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How Much Does Scrapbooking Cost?

Scrapbooking can be expensive. There are so many wonderful supplies available and those of us who have been scrapbooking for a long time probably have a whole room full of accessories, cutters, templates, paper and other scrappy stuff. The key to keeping scrapbook costs under control is just buying what you actually need, keeping track of what you spend and knowing what you can afford.

So what does scrapbooking cost? In paper scrapbooking the average cost of a page is $5-$15, per album $150 and up). Having your digital scrapbook pages professionally printed costs $2-$10 per page. Printing your digital pages at home costs $2-$10 (not counting the cost for the printer itself). 

There are many ways to create your scrapbook album, and all of them have different costs. The main difference will be if you are a paper scrapbooker or a digital scrapbooker.

Paper Scrapbooking: Traditional Scrapbooking – $150 (and up) per album

This is the method most people think about when they hear the word “scrapbooking”. You get to use all the scrapbooking goodies: patterned paper, embellishments etc and can create beautifully decorated scrapbook pages.

Depending on how elaborate you want to decorate your pages you may need to use a lot of supplies. Since every scrapbooker has their own preferences it is quite difficult to pinpoint the exact costs. If you are just starting out the following list of cost-effective (and additional) supplies needed for this method are listed below.

Basic supplies needed for traditional paper scrapbooking:

  • Paper ($1-$5 per 12×12 sheet)
  • Photos ($0.20-$2 per photo)
  • Scissors ($5-$15)
  • Adhesives ($3-$10)
  • Album ($30-$60)
  • Page protectors ($0.50-$2 per piece)
  • Embellishments (up to $5 per pack): stickers, ribbon, letters, die cuts etc.
  • Pen ($1-$10)

Additional options could be a paper trimmer ($10-$70 and up), acrylic or rubber stamps ($5-$15 each), paper punches ($3-$10 each), templates ($5-$30) and more. Pre-made scrapbook kits for weddings, births or other special events are about $20-$40. Kit clubs cost about $24-$40 a month.

Specialized equipment such as die cut machines ($50-$350) will add even more additional costs (special cutting vinyl, mats, subscriptions, software updates etc).

Paper Scrapbooking: Pocket Scrapbooking – $70-$150 per album

Pocket scrapbooking has become very popular in recent years. It is a scrapbooking method that makes memory keeping quick and easy. You need relatively little supplies and you can complete an album in a short amount of time.

Project Life is probably the best known example of this method. Becky Higgins,  Project Life’s creator, promotes that you can create an entire album without scissors or adhesive. You may want to keep some scissors or a paper cutter handy just in case you need to trim down your photos to fit in the smaller pocket spaces.

The supplies needed to complete a pocket scrapbook album include: an album, photos, pocket page protectors ($5 for pack of 12) and a designer card kit ($30), a pen and scissors or paper cutter. All of those supplies come to a fairly cost-effective total of $70! For a 12×12 album of approximately 30 pages that comes down to a cost of $2.33 per page.

Digital Scrapbooking: Using Software – $115-$250

In digital scrapbooking you use computer programs like Photoshop Elements or Photoshop to create your scrapbook pages. This method has a steep learning curve, but has been more widely used over the last few years. The scrapbook pages created in the software programs can be done in any scrapbook page size. Your digital pages can be created in any scrapbook size you want and either follow the more traditional layouts or given a more structured look like in Project Life pocket pages.

Although the start-up costs of digital scrapbooking may be more expensive, eventually the cost per page could cost you less than paper scrapbooking. Depending on whether you print your photos or finished digital pages at home, you may have to invest in a good printer, photo paper (or good card stock) and, of course, printer ink. It is important to calculate your costs per page for printing at home and compare them to what it would cost to having your pages professionally printed. Computer software for digital scrapbooking can cost quite a bit (although Adobe Photoshop Elements is very affordable around $60), as well as perhaps an online course to learn to use the program.

