How To Choose The Best Scrapbooking Supplies

How To Choose The Best Scrapbooking Supplies

When it comes to the art of scrapbooking, you're spoiled for choice when it comes to materials, supplies, tools and techniques. So how do you know what scrapbooking materials to choose for your project?

Explore Spotlight's in-depth guide to scrapbooking, and learn how to make sense of the available materials and tools used to create beautiful scrapbooks. We'll also cover scrapbooking accessories and scrapbooking page ideas, layouts & themes - so you can make gorgeous scrapbooks that will be treasured for years to come.

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What Is Scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking is a popular art and craft technique that's used to preserve and present memorabilia like photos, artworks, concert tickets, pressed flowers and other ephemera. Just think of scrapbooking as one of the most creative ways to tell your stories and record your memories!

Scrapbooking has a long history, dating as far back as 15th century England with the use of "commonplace books" that were compilations of recipes, letters and poems. Much like a yearbook or photo album, modern scrapbooks are a way of integrating narrative, colour and design into your treasured memories.

Scrapbook Albums & Formats

There are a few main formats in scrapbooking, and it's worth deciding which one will suit you best before committing to buying your supplies. The standard measurements are in inches, so take that into account as you go.

Traditional Scrapbooking

This is the format that most people picture when they think of scrapbooking. The scrapbook is laid out on single sheets, the most common size being 12 inch x 12 inch. Other sizes include 8.5 inch x 11 inch, and 9 inch x 12 inch. These sizes offer great scope for making everything from very simple designs to highly elaborate and decorative page layouts. You also have the potential to integrate a variety of art supplies and mixed media play to take your designs to the next level.

Pocket Scrapbooking

Pocket scrapbooking is a more modern scrapbooking format that uses plastic refill sheets with pockets for photos and journaling. This method and format offers a quicker and more structured format for everyday storytelling. With pocket scrapbooking you have the freedom to keep things simple, or get creative with how you use the plastic pockets - for example, making shaker pockets, transparent sections, flip pockets and more.

Non-Standard Scrapbooking Formats

Anything can be a scrapbook if you want it to! Many scrapbookers work in notebooks, handmade books, or create interesting folders, files, or flip books. Using this approach gives you greater flexibility with sizes and the opportunity to tailor your scrapbook size to your chosen photos and media. You can also tailor the format to the occasion - for example, a small portable notebook for travel, or a handmade album to give as a gift.

How To Choose The Best Scrapbooking Format

The stories you want to tell should dictate the format you choose. Consider the occasion and theme, as well as the existing sizes of the photos and memorabilia you wish to present.

What do you want to scrapbook?




"I want to make occasional layouts to record special events."




"I want to journal my everyday stories with a portable scrapbook."

Not recommended



"I want to make a special scrapbook to give as a gift."




"I want to make a travel journal to take on my holiday."

Not recommended



"I want to record my pregnancy, or my baby's first year."




"I want to keep ongoing scrapbooks for each of my kids."




Christmas Themed Scrapbooking Binder Double Layout
Birthdays, anniversaries, overseas trips and seasonal holidays are all perfect themes to commemorate in your scrapbooks.

Essential Scrapbooking Supplies

Once you've decided on your scrapbooking theme and format, it's time to get set up with your basic supplies. You only need a few things to begin creating! If you're establishing a new craft and hobby space, it's also a great idea to invest in some craft storage caddies & boxes to organise all your scrapbooking tools and materials.


Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of the scrapbooking journey, scrapbook albums and refills will be your starting point for your creations. Most 12 x 12 scrapbooks feature page protectors to slip your completed pages into, and an album to store them in. Scrapbook albums are most are available in a couple of variations:

  • Post-bound: Where the album has metal posts drilled into it, on which page protectors can be stacked and secured.
  • 3 ring: Like any ring-bound folder, these can be pulled open and closed to add and remove pages

Pocket scrapbooking requires an album and the specialised page protectors that fit inside it. You'll find that there is often a range of different pocket configurations for each different album size. Non-standard scrapbooking simply requires you to make or choose a book, album, or diary to scrap in. Visual diaries are a great option for non-traditional scrapbooks. Featuring artist-quality paper, visual diaries come in standard paper sizes including A6, A4, A4 and A3.

