Overwhelmed by boxes of photographs or looking for new hobbies in retirement? Arranging photos in a scrapbook can be a fun way to relive old memories and preserve them for you and your loved ones. In this blog, we’ll talk about how to get started with scrapbooking and tips for preserving older photographs, as well as services to print digital photos.
Storing your photographs
How you store your photographs now and once they're compiled in a scrapbook is important in preserving them long-term.
First, label the back of your photographs with a permanent marker. Include the date the photo was taken if you know (even the year is helpful), the names and ages of those pictured, and where the picture was taken. This ensures that future generations can use the pictures to document their history.
When storing photographs, using plastic sleeves that don't contain PVC can help prevent photos from sticking together or getting damaged by the box they're stored in. If you have too many photos to store in individual plastic sleeves, you can either use sandwich bags or separate them with acid-free paper. Be sure the box you're storing your photos in is acid-free as well or you may experience damage.
Printing digital photographs
Are many of your photographs stored on your computer, your Facebook account, a digital camera card, or your smartphone? If so, printing photos is easier today than it's ever been before.
The FreePrints app is one great option that you can download on your phone. It accesses the gallery there, lets you choose which photos you want, and mails them directly to your house once they're printed. As the name suggests, a portion of your prints are always free, making the project less expensive than you might expect.
Shutterfly is also easy to use and often offers promotional pricing for new and existing customers.
Protecting old photographs and memorabilia
Protecting preserving your old photographs is the reason you scrapbook, so damaging them in the process can be devastating. Keep in mind that sunlight, extreme temperatures, fingerprints, and exposure to products that contain acid can damage your pictures. In the scrapbooking world, this comes into play when selecting your glues or adhesives as well as when selecting your papers; both can contain acid that damages your photographs over time. Look for acid-free products, and if you aren't sure, test papers before using them.
Other common ways you can unknowingly damage photos include writing on the back with a ball-point pen and cutting Polaroid photographs, which should never be cut. Photos without dates can also be difficult to work with, so sorting your photos by month or year when you develop them can be helpful in the long run.
Starting with the right supplies
Your first step in a scrapbooking store can feel a little overwhelming, but there are only a few low-cost supplies you need to get started:
- Select the minimal supplies: an acid-free adhesive, a pair of scissors, and a paper cutter.
- Choose a scrapbook. Beginners often do best with a small scrapbook - one that only fits one or two photos per page - because there's less space to fill on each page.
- Select the patterned papers you like. You can buy a book of themed papers or choose papers individually based on the theme of your scrapbook (vacation, baby, Christmas, etc.).
- Select some embellishments. Although the more you have, the more variety you can build into your scrapbook, you can easily preserve your memories with less.
Once you have these basic items, you just need your favorite photos and you're ready to get started.
You'll need a desk or table to work on. If you're enjoying retirement in a retirement community and don't have room in your apartment or suite, ask if you can use a common area to spread out and get creative.
Designing each page
The first step in designing your page is choosing the theme or photo(s). Theme ideas include family reunion, a day on the beach, a new baby, Christmas 1989, a road trip, an anniversary, or the first day of school.
Then, choose a sketch or a layout. Where will you place photos, papers, and embellishments? You can search using an online search engine for "scrapbooking sketches" to find dozens of layout options for free. Scrapbook.com offers over 4,000 free sketches to help you find one that works well for the size and theme of your page.
Once you've chosen the layout (and each page typically has a different layout), you'll need to select the photos, papers, and embellishments you'll use to build the page and fulfill the sketch.
Finally, you'll use your paper cutter, scissors, and acid-free adhesive to build the page. Bottom layers go on first, followed by "middle" layers, top layer, and embellishments.
Learn more about luxurious retirement at Vista Springs today. We're here to help you relax, create, and enjoy your best years yet.