Easier Vacation Scrapbooking

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How many un-scrapped vacations do you have?


I really don’t mean to initiate a state of guilt. Most of my vacations are unscrapped, too, so I’m right there with you.

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But this summer we took our biggest vacation ever, and guess what? I actually made the mini-album! I made it within a few weeks of returning home, and I’m going to share a few secrets for how to turn your vacation memories into a giant mini-album in a very short amount of time.

1. Start with the foundations.

Don’t complete each page at a time. You’ll start off ambitious, have a few spectacularly amazing first pages, and then you’ll never finish. Either that, or all the remaining pages will be suddenly simple compared to those first ones.

Instead, quickly make a bunch of foundations for pages, then go back and add the photos (although sometimes the foundations pages ARE the photos).

Your ephemera can be foundations too. Don’t worry about the embellishments, journaling, or other detailing yet.

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To me this is the funnest part because we get to come up with ingenious ways to solve the dilemmas of how to display the vacation stuff in an interesting way.

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Here I made an 8×10 photo fit into my 8×8 album…

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And here I turned an amusement park map into a fold-out page…

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2. Hold off on the embellishments and other details until after all the photos are on pages.

I know, we get so excited about the embellishments. But they are a common cause of overwhelm. If you wait until all your photos are down on page foundations, you can now assess your book with a good honest reality check.

How much time or motivation do you have left for lots of embellishing? If you’re getting tired of your project at this point, or if you have other things you need to do, you can decide to add embellishments sparingly. You’ll have a nice consistent album, front to back.

If you’re still excited and still have lots of time, you can go to town with your embellishments.

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I demonstrated how to make that flower embellishment out of patterned paper in Paperclipping 178 – Transform Old Products Into Ones You’ll Love. Paperclipping Members can find it in the archives.

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(Note to Paperclipping Members who have the video of me creating this “page.” To reduce the bulk I moved the corner embellies to the opposite side).

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Task-Batch Mini-booking

I call this approach (building all the “foundations” before adding any detailing) Task-Batch Mini-booking. Before it occurred to me to mini-book this way it was very hard for me to complete mini’s because they took so long. But in this way you can make intricate books in no time! Even BIG ones (mine are always big).

If you have a vacation from this summer that deserves a mini-album, you might want to try it!

Shine on,

P.S.> I have a video tutorial where I demonstrate the Task-Batching process on two different mini-books — one is a dimensional tactile book, while the other is mostly digital and graphic. Paperclipping Members can watch it — it’s #150.

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  • Debi W

    Thanks for the inspiration Noell. This really has me inspired because I also have a
    Ko Olina vacation to scrapbook for this year.
    Thanks for the easy process. Suddenly feel freedom in constructing the pages by just doing all the foundations first instead of completing each page as I go.

  • Teresa Zuehls

    Thanks Noell for sharing your lovely mini album! Looks like you and your family had a wonderful time. I like how you use the word “excited” because being excited is what seem to help spur me on to start and finish an album or set of photos. Once that excitement wans it is hard to finish the project or it just doesn’t get done. I also really love the idea of making a map a fold out page. TFS your ideas with us.

  • 1. Start with the foundations.
    Love this idea, that always gets me in trouble and I never finish or it takes me forever! Working on 500-plus pics from last summer’s vacay. Great idea!

  • Debbie Piercey

    Your mini book is gorgeous! Very inspiring. Now I want to do one! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • carrievision

    This is pretty much how I do my vacation scrapbooks too, though I do journaling / ephemera collection while on vacation right in the book, then when I get home I add the photos and embellishments. That way, I don’t forget what we did on each day of our trip. Plus it is fun to make the cute book in anticipation of the trip!

  • Eniko DeLisle

    Great tips, Noell! I especially like the idea of making the foundations first. Not my usual style, but brilliant in that it creates consistency throughout the book. Thanks ever so much!

  • Jana_NJ

    Hawaii is definitely a place I want to go the mine looks really colorful.

  • I love your mini book – it looks like just the right size of pages. I started one last summer for a trip and included way too many pages which made it difficult to finish (it is still in progress).

  • patti

    Love that you visited Oahu — where I live. Hope you had a great time experiencing our culture. Thanks for the tips for the mini book. I always come home with so many pictures from a vacation, that it can become overwhelming in tackling the project.

  • You’re so lucky. We loved it there and Izzy suggested we pack up and move there! :)

  • Gab

    Love those ideas, thanks Noell

  • A tip for the pamphlets…on the top page only, just snip the punched holes-you’ll be able to open it up to see the inside and then when you’re finished just secure the snipped hole around the book ring. This eliminates the need to take it in and out of the mini. I originally got this idea from Amy Tan :)

  • Christine

    I love your mini album. I think using the transparency as a pocket is genius!

  • Thx for sharing another idea!