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.
With the advent of affordable paper, precursors to modern scrapbooks became available to a wider array of people. Beginning in the 15th century, commonplace books, popular in England, emerged as a way to compile information that included recipes, quotes, letters, poems and more. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator's particular interests. Friendship albums became popular in the 16th century. These albums were used much like modern day yearbooks, where friends or patrons would enter their names, titles and short texts or illustrations at the request of the album's owner. These albums were often created as souvenirs of European tours and would contain local memorabilia including coats of arms or works of art commissioned by local artisans. Starting in 1570, it became fashionable to incorporate colored plates depicting popular scenes such as Venetian costumes or Carnival scenes. These provided affordable options as compared to original works and, as such, these plates were not sold to commemorate or document a specific event but specifically as embellishments for albums. In 1775, James Granger published a history of England with several blank pages at the end of the book. The pages were designed to allow the book's owner to personalize the book with his own memorabilia. The practice of leaving pages to personalize at the end of books became known as Grangerizing. Additionally, friendship albums and school yearbooks afforded girls in the 18th and 19th centuries an outlet through which to share their literary skills, and allowed girls an opportunity to document their own personalized historical record previously not readily available to them.
The advent of modern photography began with the first permanent photograph created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. Photography became available to an ever-widening population with the invention of George Eastman's paper photographs in the late 1880s and the mass production of the Kodak Brownie, a camera designed to be simple (and inexpensive) enough for a child, in 1900. This allowed the average person to begin to incorporate photographs into their scrapbooks. 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. With the availability of printed material it is likely that the content of scrapbooks 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. Modern scrapbooking has evolved into creating attractive displays of photos, text, journaling and memorabilia.
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. The term "crop," a reference to cropping or trimming printed photographs, was coined to describe these events.
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. Creative Memories, a home-based retailer of scrapbooking supplies founded in 1987, saw $425 million in retail sales in 2004. In the US, this hobby has surpassed golf in popularity: one in four households has someone playing golf; one in three has someone involved in scrapbooking.
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 (30 cm) square or letter-size (US Letter (8.5 by 11 inch) or A4 (210 by 297 mm)) pages. More recently, smaller albums have become popular. The most common new formats are 6, 7, or 8-inch (15, 17.5, or 20 cm) square. It is 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, lace, wire, fabric, 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. They also use pigment-based inks, which are fade resistant, colorfast, and often waterproof. Many scrappers use buffered paper, which will protect photos from acid in memorabilia used in the scrapbook. Older "magnetic" albums are not acid-free and thus cause damage to the photos and memorabilia included in them. Gloves, too, are used to protect photos from the oil on hands.
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. Some web-based digital scrapbooks include a variety of wallpapers and backgrounds to help the users create a rich visual experience. Examples of these include online baby books from http://babychapters.com can be ordered home as hardbound printed keepsakes, or the purely online digital scrapbooks at http://www.aboutmybaby.com. 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, like http://www.picaboo.com, http://www.myreflections.com.au and http://babychapters.com 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.
Early digital scrapbooks were created from digital photos uploaded to an external site. Over time, this moved to a model of downloading software onto your personal computer that will organize photos and help create the digital scrapbook on your machine. Afterward, uploading a small file to a site for print. Example of this would be http://www.picaboo.com - normally specializing in digital scrapbooks, but who also offer custom cards, etc. With the growth of Web 2.0 functionality, digital scrapbooking is going back online, to avoid the hassles of having to download and install PC software. The availability of cheap online storage (e.g., on Amazon's S3 service), and the desire to leverage pre-uploaded online albums (e.g., on Yahoo's FlickR) make it more convenient for users to directly compose their digital scrapbooks online. Print on demand fulfillment enables such digital scrapbooks to effectively supplant traditional scrapbooks.
Digital scrapbooking has advanced to the point where digital scrapbook layouts may be made entirely online using Web-based software. Users upload their photos, create a digital scrapbook layout using a Web page and digital scrapbook graphics. The layout can then be downloaded as a low-resolution JPEG file for sharing on the Web or as a high-resolution JPEG file for printing. An example of this is http://www.cropmom.com.
Scrapping and scrappin' are both terms used to refer to scrapbooking.
Faithbooking is the art of scrapbooking feelings, prayers, memories, and events related to one's faith.
Cropping is gathering together to scrapbook at a home, scrapbook store, or convention. A person brings their own materials to create pages while socializing with other scrapbookers. An equivalent to a modern day "quilting bee".
Acid free materials 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 neutralizing 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, but some plastic is unsafe for use in photo albums.
Lignin free paper contains no lignin, a naturally occurring acid substance in wood that breaks down over time. Paper with lignin is not suitable for archival scrapbooking projects.
Buffered paper contains alkaline materials into the paper-making process, in order to offset or cancel out the effects of acids.
Matting is a technique that allows you to enhance your photos by adding a border around the outside edges. Simply lay your photograph on a piece of cardstock and trim around the photo. The size of the trim can be any size. Matting is an easy and efficient way to frame a photo.
Embellishments refer to items used to decorate the layout. Embellishments can include items such as stickers, artificial flowers, fibre, ribbon, eyelets, brads, charms, small metal frames, etc.
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!
Rub-ons are decorative accents that can be included on a scrapbook page. They are used in a similar way to stickers, but have the advantage of having a nearly transparent background, eliminating the typical sticker silhouette. Rub-ons are typically adhered using a Popsicle stick.
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.