Affordable Scrapbooking
Creative ways to save and share your family history.
Scrapbook Savings
Q. I'd love to start scrapbooking, but everything seems so expensive. How can I keep it affordable?

A. With all the fun and fabulous scrapping products out there, this hobby easily can bust your budget. According to Simply Scrapbooking, scrappers spend more than $25 a month on their habit, and a typical album has $1,500 worth of supplies. But you don't have to cash out your 401(k) to preserve your family's memories. Here's how to reign in your scrapbook spending:

  • Focus on what's really important—safely preserving your photos, memorabilia and the stories that go with them. You need only a few basics: an archival-quality album, a black pigment-ink pen, photo-safe adhesive and photo corners. Embellishing your pages is fun, but it's secondary.

  • Cultivate a simple, elegant scrapbooking style. For inspiration, see the streamlined layouts in Budget Scrapbooking (Memory Makers Books, $19.99), available from You'll also get great ideas for decorating your pages on a shoestring.

  • If your creative impulses compel you to embellish, keep careful track of your purchases. Then prioritize: If you love rubber stamps, put most of your money there and buy fewer papers and stickers.

  • Download free fonts from Web sites such as and Find clip art by typing free clip art plus a theme (fishing, baseball, vintage) into an Internet search engine such as Google

  • Instead of buying pre-made page titles or letter stickers, check out a book such as The Best of Memory Makers Scrapbook Lettering (Memory Makers Books, $19.99) and make your own titles. If your printer has fade-resistant, waterproof ink, create titles using a word processing program. (In Microsoft Word, go to Insert>Picture>Word Art).

  • Add pizzazz with waterproof, fade-resistant colored pens—a good investment you can use over and over again. Use fine-tip pens for journaling and decorative pen work, and larger tips for titles.
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