Digital scrapbooking (or digi-scrapping) is a memory-keeping and creative craft with a vibrant and welcoming online community. If you are new to digital scrapbooking and crafting, here’s a quick guide to help you get started!
What is digital scrapbooking?
Wikipedia describes digital scrapbooking as “the creation of a new 2D artwork by re-combining various graphic elements. It is a form of scrapbooking that is done using a personal computer, digital or scanned photos and computer graphics software. It is a relatively new form of the traditional print scrapbooking.”
Along with scrapbook pages and other memory-keeping projects, you can use the same digital techniques to create all sorts of printed items such as greetings cards, posters, school projects and worksheets, classroom activities, invitations, decorations, gift wrap, party favours, stationery, calendars and so much more!
Your finished digital scrapbook layouts can be printed as individual pages and added to traditional scrapbook albums (great for mixing with paper pages in your album!), printed into a bound photobook or shared with family and friends digitally. You can also print your craft projects onto a number of surfaces to make t-shirts, tote bags, badges, magnets and more!
What are the benefits of digital scrapbooking?
- It’s tidy – there’s no paper, glitter or glue to clean up after you have finished!
- The supplies are reusable – you’ll never run out of letters or your favourite paper ever again!
- The supplies are customisable – you can make everything just the colour, size and shape you want it.
- It’s easy to make copies of your projects for other people. As the finished project is digital, you can print as many copies you need, in whatever size you need.
- It’s easy to change the size and shape of the photos – you don’t have to decide what size photo to print before starting your layout.
- Instant shopping – place an order online and download your new supplies straight away!
- The pages are flat – you can fit more pages in your album as printed digital scrapbook layouts are so thin in comparison to the more bulky traditional paper pages. You can also have hundreds of layouts printed in a bound coffee-table style book.
- And maybe the most important benefit of all – you can undo any mistakes! It’s very freeing to be able to try out new techniques and styles knowing that if you don’t like the finished result you have used up any precious supplies!
That sounds good, but I love paper too much – what is hybrid scrapbooking?
One of the disadvantages to digital scrapbooking (along with the learning curve of learning how to use new software) is the lack of physical project and the feeling of actually crafting something with your own hands. This is where hybrid scrapbooking comes into its own! If (like me) you’re more of a hands-on crafter, you can combine digital and paper crafting for the best of both worlds! You can start a project digitally, print it out and continue to embellish your project with traditional craft supplies and techniques to create what is known as a hybrid page. If you are a paper scrapper you might already be using your computer to print out text and journalling, hybrid scrapbooking takes that process a step further!
What do I need to start digital scrapbooking?
All you need to start digital crafting is a computer (or even just a phone) with some form of image editing software, and some digital graphics and your digital photos.
- RECOMMENDED: Adobe Photoshop Elements – Elements is a great entry level program that will allow to edit your photographs and digiscrap away to your heart’s content! It’s an affordable program with lots of online help, support and tutorials available. You can download a trial version from Adobe to get started.
- Adobe Photoshop CC – this is Photoshop Elements’ big brother – professional level image editing software with a hefty price tag to match!
- Gimp (free!)
- Paint Shop Pro
- Forever Artisan (scrapbook software)
- My Memories Suite (scrapbook software)
If you are interested in digital pocket page scrapbooking (arranging your photographs and journal cards into grid style pages) the Project Life app allows you to create scrapbook layouts and photobooks on your phone or tablet! Here’s a blog post that talks you through creating a scrapbook page using the app: How to scrapbook on your phone, and here’s a great set of video tutorials from Pixels to Pages to help get you started.
Types of graphics for digital scrapbooking
These are the different types of graphic files that you can find here at Kate Hadfield Designs, and at most digital scrapbooking sites:
- Papers: 12×12 inch patterned or solid colour papers you can use as background for your page or project and as decorative details within the design. Papers are usually supplied as jpg files.
- Elements: decorative details such as ribbons, bows, frames, stitching and flowers that are the equivalent of the 3-dimensional embellishment on a traditional paper page. These are usually png files with transparent backgrounds.
- Alphabets: individual letter files that can be used to create titles and other decorative details. Alphabets (or alphas) are different to fonts as they are not installed on your computer, they are png files that you layer on your project in the same way as elements.
- Doodles and clip art illustrations: hand-drawn elements with transparent backgrounds, similar to the paper equivalent of stickers (and the speciality here at Kate Hadfield Designs!).
- Digital stamps / line art: digital stamps are outline drawings that are perfect for creating worksheets, colouring pages and other projects where the printed project could be coloured in. They can also be used to create pattern on a plain background or as a line drawing in your digital layout.
- Templates: page templates allow you to quickly put together a complete scrapbook page by “clipping” your choice of paper and photographs to the layers in the template. Common sizes are 12×12 or 8.5×11 and the files are usually supplied in a number of formats including PSD TIFF and png. (There’s a huge collection of Free Templates over on the blog!)
- Journal cards: usually sized at 3×4, 4×6 or 4×4 inches designed to fit the pockets of a pocket page protector. Can be printed and used in a pocket page protector, or incorporated into a digital layout. They can also be printed and used as note cards! Usually supplied as individual jpg files (great for resizing or recolouring) and as a ready-to-print PDF.
Once you have your software and supplies, you can start layering your graphics to create your page. For example, you might start with a pretty patterned paper, add your photographs on top of that, then add a frame over one of your photos. They you could add some bows and flowers or other elements. You could use the text tools of your software to create your journaling, explaining the story behind the photo. Finally, you might add an alpha or text again to create the title. The addition of drop shadows (adding a shadow style to each layer on your page) helps to create a three dimensional effect to your work and can make your layout look as if it has been paper crafted! Drop shadows can be tricky to perfect, but you can purchase ready-made drop shadow styles to help you get started.
Shadow Styles for Adobe users:
- One Little Bird: Shadow Like Me
- Sahlin Studio: Realistic Drop Shadow Styles
- Mommyish Designs: Realistic Shadow Styles
I hope that this introduction to digital scrapbooking and crafting has been helpful! There are a number of useful sites, classes and tutorials online that will help you learn more about digiscrapping and how to get the most out of your software.
Useful resources for beginners:
- Getting Started With Digital Scrapbooking – a collection of written and video tutorials from Ali Edwards
- Digital Scrapbooking for Beginners video guide from Scrapaneers
- ScrapGirls Tutorials
- Digi Scrap tutorials from Digital Scrapper
- Artsy digital scrapbooking tutorials from Anna Aspnes
- Jessica Sprague classes (including the Digi Beginner Bundle)
- Get It Scrapped membership
- Digital Scrapper digital scrapbooking classes
- Learn Digital Scrapbooking Video Classes from ScrapGirls
Free Digital Scrapbooking Kits
Many digital scrapbook designers and digiscrap websites offer a selection of free supplies to help get you started with digital crafting! These free samples are a great way of trying out new designers, and experimenting with different styles and techniques. Check out my Freebies page for free lots of digital scrapbooking templates, elements and journal cards to download and experiment with!
I hope this guide has been a useful introduction to the wonderful world of digital scrapbooking! For more fabulous scrapbook inspiration from the team, visit the Gallery or check out our Pinterest boards. If you have any questions about digital scrapbooking please feel free to get in touch, happy scrapping!