AskDefine | Define scrapbook

Dictionary Definition

scrapbook n : an album into which clippings or notes or pictures can be pasted

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a book, similar to a notebook or journal, in which personal or family memorabilia and photos are collected and arranged


  1. to create scrapbooks

Extensive Definition

Scrapbooking is a method for preserving personal and family history in the form of photographs, printed media, and memorabilia contained in decorated albums, or scrapbooks. The idea of keeping printed materials of personal interest probably dates to shortly after the invention of printing. This trend is probably similar for photographs. Historically, scrapbooking was a tradition similar to storytelling, but with a visual and tactile, rather than an oral, focus.

History of scrapbooking

In ancient Greece hypomnemata were a form of notebook for recording one's own copies of what one had heard, read, or thought that might be worth remembering. There is little evidence in the archaeological and historical record that this practice was undertaken anywhere else previously. That one had to make one's own hand-written copies of what someone else had written reflected the expense of hiring a scribe to do so. More recently commonplace books reflected the same practice. Only with the availability of abundant printed material is it likely that the content of such books shifted away from one's own hand-writing or drawings or those of one's family members toward commercially available printed mat ephemera, memorabilia collections and journaling. People have been scrapbooking since printed material became available to the average person. Some of the earliest and most famous American scrapbookers include Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain
Scrapbooking with photographs has been around since photos became available to ordinary people. Old scrapbooks tended to have photos mounted with photomount corners and perhaps notations of who was in a photo or where and when it was taken. They often included bits of memorabilia like newspaper clippings, letters, etc. Modern scrapbooking has evolved into creating attractive displays of photos, text, journaling and memorabilia.

Modern scrapbooking

In the United States

Marielen Christensen of Spanish Fork, Utah is often credited with reviving interest in scrapbooking in the United States. She began designing creative pages for her family's photo memories, inserting the completed pages into sheet protectors collected in 3-ring binders. By 1980, she had assembled over fifty volumes and was invited to display them at the World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City. Marielen and her husband AJ authored and published a how-to book, Keeping Memories Alive, and opened a scrapbook store in 1981 that remains open today.
In addition to preserving memories, the hobby is popular for the strong social network that scrapbooking can provide. Hobbyists, known as "scrappers" or "scrapbookers," get together and scrapbook at each other's homes, local scrapbook stores, scrapbooking conventions, retreat centers, and even on cruises. The attendees share tips and ideas as well as enjoying a social outlet.
In the late 1990s, many scrappers in the US opened stores to turn their hobby into a business. Within approximately 5 years, many of those stores were forced to close due to a downturn in the economy and the fact that many store owners mistakenly assumed that loving to scrap was enough to run a retail store. Many owners simply didn't know how to run their stores. During this time, more multi-level direct sales companies were formed. Several were closed due to mismanagement, while others weathered the tough times. It also gave rise to a new breed of business - the home-based retailer. Companies arrived to provide information for individuals who wanted to break out of the direct sales mold and go out on their own. While vendors had traditionally stayed away from the home-based market due to fraud, they began to warm to the idea of the non-traditional sales channels as a way to get their products in front of more consumers through home parties and workshops. Working with a company like this enabled them to tap into legitimate home-based retailers.
The scrapbooking industry doubled in size between 2001 and 2004 to $2.5 billion with over 1,600 companies creating scrapbooking products by 2003 This hobby has in the US surpassed golf in popularity: one in four households has someone playing golf; one in three has someone involved in scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking media

Scrapbooking materials

The most important scrapbooking supply is the album itself, which can be permanently bound, or allow for insertion of pages. There are other formats, such as mini albums and accordion-style fold-out albums. Some of these are adhered to various containers, such as matchbooks, CD cases, or other small holders.
Modern scrapbooking is done largely on 12 inch square or 8½×11 inch pages. More recently smaller albums have become very popular. The most common new formats are 6, 7, or 8-inch square. It is very important to many scrappers to protect their pages with clear page protectors.
Basic materials include background papers (including printed and cardstock paper), photo corner mounts (or other means of mounting photos such as adhesive dots, photo mounting tape, or acid-free glue), scissors, a paper trimmer, art pens, archival pens for journaling, and mounting glues (like thermo-tac). More elaborate designs require more specialized tools such as die cut templates, rubber stamps, craft punches, stencils, inking tools, eyelet setters, heat embossing tools and personal die cut machines.
Various accessories, referred to as "embellishments," are used to decorate scrapbook pages. Embellishments include stickers,rub-ons, stamps, eyelets, brads, chipboard elements in various shapes, alphabet letters and ribbon. The use of die cut machines is also increasingly popular; in recent years an electronic die-cutting machine, similar to a printer, can be connected to one's computer to cut any shape or font.
One of the key components of modern scrapbooking is the archival quality of the supplies. Designed to preserve photographs and journaling in their original state, materials encouraged by most serious scrapbookers are of a higher quality than those of many typical photo albums commercially available. Scrappers insist on acid-free, lignin-free papers, stamp ink, and embossing powder, and pigment based inks, which are fade resistant, colorfast, and often waterproof. Many scrappers also use buffered paper, which will protect photos from acid in memorabilia used in the scrapbook, as well as acid from the oil on hands. Older "magnetic" albums are not acid-free and thus cause damage to the photos and memorabilia included in them.

