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Scrapbooking My Way - On the Highway Scrapbooking My Way - On the Highway
Rubber Stamping Project by Carolyn Hasenfratz
Copyright © 2012

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  • Introduction
  • Tools and Materials
  • Get Organized
  • Create Page Layouts
  • Fishing Touches
  • More Creative Possibilities
  • Resources


Scrapbooking as practiced in earlier times was a hobby of collecting paper ephemera and preserving it in albums. I was introduced to the modern form of scrapbooking with photos in the late 1990's when a friend of mine became a Creative Memories consultant and I attended one of her workshops. I was pleased to learn about how to preserve photos in archival albums and present them in an attractive way. Archival presentation and storage is of great interest to people who take photos as well as to artists and collectors like myself. The popularity of the scrapbooking hobby has made archival materials more accessible and easier to use than ever. As a result of the Creative Memories workshop I invested in some archival materials and versatile scrapbooking tools and was soon using them in different paper crafts.

Not long after my introduction to scrapbooking, I took my first Route 66 trip and soon became obsessed with the Mother Road. A Route 66 trip can be a great vacation in the usual sense, but if you get hooked on it to the point where it becomes a way of life as it did for me, you want to do more than just take a trip on it. You want to immerse yourself in the history. You want to collect artifacts and information. You want to preserve what you've seen and experienced, not only for yourself but for future generations. You want to take multiple trips year after year and year and observe and document the ever-changing road.

After my first Route 66 trip it was clear that a Route 66 album was the perfect opportunity to combine collecting of paper ephemera with photos. For example, when my brother and I were exploring road ruins in the Mohave Desert, he saw a piece of paper blowing around the ruins of the Roadrunner Cafe. When he picked it up, he was delighted to discover that it was a letter from Ronald Reagan to a constituent when he was still Governor of California! Definitely a keeper and it tells a better story if displayed alongside the photos of the vicinity where he found it. Paper ephemera is not always acid-free so you don't necessarily want it to touch the photos. Protective archival clear plastic sleeves and archival papers allow you to combine the two in a way that preserves both.

I started thinking about how I was going to create my Route 66 album. I knew I was going to be travelling Route 66 again and again but not always stopping at the same places. If I arranged my Route 66 album by time like you do with normal vacation albums, my view of the road would be disjointed and it would be difficult to learn the geography as well as I'd like. So I decided to arrange mine geograhically instead of by time and indicate the dates on the pages. That would also help tell the story of how the road changes over time.

I decided to get three-ring binders, one for each of the eight states. I would use 8.5 x 11 inch card stock for the pages and store them in clear archival sleeves for three ring binders that you can get at an office supply store. That way I could insert new pages easily in the right geographical order. This arrangement would give me the opportunity to insert other sleeves for my collections that are compatible with three-ring binders, such as for my postcard collection or postage stamps. If I wanted to cut out parts of brochures and maps and use them as part of the page layout, I could do that without fear of damaging anything since the page protectors would keep the non-archival paper from touching the photos on the opposite pages. The 8.5 x 11 in format would be compatible with much of the paper ephemera I wanted to collect, and 8.5 x 11 in archival cardstock is easy to find and inexpensive. My chosen format, although very unorthodox compared to what most others in the scrapbooking hobby use, has worked well for me over the years. If you would like to create an album like mine, I'll explain what you'll need, describe how to create page layouts and provide sample page layout ideas and shape templates you can try.

Tools and Materials

Paper memorabila and ephemera (brochures, maps, ticket stubs, motel stationery, business cards, postcards, coasters, cocktail napkins, menus, etc.)
8.5 x 11 in archival cardstock - light neutral colors are most versatile for page backgrounds - get assorted other colors too for accents
12 x 12 in archival scrapbooking paper in assorted colors - solid colors are the most versatile, but you might see some patterned paper you like too
8.5 x 11 in sheet protectors for 3-ring binders
3-ring binder
Photo splits
Archival glue stick
Clean scrap paper
Bone folder / paper creaser
Paper cutter that can handle up to 12 x 12 in sheets of paper
Decorative edging scissors
Shape cutters and templates
Corner rounder
Metal ruler
Thin marker (archival is preferred but not absolutely neccessary because the pages are all protected)

Self-healing cutting mat
X-Acto knife
Archival photo corners
Rubber stamps
Archival rubber stamping ink
Downloaded file "Scrapbooking Layout Ideas and Shape Templates"
Computer with printer
Self-sticking laminating sheets
Smaller clear page protectors in various sizes such as 5 x 7 in and 7 x 7 in
Shape punches
Scrapbooking tape runner
Large paintbrush (for brushing off eraser crumbs)

If you're new to scrapbooking and paper crafts, the toolkit above might seem daunting, but if you plan to do a lot of paper crafts, most of them will get a lot of use and be great investments that you'll use for many years.

