stapes, brads and eyelets. Chipboard and wood present a great way to expand your embellishing efforts. For information on die cut machines see article on “Scrapbook Die Machine – Cut and Embossing” for more information.

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Ron on May 11th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Ideas, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbooking Techniques – Chalk

chalk scrapbook Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   Chalk

chalklets Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   Chalk

There are a number of ways to add a bit of color to your scrapbook and personal card projects–chalk happens to be one of them.  The nice thing about chalk is you can add a little splash of color just about anywhere on your layout.

chalk pastels Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   ChalkChalk comes in a wide variety of colors which are often called pastels.  Chalk affords you the opportunity to create delicate accents with a touch of color.  Shading, tinting and aging a layout can be assisted with the use of chalk.

clean workspace Simple Scrapbooking Techniques   ChalkWhen using chalk remember chalk dust can and will attach to most everything.  This caution is not meant to have you avoid using chalk, no, you need to be aware of the nature of chalk to make it a plus for you.  Be sure to use a clean area for applying your colors, and take the extra time to clean your work area after using chalk so the prior project’s chalk doesn’t get on your next page or card project.

Before you go gung-ho with chalk, you may want to make some tests on different scrapbook and card materials: vellum, card stock, photos, etc.  This will give you experience on using chalk, and allow you to see the effect chalk can provide.

For more information on using chalk on your scrapbook and personal card projects, check out these other two articles:

Chalk It Up
Chalking Techniques and Tips

Enjoy this fun and useful scrapbook technique.  Add a little touch of color or elegance to your paper craft projects.

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Ron on April 17th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Buttons

buttons general Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Buttonsbuttons chipboard Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Buttonsbuttons shapes Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Buttons

Even though buttons are one of the most universally familiar objects we see each and every day–buttons on shirts, coats, blouses, dresses, etc.–who would give serious thought to using them in scrapbook and card making efforts.  They have become one of the favored embellishments.

Buttons are simple, easy to attached, versatile and relatively inexpensive.  With a little effort and a creative view you can add new dimensions to your cards and scrapbook pages.  Buttons allow you to add color, shape, texture and accent to any project.  Buttons come in a myriad of sizes, shapes and designs, and a world of colors.

button bellishment Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsButtons can add visual enhancement to your pages and cards.  They can be useful in anchoring other objects–embellishments such as photos, tags or journal cards to your layouts–in-addition to adding color (either in harmony or as a contrast) to your projects theme.

They are lightweight and generally durable.  Buttons can be cloth covered to add a touch of elegance where needed, or soften a page or card.  Metal buttons give an appearance of strength.

button shank removal Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsWhen using buttons on your scrapbook projects you need to be sure they are acid free.  Also, flat back buttons work best.  You may need to remove any shank on the back of a button (not manufactured specifically for crafting) by nipping or sanding the shank.  This is especially important if you are using buttons meant primarily for clothing.

Attaching buttons is relatively easy.  Simply place an adhesive or glue dot on the back of the button and place the button where you desire.

button needle yarn Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsButtons can be hand sewn with thread, yarn, string or floss.  Use a needle with an eye large enough to accommodate your stitching material, and one that will go through the holes in the button.  If you prefer attaching your buttons with adhesive, but want a faux stitched look, simply put your stitching material through the holes and affix the end to the back of the button with an adhesive which may also be used to attach your button to your scrapbook page or card.

button placement layout Simple Scrapbook Techniques   ButtonsButtons can be used individually on your projects.  When grouping buttons for effect–color enhancement, etc.  be sure to use odd numbers in the grouping (3, 5, 7 etc.).  Don’t go overboard–a little goes a long ways, but use what you feel you need.

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Ron on April 16th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -

Simple Scrapbook Techniques – Brads

brads Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Brads

Most scrapbook and card crafters will easily identify with brads. These versatile implements have been around for a long time.  Brass brads have been used by students for ions of time as the fastener of theme papers and reports.  Today they have been transformed into a very useful art object which paper crafters use in a variety of ways.

In addition to being used to affix items to your cards and scrapbook pages, you can use them to embellish your projects.  While the most common brad is a basic round shape, today these time honored little fasteners are being produced in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes.  Your use of them is only limited by your imagination.

flower with brad center Simple Scrapbook Techniques   Bradsdecorative brads Simple Scrapbook Techniques   BradsYou will see them used as the center of flowers–for decoration and as an attaching element for your flower–dual purpose use.  The more decorative brads can be used on your projects to give either a simple touch of accent, or to affix something else to your page or card.

Brads are extremely beneficial to scrapbook and card crafters because of their versatility and their relative low cost.  Saving money lets you do more of your creative projects.  The fact that they are easy to use, and require no special tools, make them a great tool or decoration to have on hand.

brad tool Simple Scrapbook Techniques   BradsPhoto Courtesy of
We R Memory Keepers

To use a brad is a simple process.  First, make a small hole in your paper or card (use a small pointed object like a pin, nail or paper piercer–but don’t make the hole too big), and anything you may be attaching.  Next, the brad has two prongs on its backside.  Make sure these prongs are together and insert them through the hole(s) you have just made.  Next, with the brad inserted in your whole you can then splay or flare the prongs out flat against your project like a butterfly securing them–and anything you may be attaching.    To keep the prongs flared out and the position of the brad constant simply place a strip of tape over the splayed prongs–which should be on the reverse side of your project.  There you have it.

Now you have another useful and decorative tool in your crafting tool bag!

With brads you have a versatile and easy way to enhance pages and cards as well at attaching other embellishments.  They help you expand your creative capabilities.

If you’re not currently using brads in your scrapbook page and personal card creations, you may want to invest a little money and some time to give them a try.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Ron on April 15th, 2011 | File Under Basics, Cards and Invitations, Helpful Products, Scrapbooking | No Comments -