• Shannan

Layouts v Albums - Should Our Scrapbook Albums Be More Than Just A Filing System?

I've been thinking a lot about my scrapbook albums.

Should I make them chronological or theme based? Should I stick with one size or mix it up? Should I even worry about it?

Are albums just somewhere to store our pages or do I want them to be something more? And what even does that mean?

Right now I'm not sure but it's something that's been on my mind.

I am a super organised person by nature so of course I take album organisation seriously.

When I started scrapbooking, my daughter was almost two and I dutifully went back and filled in the gaps in a 12x12 album - her birth story, first day home, first bath, first birthday. Even though I was in love with this new hobby from the start, I still turned it into a chore, making a list and checking those obligation pages off until I had a finished 12x12 album with pages from her birth to first birthday.

I loved having a completed album that followed a theme (her first year) even if I didn't love the process of making every page that I thought belonged in such an album.

I soon discovered the concept of scrapbooking about yourself and your everyday (through Ali Edwards and Cathy Zielske) and I realised that I didn't have to scrapbook the way it was presented to me in magazines - which was documenting events and milestones (mostly child-related) using a voice that was nothing like how I talked in real life.

I started to make pages that were about me, my life and my likes. And these pages sounded like me. This is when I really found my groove. This is when I realised there were no rules here - it's just paper, glue, words and photos put together anyway you like about anything that interests you.

Stacy Julian's Library of Memories/Photo Freedom concept was huge during my early scrapbooking years (HERE). She divided her photos and her albums into themes - People We Love, Places We Go, Things We Do and All About Us.

That made a lot of sense to me, so I made up my own themes, bought a bunch of albums and started storing my pages by that way - an album each for Zara and Elijah, one each for my husband and I (plus a S+B section for our stories together), Family & Friends, Celebrations, Travel and Everyday (this one had the most pages). Each with a title page and spine label.

I loved having a place for my pages to live where I didn't have to worry about mixing old and new stories or slotting pages in correct date order. I also mixed in my 12x12 and 8.5x11 layouts.

Then in 2017 I bought a few of Ali's Storybook Albums and switched to only making 6x8 pages. I wasn't sure if 6x8 would stick for me (it did) so I just started putting my layouts in the album in the order I made them - no theme, not even chronological. And I quite liked that. Everything mixed in together.

For this year, I decided to give up on unreliable albums and page protectors (the ones I loved were always being discontinued or out of stock) and have my layouts printed as an annual photobook (I ended up needing to split it into two).

I set myself a monthly goal of 20-30 5x8 pages (some double, some single, some crafty, some really simple) and just added pages to the Blurb book software in the order I made them, with a monthly divider page. This book follows a rough chronology because I'm usually making pages about current events and photos, but I also throw in older stories here and there.

Next year I've decided to go back to basics and work in an 8.5x11 album (I talk about why in a previous post HERE but it's mainly because I want to do more hybrid pages and I miss printing from home as I go). I'll also continue on with some themed Travelers Notebooks I started this year - I think most of us are dabbling in different sizes and styles of scrapbooking - trying things out.

So I come back to the topic of albums - what do I want them to be? A random home for my layouts? Organised binders by topic or by year like an office filing system? Or something more? How do I (or the people that look through my albums) make any sense of this mixed-up body of work? Does it matter?

I really love my theme projects that have a definite beginning and end because they tell a story. But I also love scrapbooking our everyday and the mundane which is not so clean cut.

I'm also trying to pinpoint what I want when I look back through my work. Do I like picking up the Zara albums and seeing only her pages or do I prefer grabbing one of my 6x8 books where everything is mixed in together, like life?

What I think I'm getting at in this post is that I want my albums to make sense to me and to anyone who might look through them. I want to think about the best way to organise my work and for that to add to the story aspect of scrapbooking rather than just be a filing system.

I don't have an answer but it seems that I really need to think about what I want my albums to be and then make pages that fit that. Put the album first perhaps. Thoughts?



Recent Posts

See All


This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now