Four Ways to Scrapbook Without Stocking a Store

Wanna Trade? (closeup)

Are you on a budget? Can’t buy every new and trendy scrapbook supply?

Like you, I don’t stock up on the amounts of products you typically see in the scraprooms of others like me who work in the scrapbook industry.

In a recent Q&A session someone asked how it’s possible for me to scrap with a modest stock of patterned paper. I am a patterned paper lover, after all.

Below are 4 ways you can scrap a ton of wonderfully patterned and interesting layouts without having to purchase and store lots and lots of patterned paper…

1) Make Your Own Backgrounds
Wanna Trade?
If I don’t have the patterned paper that will be just right for my layout I DIY my own background on cardstock. Or I just do it because I feel like doing it. I do it a lot, actually!


I have video tutorials for making these 3 backgrounds, plus many more, in the Paperclipping Membership (episodes #201, 197, and 193).

If you’re not a member, click here for more info.

2) Use Patterned Paper Scraps
Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom (closeup)
And I mean really use them. If I need patterned paper that is smaller than the full 12×12 size I look through my scraps first. This means I look through my scraps for almost every page I make.

Do you get this much use out of your scraps?

If not, consider this: I’ve been advocating for years that people mix their scraps together in one container. People freak out and feel that they need to color coordinate their scraps. But if you feel you’re buying too much patterned paper, or if you don’t use your scraps all the time, maybe that “organized” color-coordinated scrap system isn’t working for you.

We Made You (closeup)

Try something new >> mix them up! You’ll find amazing pattern combinations that you would never come up with yourself if your scraps are separated.

There are so many ways to fully use your scraps for pages and I have LOTS of video tutorials on this subject. Too many to list in this post. If you’re a member, look for the videos with the word, “scraps,” in the titles.

Click here for membership info.

3) Enlarge Photos
Side Benefit of Dance
When I have a photo I love I like to show it off so I enlarge it. I like my favorite photos to take more of the stage than scrapbooking products. Obviously when you enlarge a photo you don’t have room for tons of products.

Paperclipping Members can watch me make this text pattern in Paperclipping 193 – Perfect Pearls for Scrapbook Layouts.

4) Make Your Ephemera the Background
Tell Tale Heart
Most of my ephemera that is 8.5×11 goes straight into the page protector as is. Then I add some fun detailing to the outside of the page protectors so the ephemera doesn’t get altered. This requires zero patterned paper. You just jump straight to the embellishments!

I love these types of pages in my albums. They make our life so very real, and not just a scrapbook fairy tale.

If you’re a member you can watch an episode with tips and ideas for pages like this one above in Paperclipping 187 – Scrapboking Outside the Page Protector.

To get more information about a Paperclipping Membership, click here!

Try one of these four ways today!!

Shine On,

  • Tambur McDonald

    As usual a well thought out article. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • I will definitely be using some of these ideas. Thanks for the inspiration, Noell! Have so loved the Roundtable. Tell Izzy it would not be same without him and hope he never gets “bored” of it :)

  • Hey, Tambur! Thanks! :)

  • Cool, I can’t wait to see! I’ll be sure to pass your message along. ;)

  • Jana_NJ

    This is what I’m dong as well I don’t buy paper for more than year now because I use so much my scraps investing in stencils which helps a lot with background. Also using scraps with the silhouette and making my own embelies with the print and cut option.

  • Felecia

    I enjoyed this post. It gave me much to consider.

  • Great post! Lots of great ideas. Always looking for ways to use processes instead of already make products and scraps! Thanks Noell

  • Great post :)

  • Thanks for sharing your ideas… I will have to try mixing my papers… because I have an OCD tendency to organize them all nicely, but then just stare at them more than using them!

  • rosann

    This is great. I love the idea of making your own backgrounds with stamps, stencils or your own doodling. On thing to consider is that you don’t have to buy new stencils espeically if you have a die cutting machine. You can cut a pattern and use the stencil that’s left from the pattern to spray, ink or chalk up. If you’re like me and you have a cricut or some other die cut machine, there are many shapes and sizes to choose from. :)

  • Vicki

    Light bulb moment! I do use my scraps (ALOT) but maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about keeping up with filing by color and just lump them altogether– because maybe something more creative will happen!

  • Cynthia

    I love the Finding Freedom layout, especially the butterflies! And I’m so glad you have found a resolution for your pain!

  • Might as well give it a try!! My most favorite pattern combo’s come out of my mix. Always such a fun surprise!!

  • Thanks! I’m now pretty much pain-free as long as I get my deep-tissue massage every 2 weeks — feels like a miracle, since I’ve endured pain since junior high!

  • Yes! That would have made a great 5th way to add to the list! Maybe next time…

  • I do hope you try it! It’s so fun!

  • Cool! It’s fun and personal, right?

  • Natalie Hall

    I am overrun by scrapbooking supplies and need to use what I have. Thank you for all of these great ideas!

  • Donna

    I love your ideas! I am not a scrapbooker but do art journals. I am learning to add scrap book ideas into art journaling! And have started to add more of my photos since watching your videos. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with everyone!

  • OiéaCá

    I’d liked so much your ideas!! I just want to know where you print your photos? Home printer or photo shop; regular office paper or photo paper…

  • I don’t print at home. Lately I’ve been sending them off to Persnickety’s prints. They do a good job. I’d like to find a high quality place that’s local for those times when I need a quick job done.
    For my photo editing I use Aperture (made by Apple) but if I want to collage photos together or add text I use Photoshop.
    I think I would always use photo paper.

  • Cool – I love that you’re applying the concepts to art journaling. Thank you!

  • OiéaCá


  • iris rubio

    Love this. I do little scrapping and most of the time I am scared of ruining the page. I shall try and succeed. Thanks