It’s Elementary: Scrapbooking School

I have been scrapbooking for over twenty years. In fact, my start was doing summer vacation books and school projects for myself as an elementary school student! My life has come full circle, and now I look at the important gift that lays ahead: documenting my own child’s school career. It is a process that I will want her involved in (if she is interested), and one I’m sure that will change and evolve as needed.

I recall years ago when scrapbooking school meant bright colored crayon stickers and yellow bus papers. Not anymore! I have seen so much lovely school-themed product that I’d use for any age – even for non-school pages – this 2010 fall season. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. This week I am happy to share with you some thoughts, ideas, picks, and new scrapbook layouts to celebrate the new school year.

First there are a few factors I want to consider before beginning any layouts:

  1. Should I make school a separate album or part of an annual/general “about me” album for the child? It depends! I am going to start out with a three-ring binder-style album dedicated to my daughter’s school career. I have chosen this format because I can add divided page protectors to it (to hold photos, memorabilia, art, class photo, etc) as well as change the order of things easily as needed.
  2. How often do I plan on scrapbooking school stuff? I think just a select few layouts each school year is what I will plan on.
  3. Do I want a coordinated looking album? Or do I want to mix & match?If I wanted a consistent look, I’d buy enough cardstock and patterned paper all at once to create my layouts for the full length of her school career. Personally I don’t know what I’ll feel like doing in the future, so I’m going to take a more mix & match approach.

Just like any crafting project, beginning a school book is a major project and decisions should be thought over before cropping that first photo. What if you’ve got someone special (yourself, your own, grandchildren, niece, etc) that you’d like to create a scrapbook for that is already in school or finished with school? The same questions should be asked, as well as asking yourself if you already have any layouts made (such as layouts from previous years) that you want to be sure to include.

A few of May’s product picks for getting started:
American Crafts 3-Ring Albums | Two Peas
American Crafts 4 x 6 Divided Page Protector | Two Peas
Jenni Bowlin journaling papers and memo books | Two Peas
Pebbles Chalk
Penmenship Journalers by Katie Pertiet  at
Sakura Micron journaling pen set
Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad in Faded Jeans | Two Peas
Tattered Angels Glimmer Glam in Big Apple | Two Peas

Tip: You can shop by theme at – check out their school section for lots of ideas!

Some traditional themed school product picks now available:
Reminisce “Making The Grade”
Crate Paper “School Spirit” | Two Peas
Creative Imaginations “It’s Elementary”
Die Cuts with a View “Grade School”
Bo Bunny “Learning Curve”

Another great choice that has a lot of sayings and is perfectly themed for school days is Memory Works new Simple Stories collection “Elementary. I would recommend getting just the paper pack for older students – or even for non-school layouts! The papers in this line are really fantastic. For younger and elementary age students, I think the kit, or any of the embellishment pieces available would be fantastic items to purchase. There are a lot of words and phrases on the embellishments and papers, though the papers are all double-sided so you are given a lot of options and you can choose to use whatever works best for your tastes. I like the traditional colors with added grungy cool look to everything. I received some to test out – and I’m very happy with the results.

other supplies used:
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in chipped sapphire | Two Peas
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in fired brick | Two Peas
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in brushed corduroy | Two Peas
Dear Lizzy crochet flowers | Two Peas dictionary paper flower
other: buttons, pen, adhesive

For the title I used the Memory Works alphabet stickers, then inked around them (fingers work best) and outlined the letters with a fine tip black Sakura journaling pen as well before using a craft knife to remove the letter stickers.

I love this technique – it’s one I’ve been doing for years and I still love it. Paint, chalk, and in some cases mists work too, but I find inks (especially Tim Holtz Distress inks) to work best, and that nothing beats fingertips for application here.

Above you can see how it looks when removing the letters – at that point I decided there wasn’t enough contrast and added the touch of black pen to outline and accent the edges.

I also created a quick card with this line to send in the school folder back to our new (and favorite!) teacher.

With a few touches of Stickles and a little bit of baker’s twine I was able to make this sweet card in just minutes. The front is a 4×6″ paper from the Memory Works collection, and I used a 5 x 6 (one edge torn and folded over to adhere) piece of another paper to create the back. It couldn’t have been quicker or easier, and now I have a special card to share.

I have more school ideas to talk about, products to recommend, and projects to share. I will be back with more school related articles all week – stay tuned!


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13 Responses to It’s Elementary: Scrapbooking School

  1. Renee J. August 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful ideas and work (play), May! ‘Love it!!

  2. Amber August 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Thanks May for highlighting our new ele.ment.ary Simple Stories collection beautifuly! Whether our customers choose to create a school memories album pre-school through graduation, or simply want to highlight favorite school memories just like your projects…it’s a great, versatile collection for any school project.

    Keep up the great work – we love your articles!


  3. Scrapbook Obsession August 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi May ~ I’m a Memory Works consultant and I love seeing what you did with the “ele.ment.ary” kit! Just goes to show this kit is not only for “divided page protector scrapping” but also for regular 12×12 layouts AND cards. I’m going to refer customers here for inspiration. What a great way to use the letter stickers. Your photos do an awesome job of showing the true colors of the ele.ment.ary line, too. Thanks!

  4. Gab McCann August 31, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    Love that LO and the card. I’m going to have to try that inking/masking technique – what great results!

  5. Amy K August 31, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    Thanks for inspiring me, and providing links to the products! I love scrapping school things.

  6. Tammy Davis August 31, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    Beautiful products! I want them all – as usual!

  7. JillT August 31, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Love this theme for the week. Even though school themes aren’t that vital right now, I love them all the same. Two years ago I was helping a friend make a generic school album and I had such a time finding product. Now the market has a zillion products.

  8. Debbie P August 31, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. The Memory Works collection is beautiful.

  9. Lacey August 31, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    Love what you have done with the MemoryWorks Ele.ment.ary kit. i have had the pleasure of working with this kit as well and it is awesome for many purposes! Thanks for your review and tutorial. I agree this Fall has been a GREAT release of school related papers and embellishments.

  10. Christy Ladybugz Creations August 31, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    Love your ideas, I too am a Memory Works Consultant and I am teaching a class on the Elementary Kit here in a week. So excited. Enjoyed your blog

  11. Cathy H. August 31, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I’ve gotten stale in my title ideas. This is such a great idea that I definitely will try. Love the layout! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Summer Mobley August 31, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Thanks for the lovely ideas! I am a teacher, and something I would be interested in hearing about is scrapbooking school from a teacher’s perspective. Often products and school related articles are geared toward a mom scrapbooking her child’s school experience. I’d love to hear some stuff about teachers scrapbbooking about their students or their teaching experience.

  13. May August 31, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Hey Summer –
    Well, I’m not a school teacher so I really couldn’t give advice that is based on any knowledge. I will tell you what I would do if I were you:

    1. Forget who’s in the picture, look at the color & design ideas out there. Take the “school” page inspiration and bend it to your own needs.

    2. What IS your story to tell? Focus on what you’re telling and why, let that guide you.

    3. Definitely look for the product aimed at college/high school or more ‘school supply inspired’ look. Actually, just look for product that you like, that works for you and makes you happy.

    4. I would probably make an album very similar to the one I was describing for my daughter – only instead of “grades”, have “years/classes” scrapbooked.

    5. Look outside the teacher box. What I mean is, watch for inspiration about scrapbooking jobs/work/professions.

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