Preserving Memories

By Diane Haddad Premium

Ever since getting D’s in grade-school penmanship, lots of scrapbookers we know have been less than confident in their lettering skills. But since it’s so important to include thoughts and stories on your memory-album pages, we’ve gathered these products, tips and techniques to make your page titles and journaling easier and more fun.


Although we recommend writing in your own hand on some pages for posterity’s sake, a computer can make journaling neater and easier. And we don’t mean just printing out your words and gluing them to a page, either. Try these techniques:

• Print out your journaling in a pretty font. Place the printout beneath acid-free paper on a light box (put a lamp under a glass table-top for a makeshift light box) and trace the letters with a pen.

• Print out computer journaling in light gray (choose Font under the Format menu in Microsoft Word) on acid-free paper. Go over the letters with a pen.

• Place computer journaling under vellum and trace it. Give the ink extra time to dry before handling the vellum.

• Print a reversed title in a chunky font on the back of patterned paper, then cut out the letters. A graphics program will reverse your title, or create a title with Microsoft Word’s Word Art feature and flip it using the Drawing menu.

Use templates to cut letters from patterned paper or photos. ABC Tracers from EK Success come In seven styles including Block, Funky and Log Cabin (shown below). Visit <>.

C-Thru Ruler Co. Better Letter Templates are available in Smarty, Whimsy and Spunky styles in 1-inch, 2-inch and 3-inch heights. See <>.

A tip for using templates: Don’t painstakingly cut out the tiny holes in your letters; instead, cut the piece from your background paper behind a photo and glue it to the letter.


If you’re tired of journaling in basic black, try jazzing it up with colored pens. Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust pens contain actual glitter so your lettering shines. The 12 bright colors (about $1.69 each) look best and maintain their archival quality on light-colored papers. Visit <> for more information.

Zebra makes its acid-free Jimnie Gel Antique pens (about $1.79 each) in hard-to-find earth-tone colors (cobalt, mahogany, forest and earth) for your heritage pages. Visit <> to find out more.


Try these tips for terrific titles:

• To make outlined letters like the “Baby” title above, just use a colored pen to trace template letters onto paper and cut them out. If you don’t want outlines, turn the template over and trace the letters backward on the back of colored paper.

• We like to make striped letters by cutting template letters from glued-together paper strips. This technique, along with scallop scissors and decorating chalks, gave the “Summer” title below a beach look.

• For a shadow look, get identical letter stickers in two contrasting colors and adhere one slightly offset on top of another.

• To enlarge sticker or template letters, mat them on colored paper or on squares like the “Baby” title above.

• Pens come in every color and size — some even look glittery or smell good. Use them to fill in letters with stripes, dots, soccer balls or anything that matches your page theme.


Stickers are the quick and easy way to terrific page titles. Memories Forever letter stickers come in 12 styles from elegant calligraphy to funky designs. All have clear backgrounds — no white borders around your letters. The stickers are available for $2.50 for the 80-letter pack and $5 for the 320-sticker value pack at craft stores or <>.

To apply stickers to your scrapbook page in a straight line, first align them on a sticker-backing sheet. Fold under the top of the backing so the stickers overhang the fold, then press the sticker tops onto the page. Peel away the backing, smoothing the stickers onto the page as you go.


For special fonts to go with special photos, try a font CD such as DJ Inkers Super Fontastic, which collects 77 fonts from stately to playful. The $29.95 CD is compatible with both PCs and Macs and is available at <>.

At <> you can have a Personal Pen font made from your own handwriting or someone else’s (Great-grandma’s, perhaps). Your font costs $40 to $90, depending on the style, and about $30 more if the handwriting sample is a letter or other document. You can also purchase individual fonts for as little as $2. See the Web site for details.
From the August 2001 Family Tree Magazine