The great advantage of digital scrapbooking is that you use your software all the time and that you can use your digital supplies (kits, journaling cards, embellishments etcfor) over and over and over without additional cost. If you use free editing software and choose not to print your pages (separately or in a photo album) at all, it may in fact be completely free!

Basic supplies needed for digital scrapbooking:

  • Computer (desktop or laptop) ($100-$500)
  • Photo editing and/or digital scrapbooking software ($10-$600)

Additional supplies:

  • Digital scrapbook kits ($0-$6 each)
  • Good printer (12×12 if that is your scrapbooking size) ($100-$800)
  • Photo printing paper ($10-$50 per pack)
  • Printer ink ($15-$75 per cartridge)
  • Scanner ($30-$100)

Digital Scrapbooking: Using An App – $105-$150

Scrapbooking with an app is the perfect solution for scrapbooking on the go. The app enables you to scrapbook, journal and print your photos in a single layout right from your smartphone or tablet. The only supply you need for his scrapbooking method is your smartphone or tablet. No paper, no scissors, no card kits, no organizing and printing your photos!

The estimated cost of $105 to complete an album includes the purchase of the Project Life App by Becky Higgins, the purchase of one in-app card kit, and the cost to print your finished layouts. Once your layouts are designed, you can export them for printing or you can print directly from the app with their partnered printing house. You store the printed layouts in an album with page protectors (not included in the above estimated price). Making your albums this way is an all-inclusive, convenient scrapbooking method. It allows you to scrapbook on the go and not have to worry about not having all of your supplies on hand.

Digital Scrapbooking: Make And Print A Photobook – $90-$150

The great alternative to printing out the separate digital layouts and putting them in an album with page protectors is to use your layouts in a photobook. Shutterfly and many other online printing centers will turn that digital album in a beautifully and professionally printed hardcover photobook.

You can choose to use your own pages to fill the book or use the online printer’s software where sample layouts and “pre-fill” pages are provided. You simply “drag-and-drop” your photos.

Supplies needed: digital scrapbooking supplies.

Hybrid Scrapbooking – $155-$300

Hybrid scrapbooking combines the best of both the digital and “physical” (i.e. paper!) worlds memory keeping. Digital scrapbooking has been revolutionary for many of us, but sometimes you just want to add some 3D to the printed pages, or include some unscannable memorabilia. Adding some extra elements and embellishments to those printed layouts can bring an extra element of creativity.

Supplies for the hybrid method include both digital and paper elements.  Digital layouts can be made on the computer or using an app and then printed professionally or at home. Once printed, paper embellishments such as flowers, die-cuts, chipboard titles, buttons, thickers etc can be used to finish the page. This need for a combination of supplies makes this method a little pricier than some of the others, but it does provide a great amount of creativity, ánd it allows you to scrapbook on the go.

Supplies needed for hybrid scrapbooking: both paper and digital supplies.

Alternative Scrapbooking Methods: “Just Stick Your Photos In” Photo Album – $10-$55

These traditional photo albums are definitely the way to go if you want your scrapbooking to be affordable and super fast. It really is the “bare bones” method of the scrapbooking world, but it certainly gets the job done! In such an album you basically display your photos without adding any embellishments. You simply slide your pictures into the photo album, put down some simple journaling in the margins and you’re done! Perfect for scrapping those many vacation photos or making an album for a special occasion.

Supplies needed: An album, photos and a pen.

Alternative Scrapbooking Methods: Social Media Sharing – $0

This method may not immediately come to mind when you think about “scrapbooking”, but sharing photos and stories on social media is a very convenient (and cheap!) way of memory keeping. And telling your story, after all, is what scrapbooking is all about.

Supplies needed for social media sharing: your digital photos, a smartphone, and a social sharing website.

There are many possibilities to choose your favorite social sharing website: Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks are great places to capture your memories, thoughts, and feelings. Shutterfly, Google Photos, and Flickr are also good options for social sharing. The most important aspect of these sites is that you have the option to write descriptions with your photos. This way you can share and write stories as they happen.

