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One Week, One Album!

by Andrea SteedI really enjoy giving scrapbook albums as gifts to my close friends. Two of my favorite albums are the ones I gave to my two best friends in college, showcasing each of our friendships in different ways. They each received one for their birthday last year and loved them!

The problem is that like many people, I always wait until the last minute before deciding what to give them for their birthday, so I don’t always have a lot of time to spend on creating a meaningful book. In creating these two albums, I’ve found a fantastic system for creating a gift album in less than a week that I’d love to share.

While my albums were both ABC albums about friendship, I’ve found that the system can work for any type of small album, such as a wedding album, graduation album, anniversary album, and many others.

Below are the steps I took to create my quick gift albums:


Collect Photos. The first thing I did for each of these albums was to collect as many photographs as I could find that represented the friendship that I have with each girl. I collected about 60-70 photos for each album, scanned them, and had re-prints made at This of course wouldn’t be necessary if you had original photos that you wanted to use. Since I was using photos that were already in some of my other albums, I used re-prints for the gift albums. By having prints made at Shutterfly, I was also able to change some of the photos to black and white and do some pre-cropping before I had them printed, which helped in the overall look of the album once it was finished.


Journal. I decided to do ABC albums for both books, so I started writing words for each letter in the alphabet that described our relationship and then described each of the words by talking about different things we’d done, and recalling memories from our college years. I also found friendship quotes that helped describe our friendships and added them to my journaling. I did all of this in a Microsoft Word document in a couple of afternoons. I’d say this is probably the most difficult part of creating the album, but it’s also the most interesting!


Choose Your Products. Now that you have all of the “memory” elements of the album, it’s time to decide what products you want to use. I’ve found that the easiest way to choose papers is to choose a line of coordinating patterned papers to use throughout the entire album. Paper lines such as Mustard Moon, Patchwork Paper, KI Memories, Kopp Designs, Making Memories and many others are perfect for albums like this, because their papers come in a variety of colors and patterns that all match each other quite well.

In addition to deciding what papers to use, you’ll want to decide what fonts or lettering templates to use. I used three fonts in each album: a typewriter type font for each letter and the words for each letter, a print handwriting font for the journaling, and a script font for the quotes. Since all of my journaling was written in a Microsoft Word document, it was easy to change the fonts and page margins. I printed all of the journaling on white cardstock, so that I would be able to cut each section out easily and adhere them to the pages.


Do Some Pre-Scrapping. This is what makes creating the album easy. Now that all of your journaling and photos are ready, put them into page protectors in the order that they will appear in the album. Cut each letter and journaling block out so that they’ll be ready to adhere to the pages. Decide what photos will go with each journaling section and add the photos to the page protectors. This is a great task to do in front of the television! Now your album is ready to put together!


Put it Together! This part goes very quickly since most of the work is already completed. I’ve found that starting at the beginning and just making your way through the album is the best way to complete it. Since all of your papers coordinate, simply start pulling papers and making your pages. I kept both of my albums simple and used colorblocking and paper tearing techniques to create varying backgrounds. Add a few embellishments and stickers to your pages, and you’ll have an album to cherish in no time at all! With all of the pre-scrapping and planning done, you can easily complete the entire album at an all-day crop or in a couple of afternoons.

The key to this system is having your journaling done first! It makes creating the rest of the album quick and easy‚Ķand I’ve found that it makes a very meaningful album to read, and a wonderful gift to receive.

About the Author
Andrea Steed is the author and creator of
Scrap Tutor, a web site and CD-ROM that teaches you how to create scrapbooks and how to perform many popular techniques used in scrapbooking. For more information, visit

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