Digital Scrapbooking FAQs

I have been scrapping digitally since 2008. I am heading into 10 years of digital scrapbooking. Well any form of scrapbooking really. Back in 2007 I tried my hand and good old fashioned paper, scissors and glue scrapbooking. Eh. I wasn't thrilled with the outcome of the two books I managed.

I've told the story before. However for a quick refresher...I had worked in a copy and print center of a major office supply store from when I was 20 to around 23. In fact that is where I met my husband. Anyway, I saw things that people could do now with the digital side of memory keeping. I kept that tucked back in my brain until the year after my son was born. I did a little research online. I stumbled upon Scrapbook Graphics (which is now closed as of this month) and the rest is history! In fact one of the reasons I am such a huge Flergs fan is because she was the very first designers I stumbled upon and bought from. Here I am 10 years later and she is my favorite designer to-date. I digress...

Over the past ten years I have been asked a lot of questions about digital scrapbooking. In fact, I have been asked a lot of the same questions. That is what this post is about today. I have compiled those questions that I get asked the most. I will answer them to the best of my ability. A lot of them are going to be opinion based answers. And you know that saying...we all have them. My opinion might not be right for you, or what you have heard before. But let's be honest. This is digital scrapbooking, not politics. I don't anything I have to say will be upsetting. I hope that is informative. And if I can get anyone pointed in the right direction and on their way to digital scrapbooking, I am happy for it!

Frequently Asked Questions about Digital Scrapbooking

1. What is digital scrapping (or digi-scrap)? I have done an entire post on this before. To make it short and sweet for you though. Digital scrapbooking is exactly like it sounds. Digital scrapbooking is a form of scrapbooking that has you using your computer (some people use their tablets) to create your scrapbooking layouts or pages. That is done using a personal computer, digital or scanned photos, computer graphics and advanced photo editing software.

2. How do I get started? It is different for each person who has gotten into it. Some people jump in head first to sink or swim. Some people take classes, and some people are self taught. I personally am a jump in head first self taught scrapper. I do suggest the few people that I have gotten started in digital scrapbooking to do a little research. On not only how you do it, but what all you need to do it. So far the best beginners class/tutorial that I have found is HERE. It is completley free. They also give you a digital scrapbooking kit for free. This way you can find out for sure if this is for you. You will need a photo editing software. I suggest PhotoShop Elements. Which they also help you understand in this class. 

Class Includes:

  • 16 professional, download-friendly video lessons
  • PDF lesson handouts with step-by-step instructions
  • A beautiful digital mega-kit with over 60+ papers and 100+ embellishments
  • 6 fully layered page templates + 2 quick pages for fast scrapbooking
  • And 100% guided support in our forum because no one should have to figure this computer crafting stuff out alone!
  • Forever access!

3. What do you use to scrap? I use PhotoShop Elements 13. I started out using an old version of regular PhotoShop and have found that Elements is easier to use. It is also much cheaper, and there is only one thing (spellcheck) that I can't do in Elements that I could in PhotoShop. Make sure to keep an eye out around Christmas. It goes on sale usually then. 

4. What else do I need besides PhotoShop Elements? Photos, digital papers and elements are the supplies you need to scrap your digital scrapbooking layouts. They are downloaded off the internet. You can buy them and find some for free! You will need to know how to download things, how to find them and unzip them once you have them on your computer. where to store them, and how to store them. I personally suggest that you store them in two different places. Some of the places you can store your digital scrapbooking supplies are on your computer, an external hard-drive, DVDs, or internet back up. I personally store mine on my computer and have an internet back up. 
  • Photos(I have been known to scrap photo-less layouts though!). I usually take photos with my camera or phone and save them to my computer. From there I can upload them to my layout. I also have photos from the good old pre-digital days. What do I do with those? Scanner baby! Scan them right in and use them on my layouts. I am not going to lie to you though, and I do suggest this if you are going to print in 8x8 or smaller. I have been known to take really nice and clear photos of my photos to use on my layouts. True story!
  • Digital papers and elements, otherwise known as "kits", are the next thing you need. Technically you can scrap without them. You can upload photos and journal without them. I personally love all the pretty papers and elements that go with them. 

There are a huge range of items that will be your digital scrapbooking supplies. Those include: 
  • Full kits - Which are most everything you need bought at once. All the papers and elements you need. Usually in some sort of theme. Color or activity. 
  • alphas - these are just like they sound. Beautiful letters used to title your page
  • papers 
  • elements - all the things that are not papers. Think flowers, stars, and so on. 
  • templates - which I love and will have a whole other post about just them
  • quick pages
  • and more!

