by Barbara Bennett and Brian
has been involved with scrapbooking over the past few years may find that
this article is a bit "basic." However, new scrapbookers and anyone that
is considering giving it a try should find the information in this piece
You might think
that paper is paper and stickers are stickers. Period. Actually, though,
there is a lot that can be said about both paper and stickers. One very
important thing to point out is that any products that you purchase for
a scrapbooking project (including paper and stickers) should be purchased
with the main purpose of scrapbooking in mind... that is, archiving and
protecting your memories that have been captured in photographs, newspaper
clippings, and other mementos. Anything that comes into contact with those
precious items should be purchased with the product’s archival qualities
some comments that we made on this issue way back in the first article
in this series:
(including paper, cloth, photo paper, etc.) contain acid which is the
arch enemy of anyone that is trying to preserve photographs and other
mementos. Acid content is measured on a pH scale. If a material has a
pH value of 7.1 or more, it is said to be alkaline (acid free). Any number
below that is considered acidic. A reading of 7.0 is neutral. Substances
that are either strongly acidic or strongly alkaline can cause damage
to photographs, pages and other sensitive elements. Another chemical arch
enemy of scrapbookers is lignin, an organic substance that is found in
wood fiber and is therefore naturally found in paper. Lignin is acidic
and is the substance that causes paper to turn yellow with age. Fortunately,
scrapbooking products produced by reputable manufacturers, have had the
lignin removed, and been made to be as close as possible to pH neutral
(non-acidic and non-alkaline). Such products are often marked acid- and
recommend that you do your shopping for your scrapbooking projects at
reputable scrapbooking stores and with reputable online retailers. You
certainly don’t want to use products that will end up destroying the very
keepsakes that you’re trying so hard to preserve!
Paper can be
purchased for scrapbooking projects in many different sizes and styles.
By far the most popular scrapbook album size is 12” x 12” so it’s not
surprising that the most popular paper size is also 12” x 12”. However,
paper can also be purchased in 8 1/2” x 11” size, which is the most commonly
used paper size for office work, of course, but is also used for some
scrapbook album projects. 8” x 8” and 6” x 6” are more common scrapbooking
The most common
paper that is used for scrapbooks is commonly called cardstock. Cardstock
is a thick, heavy weight paper (usually 60-80 pound weight paper, whereas
typical copy paper used in an office is only 15-20 pound weight). Cardstock
is usually colored. It can be purchased with either a smooth or a textured
finish. Scrapbookers often mix and match paper colors and textures to
create varying looks on their page designs. A new trend in cardstock production
is the multi-colored cardstock sheets which are becoming available. Multi-colored
cardstock is special because it is made with layers of varying colors
so that you can tear the paper (which is a very easy way of creating mattes
for your photos, for example, that results in a fantastic appearance)
and expose those various colors.
A view of Mouse Memories' display of Prism Prismatics textured cardstock
and Creative Imaginations' Pizzazzill pattern-printed cardstock.
Photo ©Mouse Memories, 2008.
paper is also a very commonly used scrapbooking staple. Printed paper
is usually of a lighter weight than cardstock, but not necessarily so.
Some printed papers by some manufacturers are as heavy, or even more so,
than common cardstock. A wide variety of images are printed on scrapbooking
papers. Some are simple designs and patterns. Others have much more intricate,
ornate designs. Photo-realistic designs, in which an actual photograph
or collage of photos – sometimes with hand-designs also included – are
also very popular. Our design team usually begins every layout by choosing
a printed, patterned paper that coordinates with the colors in the pictures,
and then coordinating one or two solid colors of cardstock to use as mattes
for the pictures.