This scrapbooking method is not meant as a storage place for your digital photos, although some photo sharing sites do provide good services for that. It is a method, however, that allows you to capture (and share) your memories quickly and cheaply. If your current season in life doesn’t allow you much time or money to scrapbook in any of the other formats, then social sharing scrapbooking is a great option. You will be thankful that you wrote down those stories when you go to scrapbook them later on in life.

How Do I Find The Time To Scrapbook? 10 Tips!

So many memories, so little time… Do you feel there’s just not enough time to scrapbook? Rest assured that you’re not the only one! Many scrapbookers are looking for ways to find more time for their memory keeping.

Let’s look at some tips that will help you find the time to scrapbook:

  1. Make scrapbooking a priority.
  2. Schedule a time to scrap.
  3. Make it easy to scrapbook.
  4. Set scrapbooking goals.
  5. Scrapbook with a friend.
  6. Get some scrapbooking inspiration.
  7. Turn the tv off (or on!).
  8. Make scrapbooking family time.
  9. Make scrapbooking fit in with your lifestyle.
  10. Simplify your other tasks.

Now let’s elaborate on these tips!

1. Make scrapbooking a priority

We all make time for the things that are important to us, whether it is in our jobs or personal lives. You make the deadline at work, the kids get to their activities, laundry and cleaning get done and you hardly ever forget to brush your teeth. Scrapbooking is important to us as well, as a welcome “me time” hobby and as a record of our family history, and it therefore deserves to become a priority to us. Don’t make scrapbooking the last item on your “to do” list, don’t wait for “leftover” time to do your scrapbooking. We all know there is never any time left. Stop feeling guilty about spending time scrapping and put it on your priority list! If you feel like you need permission: HERE, you have permission!

2. Schedule a time to scrap

Now that scrapbooking is a priority to you, give it a place on your calendar. Schedule specific scrapbooking time and hold yourself to it. Should you have to cancel, make sure to reschedule! Make sure your scheduled time fits your lifestyle ánd scrap style! Are you a morning person or a night owl? Is it easy for you to scrap with your kids around or is it better to schedule time when they are in bed or in school? Do you prefer to scrap in long sessions or in smaller blocks of time? These questions will help you to determine where and when scrapbooking fits best into your schedule. Your family needs to understand that scrapping is as important to you as their activities are to them. The best way to accomplish this is to stick to the schedule!

3. Make it easy to scrapbook

If you have to gather your supplies, tools and photos from all over the house every time you sit down to scrapbook chances are you just won’t do it. Make it easy for yourself to start your scrapbooking session by considering the following tips:

Have a designated space for scrapping

You don’t need a whole room (although that would be super!). A basket with gathered supplies, photos and tools for a specific project in an easy to reach place or a stack of drawers will work just fine. Even better is to find a table or desk in an area of your home where you can set up and leave out your scrapbooking supplies and half finished projects.

Build a library of sketches and layout ideas.

Knowing what you want to put on your page (and where!) will kickstart your scrapbook session. As a paper scrapper you might want to sketch out ideas on cards or into a notebook. Alternatively, if you are a digital scrapbooker, you can save images in a designated folder.

Organize your supplies.

This will make it easier to find what you need. As a paper scrapper, keep your supplies in labeled containers or find another way to organize your supplies that works for you. As a digital scrapper, create a folder system on your computer for your digital supplies (ánd your photos!). Does finding coordinating papers and embellishments take too much of your precious scrapbooking time? Consider using kits (paper or digital) to eliminate the difficult time-consuming choices. Also, make it a habit to tidy up after completing a project by putting everything back in its proper place. This way you can start “fresh” with your next project.

4. Set scrapbooking goals

Setting goals will help you to get more scrapbooking done. You’ll be more likely to keep to your scheduled scrap time if you have given yourself some sort of deadline. Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and have a Timeline). For instance, you may decide on a goal where you scrap two layouts a week over a course of three months. Should this prove to be too easy or too difficult, adjust your goal. Goals are meant to encourage, not discourage.