Coloured Paper & Cardboard

Plain cardstock or patterned scrapbook paper are the essential materials for building your scrapbooking pages. Paper and cardstock form the base sheet for creating your laid-out scrapbook pages, and can also be cut into shapes to embellish your designs. Scrapbooking paper is found in sheets or pads, most commonly in 12 x 12 size.

Spotlight's range of paper and cards includes sturdy plain cardstock paper which comes in packs themed by colour palette. You can also explore scrapbooking paper pads that feature beautiful printed patterns and reversible designs. Loose paper comes in 12 x 12 inch sizes and is available in a variety of textures and finishes including metallic paper and glitter cardstock, so you can incorporate a touch of sparkle into your scrapbooking pages.

Craft & Paper Cutting Tools

The right paper-cutting tools help ensure neat, professional finishes for your scrapbooking creations. Precision, ergonomically designed tools also make cutting and trimming quick and easy on your hands. Trimmers & trimming boards are ideal for creating the clean straight lines you need for scrapbooking. Also referred to as guillotine cutters, where handy tools feature ruler guidelines to make precision cutting a breeze - just make sure you buy one that is big enough to handle your 12 x 12 paper and cardstock.

At Spotlight you can also find decorative paper punches & hole punches to create embellishments, as well as knives & blades and craft scissors for detailed paper-cutting jobs. It's wise to invest in a cutting mat as well to aid in creating neat cuts while protecting your work surface. Explore our scissors & cutting tools buying guide to learn more about choosing the tools for your scrapbooking and papercraft projects.

Craft Glues & Adhesives

Once your paper, photos and other memorabilia are ready, you'll need the right adhesives to secure your items onto your scrapbooking page. For the most part, you'll be gluing paper to paper, making sticky tapes & glue tapes or glue sticks the ideal choice. One of the most useful scrapbooking adhesives is double-sided tape. It will stick your photos and papers together securely and easily, without creating any additional bulk or sticky fingers!

If you start using other embellishments with different weights and textures, you'll need to use more specialised tapes and glues. Explore Spotlight's informative glues & tapes buying guide to help you find the best adhesive for your scrapbooking project.

Scrapbooking Embellishments

Once you have established the basic tools and supplies for your scrapbooking creations, it's time to start thinking about the creative embellishments you can add to your scrapbook pages. There are as many ways to make your scrapbooks unique as you can imagine, including coloured pens and markers, stickers, rhinestones, washi tape and more.


Stickers are one of the most easy and versatile ways to add colourful fun to a range of paper craft projects. Alphabet & number stickers are a great addition to scrapbook pages, and can be used to make creative titles and headings with a neat, professional finish. You can also explore sticker books and sticker sheets which include a huge variety of sticker designs organised by themes and colour palettes.

Ephemera & Die Cuts

  • Use die cut embellishments to layer with photos, or create pretty decorative clusters. These are flat enough to fit in pockets, but can also be used in more dimensional layouts.
  • Buy premade packs, or make your own with a cutting machine.

Stamping Supplies

Stamps of all shapes and sizes can be used widely in scrapbooking. They're a great way to add pattern and colour to your pages without adhering any extra materials. Use letter stamps to create page headings, or decorative stamps for accents and borders. Just make sure you use archival quality stamping ink pads, and test your inks and stamps for bleeding before you use them in your scrapbook.

Calligraphy Supplies & Art Pens

Lettering and handwriting is an art form in their own right. Elevate your scrapbook pages with beautifully formed annotations and headings using the right pens and markers. Calligraphy markers feature a chiselled tip, whereas calligraphy pens come with specialised nibs that allow you to create stylised lettering with gorgeous dimension. Fineliners are also a great way to add detail to your pages with utmost precision. At Spotlight you can find calligraphy and art pens in a range of colours, including neons and metallic tones to truly make your scrapbooking pages pop.

Washi Tape

Washi is an easy way to brighten up any papercraft, and scrapbooking is no exception. Use it as an adhesive, or simply as a decorative accent. Explore vibrant craft tapes & washi tapes for a quick scrapbook page design with instant colour and pattern.

