Scrapbooking is a very fun and meaningful hobby, but it can also get very expensive! The cost of paper and embellishments can add up—and just as you’ve recovered from seeing your enormous credit card bill, you find out that your favorite brand has come out with a new line of stamps!
However, it’s possible to make gorgeous scrapbook layouts without spending a fortune. Here are some ways to scrapbook on a budget.
1. Organize what you have
It’s possible to have so many supplies that you forget what you already own. Sort out your papers into different colors or themes (floral, geometric, vintage, etc). To save time, you can even make your own kits, choosing ribbons or chipboard that already match, or taking note of stamps that will perfectly complement that pattern. That’s what many scrapbookers call ‘shopping from your own stash.’ Don’t buy something new, use what you have!
2. Do a scrap swap.
After organizing your scrapbook supplies you may realize that there are some things you’ll never use. Call up your scrapbook buddies and organize a scrap swap! Trade materials and come home with something new without even spending a single cent.
3. Shop with a buddy.
Many scrapbook materials are sold in packs which you know you’ll never be able to finish on your own. You and your friend can split the cost and come home with exactly what you need. Bonus: your scrapbook room doesn’t get bloated with leftover materials.
4. Share your stuff.
Instead of buying new tools, organize regular scrapbooking weekends with friends. You can share stamps, punches, templates, and other cool tools. You can also trade scrapbook magazines and books, and hoard each other’s paper collections. (All of you probably have odd leftovers from projects that you’re more than willing to share.)
5. Make your own embellishments.
Many scrapbookers invest in diecutting machines because it lets them make their own chipboard letters and patterns. If you aren’t ready to splurge on a Sizzix, Cuttlebug or Slice, try using stencils or trace the embellishments you already have over a new sheet of paper. Instead of buying stickers, print out images or type out word phrases on cardstock. Decorate with glitter or Stickles, or apply a thin layer of gloss medium.
6. Make the most of stamps and punches.
Look at the scrapbook layouts you’ve made to see what embellishments you tend to use. If you love flowers and butterflies, consider investing in a punch so you can make your own. If you always use journaling cards, buy a stamp instead.
7. Use ephemera.
Traditional scrapbooks incorporated items collected from real life: movie tickets, pressed flowers from a bouquet, receipts, newspaper clippings, postcards. Look around your own home and use the ‘scraps’ of your every day life. For example, instead of buying a cute teddy bear sticker for your son’s baby album, cut out the image from a card you received during your baby shower. Your layout will not only be cheaper to make, it may even be more personal and meaningful.
8.Look beyond the scrapbook store.
You can find silk flowers, fabric, ribbon and buttons at fabric stores at half the price of the ‘designer’ scrapbook lines. Office supply stores and hardware stores are also filled with hidden treasures, like cute paperclips, bottlecaps, and brads. Don’t forget to raid flea markets and garage sales, or even your junk bin. Why pay for corrugated cardboard when you can use the cardboard liner in a light bulb box?
9. Maximize your printer and scanner.
Make your own patterned paper by scanning clothing or fabric. You can also make your own design in Photoshop—once you figure out the controls, you’ll actually enjoy being able to choose the exact color you need. And, instead of buying rub-ons, try printing patterns or words directly on a photo before printing.
10. Raid the internet for scrapbooking freebies
You’ll find free fonts and templates that will let you make your own journaling cards and embellishments.
11. Don’t shop without a plan.
You’ve probably spent hundreds of dollars on papers and embellishments and then realized that you don’t know what to do with them. Plan your scrapbook them and choose your photos before you even enter a store. That way, you avoid the temptation to buy something just because it’s cute—and you know that you’ll use everything you spend on.
12. Shop online.
Many online stores have lower prices because they sell in larger volumes than your local scrapbook store. You may also get discounts (or free shipping) for buying in bulk —but so you don’t spend more than what you can afford, team up with a fellow scrapbooker to order at the same time.