Might Be In Over My Head…Maybe?

Scrapbooking: Digital versus Traditional www.wifemomhouseohmy.com

Scrapbooking. There are very few mothers (and fathers) who do not document their family’s lives in some manner or another. Instagram and Facebook posts and albums. Photos sheets and photo albums. We all want to preserve the memories of times gone by because they go by so fast. It is a short period that our babies are babies. They move on to kindergarten and quick through elementary, middle and high school and before you know it, they are off to college. They grow up, find careers, get married, have children and repeat the cycle with their own families. Through it all, pictures provide documentation. Tangible mementos of memories that live in our heart.

For as long as I can remember I loved taking photos. My uncle owned a camera shop (yes the old school film and development kind) and he had a camera in my hands early. And I was hooked. I took pictures all the time, well as much as my budget and film stock allowed me. When I got my first digital camera, I went crazy. There was no limit to the number of photos I could take and believe me I took TONS!!!!

The challenge was once I took all these photographs, what would I do with them. In my mind photographs are no good, if there is no way to tell who or what they are of. I have a box of over 300 plus photos from my grandmother and grandfather that I am trying to sort and no one is alive that can tell me who half of the people are. The history is now lost.

It was not too long into college when I met an amazing woman who I introduced me to scrapbooking and Creative Memories. And I was hooked. As a novice, I loved how easy it was and all the gadgets. Even more so, I loved how my photos now had a home and a recorded story. However, my inauguration into scrapbooking quickly moved to hard core scrapper. I was single, enjoyed the camaraderie and socialization that came with scrapbooking parties and classes. And I had time…and money. I was able to create elaborate pages and keep up to date with my albums.

But then life got busy and filled with career, boyfriends with one eventually becoming hubby and expanding family commitments. And I got behind, way behind. When I could, I was doing marathon scrapbooking weekends to try to get caught up, which never happened. Then one day, by chance more than anything, I discovered My Memories, a digital scrapbooking program. I’d been resistant for so long when it came to digital scrapbooking but something inside told me to give it a try. Again, I was hooked. Here is what I have found to be the breakdown of digital versus traditional scrapbooking.


Digital Scrapbooking www.wifemomhouseohmy.com

Digital Scrapbooking

Both digital and traditional scrapbooking require some fairly substantial amount of time. And depending on how elaborate your pages are, both can take a moderate to a lot of time. Given the same type of page, both take about the same time for a single page. That said, I find that traditional scrapbooking takes longer to produce an overall album. With traditional scrapbooking, you are creating each and every page from scratch. And that takes time, a lot of time. And if you want it to be more than cookie cutter and basic, it takes a whole lot of time.

On the other hand, digital scrapbooking offers a variety of time saving techniques. The fast is templates. Other people have done most of the work by creating the base page. All you have to do is drag and drop your photos. You may have to size or crop them but that’s pretty much minimal. And of course you have to do the journaling. If you don’t want to use someone else’s templates, you can make your own or use pseudo templates by “copying” or “duplicating” a page. This is a great time saver for pages that face each other and you want a double page spread.

There is one other time saving feature of digital scrapbooking. Unless you have a dedicating scrapbooking space where everything is set out and within easy reach, you have to take out, set up, tear down and put away your supplies and tools every time you want to scrap. Nice thing about digital, you just have to open the program.


There is no other way to say this than digital scrapbooking is less expensive than traditional scrapbooking. With digital scrapping, you have the cost of the program, the cost of the embellishments/kits, and the cost of publishing the scrapbook. Once you buy the program, you have the option of purchasing annual updates (or not). I cannot speak for all, but with My Memories, the update averages about $20 annually and it always comes with some neat new features and included embellishments. Scrapbooking kits that contain papers, embellishments, lettering, etc. range from free (yes I said free) to about $20. Typically, they are no more expensive than a standard Jolee® embellishment and often contain multiple items. However, once you purchase them, you can use them over and over and over. (Side note: Most of the embellishments I get are free. Occasionally I purchase a kit or two but only if I want something very specific.)

To print, you can either print yourself or send it out. Most printers can easily handle and 8×8, 8×11.5 or smaller album, even on borderless printing (which I recommend). If you really want a 12×12, there are printers that accommodate that size. The major cost involved in publishing an album yourself is photo paper and ink. If you send it out, compare costs of various vendors/companies. The average album can range from $15 to $30 depending on the service and size of the album.

Traditional scrapbooking has a financial cost associated with every piece of paper, every sticker, tag, pen, brad, pocket, protector and so on. I added up an album once and found that each page average about $7 per page. Between paper, adhesive, protectors and all the embellishments, it added up. In a 30 page album without the cost of the album itself (or photo printing costs), that’s over $200! And once you use each one of those elements, their gone. You have to replace them. What can I say. It was/is an expensive hobby.

3-D Effects

Traditional Scrapbooking www.wifemomhouseohmy.com

Traditional Scrapbooking

Both can give you beautiful 3-D illusions and effects but traditional scrapping has digital beat. With traditional scrapbooking, you can add those tangible 3-D elements such as a pocket that holds concert tickets or cards or the pressed flower from the prom. You can get the tactile feeling that comes with some traditional elements such as pull out journaling. You can keep keepsakes such as a baby’s lock of hair. There is one downside and every scrapbooker has experienced it. If you have too many 3-D elements, which most have some dimension to them, then your album bulges and won’t close right.

Digital scrapbooking gives the illusion of 3-D with beveling, shadowing and layering of elements. But in the end, it still prints flat. And it’s pretty impossible to add the souvenir elements to a digital album. The only way I could add my honeymoon’s boarding passes to our album was to scan them in. It does the job, but its just not the same as the real thing. Digital does give you a 3-demenisonal look without the bulge though.

Space Needed

Whenever I begin a scrapbooking marathon, I take over the kitchen or dining room. And its so going to be a marathon because I have to pull EVERYTHING out – the paper, the paper cutter, the pens, the stickers, the sticker maker, the adhesives, the glitter, the photos, the album, the mats and so on. Time wise its just not worth taking everything out if I’m only going to do two pages. But when I do, our family loses one of our eating spaces for at least a full 10 days (two weekends). I takes over and looks messy. Since I discovered digital scrapbooking, the only space I take up is my desktop. What’s nice is I can work on one or two pages as time permits. I’m getting caught up faster.

Final Verdict

Overall, I feel both digital and traditional scrapbooking have their place in my scrapbooking world. As I move forward, I will probably lean more toward digital scrapping as my photos are digital. Plus as I mentioned earlier, it is something I can work on as I have the time. I can do one or two pages without the marathon involved if I choose. Plus, the albums take up less space. When I have a memento or keepsake, I’ll add a traditional page in here and there.

However, traditional scrapbooking still has its place in my world. As I mentioned, I have my grandparent’s photos that need to be documented. I am going to digitally scan them so they are never lost. But since they are hard copies that I don’t want to trash, they belong in a traditional album. The same is true for many of my own hard copy photos. Once I’m caught up and up to date, then I will be reserving traditional scrapbooking albums for special ones. My wedding album and our babies albums to name a few are planned traditional scrapbooking keepsake albums. After all, traditional scrapbooking has that extra special feel to me.

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