Scrapbooking like a pro, but on a budget

Scrapbooking on a Dime

by Kristina Wyatt

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Scrapbooking on a Budget

With millions of people now scrapbooking, it is the fastest growing hobby in America today. According to, in 2005, 13.5 million people completed at least one creative project. Scrapbooking is a great way to showcase cherished memories of family and friends, but it can cost you a lot of money if you are a scrapbooking fanatic. Follow these ideas to help you scrapbook like a pro, but on a budget.

  1. Shop online stores for great deals. There are a ton of scrapbook supply stores on the Internet. Visit a few and get a feel for their prices. Also, comparison shop to find the best deals for the supplies you're looking for. One to try is
  2. Purchase your supplies as you go along, instead of shelling out a ton of money all at once. If you're working on a particular project, such as a scrapbook of your child's birthday party, or just a page layout of an anniversary dinner, check out online discount stores, such as If you prefer to buy your supplies in an actual store, try hobby stores, dollar stores, Wal-Mart and the like.
  3. Dollar stores are your friends for savings. Many of these dollar stores (Dollar Tree is one) have paper, stickers, books and other embellishments for only $1 each. Packs of themed papers can cost upwards of $10, but you can find it cheaper at a dollar store. Save a bundle at these establishments.
  4. Journaling can be expensive, especially if you use rubber stamps, stencils or pricey archival-quality pens. You don't have to be fancy with your journaling. Many scrapbookers think that handwriting their content adds to the history of the album itself. If your writing is too messy to read, try using the computer. Pens, pencils and markers don't have to be expensive; do an online search for these products and you'll see that many brands are under $10. One to try is Martha Stewart Crafts Fine-Tip Writing Pen Set Size 05, 4 piece set, only $7.99 here.
  5. Try digital scrapbooking. Many sites offer this for free and it's a great way to share your scrapbooking skills (and that cute picture of your son's first birthday) with family and friends. Since going digital is so popular now, there are many websites available for digital (or online) scrapbooking. Google "digital scrapbooking," or to get you started, try visiting
  6. Shop after holidays. Many stores (even online ones) offer big discounts on their holiday papers, stickers, embellishments, etc. after the holidays are over. Shop after Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to score great deals on these holiday supplies.
  7. Organize a scrapbooking swap party! This is a great idea, especially if you have friends who also scrapbook. You could plan one for every month or every other month, whichever fits into your and your friends' schedules. Swapping supplies with your friends is a cheap, fun alternative to purchasing new supplies for a project. Here are a few tips for organizing your own swap party:
    • Before going to the next step, think of any themes you want to make your first swap party. This isn't necessary, but it helps your guests to think about what supplies to bring for swapping. It could be a Christmas album theme, bridal shower, birthday, etc. It all depends on your needs and what holidays or occasions are coming up that you want to make an album for.
    • You can send out invitations if you wish, or e-mail or call your friends to invite them. Let them know what day, time, a theme (if any), what to bring, and if any refreshments will be available. Wine, cheese and crackers are very popular to serve at scrapbook swap parties!
    • Set up a table (or use your kitchen table) on which to showcase the supplies for swapping. Let your guests know where to place the items with a small handmade sign for the table. Maybe put up a sign on the table, and have another small table for food, wine, beverages, etc.
    • Games are a good way to start the swap party. Have your guests create a layout using up some scraps they brought for swapping, or swap the leftovers first and have them scrapbook a layout with someone else's scraps. Have some small dollar store items on hand to give to the winners of the games. Another fun idea is to have your guests bring one completed layout page, place them on a table (a coffee table, side table) and have everyone try to guess who made each layout.
    • Before your guests leave, start planning for the next swap party. Try having it at another friend's house so you won't be hosting each month.

Hopefully these tips will help you scrapbook on a budget, yet still have fun doing so. Happy scrapbooking!

Kristina Wyatt is a WAHM. She has her own company and raises a 19-month old toddler. You can find more of her work at

Take the Next Step:

  • For more on digital scrapbooking, please click here.
  • Create and preserve a Smilebox scrapbook in minutes! Just drag photos, videos, music, and words into amazing scrapbook designs.
  • Visit for your scrapbooking supplies.

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