Easy Scrapbooking for Beginners via Mini Van Dreams

Easy Scrapbooking for Beginners

Today’s tutorial is Easy Scrapbooking for Beginners.  That’s right… YOU can scrapbook, even if you never have before!  Do you have a bunch of pictures sitting in a box at home?  Every time you come across it, do you think to yourself “If only I knew how to scrapbook!”  I know what you are thinking though, “it looks so hard and I am not creative.”  But, I am here to show you how to scrapbook!  If you can use adhesive and a paper cutter, you can scrapbook.  Trust me.

Easy Scrapbooking for Beginners via Mini Van Dreams

I am going to show you how to put together a coordinated scrapbook without a lot of fuss!

Okay, first things first.  Go find your box of pictures.  I’ll wait.

Now, go through your pictures and select a few that really tell the story of what was going on.  Group your pictures by theme or year or however you want to create some cohesiveness.  These piles aren’t set in stone… just a starting point.  I tend to weed out pictures with eyes closed, people cut off, blurry, etc.

Next, you need to think about what size album you would like to complete.  The common ones are 12″ x 12″, 8.5″ x 11″, 8″ x 8″ and 6″ x 6″.  The size you choose will determine how many 4 x 6″  pictures you will be able to fit on each page, without cropping.  For this beginners tutorial, we will assume you are using only 4 x 6″ photos.

Scrapbook Album Guidelines



  • Album in chosen size
  • Scissors, optional to cut apart embellishments, trim, etc
  • Archival-safe adhesive
  • Paper cutter
  • Themed paper pad in same size as album
  • Photo mats to correspond with photo size
  • Embellishments, if desired
  • Archival safe pen, if desired

Now, its time to go shopping!  You can easily find these items at Meijer or Walmart or any craft store.  It is very important you purchase archival-safe adhesive.  This keeps the adhesive from ruining your photos in the future.  The same holds true for a pen, if you decide to journal or write what the picture is about.  Both of these are rather inexpensive and are located near the scrapbooking supplies.  Also, most albums only come with 5-10 plastic pages to start.  If you need more, you will need to purchase these separately.  They should be located by the albums.

The themed paper pad is the best thing for a beginning scrapbooker or for a themed album.  On my album shown below, it was entirely of my two dogs who passed away, so I chose a black and white theme (my dogs were black and white) and colored mats to mat the pictures.  They are also great because you don’t have to color coordinate or buy tons of paper… it’s all right there and it coordinates well.  Photo mats are similar to the themed paper pad.  They will be used to “mat” your photos to make it more put together.  The sky is the limit on the photo mats.  You can see on mine I used colors with the black and white theme- but its your album!  Make it your own!

Easy Scrapbooking for Beginners via Mini Van Dreams

(I know, these photos are horrible… I was in a Church basement scrapbooking with horrible light.)

Okay…. you’ve got your supplies!  You are ready to go!


1.  Begin by looking at your themed paper pad and choosing a pattern, print or color that will work with your first set of photos.  You will be working on a two-page spread.  Carefully, tear them from the pad and set asides

2.  Next, find a coordinating pattern, print, or color.  Remove from the pad.  From these sheet, you are going to cut two 2″ strip along the longest side (if it is a perfect square, just choose a side – but remember which side you cut from!)

3.  Place your background papers (from step #1) in front of you, side by side.  Using your adhesive, adhere these 2″ strips to the left side of the left page and right side of the right page (See the layout map below!)

Layout Map for Easy Scrapbooking for Beginners via Mini Van Dreams

4.  Find another coordinated sheet in the themed paper pack.  Using your paper cutter, cut two strips 3/4″ wide.  Adhere these to the 2″ strip – placement is up to you.  On my album above, I put them about 1/2″ from either edge of my 2″ strip.  Set this sheet aside.  You will be using this particular sheet throughout the album to make it coordinated.

Still with me?  Good!

5.  Decide what color photo mats you will be using for this particular layout.  Adhere each picture to a photo mat.

6.  Begin arranging your photos on your two page spread.  Do not adhere these until you are absolutely sure of the placement!  Also, don’t be afraid to tilt them or overlap them.

7.  Once you have decided on your layout, adhere the photos and photo mats to the background sheet.

8.  At this point, you can use embellishments to enhance your page – or leave it like it is.  You can also use the archival safe pen to write dates, names, or to tell the story of what is going on.

9.  In your album, carefully remove the white or black inserts in the plastic pages (not all albums have these).  Slide the two pages you just made into the inserts carefully.  Note:  You will either need to make a title page or a single-page layout for the first page.

And, guess what?!  You just scrapbooked your first 2-page layout!  Keep going!

10.  Continue from step 1 to do your next spread.

To make the album coordinate even more, I recommend using the background page from the first two pages to make the 2″ strips for the second two pages, and so on.  Also, remember you will be using the same print/pattern to make your 3/4″ strips for the entire album.

Click here for a PDF of these instructions!

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  1. Good tips! I tried but never got into scrapbooking. Very time intensive, I am always appreciative of those who can put together great scrapbook pages. Thanks for sharing at Happiness is Homemade 🙂

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