Preserving Memories: Lettered Titles, Archival Mist, Embellishments and Photo Display Ideas

By Diane Haddad Premium


You, too, can have beautifully lettered titles in your scrapbooks. Follow these easy steps:

  1. First create the title on scrap paper, using a guide of two parallel lines placed as far apart as the letters are high. Add a straight dashed line between them for lowercase letters and crossbars. Add slanting lines if the letters slant. Mark a vertical line at the center of the guide.
  2. To center the title, count the letters and spaces. If it’s an odd number, place the middle letter on the center line. If it’s an even number, place the center line between the middle letters. Trace or draw the letters from the middle forward, then from the middle backward.
  3. To create your own lettering, draw stick letters on your guide. Widen them and embellish with serifs, scrolls or flourishes. Try enlarging the first letter and adding dots or a rose vine — let your imagination go!
  4. Check and double-check the spelling.
  5. When you’re happy with what you’ve got, trace the title onto tracing paper. Place the tracing on the scrapbook page, slip transfer paper (available at craft stores) beneath it, and retrace the lines with a stylus or dried-out ballpoint pen.

Abolish Acid

If worries about acid content keep newspaper clippings, certificates and other mementos out of your memory album, rest easy with Archival Mist. It’s a nontoxic, odorless spray that neutralizes acid without harming documents, wetting them, or causing ink to run. Although it’s not intended for photos, it’s safe to use on materials such as mats that come into contact with them. One 5.3-ounce bottle covers at least 25 square feet of paper keepsakes (typically, 300 clippings) and costs approximately $40 per bottle. For more information, call Preservation Technologies at (800) 416-2665 or go to <> on the Web.

Journaling Magic

If you’ve ever fretted over a sloping paragraph in your scrapbook, Journaling Genie laser-cut templates are for you. Use a pencil to trace the lines on paper, write your thoughts in ink, and erase the pencil lines. Ten themed templates let you journal in shapes such as a heart, baby bottle and spirals. There’s even one for creating arched, straight or around-the-corner titles. Journaling Genies retail for $4.99 each. Check craft stores or for more information call Chatterbox, Inc. at (888) 272-3010.


Do your scrapbooks suffer from cluttered-page syndrome? You know, the awkward arrangement, mismatched colors and overcrowding that detract from even your best photos? One way to conquer the clutter is with a focal point that guides the eye to the most important part of the page — a favorite photo, a child’s drawing, or whatever you choose. This is the “star” of the page. Think of other photos and mementos as supporting actors, and die-cuts, stickers and lettering as extras.

To make sure nothing outshines your star, keep these tips in mind:

1. Use subtle background paper and keep lettering simple.

2. Crop the starring item larger than the others and mat or frame it for emphasis.

3. Resist the temptation to crowd as many photos, clippings and decorations as possible onto a page. Call it a good excuse to create more pages!

4. Borrow a technique from the fine-art world: Mentally divide the page into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Place the “star” anywhere the imaginary lines intersect.

5. If the subjects of a photo are looking to the side, place the photo so they face the center of the page rather than the edge.

Get Into Shape

Crop photos into your favorite shapes with one tool — without tracing on your photos or risking scissors slip-ups. The Ovals & More Cutter cuts photos into more than 70 shapes, including: oval; circle; “country” heart; square, triangle, diamond and pentagon (all with rounded corners); and a teardrop and rounded-corner rectangle. The starter kit, which includes the cutter and cams for the oval and circle, costs $79.99. For more information, call Lighthouse Memories, (909) 429-9288.

Wanting “more”

Looking for inspiration? More than Memories II, edited by Julie Stephani, is a companion to the PBS series of the same name. The 128-page book goes beyond scrapbooking to suggest more creative ideas for preserving and displaying treasured family photos. It covers the basics — supplies, page layouts, journaling — plus embellishments such as photo tinting, pop-up pages and stenciling. Color photos and step-by-step instructions with supply lists explain more than 125 heirloom projects, including scrap-book pages, cards, frames and even a ribbon-embroidered photo pillow. Beginning and veteran scrapbookers alike will refer to More Than Memories II again and again for how-tos and ideas. Suggested retail price is $16.95. For more information or to order, call Krause Publications, (800) 258-0929, or visit <> on the Web.


You probably have a stack (or maybe a stack of boxes) of extra photos that haven’t gone into albums or frames.

Here are some ideas to rescue them from your closet:

• Create a photo display under a glass tabletop.

• Make a mini-scrapbook as a gift for someone special.

• Create personalized holiday cards.

• Send them to grandparents for their scrapbooks.

• Let your kids make their own scrapbooks.

• Make a collage, or cut photos into same-size squares and arrange them into a photo mosaic.

• Decoupage them onto a dresser, keepsake box, headboard — anything!

• Using photo-transfer fluid (available at craft and hobby stores), turn a T-shirt or canvas-covered journal into a treasured memento.

From the January 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine