Sign Up For Our E-Newsletter

The easy way to celebrate your celebrations

Article and Images by Stacy Julian

Summer is upon us and so are celebrations of the people and relationships we value most. Family gatherings are in order this time of year and there's likely to be a wedding or two, you have the chance to say...

“Thank You.”
“I love you.”
“You matter to me.” or simply,

There is no better way to capture and commemorate these special holidays and milestone events than with pictures and there’s no better way to add meaning to pictures than with color and personal perspective. Yes, I’m talking scrapbooking. No, it’s not what you think. Keep reading, because what I’m about to show you is not your mother’s scrapbooking (or your sister’s for that matter.) This is a new, kinder, gentler approach to memory keeping and it comes with my personal fail-proof guarantee. I call it Photo Album Scrapbooking and anyone can do it--even you!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • An inexpensive photo album designed to hold one or two photos per page
  • Three or four 12”x12” sheets of decorative pattern paper. Note: Look for colors and/or themes that coordinate with the event you’re celebrating.
  • Letter stickers or rub-on transfers of words or decorative sayings.


You can generally find these items at Target, Michaels or even Walmart. If you want to get really fancy, you could purchase some ribbon too! You’ll also need some basic tools like small scissors and a paper trimmer. Scrapbooking adhesive like a tape runner or a nice big glue stick is also required.

Most modern scrapbooks start with a big, blank, single page that seems to call for a degree in graphic design or at least a oversized dose of confident creativity, which most of us haven’t accessed since the 3rd grade.

Photo albums on the other hand are easy. Slide in photos, add captions and call it good.

Somewhere between the time-intensive masterpiece and the nothing-special-here photo display, is a very cool hybrid project that takes advantage of limited space and some personal expression around a theme. Once you realize that you can alter, adapt and adorn a standard photo album you’ll open a floodgate of ideas for incorporating decorative scrapbook product and personal memorabilia along with your most favorite photos.



Ashli Zemp Lundwall is my dear friend and former “best” babysitter. She is like a member of our family, so attending her wedding was a very special thing for me. I’m going to use images of the little album I created for her to extol the benefits of this simplified approach to celebrating celebrations, so you can start giving the gift of memories.


The photo album itself and certainly the cover of your album can introduce your topic. Look for albums that fit your theme or feature a window and don’t be afraid to add some paint and ribbon! Tip: I used a craft knife to cut a 1” slit through the binding. I pushed my wired ribbon through the slit, wrapped it around the top cover and tied it into a bow.

Don’t settle for the not-so-pretty paper that lines the inside front and back covers of a photo album. Instead, cover them with decorative paper that adds a splash of color or underscores your theme. Tip: Use a glue stick to apply a thin, even layer of glue to the entire surface of your measured paper and then carefully adhere it to the inside covers. Alternatively, you can run decorative paper through a Xyron machine which essentially turns any piece of paper into a giant sticker!


Designate the first photo-sleeve page in your album as an official title page and use it to establish the color scheme and style of your project. Tip: You don’t need lots of expensive product to create a beautiful Photo Album Scrapbook. I used four sheets of 12”x12” pattern paper featuring primarily green and two already opened packages of rub-on transfers. The words, celebrate and rejoice are leftovers from a Christmas set of rub-ons.

Just because a photo album is designed to hold 4x6 photos does not mean it has to. I added a handful of personal notes to Ashli’s wedding album, by printing the text on my computer and trimming the standard 81/2” x 11” white cardstock down to the 6”x6” page size.


Tip: Use a text box tool to help you limit and place your journaling where you want it. Go to the “Insert” tab in most word processing toolbars and then click “Text Box.” Once you create a text box you can move it around your page and even format it with a border design or no border at all!



To save time, select your most favorite photos to work with and simply cover up a “Memo” area with a strip of pattern paper. Simplifying your creative process with a consistent format for most pages will result in a harmonious design overall. Tip: If you measure and pre-cut your paper strips ahead of time, you can shift into assembly mode and work on your project while watching a movie!

Don’t feel like you have to fill every photo sleeve in a photo album. Write a note that invites the recipient to slip in additional photos and thoughts. Leaving room for their contribution is a way of saying “I want this book to be something we create and enjoy together” I can’t think of a more thoughtful message or gift than that!

Stacy Julian is life enthusiastic, a recognized leader in the scrapbooking industry and the visionary founder of Big Picture Scrapbooking. Launched in November 2005, it is the first dedicated online scrapbooking education program with members around the world, featuring Stacy’s simple step by step thematic approach to unlock a person’s creativity and helps them to easily create stories out of life’s special moments. A passionate and sought-after speaker, trainer and author, Stacy regularly presents across the nation and abroad. Stacy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University and is a certified professional teacher with the Craft and Hobby Association.



Search for articles by topic, keyword,
or author's name.

Featured Recipe

Apple Pancakes
Serve these yummy pancakes in a great big pile and slather with maple syrup butter. Nothing could be better!

View all recipes ...

Featured Product

OLAY Touch of Sun
Looking for a sun-kissed glow without the sun?

View all products ...

Featured Idea

Frosted cupcakes in a flash!
You agreed to make cupcakes for your child's classroom party. You bought the cake mix and paper baking cups, but forgot the frosting! Look in your pantry for the solution.

View all ideas ...

E-Newsletter Sign Up
Visit our TypePad Blog Visit our Twitter Page Visit our Facebook Page