Scrapbooking is a popular way to collect and preserve our family history and other memories. Scrapbooks are records of people and events but they include relevant mementos to enhance and give background to the pictures and words.
Scrapbooks may focus a family’s history, a person’s life or a special event (such as a journey or a wedding), hobby, pets or other personal interest.
Scrapbooks become family treasures to be shared with relatives and heirlooms which are handed down through generations.
Scrapbooks grew in popularity from the time when it became possible to make multiple copies of photographs and more advanced but cheaper and easier to use cameras were developed.
Computers are becoming more popular with scrapbookers (often called ‘scrappers’) for preparing and organizing their projects.
One drawback has been that the papers and inks used with computers did not have the durability of the archive grade paper used for traditional scrapbooking.
Some printer companies, such as Epson, have enthusiastically supported scrapbookers. They produce kits of acid-free, lignin-free matte and semi-gloss papers and low-cost Guides to help scrapbookers use their products.
Is Digital Scrapbooking Better?
Digital scrapbooking is a different way to produce parts of your scrapbook projects more quickly and often more cheaply.
You can even use your computer to produce complete projects.
It hasn’t replaced traditional methods but it is a valuable addition to any scrapper’s tool chest.
Our computers also make it possible for people like myself, with limited artistic ability and limited time, to produce scrapbooks which are much better than we ever could do without them!
Even people that are very good with the traditional methods can use their computer to organize their raw materials, enhance their projects, and save time and money.
Your computer will not remove your personality from a project. It gives you more options for expressing yourself and presenting the information.
What Do You Need?
You need very little that you probably haven’t already got, to get started with your first digital scrapbooking project.
A computer with an Internet connection. The computer which you used to view this article probably has all the power you need to organize and create your projects.
Photos and other material to make your scrapbooks from.
A camera for taking photos which you will use in projects.
If you have a digital camera, you can easily transfer your new digital pictures into your computer with the cable and program which came with your camera.
Scanning Your Pictures
If you want to use photos which were printed from a developed film and not taken with a digital camera, you will need to either to pay someone to scan them and then save them on to a DVD for you to use or get a scanner and do it yourself.
You might get a scanner or a printer combined with a scanner and perhaps a fax (usually called a multi-function printer).
Your scanner should have the highest resolution and bit depth (check the information provided on the box) which you can get.
You may not always use the maximum settings available because pictures produced at those settings are likely to be much larger computer files but buying a machine which has low values means that you will find yourself restricted from doing more detailed work when you have a project which needs it.
It is also useful if your scanner has the accessory which enables you to scan photo slides and film negatives if you are likely to want to use them in your projects.
Printers and Supplies
If you are going to produce printed versions of your scrapbook projects to the same standard and specifications as traditional scrapbooks, you will need a printer which can print on twelve inch square paper, the traditional size for scrapbook pages.
Many of the printers available cannot handle that width of paper, but you can produce nice scrapbooks with them. A lot of people produce smaller books, including pocket-size “brag” books or others with pages that can be printed on their printers.
The inks supplied for most computers printers are dye inks in four colors which can produce good results and they are getting better all the time. But, they are not likely to last or give the results which can be obtained with the more expensive pigment-based inks.
You have to decide if that is worth the higher cost to you.
You also need to consider whether you will pay the higher cost of the special archive quality paper which is suitable for use with computer printers. Epson has been supplying packs of this type of paper but there may also be other sources.
This paper is expected to be able to be stored for over 100 years where most paper produced for computer printers may only last about twenty years.
With regular computer paper supplies, you might use gloss finish paper where you are producing bright highly-colored pages. Paper with a matt finish is possibly better for softer images.
Some suppliers produce papers with different textures. You might check these out where you are producing commemorative scrapbooks about a particular event such as the first year of your child’s life etc.
There are specialized computer programs available just for producing scrapbook pages. This is probably the easiest way to produce and fill your pages with your content.
These programs vary in price and features. There are even some which are free!