Digital scrapbooking

The advent of scanners, desktop publishing, page layout programs, and advanced printing options make it relatively easy to create professional-looking layouts in digital form. The internet allows scrapbookers to self-publish their work. Scrapbooks that exist completely in digital image form are referred to as "digital scrapbooks" or "computer scrapbooks."
While some people prefer the physicality of the actual artifacts they paste onto the pages of books, the digital scrapbooking hobby has grown in popularity in recent years. Some of the advantages include a greater diversity of materials, less environmental impact, cost savings, the ability to share finished pages more readily on the internet, and the use of image editing software to experiment with manipulating page elements in multiple ways without making permanent adjustments. A traditional scrapbook layout may employ a background paper with a torn edge. While a physical page can only be torn once and never restored, a digital paper can be torn and untorn with ease, allowing the scrapbooker to try out different looks without wasting supplies. When you create a digital layout, you do it in much the same way that you would a traditional layout, in that you layer papers and elements on top of one another. Each paper, photo, or embellishment exists on its own layer in your document, and you can reposition them at your discretion.
Furthermore, digital scrapbooking is not limited to digital storage and display. Many digital scrappers print their finished layouts to be stored in scrapbook albums. Others have books professionally printed in hard bound books to be saved as keepsakes. Professional printing- and binding-services offer free software to create scrapbooks with professional layouts and individual layout capabilities. Because of the integrated design and order workflow, real hardcover bound books can be produced more cost effectively.

Common terms

"Scrapping," or "Scrappin'": Scrapbooking
"Faithbooking": is the art of scrapbooking feelings, prayers, memories, and events related to one's faith.
"Crop" or "Cropping": Gathering together to scrapbook at a home, a scrapbook store, or convention. A person brings their own materials to create pages while socializing with other scrapbookers. An equilvalent to a modern day "Quilting Bee"
"Acid Free": Materials that have a pH balance of 7.0 or higher. Many papers are considered acid free immediately after manufacture however unless they have been buffered, i.e. treated with a neutralising agent, chemical reactions with substances such as sizing or bleaching will cause the paper to become acidic over time. All plastic by its nature is acid free however some plastic is unsafe for use in photo albums.
"Lignin Free": Lignin is a naturally occurring acid substance in wood that breaks down over time. Paper with lignin is not suitable for archival scrapbooking projects.
"Matting": Matting is a technique that allows you to enhance your photos by adding a border around the outside edges. Simply lay your photgraph on a piece of cardstock and trim around the photo. (the size of the trim can be any size...1/8th inch to 2 inches, even more). Matting is an easier and more effieceint way to 'frame' a photo.
"Journaling": Journaling is the writing that describes the events taking place in the photographs on your scrapbook page(s). A scrapbook without journaling is merely a fancy photo album!

Common scrapbooking idioms


In addition to the collection of photographs, tickets, postcards, and other memorabilia, journaling is often a principle element in modern scrapbooks. Journaling is the writing that describes, explains, or accents the photographs on a scrapbook page. Contemporary journaling is often reflective and story-like, or can take on a more reportive tone. Journaling may also include song lyrics, quotes, and poems. The value of journaling lies in the fact that it provides an account of family histories that may otherwise not be preserved.
Many consider journaling one of the most important elements of any scrapbook. Journaling is a personal choice and it can describe the event, the photographs, or relate feelings and emotions. Handwritten journaling is considered best by some scrapbookers who see handwriting as valuable for posterity, but many people journal on the computer and print it onto a variety of surfaces including vellum, tape, ribbon, and paper.


External links

scrapbook in Danish: Scrap (hobby)
scrapbook in German: Scrapbooking
scrapbook in French: Scrapbooking
scrapbook in Hungarian: Scrapbooking
scrapbook in Dutch: Plakboek
scrapbook in Norwegian: Scrapbooking
scrapbook in Polish: Scrapbooking
scrapbook in Swedish: Scrapbooking

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Domesday Book, Festschrift, account book, address book, adversaria, album, ana, analects, annual, anthology, appointment calendar, appointment schedule, beauties, blankbook, blotter, calendar, canon, cashbook, catalog, chrestomathy, classified catalog, collectanea, collected works, collection, commonplace book, compilation, complete works, court calendar, daybook, delectus, desk calendar, diary, diptych, docket, engagement book, florilegium, flowers, garden, garland, journal, ledger, log, logbook, loose-leaf notebook, memo book, memorandum book, memory book, miscellanea, miscellany, notebook, omnibus, pad, petty cashbook, photograph album, pocket notebook, pocketbook, police blotter, portfolio, quotation book, scratch pad, spiral notebook, symposium, table, tablet, triptych, workbook, writing tablet, yearbook
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