This simple printed paper is great for scrapbooking trips to Mexico...
or to Epcot's Mexico pavilion... or to WDW's Coronado Springs Resort.
image ©Mouse Memories .
papers are also readily available, although they aren’t used as often
as simple cardstock and printed paper just because they cost more. “Gloss-embellished”
Papers are printed with some of the design details printed with a high-gloss
finish. “Glitter-embellished” papers are accented with shiny flecks that
provide a pretty reflective appearance. Embossed papers, which are literally
pressed in a die to provide a textured feel, are also available. Specialty
papers are also available that can be used to provide an extra dash of
excitement to a page layout. Paper that has some texture and the appearance
of sports balls (like the pimples on a white golf ball or the leather-texture
of a football or basketball) are some examples. Embellished papers can
make an “ok” layout exceptional. You do spend a bit more on those papers,
but often need fewer other embellishments to make a great layout. If you
plan your purchasing wisely, you can use awesome papers AND spend less
on your layouts!
This embossed paper is one of several that are great for page layouts
highlighting pictures of a visit to Legoland, the Lego Imagination Center,
or of your kids playing with the ubiquitous plastic blocks.
image ©Mouse Memories .
The old adage,
“if you can dream it, you can do it,” has been taken to heart by scrapbook
paper manufacturers! The colors, styles, and designs are virtually limitless!
One purchasing tip for papers that many veteran scrapbookers find critical
is to always buy papers in 2’s. When you purchase in 1’s, you are much
more limited in your creative options as you work on your pages.
When most people
think about stickers, they usually think of a sheet of flat stickers that
you peel off and stick down. Stickers are much more diverse than that
in the modern scrapbooking world! The term “sticker” of course, implies
that the product is self-adhering. However, the variety and style of stickers
is even more broad than papers.
are still very much available and very popular. The designs of those flat
stickers range from simple designs to very complex, intricate ones to
photo-realistic stickers. Flat stickers can be printed on paper or they
may be printed on mylar or another plastic material. Something to consider
when you purchase your stickers, especially flat ones, is that many older
sticker designs include a fairly visible white border around the sticker
image. Since many scrapbookers find that border to be unappealing or distracting,
most scrapbook sticker manufacturers have moved toward a borderless design.
Mylar-based stickers are one great solution that sticker manufacturers
came up with that provides the border-less appearance that most scrapbookers
One step up
the evolutionary chain from flat stickers are cardstock stickers. Cardstock
stickers are also flat, but because they are printed and cut out of a
heavier material they provide a different look to a scrapbook page. They
are easy to use to add more dimension to a page by using a pop-dot adhesive
between the paper and the sticker. You can also do this with regular flat
stickers, but because they are more flimsy, a more complicated process
is required to get the same effect. Many scrapbookers feel that cardstock
stickers look richer and more elegant than flat stickers.
Many flat and
cardstock stickers are embellished, much like embellished papers. Stickers
can be found that are glossy, glitter-embellished, and embossed (most
embossed stickers are cardstock stickers, because the heavier stock is
required to have a nice embossed design).
Here's an example of a flat sticker sheet.
This flat sticker sheet has been embellished with glitter.
Here is a closeup of the glitter-embellished sticker... you can
see the glitter in Ariel's tail and top.
the beginning, though. Epoxy stickers (also called “gem” stickers by some
manufacturers) are flat stickers with a clear epoxy plastic covering or
overlay. The epoxy adds a look of dimension to the sticker which translates
into yet another design flourish to enhance your pages.
You can see the way that light reflects off the
overlays on this epoxy sticker sheet.
image ©Mouse Memories .
are even more complex with multiple layers of different materials such
as cloth, plastic, and paper. The resulting stickers provide even more
dimensional, layered design possibilities. These stickers can be expensive,
but provide a simple to use sophistication to your pages. Below is an example of a dimensional
sticker. Obviously, this kind of sticker provides a softer, more luxurious
appearance on the scrapbook page than would a "flat" sticker.
This dimensional sticker, produced by EK Success, is made of layers of
paper and fabric.
Small rhinestones and beads provide more decoration and dimension.
With just paper
and stickers, which are easily cut and attached, plus your own photos
and mementoes, even a beginning scrapbooker can create lovely page layouts
that take only minutes to produce. Plus, because paper and stickers tend
to be inexpensive, awesome page layouts can be produced on a tight budget!
In our next article, we’re going to build on Paper 101 and show you several
different techniques you can use with simple papers to make great page
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