5. Scrapbook with a friend

The great thing about scrapbooking with a friend is that you can both work on your own projects whilst enjoying each other’s company (and encouragement). Making an appointment with someone else will help you to stick to your scheduled scrapbooking time. It might turn out to not be as efficient as scrapping alone, but you may enjoy the time spent with your friend so much, that you’ll be motivated to continue scrapbooking by yourself.

If you don’t have a scrapbooking friend nearby, consider going to a scrapbook crop (visit your local scrapbook store to see when they are hosting one), joining a scrapbooking club or take a scrapbook related class. Find someone to teach your scrap skills to. Helping someone discover your favorite hobby is tremendously inspiring ánd you’ll have a scrapbooking buddy to boot!

6. Get some scrapbooking inspiration

Find inspiration on paper or online.

While waiting for dentist appointments, doctor appointments, haircuts or your kids to finish their activities, get yourself inspired by reading scrapbooking books, magazines or browsing your favorite blogs, apps and Pinterest online. Listen to your favorite scrapbooking podcasts. Have a notebook (either paper or digital) handy to jot down your inspiration: a sketch, an idea for a layout, the bullet points for journaling a specific story, etc.

Take a scrapbook related class.

Sign up for a class at your local scrapbooking store or take an online course. Learn new techniques and try them out. Finish a specific project together with your course buddies. Although there are free scrapbooking classes out there, a financial commitment can often stimulate you to keep participating and finish. And the newfound scrapbooking skills will motivate you to continue your scrapbooking with newfound enthusiasm!

Let your photos inspire you.

Without our photo supply, we wouldn’t be scrapbooking. Keep your camera (or phone) on hand at all times. Capturing those small everyday moments will encourage you to write your family’s story.

7. Turn the tv off (or on!)

There are two ways to approach the “tv on or off” debate: either you don’t get distracted by tv and you can combine catching up with your favorite tv-show with getting lots of scrapping done, or you do get distracted and need to turn the tv off for some creative scrap time. Either side has its merits and you need to decide for yourself what tv approach is best for you. The most important thing is that because you are tired you just drop yourself on the couch in front of the tv because it is the easiest option. Consider using tv time to scrapbook, either with the tv on or off!

8. Make scrapbooking family time

Since you are recording your family’s history it only makes sense to include your spouse and children in your scrapbooking. Have them journal their own experience. Let them help you choose the layout decisions for a particular page or have them sort the embellishments by color. Encourage older kids (ánd spouse!) to send you some photos on their phone, perhaps even with a little note about the stories attached to those images. Scrapbooking together can create some magical family moments. Let your kids start their own creations, whether to record their memories or to create cards fort heir friends.

9. Make scrapbooking fit in with your lifestyle

Simplify your scrapbooking.

You may consider stepping away from traditional layouts and speed up your process by switching to pocket-page scrapbooking such as Project Life. You can save a lot of time by just putting photos in pockets, adding some journaling and calling it done. Should you feel the need to be more creative, embellish your pocket pages or mix in a more traditional layout whenever you have more time.

Go digital.

If you have a very busy life where large blocks of scrapbooking time just don’t fit in, you may want to try the digital approach. One of the many advantages of digital scrapbooking is that you can stop and start your projects with no setting up or clearing away afterwards. If you use an app you can do it wherever you want on your phone or tablet. And since we’re mentioning technology, there are many ways you can use technology to make scrapbooking easier and faster: create photo books, type your journaling, format and upload photos for printing. Put your technology to use!

10. Simplify your other tasks

Create more time for scrapbooking by organizing and simplifying your other task. For instance, try cooking some meals in bulk so you can freeze them and leave yourself some free time to scrap on those afternoons or evenings when you don’t have to do meal preparation. Or if you currently grocery shop once a week, double up. Shop once every two weeks. On your off week, scrapbook! And please remember that you don’t have to do all those tasks yourself. Involve your family members to get the chores done quicker and create yourself some scrapping time!