Digital Scrapbooking is Cooler Than You Think



When you hear the term scrapbooking, do you imagine an old-fashioned hobby, picturing a craft table covered in piles of old photographs, decorative papers, fancy scissors, stickers and pens?

Well, picture this! While traditional scrapbooking remains popular, digital scrapbooking (or digi-scrapping) has become a perfect way to preserve memories using modern technology. If you think that scrapbooking is too boring or frilly, think again. You can design your digital scrapbook as traditional or modern as you would like it to be.

Believe it or not, chances are you already have experience with scrapbooking. When you use image editing apps on your phone to add color filters, text, stickers, or create collages, you are combining different design elements together to preserve memories creatively: in other words, you’re scrapbooking! So why not take your photo app talents to the next level with digital scrapbooking?


(Photo: Chris Asbury)

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There are many benefits to digi-scrapping:

  • You can share your scrapbook quickly and easily with loved ones via email or social media, or print out multiple copies for several people.

  • With traditional scrapbooking, your supplies can quickly take over your craft space, plus you need to keep replenishing your stock. When you buy digital scrapbooking supplies, you can reuse them over and over!

  • Your style is not bound by your local craft store’s selection of scrapbook supplies - you can search through the myriad of digital supplies and kits online, or fully customize your scrapbooks by creating your own original fonts, borders, and embellishments.

  • Another benefit to digi-scrapping is that you can play around with layout, even after you’ve completed a scrapbook. There is far more flexibility and less chance of regret when you digi-scrap. Have you ever completed a scrapbook, only to realize later that you made a typo or inserted the wrong photo or caption? It’s easy to go back and make those corrections!

  • The biggest benefit to digi-scrapping: there’s no clean up afterwards. A mess-free DIY hobby - now that’s craft heaven!

Now that you’ve learned the benefits of digi-scrapping, it’s time to dive in. All you need is to begin is your computer, your digital photos, a photo editing software program, and digital scrapbook supplies.


There are many different programs to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. The majority of digi-scrapping tutorials and resources use Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (PSE). Photoshop is geared towards professional use and comes with a professional price tag of $699.00 or you can purchase a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud version for $19.99 per month.

PSE is more affordable at $99.99, and has more than enough features for your digi-scrapping needs. There are 30 day free trials for both Photoshop and PSE if you would like to compare the two. The learning curve is high with these two programs, but they will also give you the most freedom over your designs.


(Photo: Lisa San Gabriel)

However, if you are new to digi-scrapping and have no prior experience with Photoshop or PSE, you can start with a free scrapbooking program like Smilebox. New users can get comfortable with the craft using its different layouts and templates. Smilebox also offers a phone app that you can use to make quick scrapbook pages that you can share through email, text or post to social media! Think of the app as a way to send scrapbook “postcards” while you are on the go.


(Photo: Lisa San Gabriel)

Another great free software option is the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) which is an open-source program with many similar features to those of Photoshop and PSE. There are also several GIMP tutorials on the site to guide you through the program.


(Photo: Designer Digitals)

Another option is software specific to digital scrapbooking, which come complete with design graphics and embellishments to get you digi-scrapping right away. A few popular programs are Memory Mixer  ($19.95), MyMemories ($39.99), Serif CraftArtist ($39.99), and Halllmark Scrapbook Studio  ($29.99). Purchasing scrapbook-specific software is an affordable, comprehensive choice for a beginner.

If you don’t go with the scrapbook-specific software, you can purchase digital scrapbook kits (which include backgrounds, templates, word art, and fonts) or individual elements a la carte. Prices can vary from completely free to $20 or more. Downloading a few freebies first will help you get the hang of the digital scrapbook process, then once you gain experience and develop a point of view, you can purchase style-specific elements and kits. Remember, the great thing about digi-scrapping is that you buy a supply once and use it over and over again!

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Tutorials, community and inspiration:

Though digi-scrapping may feel overwhelming in the beginning, don’t despair! There are many tutorials online that can walk you through how to get started , which software is best for you, and how to bring out the best in your digital scrapbook. Hint: Youtube will be your best friend!

Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced digi-scrapper, there are online forums where you can ask for feedback or troubleshooting advice, and where people share their original layouts, templates, and kits! There are also online boards and inspiration galleries where people show off their handiwork! You are connected to an endless supply of encouragement and inspiration from the scrapping community.

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Remember to have fun! When you first get started, you will want to compare yourself to other digi-scrappers. Remind yourself that everyone’s experience level and vision is completely different. Crystal Livesay tells The Daily Digi: “I wish someone told me at the very beginning that it wasn’t a competition…I learned that isn’t what is important, but the act of actually preserving memories and telling our stories that matter.”

As you gain more digi-scrap experience, there are fun “extras” you can add to your arsenal. For example, a pen tablet will let you add your own handwriting or freehand drawings and doodles, and a scanner will enable you to digitize and incorporate your older photos and other paper keepsakes and memorabilia, like movie ticket stubs or love notes.

Here’s one more important tip: as you make more and more digital scrapbooks, free up your computer’s memory by saving your files to an external hard drive and also to the cloud. This will ensure that your hard work is always in a safe place. As Chelle from Digiscrap{love} says, “You never know when a computer or EHD (external hard drive) might fail. Having your items backed up on both an external hard drive as well as online will help reduce the likelihood of losing everything.”

Scrapbooking isn’t your grandmother’s craft! With the plethora of software options, tips, tutorials and templates easily available online, digital scrapbooking is a cool way to share special life events or moments in time with loved ones all over the world. As you experiment with different elements and develop your individual style, you will find that not only will you be preserving memories, you will be creating works of art!


(Photo: Quirky Heart)

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