Get Organized
  1. Gather your photos and materials together that you want to present in your album.

  2. Get your paper cutter and scissors out, and if you're using one, your shape cutting system. Look at each item one at a time and see if it needs cropping or trimming. You might be able to make a photo more interesting by cutting out some uninteresting background. Some items might look better if you trim around it. Some photos will look better as an oval, circle or other geometric shape.

    Scrapbooking page layout with circles
    Some of these photos looked better as circles
    Scrapbook page layout with cut up photos
    Some of these portions of a photo looked better cut up into small pieces with a decorative paper edging scissors

  3. Some of your ephemera, such as antique maps and postcards will be collectible. Those items you'll want to protect and preserve - gluing the items to the page would not be acceptable. If something is not necessarily collectible but you want to keep it intact like a brochure or map that has good information you want to reference later, you can display that without gluing it down too - I'll explain how later in the article. Ephemera that is not collectible and can be cut up can make good page embellishments - see a couple of examples below:
    Protect photos with a layer of scrapbook safe paper
    It's best not have your ephemera touch the photos, but if it's unavoidable you could back either the emphemera or the photo with a piece of scrapbook safe paper. In this example I've used part of an extra map as a background.
    Pictures from brochures
    Feel free to cut items up that you don't care about keeping whole and use the bits you like as decoration on the page. On this page I cut out pictures from brochures and glued them to the page with a glue stick alongside the photos.

  4. Do you have any souvenirs and collectibles that are not flat enough to put in an album but are flat enough to scan, such as matchbooks, bottle caps, motel key tags, keys, motel soaps or things of that nature? Try scanning them and having color printouts made, and put the printouts in your album! A great way to add historic atmosphere!

  5. Hint - while on a trip, pick up two or more copies of brochures or maps you really like so you can cut some up to enhance your album!

  6. Put the items in the order you want, geographic order, time order, or whatever makes sense to you. If you have paper ephemera to go with your photos, intermingle those items in order where you want them.

Create Page Layouts
  1. It's easier to work on page layouts two or three at a time. Lay out three pieces of plain 8.5 x 11 in scrap paper to use as staging areas for pages. Without gluing anything down yet, lay your photos and other items on the temporary sheets and arrange them the way you want. This is the point where I decide if any of the photos need the corner rounder. You can round none of them, round all of them, or round some and not others, whatever you think looks best with your page layout.

    Here are some examples of how the corner rounder can enhance your presentation:

    Set off rounded corners with triangles

    Back rounded corner photo with colored paper rectangle

  2. If you need ideas for layouts, download and print out my PDF file "Scrapbooking Layout Ideas and Shape Templates". Use horizontal format for printing. If you like any of the shapes in the Shapes to Trace section, cut those out and laminate them with self-sticking laminating sheets so they hold up to being traced many times.

  3. Once you know what you want on your first page and know what the general layout will be, start choosing your accent papers. If you are having trouble deciding what to use, here is a general formula that works well for me:

      A. Pick a somewhat muted solid color that sets off the items and harmonizes well with them. Use this for the largest color areas on the page.

      B. Pick a brighter secondary color or pattern to use for highlights.

  4. Cut out your accent papers and arrange with photos on temporary sheet. You can use your paper cutter, X-Acto knife, shape cutting system, scissors or decorative edging scissors to cut depending on what you're trying to do.

  5. If you're using rubber stamps, stickers or other embellishments, decide where they will go and prepare any parts that you need to make.

  6. Get an 8.5 x 11 in piece of cardstock that will become your page and start gluing or mounting the page elements onto it, working from back to front. If you need to, you can use a ruler and pencil to mark where things go - mark gently and lightly so the marks don't dent the paper and are easy to erase later if necessary. How you will mount each item depends on what it is.

