Scrapbook Journaling

As scrapbooking has become more and more popular, so to has the concept of scrapbook journaling. Journaling tells the story you would tell...we'll help you tell it well.

What is Journaling?

There are many different types of journaling that you can use in your scrapbooks. The most basic way to understand it is that scrapbook journaling "tells the story."

When you sit down with your pictures and show them to friends and family, often you find yourself telling a certain story or reliving a certain detail associated with that memory. Now, imagine that generations from now, someone (perhaps a descendant of yours) finds your scrapbook. What stories would you tell them if you were sitting there looking through the album? What moments would you relive? Journaling allows you the space to write those stories down so that they, like your photos, can be passed down through the generations.

Scrapbook Journaling
Journaling Basics

It is often easiest to begin by writing down the questions. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? Determine which of these questions you feel you need to answer about each page of photos. What information is missing from your title, stickers, or other embellishments? Jot down a few notes to yourself about what story you would like to tell...then, ask Nike says, "Just Do It!"

There are a number of different ways to "just do it" when it comes to scrapbook journaling.

Computer Journaling

Some find that typing their stories on the computer is faster and easier - plus the computer will check your grammar and spelling! Often, you will be able to fit more of your story on a page if you print your scrapbook journaling on the computer. You are also able to experiment with font styles, sizes and shapes and left with a cleaner copy than you would have with another format. Another benefit to computer journaling is the ability to play with paper. Try printing your journaling on vellum and overlaying it on a picture. Or, print on a transparency so as not to lose the background images.

Your Handwriting

Scrapbook are in your grandmother's attic helping her clean. As you begin to dig through the musty old hatboxes and moth eaten trunks of clothes you come across an old, dusty school desk. As the lid creaks open you find yourself staring at a priceless treasure. No, there is no money or jewels, but you have found your great-grandmother's diary. Though the pages are yellowed and the writing too spidery to read in spots, the connection you feel with this ancestor has never been more powerful.

Especially in this age of technology, text messaging, and email, handwriting is becoming more and more a symbol of our humanity. The emotions that wash over you whenever you come across an old birthday card from you parents, an old love note from a spouse, or an old diary from an ancestor are not imaginary. Scrapbook journaling your stories, in your own handwriting, can connect you with future generations in a way you had never dreamed possible...even if you think it's sloppy or too difficult to read! After all, your handwriting is just like you...unique, but not perfect!

Use Stickers

Sometimes you are lucky enough to find the perfect saying as you browse the scrapbook aisle. Just because you didn't write it, doesn't mean it's not journaling. You can use alphabet and saying stickers to call attention to a word or phrase that you feel fits the page or the photos perfectly.

Record Conversations

Conversations can make for great scrapbook journaling material. Imagine recording the conversation your child had as he sat on Santa's lap last year. These conversations can bring back touching - and often humorous memories.

Focus on Feelings

Sentimental journaling focuses on feelings rather than facts. This is an opportunity to tell someone just how special they have been to you, or to comment on the way an event changed your life. Take 3 full minutes to free-write (keep writing, never letting the pen come off the paper) about the people or events in your photos. This stream of conciousness can be used in itself, or edited to convey your true emotional connections. Menus & Recipes

scrapbook journaling

Doing a page about Christmas dinner? Don't forget to include a copy of the evening's menu and the recipe for grandma's homemade apple pie! For a child's birthday, include a comment on their favorite foods and copy of the recipe for them to use when they're long gone. Don't forget to bring back the handwriting for this one. Grandma's homemade apple pie recipe is much more special when it has been written by the cook herself!


Though they may seem random or boring, lists make for great scrapbook journaling when there isn't a lot to say.

  • A father-son page may list the personality attributes they share.
  • A child's 1st year page could list of all the words he can say.
  • A list of things we need to do before the baby is born is a great snapshots into your life at that moment

For example, the inspiration for this layout was a list I wrote for a college creative writing class of phrases I would use to describe myself. Check out even more About Me list examples.

Poems & Quotes

When you can't think of anything to say...find someone who has already said it. There are literally thousands of books, magazines, and websites devoted to poetry and quotations.

We recommend the following ebooks: A Quote is A Quote

or A Play on Words

The Quotations Page is another wonderful scrapbook journaling resource. It allows you to browse for quotes by keyword and store up your favorites in your own personal library.

Thinking of making that scrapbook album personal? Check out some scrapbook journaling ideas to enhance your pages.

scrapbook journaling tips

  • Journal something on every 2-page layout. There is a story's up to you to tell it!

  • Even if you don't like your handwriting, use it somewhere.

  • Write from the heart. Don't get caught up in how it sounds or looks. It's a piece of you left for those who will come after.

  • Take a break. If you're struggling with coming up with the right words, come at a later time.

  • Write, write, write. No matter what or how you do it. Don't let your family's past and present be lost to future generations who want to know their stories.

What will your story be?

Scrapbook Journaling

New! Comments

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There are a ton of great supplies out there to help you journal when you've got writer's block. Check out a few of our favorites below:

Cute journaling blocks placed in the right spot on your page can encourage you to capture the memories behind the photos. These are stickers, but you can also find them in stamps and rub-ons.

This ebook has great information for those who need that extra boost of journaling creativity.

These stamps have the quote or title you need all ready to go! Just coat with your favorite ink and you're set.

Like the stamps, these quote stacks by Die Cuts with A View provide the perfect quote or title you need. These are a superb value - there are tons of vellum quotes and titles to use!