When I asked on Instagram what you guys wanted to learn for Scrapbook Sundays, the number one question was, “What supplies do I need to get started?” Many of you expressed a desire to keep the necessary supplies on a friendly budget. I get that, and I have good news—the way I like to scrapbook is honestly not that expensive. I don’t have hundreds of supplies. In the past (several years/studios ago), I had a whole room full of supplies. A. Whole. Room.
And you know what? I have learned that I am way more productive with less things, because stuff overwhelms me. And while I am by no means a minimalist, I do have a little bit of an “if you don’t love it, leave it” attitude. Now I am building a collection of stuff I actually use! More stuff does not equal more creativity, so don’t stress about starting small. As with any hobby, It’s good to start small.
I’m here today to share my list of “must have” supplies. You don’t need to make a gigantic investment to start scrapbooking. You can get super creative with just a few basic things. If you can afford lattes, you can afford to make a scrapbook. I promise!
Ready, set, go!
To start your first scrapbook 0r photo book there is only one supply you absolutely need—an album.
Choosing your first album can be a lot of pressure because there are a lot of choices. My recommendation is to try all the sizes that interest you, one at a time, and see which one is your favorite. I have tried all the sizes through the years, and right now I am doing mini books (like these 4″ x 4″ albums) and 9″ x 12″ (my 9″ x 12″ albums are still in production). If you scroll through my archive you can see all the different sizes I’ve tried.
Whatever you choose will be great, so just pick whatever you are most attracted to and get started! Albums are fun, but what really matters in what you put inside them—your memories.
Above: 4″ x 4″ Mini Albums. If you try one of these be sure to get extra page protectors, because they can fit an extra two packs at least in each album; more bang for your buck.
I love these little 4″ x 4″ albums. I’m working on one right now for my niece, Penny, about our trip to Harry Potter World.
Okay, every single product after this is optional, but I want to share all the things that I love and use over and over again!
Investment-wise, a home printer is the only tool I use for every single scrapbook page. You do not need a home printer to get started; there are a million different places you can print your photos. However, if you are thinking of making bigger purchases to benefit your scrapbooking hobby, this would be my first stop. I love and highly recommend the printer I have, the Canon PIXMA iP8720.
Note: I have received tons of questions about how I print custom-sized photos from start to finish, what paper I love, etc. I’ll be covering that here very soon!
When you first start scrapbooking, the best supplies you can buy are things you can use over and over. Think of this in the same way as you would think of building a wardrobe. It’s smart to focus on peices you can wear over and over again and not invest too much in trendy pieces or accessories that you’ll only wear a few times.
With that said, there are several items that I use over and over and over. Stamps are a big one. Good basics inks are another. Good quality paint is very important (paint is my #1 always).
Above: I started storing my stamps in Handbook Albums because they have pages that are the sizes of all my stamps (I mostly have 4″ x 6″ size stamps and a few 6″ x 8″ and 3″ x 4″).
A quick rabbit trail! Many of you have asked how clear stamps work. It’s easy! Here’s how:
Clear stamps are more environmentally friendly to produce, easier to store, and cost less because you typically get more pieces per dollar than you could with wood-mounted stamps.
They are super easy to use. Just peel them off and mount them to an acrylic block for stamping. You can buy acrylic blocks at most craft stores and on Amazon— I use this multi-pack. If you don’t have an acrylic block, that’s okay too. You can use basically any shiny surface to mount them to. So you can use your ink pad cover, a small cup or jar, a piece of recycled plastic packaging… lots of things.
In our new shop, we have five sets of clear stamps, including these emojis and the florals pictured above.
If you are on a tight budget, just start with black ink! I use it more than any other color. I love our formula, and I am also a huge StazOn fan (you can stamp on many different surfaces like plastic, metal, or leather with StazOn).
Inks and stamps can be very addictive, but it’s always good to start small and build your collection over time.
If you are on a limited budget for stamps, start with alphabets! They are the most useful and versatile stamps out there! I have about six or so different sets, and I use them all the time for both scrapbooking and DIY projects.
Current favorite alphabet sets: A Beautiful Mess outlined alpha, typewriter font, good basic.
Paint! My first love. I use paint every single day. Since I design products, I often test out ideas with just paint, markers, or colored cardstock before I start the digital design process. You can make endless cards and papers with just cardstock, markers, and paint! My favorite inexpensive paints are Martha Stewart craft paints because they’re heavy enough to use for DIY projects too.
Where I shop online: You might be surprised to know that I don’t shop a million different places. One of the reasons we started our new shop was because we saw a real need for an awesome online crafting supply shop! Here are my favorite places to shop: A Beautiful Mess (obvs—I mean, we designed/picked everything out ourselves!), Ali Edwards (love her stamps), Studio Calico, Amazon (so useful for both basics and random finds. It’s hilarious how many Amazon boxes we receive at our office each week.), Ashley Goldberg/Aha Arts (the best pattern-making stamps out there), Kelly Purkey (for general cool girl vibes), American Crafts (favorite letter stickers), and last but never least, Etsy (you can find just about anything from an Etsy seller! I shop there weekly.)
Need proof that you don’t need tons of supplies to get started? This page was made with just white cardstock, paint, and one set of white letter stickers. That’s it!
Everything I own for paper crafting fits in this cart. All of it. You can totally get started with just a little crate that fits under your bed or into your closet! (My cart is Martha Stewart, by the way.)
My number one tip for collecting the basic supplies for scrapbooking—only buy what you love.
Again, it’s so much like shopping for clothing. You don’t need more stuff; you need more stuff you LOVE. Clutter will never make you creative, so be selective and choose things that inspire you! You can be so creative with just a few basics. I hope this has been helpful and affirming to you today. If you’re brand new to scrapbooking, let me know if you have any questions or road blocks. I’ll answer you in the comments section. Happy Sunday! xx. Elsie
Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos Edited with Norma from The Folk Collection.