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Shopping for a Layout

by Andrea SteedMany scrapbookers want to know how to save money and keep from buying things they won’t necessarily use. I always suggest buying only the items they need for each layout, rather than just buying whatever looks interesting to them. It can be hard to do with all of the fun new products coming out, but it can be done!

Bring your photos. Bring the photos that you want to work on in the next few weeks with you when you go to the scrapbook store. I like to separate the photos by layout so that I can work with one set of photos at a time. Portable photo organizers are great for this.

Choose cardstock and patterned paper. Use your set of photos to choose background and accent papers that coordinate with the colors in the photos. The best way to do this is to hold the photos next to the papers as you walk through the store. Be sure to choose enough paper for the background, matting, accents, journaling blocks and any title blocks. It’s a good idea to start thinking of a general design for the layout so that you can estimate how many sheets of paper you will need.

Choose coordinating embellishments. Since the paper is the base of the layout, next you can choose the embellishments. The colors and patterns in the paper will help you decide what embellishments will work best with the layout, whether it be tags, stickers, die cuts, fibers, charms, etc. Avoid buying every embellishment that would work on your page (because inevitably there will be many), and choose the one or two that will feature your photos best.

Decide on the title style. Titles can be the hardest part of a layout. Luckily there are tons of products that make them easier, whether it’s a die cut title, sticker title, eyelet letter title, punched title, letters on tags, or any of the many variations. The colors and embellishments that you’ve already chosen will probably help you determine which type of title will work best on your layout.
Once you’ve chosen all of the products you need, your layout will be ready to assemble. You can move on to choosing the products for the next set of photos. After you’ve bought the products, put them into page protectors with the photos for the layout, and you’ll have everything you need to complete your page in one spot. Using this system will make scrapbooking a much faster process when you sit down to complete the layouts since all of the products will be chosen already – and you’ll be saving money by only buying what you need.

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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