Scrapbooking on a Budget

by Susie Cortright


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Memories are priceless, but the cost of preserving them can be high. Here are nine tips for making the most of your scrapbooking budget.

  1. Be on the lookout for scrapbooking supplies everywhere you go. I once made the cutest shabby chic card with the corrugated cardboard liner in a light bulb box. Here's another example. You can buy 100 brass brads at the local discount store and then customize them to match your layout with acrylic paint and/or sandpaper. Or look in the clearance bin for ribbon, fiber, fabric remnants, or bouquets of silk flowers that you can take apart and attach to your cards and layouts with brads, eyelets, bottlecaps, or buttons. You'll find all kinds of treasures at office supply, hardware, and dollar stores, as well as flea markets and garage sales.

  2. Keep your supplies organized. When your papers and embellishments are logically arranged and easy to find, you'll always know what you have, which means you'll buy fewer duplicates. And you don't need expensive racks for storing your paper. The large 14" resealable bags are perfect for storing 12x12 paper. You can even hang the labeled resealable bags from skirt hangers to maximize your space. A few inexpensive baskets or plastic containers can hold your adhesives, pens and trimmers. And a common tacklebox is great for small embellishments. Or use resealable bags to organize brads, eyelets and other small embellishments by type or color and store in a shoebox.

  3. Here's a little known secret. You can join a scrapbooking direct sales company, simply to get the discount on your own supplies. Of course, you'll need to make sure the monthly minimums are low enough that you'll be able to meet them with your purchases alone. There is one such company with monthly minimums of just $25 wholesale per month at Momscape.com.

  4. Use your scanner to create a unique patterned paper, perfect for your layout. Scan items of clothing, for example, that match the clothing in your photographs. Print the paper and use as part of your background or as a tag or other embellishment.

  5. Do a Google search for "free fonts" and "free scrapbooking." You'll find thousands of free templates, fonts, and other free resources for scrapbookers.

  6. Check your local paper for 50% off coupons at large discount crafting stores. Save these coupons for your larger purchases. Subscribe to Joann.com's email newsletter at the store's website at Joann.com. This store frequently offers special discount codes to newsletter subscribers. But keep in mind, when you are shopping the sale aisle, a good deal is not a good deal if you never use the product. Buy only those things that you love and know you'll use.

  7. When shopping for tools, keep quality and versatility in mind. Investing in quality tools will ultimately save you money, because you won't need to replace them very often. You'll also want to look for trimmers and cutters that allow you to replace only the blade and not the entire cutting system. The Coluzzle by Provocraft is one of the most versatile cutting systems available. It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you can cut a huge variety of shapes and alphabets, as well as envelopes and tags, all with very inexpensive templates.

  8. Save and organize your scraps. It's amazing when a small scrap is perfectly suited for a card of scrapbook. And you can always use the backside of white-core cardstock or patterned paper when you need white. Or give your scraps to your children. My kids are constantly making friendship cards out of my scraps. They each have a basket on the family scraptable, and at the end of a project, I divvy up all my scraps in the three little baskets. They love the new art supplies, and I love to share my love of scrapbooking and my time spent scrapbooking with them.

  9. Network with other scrapbookers for more low-cost ideas. Arrange a supplies swap with your scrapbooking friends. And read through the scrapbooking magazines for more money-saving ideas. In the last few issues of Scrapbooks, Etc. and Memory Makers, for example, I've read (and then used) the following ideas:

    • Take photos of interesting signs and cut out the letters for fun, eclectic alphabets.

    • Make your own stamps from your favorite font or images with a computer printout and some foam board.

    You can subscribe to these magazines at significant discounts online. I've compiled the best deals on the industry-leaders at Momscape.com or see if you can check out current issues from your local library. Scrapbooking magazines often feature sweepstakes, drawings, and layout contests, in which you can win free supplies, as well.

You can also save on scrapbooking idea books and techniques books by shopping online. Overstock.com often has these books at an even greater discount than amazon.com, and their shipping is usually much less, too. Find them at Overstock.com .


Copyright 2005 by Susie Cortright. Susie Cortright is the founder of Momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground, which is devoted to helping visitors record and preserve their cherished memories. Susie also trains and supports new scrapbooking instructors with a new and rapidly-growing direct sales scrapbooking company. Find out how to join her team at Momscape.com

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