5. Where do I get digital papers and elements? There are tons and tons of stores around online to buy these digital scrapbooking supplies. Just google "digital scrapbooking store" and go from there. My favorites are GingerScraps and SweetShoppe Designs. You can also google "digital scrapbooking freebies" and start getting some items from free. 


6. Are there different Styles? Yes! So here is a quick list of different styles. As new styles emerge or I think of ones I have most likely forgot, I will add to the list. 

  1. Paper Style - Looks most like traditional scrapbook pages (how I scrap)
  2. Graphic Style - Looks more like advertisements & heavy usage on the program used for scrapping
  3. Fantasy Style - These look like pieces of artwork, pictures from children's books, and have a magical/whymsical feeling to them
  4. Hybrid - This is where you take the digital parts of scrapbooking (usually the elements and some of the papers) print them off, and then scrap/craft traditionally with them. 

7. How do I get my supplies after buying them? Once the purchase is complete, you will be given download links for your purchases. You can usually access through your account under "order history" in most stores. Most stores will also email you directly with the links once payment has cleared. Simply click the download link, browse to your desired saving location, and save the file to your computer. Your download will be saved to your computer as a zip file. A zip file is a set of files compressed into the smallest possible form for downloading. To open your file, you will need to unzip the file. To unzip, simply double click. If double clicking doesn’t work, you may need to download a program like WinZip.

8. Why digital? Like I said earlier, I never really got into the traditional side of scrapbooking. I do personally know many people who have though. Some after scrapping for longer than I have been alive and said that digital scrapbooking wasn't "real" scrapbooking and so on. The main reasons I've been told for "why digital"....

  1. Space! That's right. I have close to 500 digital scrapbooking kits/collection. It takes up a quarter of a TB hard-drive. If I had that much in physical supplies, it would take up at least a room. 
  2. Less messy. There is glitter and cutting and pasting in digital scrapbooking. It is all done with mouse/keyboard though. Not a mess in sight. And guess what...if I mess up I can undo and redo a lot easier!

9. Can I share my purchases with friends/family? No! That is a big no-no in the digital world. Sharing files you have purchased with others is actually digital piracy and most designers depend on income from their designs!

10. Cay I share my layouts? Absolutely!, Just make sure the layout you share with family and friends is a flattened .jpg version of the file. 

11. What do I do with my finished layouts? PRINT THOSE BABIES OUT! I cannot stress enough actually having these printed. Yes it is fun to show them off on your computer. I upload mine to FB and here on the blog. I also have them as backgrounds on my computers and screen savers. But I suggest printing them out. Now, you can print them out in 12x12 and put them in a standard 12x12 scrapbook. I personally find those to be too big for my little house. I create my layouts at 12x12 size then print and store them at 8x8. You can get 8x8 scrapbooks as well. My favorite place to get the actual books are Hobby Lobby. Now my all time and only place I print my layouts at is Persnickety Prints. You can also use other print places. This is just my favorite. 

Tips & Things to Know

I want to leave you with a few tips that I have learned over the years. Nothing huge. Just some points in the right direction. 

  1. Back up your supplies, layouts, and prints! Please don't think that it wont happen to you. It has happened to most every scrapper I know. I cannot image the pain of not only losing out on itesm you have bought to scrap with but those layouts and photos! Back up your files! You can back up via online backups, and mulitple external hard drives. 
  2. Shadows! I think one of the most important parts of digital scrapbooking is shadow work. It is also one of the most difficult things to learn, and everyone has their own opnion. Everyone agrees though that layouts look flat and unrealistic without shadows. The best place to learn is tutorials. Here are some of the best ones I know about. 
  3. Have fun! This is a hobby. Don't let it stress you out. Feel free to ask questions. The digital scrapbooking community is one of the nicest communities out there! Most shops have forums. The two shops I mentioned earlier do. They both also have sections you can ask questions. You can also ask me! 

I hope these helps at least someone out there get pointed in the right direction. I have written this with one person in mind. I've been ask to teach them digital scrapbooking. I am a terrible teacher. Terrible! I can point you in the right direcition for pretty much any question you will have about digital scrapbooking. 

I started this hobby 10 years ago. I have made beautiful layouts, books, memories, and friends. I went from it being a hobby to working with some of the best designers out there. I cannot imagine a time where this wont be something that I do....and love. I hope that if you are reading this that in 10 years time you can say the same thing. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. You can leave me a comment here. I get and read them all. You can also contact me directly though the contact tab at the top of the page or the contact form at the very bottom of this blog. 

Happy Scrapping!
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