Scrapbooking in a Digital Age


scrapbookingScrapbooking is one of my passions.   It’s no surprise; when I was a young child my father (a history teacher) dubbed me the “family historian”.  I have always been fascinated with family relationships and their history.   When I discovered scrapbooking twelve years ago, I jumped at the chance to document my family history while exercising my very flabby creative muscles.  When I got married a few years later and became a mother a few years into my marriage, scrapbooking became even more important to me.

With the advent of digital photography, scrapbooking has evolved, and traditional/paper scrapbooking has become much less popular.   Now that it’s so easy to crop photos before they are even printed (if they are printed at all!), many scrapbooking tools are bordering on obsolete. There is less of a need for high quality photo-preserving products, since photos are so easy to replace.  People are moving toward documenting and organizing their photos digitally.  When people do want to print photos, they often choose digital scrapbooking, which provides endless options in terms of embellishments, and takes up less space than paper scrapbooking.   For people (unlike me!) who are technologically savvy, digital scrapbooking is also much more efficient than traditional/paper scrapbooking.

I have done some digital scrapbooks, and I have done some hybrid albums (meaning that I have ordered digital pages which I then inserted into a traditional album).  Traditional scrapbooking remains my default, however.   I enjoy the hands-on aspect of it, especially since it’s my only hobby that even remotely resembles a craft.  I use scrapbooking as a way of preserving and savoring my son’s childhood, which is going by way too fast.  My scrapbooks contain a lot of his artwork and memorbilia alongside photos and my observations of his development.  Digital albums allow for photoscans of memorabilia, but I prefer to have the hardcopies in my albums.

Despite my love of traditional scrapbooking, it does have its disadvantages.  Not only do the supplies consume a lot of space, but so do the albums themselves.  Since I only have one child, this is less of an issue for me than it is for people with bigger families. For busy mothers with more than one child, digital scrapbooking is probably the way to go, in terms of space and time commitment.  For mothers who would love to document their children’s early years but feel overwhelmed by the time commitment involved, there are some techniques to make it more manageable.   A few ideas:


1.   Keep a calendar handy, and jot down milestones, funny kid quotes, etc


2.   Organize your photos on your laptop or PC by month


3.   Date artwork and memorabilia, and file or store in labeled boxes


4.   When and if the opportunity presents itself, journal reflections and observations about your child(ren) (be sure to date-stamp!)


With these four steps, anyone with basic computer skills will be able to whip up a digital scrapbook in very little time, even years after the fact.   Scrapbooking can be very helpful in processing the bittersweet passing of the childhood years by helping to savor moments that went by too quickly.   Documentation of a child’s early years is a great gift for a mother to give her child, and digital scrapbooks can easily be copied and distributed to other family members as well.

Any other suggestions to simplify digital or traditional scrapbooking, or other ways of preserving family memories?


About Author

Catholic convert, adoptive mom of a preschooler.