I know that scrapbooking, and Project Life in particular, is seen as an expensive hobby. Specifically for Project Life, the initial outlay can cost a lot of money and it’s very easy to do so! I watch a lot of youtube videos and read a lot of crafty people’s blogs who use the most up to date collections, seem to have the most beautiful pieces to scrapbook with and are subscribed to numerous kits. No doubt about it, you can go absolutely wild in scrapbooking and buy everything under the sun – but you don’t have to – you can scrapbook on a budget!. I certainly don’t have a big allowance when it comes to spending money on my hobbies, so I’ve found ways to get some really great results by not having to spend much at all.
I mentioned this tip in my ‘Displaying holiday memories’ post and I think it’s such a great way to save money. Though scrapbooking paper isn’t always expensive, and you can get a lot for your money in the paper pads, it’s always great to add to your options. The wallpaper samples you’ll collect are nice and thick, meaning it gives a really sturdy base for your layouts that is always good for longevity. As the sample will have been torn off a roll, you’ll probably find it will try and curl up when you come to use it in scrapbooking. I find just bending the paper the other way works wonders and generally makes the paper lie flat enough for you to pop on your layout. For this reason, I always place it on top of an existing 12x12 piece so I have something to stick it to, and I find double-sided tape works best. You can also iron your wallpaper samples flat, but be careful and make sure your iron is at a low temperature. Place the sample under a tea towel and then gently iron over the top to flatten out that bend. Wallpaper samples don’t have to just be used for larger background, they’ll make great project life background cards too – and you’ll be able to get loads out of even a small sample of wallpaper. On a similar note, you could also use gift wrapping paper for backgrounds too!
Following on from sticking wallpaper on to a flat 12x12 base, you don’t have to sacrifice a nice piece of paper to do so. I buy the 12x12 Hobbycraft paper wallets for my scrapbooking albums, and they come with plain paper inside. They’re not the best quality as theyre quite thin but they make a really great base to work from so don’t throw them away! I also use a lot of white paper scraps as a way to build interest on my layouts with layering!
It is SO easy to get carried away throwing embellishment packs in to your basket. They look gorgeous of course, but the chipboard pieces, the sticker packs and the enamel dots all add up! I find you can create your own for half the price to give a personal feel to your layouts. Obviously I’m not saying not to buy any at all – they give their own look and give a professional finish (plus its nice to treat yourself!) but you certainly don’t have to have them on every layout. Some of the nicest layouts I’ve seen lean on the simple side and only need some paper, photos and a pen to create. Even if your layout screams for some embellishments, they don’t have to be bought – you can easily make your own and I’ve found these little tips a great way for me to create my own, unique pieces:
A lot of papers in larger 12" and 6" square paper pads are very heavily patterned. You can cut these up and use the graphics as separate elements, such as Cameras, words and phrases. It's a great way to make the most of your money, especially if you find them hard to work with as background pieces!
Ephemera such as tickets, receipts, menus and business cards from your days out are great embellishments to help document your adventures – they make a layout so unique and it's a great place to keep them safe, too.
Use the little tear off branding strips from your paper pads to place behind photos or include in your layering. If you’re placing paper or tags behind a photo as a layering technique, don’t just hide the bits you can’t see – cut them shorter so there’s less wastage and can be used again for your next layout.
If you have more budget-friendly ideas to share for scrapbooking, please do share them below! I love buying bits and pieces from the shops, but these tips have definitely helped curb my spending habits, and I find my scrapbook and journal layouts are much more personal too. If you've not seen my previous scrapbooking posts, why not check have a look inside my scrapbook, read my Starter Guide to Project Life or check out how I store my stash.