Like a lot of hopeful moms, when you learned a bundle of joy was on the way, you may have planned on creating a baby scrapbook to document all those precious firsts. You took dozens of photos (a day), collected mementos (baby’s hospital bracelet, birth certificate, ultrasound pics, etc), and maybe you even went on a spree at the craft store, stocking up on cute papers, stickers, and embellishments galore! But just as those first few weeks (ahem, months) of nighttime feedings, colic, and newborn sleep noises, seem to let up, (you finally started feeling less like a zombie and more of a human-ish version of your old self), it’s time to go back to work, or acknowledge that you have a house and other kids to take care of (oh yeah, that’s a toddler clinging to your leg while you’re trying to use the bathroom!) and as the work/house/baby balancing act consumes any hope of free time, all those photos, mementos, and scrapbooking materials sit in a bin collecting dust. And if you do manage to snag an hour of quiet time, it probably goes to taking a nap, or cleaning the bathroom. Am I hitting any nerves here?
Now, if you’re already an avid scrapper, you might already make a point to carve some time out of your busy schedule for scrapbooking. Maybe you wait until the kids are sleeping or at school, or otherwise distract them with an activity (or TV show) to keep them from sticking a whole $10 sheet of scrapbook stickers on the wall.
But if you’ve never touched a scrapbook before, or you haven’t quite found the time to work a hobby into your schedule, you might wince every time you catch sight of the basket of scrapbooking stuff collecting dust on the shelf, feeling completely overwhelmed at the task that grows just as fast as your little ones!
From either side of the scrapbooking mom spectrum, scrapbooking takes up a ton of time in planning and prep, even before you get around to finally assembling a page. By the time you sort through photos, choose all the papers, supplies and embellishments you want to use, and arrange everything into a pleasing scrapbook page layout, you’ve already used up all of the free time you had!
Here are some tips that may help make scrapbooking during mommy-hood a little less intimidating, and more rewarding – for you and your little one!
1 Make Time
Just like with any other goal, you need to dedicate time for action! It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, just 1 hour a week can add up and allow you make progress. If your schedule fluctuates too much to commit weekly, set aside a few hours one day each month. The idea is to carve out a consistent time for scrapbooking, so you’re always making some kind of progress.
2 Break it Down
Don’t try to tackle the whole project in one sitting. Break each task into small pieces that are manageable within your timeframe. If you have 1 hour a week to scrap, then dedicate one session to gluing photo mattes, the next session you can add photos, and another session can be used to attach ribbons and embellishments – by the end of the month, you’ll have a finished scrapbook page. If you have a larger block of time, you might be able to finish a single page in one session. Start a new page the next month, and before you know it, you’ll have a complete spread, and then a full book!
Either way, working in small sections that are easy to complete in one session will give you a feeling of accomplishment that will leave you motivated and excited for the next session.
3Get (and Stay) Organized
This should go without saying, but keeping all your scrapbooking supplies (photos, papers, embellishments, tools, and other materials) in one place and organized will save you time and frustration so you can make the most of your allotted time.
4Involve the Kids
Now that headline alone may make you question my sanity, but if your kids are about 2 years old or older, they are capable of contributing to your scrapbooks (aside from just being featured in the photos!). On the younger end of the age spectrum, they are very eager to be mama’s helper, and even the older ones will love seeing their masterpieces end up somewhere besides the fridge. You don’t have to choose between your favorite hobby and spending quality time with your kids – it is possible to preserve your cherished family memories, while making new ones!
The younger toddlers can help place stickers, washi tape, and other embellishments like titles and paper piecings (great for those fine motor skills!). As they get older, they can help glue down photos to mattes with glue sticks and glue dots, cut out simple shapes, and measure and cut papers, ribbons, and trim.
And at any age, your kiddos can contribute to the actual content of your scrapbooks! Try using your child’s next watercolor masterpiece as scrapbook paper or photo mattes. You can pick out paint colors to match your layout theme together, or let your little one’s creativity inspire your color choices. Cut out those cute little animal doodles and add them to that layout from your trip to the zoo.
5 Cut Down on Prep Time
If you’re new to scrapbooking, (and even if you’re a seasoned pro) one of the most time consuming parts of scrapping is planning out your scrapbook layout, choosing which photos to use, and finding the right scrapbooking papers and embellishments to tie everything together. Before you know it, your session is over and you haven’t gotten anything done! Luckily, the Internet is a fabulous place to find helpful timesavers, (for traditional and digital scrapbookers alike!).
There’s tons of places to find scrapbook layout templates (known as “scrapbook sketches” or “page maps”). Here at Printable Cuttable Creatables, we have a growing gallery of free Scrapbook Layout Sketches that you can browse for inspiration. All of our scrapbook sketches can be downloaded for free in PDF format (which you can use to view on your tablet or print for easy viewing while scrapbooking).
If the idea of creating a theme from scratch, or finding embellishments and papers that work well together makes you want to run for the hills, there’s a shortcut there too! You’ll find tons of pre-packaged scrapbook kits in craft stores that include papers, stickers, and embellishments that are already coordinated for you (be advised, the cost adds up quickly!). Or you can turn to the good ol’ Internet again for digital scrapbooking kits, which also have everything coordinated for you (digital papers, page titles, embellishments, borders, etc). They typically cost under $5 for a complete pack, and since they are digital files that you save to your computer, they can be used multiple times in multiple projects (digital and/or printed), giving you more bang for your buck! And of course, you’ll find a growing collection of Scrap Kits and Theme Sets in our Creatables section to beautify your scrapbook pages and make your life a bit easier!
With your scrapbook page layouts and themes taken care of, you’re free to use your scrapbooking sessions to actually assemble your scrapbook!
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Now it’s time to take action – put those scrapbooking sessions in your calendar and stick to them. Before you know it, you’ll have a finished scrapbook page, then a spread, and after a few months you should have a few spreads, or even a full scrapbook, depending how long of a story you’re telling!
If you have tips to share about how you make scrapbooking work with your busy schedule, we’d love to hear them in the Comments below!