Scrapbooking: Digital vs. Traditional


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Good Morning and Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a wonderful and crafty weekend! So many holidays coming up, it’s hard to find time to craft for them all and keep up with your daily crafts! Oh, is that just me that overloads my schedule? No, I didn’t think so. So I was posed with the question recently… what’s easier, digital or traditional scrapbooking? And I thought… what a wonderful way to (belatedly) kick of Scrapbooking Sundays!  So that will be today’s post topic for all that are interested. I have attempted to offer a few comparisons on the major differences between digital scrapbooking.

I’m sure everyone knows by now what scrapbooking is. Just in case, scrapbooking is building a collection of memories and dressing the up for all to see (or just you, whatever). I choose my most important memories and sometimes a few random photos and build a page that will help me and my children remember all the fun and excitement of their childhood. One day, if I can ever make myself part with all my hard work, I might even bestow it upon them to show and share with their children. As of now, it’s not looking good, but I try to remember that they will grow up one day…

Scrapbooks pages can be bound in a scrapbook album or stored digitally on your computer, depending on which you choose. The pages vary in size: commonly 8×8 and 12×12. You can have two page layouts or just one page snapshots. They can technically go in any order, but I prefer chronological. The biggest draw back is how expensive scrapbooking can be… or seem. So let’s jump into our comparison.

Now, I do feel it is only fair for me to disclose that I am a paper crafter, not a digital scrapbooker, but I will try to be unbiased in my review.  Please be gentle when judging my review of digital scrapbooking.

The first major comparison is price. Which one costs more? When I strolled down the scrapbooking isle at my local craft store for the first time, I could have passed out seeing all the prices on all the cool embellishments I needed… and that didn’t even include the paper packs and the actual scrapbook album. OMG, I was so overwhelmed that I just had to leave. At this time, I didn’t even know they had digital scrapbooking, so my journey came to an end. Then I started on other paper crafts… handmade cards… goodie bag tags… and I slowly started to accumulate all the fantastic tools available… for a price. Next thing I knew I had hundreds of dollars in tools. Good news is that now I could make my own embellishments for scrapbooks. Bad news is… it still ended up costing a lot of money. However, the truth is that scrapbooking is how expensive or INexpensive as you make it. We all want the nice shiny decorations in our scrapbooks (or paper crafts) but you can technically grab a piece of paper and go to town. The important part is that you are preserving a memory that is important to you. There are tons of layout ideas online for you to follow. If you are especially crafty, grab some markers and glitter and create to your heart’s content.

So let’s look at the price of digital scrapbooking. It’s on the computer and you don’t have to have all those tools, so it must be a lot cheaper, right? Not necessarily. From the websites I have looked at, you still get what you pay for. For example, I looked at Shutterfly, pages starting under $10. From what I saw, these pages are basic photo pages with a background, no embellishments. Then I looked at a website that advertised free digital scrapbooks, and discovered that most digital scrapbooking requires some type of photo editing software to assemble your pages, the most popular selling for $99 retail. It is also my understanding that once these pages are compiled, you then have to print them (cost of ink and paper) or send them to a professional printer. If you want 12×12 pages, you would have to have a wide-format printer or pay the price of a professional… plus still pay for the scrapbook album, page covers, etc.

Next, let’s look at a time comparison. The truth behind the time that it takes to scrapbook is all about you (and research). If you grab a sheet of paper and throw a photo on there, you may get a little lost at what direction to go.  The same would go for (most) digital scrapbooking.  The key behind both is to go online and look for ideas on how you want your layout to look.  Then, grab a sheet of paper and jot down some notes or even draw a diagram.  I have personally found that this helps tremendously, bringing an idea to the table instead of bumbling around with a few photos and a dream.  I will also let you in on a little secret… I subscribe to A LOT of blogs.  I like to go through them and save the ones that inspire projects in me, including scrapbooking.

You can also go to Google Images (my secret weapon) and search for “Birthday Scrapbook Layout” and it will show you tons of layouts that others have done, hopefully giving you some inspiration for your own.  Here is one I found that I just love… courtesy of Sketches in Thyme.  When you find an image or layout that you like, you can click on it and visit the page that it originated from.  Chances are, if you like that layout, they will have tons of others that you will like, too!  Most scrapbooks (or crafters) have a style that carries throughout their other projects.


So let’s wrap this up with a quick summary… which is easier, least time consuming and cost less money?  Neither.  Scrapbooking is what you make it.  Truth be told you can buy all the tools and software you want, but when it comes down to putting photo to paper, it’s up to you to turn a photo into a work of art.  Obviously, I choose traditional scrapbooking, but that’s not a show of favoritism, it’s just a personal preference.  If you truly don’t have the time or creativity to create scrapbook layouts, you can purchase pre-made layouts on many marketplace sites, such as Etsy.  You’ll pay for them, but technically, it probably wouldn’t be any more than what you would pay in time and money to create your own.  I also prefer to support local crafters in my network, and it saves on shipping costs when you buy local – a win win.  If you are a crafting snob (that’s right, you know who you are!) then you probably shouldn’t buy pre-made pages since it won’t be how you would have done it, LOL.

So, I’m not sure if that actually helps anyone, but hopefully it’ll be of some benefit if anyone has been debating scrapbooking lately.  I hope to being some of the less expensive techniques to your computer with the coming weeks so that you can see it really is anyone’s craft.  If you’re already a scrapbooker, be sure to jot down your best technique and money saving tips to share with the group!  We love you have your comments and feedback!  In the meantime, we’ll have some projects coming up soon that you are sure to enjoy!


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