    For thin small or narrow pieces of paper, I like the glue stick since it makes the paper lie very flat. Here is my glue stick method:

      A. Lay the paper you want to glue face down on a clean piece of scrap paper. Apply glue stick to the back, taking care to go all the way to the edges.

      B. Position the paper and lightly press in place with hand.

      C. Place another clean piece of scrap paper over glued item and burnish with folding/paper creasing tool.

    For large stiff pieces of paper, the photo splits will work well. Since your pages will be in sheet protectors that will help hold the edges down, you don't have to be super fussy about getting adhesive on all parts of the edge. Just hit the major points. There are scrapbooking tape runners that allow more precision in attaching large or detailed pieces. I have not found one yet that is not aggravating to use, so I don't very often, but you might find a good one that works well for you.

    Photo splits and photo corners are an easy way to mount your photos. If you don't care about ever seeing the back of the photo and don't think you'll be taking it out of the album, photo splits are a quick easy way to mount them. Just put one photo split in each corner and press it in place. If you think there is a possibility that you'll want to take the photo out at some point, photo corners are a good choice. You can buy photo corners or make your own - I've included a template for making them in my file "Scrapbooking Layout Ideas and Shape Templates".

    How to make photo corners

    An alternate way of mounting a photo is cutting a rectangle of background paper a little larger than the photo, cutting slits in the corners, then inserting the photo into the slits.

    Insert photo into slits

    If you have some paper ephemera that is collectible or that you'll want to take out and look at in the future, you won't want to mount it directly to the page. Here are some ideas for displaying these kind of items:

    Protecting collectible item with sleeve
    I protected this collectible greeting card by putting it in a 5 1/2 x 7 in protective sleeve. The sleeve allowed me to overlap photos and the greeting card is still removeable for viewing.
    Brochure pocket
    I made a paper pocket for this brochure so it could be removed for viewing and put it on a background made from a restaurant placemat. See my file "Scrapbooking Layout Ideas and Shape Templates" for a couple of different sized templates for making pockets.
    Photo Corners
    Homemade large photo corners are a good way to display a newspaper article that is too large for an 8.5 x 11 in page. The article can be removed and unfolded if someone wants to read the whole thing.
Finishing Touches

Garden at La Posada Since I arrange my Route 66 albums geographically and not by time, it's important to indicate the year on each page. Sometimes I write it by hand or I might use stickers or my year rubber stamps to accent the pages. I have day and month stamps available too.

Now it's time to write on the pages. In the scrapbooking world, this is called "Journaling". You can write directly on the page with marker, or write on a separate piece of paper and glue that in.

You can make light pencil lines on the page as a guide to erase later, or just wing it if a casual look is ok. After erasing, brush off crumbs with a paintbrush. If you're writing on dark paper, there are special markers for this purpose.

If you look where scrapbooking supplies are sold, you will find a wide variety of stickers, rub-ons and other embellishments to add to your scrapbook pages. Most stickers are too cutesy for my taste but you might find some you like. If I see any that appeal to me I might add them to my stash and occasionally just the right use for them comes along. For example here are some vintage look butterflies that really worked well on this page.

Rubber stamps can also be a great tool for enhancing your pages. Here are a few examples:
Rubber Stamping on Scrapbook Pages
Rubber Stamping on Scrapbook Pages
Rubber Stamping on Scrapbook Pages

More Creative Possibilities

If you would like to make a small album to commemorate a special event or give as a gift, you'll get some ideas from my tutorial "Small Journal With Pockets". See my Project Ideas for more ways to put paper craft tools to good use!


Here are some sources for specific products mentioned.

01.Wooden Car Seat Beads - Light
02.Mounting Cushion
03.Wooden Car Seat Beads - Dark
04.Joss Paper
05.Flower Die Cut
06.StazOn Permanent Ink Pad Jet Black
07.Missouri Historic Byway Mounted
08.Faux Postage Frame With Perforated Edges Unmounted
09.Kicks on 66 Unmounted
10.Muslin Drawstring Bag 3 x 5
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Carolyn Hasenfratz, Author