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Scrapbooking Basics
By Michael Russell

Scrapbooking is one of the fastest growing and ever changing hobbies in the world. With new products coming out daily, it's no wonder a beginner gets overwhelmed by all the supplies. You may find yourself asking what you should buy first. What's actually needed to make beautiful scrapbook pages? Here are some of the bare minimum.

Cardstock is a must in scrap booking. Basic colors are good to start with. Then once you are a more experienced scrapper you will probably want to expand your color selection for more variety. Buying cardstock in value packs is more economical then by buying by the sheet and gives you numerous colors in the same pack. Make sure it is acid free to protect your pictures from harmful chemicals. Even though it's cheaper, don't use construction paper which is thinner than cardstock and isn't fade resistant. Themed paper is perfect for certain photos. For example, if you have pictures of a beach, then using themed beach or water paper would give your pages more interest. These papers are usually sold by the sheet at your local scrapbook store or craft store. Themed paper packs are also becoming popular. Many manufacturers now have kits with the paper as well as accessories to fit a certain theme.

Adhesives are usually personal preference. Glue dots, photo stickers, glue sticks and double-sided tape are just a few on the market today. Sample different kinds to find which ones you like. Most scrapbookers use several different adhesives depending on the project they are working on. Which ever glues you decide on using, just make sure to use a photo safe adhesive on your projects.

A 12" paper trimmer is a tool most scrapbookers couldn't live without. This will not only make all your cuts straight but is also faster to use than scissors. Small precision scissors are also convenient for cutting small items when the paper trimmer is too big to use. Decorative scissors cuts paper in designs such as zigzag or in the shape of grass. These come in numerous designs and can add an extra touch to your scrapbook page.

Gel pens and markers can be used for journaling on your pages. You don't have to write a long story about your pictures but you will want to write at least who is in the photos. Add the day and year if possible so that future generations can enjoy the pictures without wondering who is in them or when they were taken. Black is the most versatile color for journaling and is all that's needed in the beginning. Buy additional colors as you need them and store them lying down so the ink runs freely.

Templates (or sometimes called stencils) are a fun way to cut your photos and paper in shapes such as, hearts, stars, balloons, bears and more. Each template has numerous designs so a couple of them will give you a variety of shapes.

Die cuts come in different shapes and sizes and are for accenting your pages. These are usually made from cardstock and are sold individually and by the pack either in themes or assorted.

Stickers come in every theme you could possible imagine. They add a nice touch to pages and are fast and easy to use.

Sheet protectors are used for completed scrapbook pages. They are available in different sizes and finishes, such as, glossy or matte. These protect your pages from dust and fingerprints and keep photos from touching each other on facing pages.

These are just a few of the items available but are the basic supplies. Once you become a more experienced scrapper, you will have a better idea about what you like and then buy products that appeal to you.

About the Author: Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Scrapbooking

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