Dimensional Embellishments

The beauty of scrapbooking is its handcrafted aesthetic, and adding texture and dimension to your pages can truly accentuate your scrapbook's style and narrative. Here are just a few ideas for some embellishments that can add extra dimension to your pages:

Using Craft & Cutting Machines For Scrapbooking

With the aid of a craft machine or cutting machine, it's possible to create beautifully designed scrapbook pages with the touch of a button! At Spotlight, you can find Cricut machines, Brother machines and Siser machines that take the hard work out of cutting, scoring and embellishing. With the right tools and blades you can cut out headings, decorative borders or DIY your own die cuts to truly customise your scrapbooking projects. Craft & cutting machines come with preloaded designs, or you can use specialised design software to create layered paper pieces for a cohesive and consistent scrapbooking layout. Here are some of the great features you can find in cutting machines to help you make professional looking scrapbooks with minimal effort:

  • Discover tools for cutting, writing, scoring and embossing
  • Cut a range of materials with ease, including paper, fabric, balsa wood, vinyl, leather and more
  • Embellish your pages with reactive foils for a sparkly accent
  • Repeat templates and designs for a consistent layout

You can learn more about finding the best craft machines with our comprehensive guide to choosing electronic cutting machines & accessories.

Cricut Explore 3 Cutting Machine

Scrapbooking Page Ideas

Before you commit to glueing your memorabilia into your scrapbook, it's a great idea to play and experiment with different page layout ideas first. You can choose to let the layout be dictated by the shape and size of your photos or ephemera. Alternatively, you can choose a specific layout you like, and scan, photocopy and resize your memorabilia accordingly.

It's also a great idea to choose a colour palette or theme so you can select your papers and embellishments accordingly. There are a few different approaches you can take:

  • Select a consistent design theme and materials palette to use throughout the scrapbook. A great way to do this is to choose scrapbooking paper pads which contain a selection of papers collated by theme, pattern and colour palette.
  • Allow your photos and memorabilia to dictate the paper design and embellishments. Choose a colour that consistently appears in your ephemera as a highlight colour for your papers and borders.
  • Create each page as a standalone artwork, highlighting colours and themes for each special memory and event that's celebrated on your page. For example, if you had a wonderful time at the beach, opt for soothing blue tones and sea-themed stickers. If you're commemorating a family picnic, choose food-themed die cuts or a classic gingham print for your paper or trims.

How To Lay Out A Scrapbooking Page

Page layouts for scrapbooking can vary greatly, and there's not really any wrong or right way to do it. However, there are a few simple rules you can follow to create scrapbooking page layouts that are visually balanced and create an engaging narrative:

  • Follow the "rule of thirds". The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that's typically used in photography. The subject is placed in the left or right third of an image, while leaving the other two thirds open. When applied to scrapbooking, think of your core memorabilia as the "subject", with supporting ephemera and annotations filling the remaining two-thirds of the page.
  • If you have a large photograph or image you want to celebrate, centre it relative to the left and right sides of the page. Then shift the image closer to the top of the page to leave around a third more space at the bottom. This helps to create visual balance - an image that is truly centred will actually make the page look top-heavy.
  • Use a pencil to create lightly ruled grid lines to keep multiple images aligned for a neat block-style layout.
  • Try layering images on top of each other for a dynamic look. You can also angle the images and ephemera slightly to create a sense of movement on the page.
  • Make use of blank space! Not every corner of your page needs to be filled. In fact, leaving open space within your scrapbooking page can help to really highlight your special photos or memorabilia as the focal point.
Binder Scrapbook Layout With Clear File Inserts
Pastel Beach Boho Themed Scrapbook Cover With Die-Cut Floral Details

Explore The Art Of Scrapbooking With The Right Supplies

Find everything you need to create stunning scrapbooks at Spotlight. Shop the range of scrapbook albums, paper & card, stickers, cutting tools and so much more for your scrapbooking creations. Make your purchases online to enjoy the convenience of home delivery for your scrapbooking supplies, or head into your nearest Spotlight store to explore the range in person. You can also inspire your next creations with our FREE papercraft & scrapbooking projects online, which include complete materials lists, easy-to-follow instructions and downloadable project sheets for your reference.




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