Once you know what you want to write in your scrapbooks you need the means. This file is about tools and techniques to accomplish that purpose--pens, ruled pages, calendar pages, etc.
(Angie in OK)
- Store your pens horizontally.
- Keep the cap on your pen when not in use.
- Use pens only on acid free paper.
- Don't press down too hard, it will harm the nib.
- Let personality show through lettering. You can be silly or serious, sassy or solemn. To test the typeface, create a nonsense message and look at the letters all together. How do the images make you feel?
- If you're going to craft your own letters, don't be too lazy to practice.
- Get some inexpensive lined paper and write, write, WRITE. Your practice will show in your perfect scrapbook pages.
- When choosing a typeface, don't think, "Which is the prettiest?" or
"Which is the most space-efficient?" Choose the typeface best for the job. Think this: "What do I want to say with this page and which typeface will say it?"
- Creative lettering is not handwriting. You need to draw your letters, not write them.
- Use a pencil first. Until you are very comfortable with a particular lettering style, always draw the letters in pencil before drawing in ink. That way you can erase any mistakes before they become permanent.
- Work toward yourself rather than away. It is much easier to draw lines and curves from the top of the page toward the bottom than the other way around.
You can better see what you are doing. Sometimes you may have to turn your paper to work in the preferred direction.
- Draw all of your letters before embellishing any of them.
- Plan--write the title on a piece of scrap paper. Count the letters.
Determine the spacing. Will the title go on a single line or more than one?
- Draw guidelines on your page in pencil. Mark the bottom, top and possibly the middle of each line. Marking the top will help you keep your letters a uniform height. If you use the white end of the photo labeling pencil the lines will hardly show. On black pages use the black pen.
- Use a non-marring eraser to erase your pencil marks. Don't use a pink eraser, as they tend to smear your work and can tear the paper or leave smudge marks.
Wait a few seconds to allow the ink to dry completely.
- Determine up front whether your letters will be upright or have an italic slant. Make sure that all your letters slant at the same angle. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so there may be times when you will purposefully mix your slants, especially with jaunty styles.
- When you practice a style, consider the widths of the letters. Make sure that you are consistent with widths.
- Most dark inks will cover your pencil marks nicely. When you want to do your lettering in a light ink, as you are ready to draw a letter, erase your pencil-drawn letter until it is extremely faint before tracing in ink. Then move on to the next letter. Do this one letter at a time until you have finished the entire title or phrase.
- Take care not to place your hand on newly completed letters while working on the next one. Although pigment inks dry quickly, it is still possible to smudge them in this fashion while you are still at work. The gold and silver pens take a little longer to dry.
- If you make a boo-boo with the silver or gold pens on the black page use your black pen or black end of the photo labeling pencil scribble over the mistake, and write it over again. Some people have had success removing the gold and silver pen marks with an eraser.
- Have fun with colors. Mix colors on a page. Embellish your letters with other colors.
- Use the fine tip and calligraphy pen to create interesting letters.
- Use a ruler or journaling template to mark nice straight lines on your paper.
- Take time to develop the basic ABC's before you go onto other styles.
- Straight and tall letters are very pleasing to the eye. Crooked or slanted letters mean you haven't practiced enough. You also want nice, round, full letters.
- Try different spacing between your letters. You may want them close, or almost touching or spread out more. Be consistent.
- If you want to center a word or phrase on a scrapbook page, you can always use a ruler, find the center of the page, and draw a line, marking the center point. Cut the phrase in half and start from the inside out.
- Don't be limited by old rules...try words in all lower case; separate words with dots, hearts or stars; try all capital letters staggered up and down...
slant letters different ways; write on a curve above photos, or use as a headline.
- Use a borderline and give your lettering movement.
- Use the Creative Memories Write Again Correction kit.)
- As you begin to write more and more you will find yourself developing your own personal style of lettering. Don't be afraid to be creative and experiment.
Creativity has no rules or boundaries.
(The ideas in the above list are great. However for someone like me they just don't work! I am not good at things like lettering--no matter how much I practice. And if I had to spend time drawing pencil lines, measuring, spacing, erasing, etc. I would not write very much. So I decided to make another list of tips for people who are not so creative or don't have perfect handwriting. Denny)
- You can print words or phrases in large sized fonts from a computer, then trace them onto your page using the bold tip pens. (Using a light box or a glass table with a lamp underneath helps with this).
- You can type your journaling on the computer and print it out on acid free paper. I know that many people don't recommend doing this--and I wouldn't recommend it for everything in your scrapbook. However if you have unreadable handwriting it would be better to have something typed that people can read. Be sure to include some of your own handwriting so your descendants will know why you decided to type most of the stuff ;-) One of the reasons I do so much of my journaling on the computer is that I write a LOT and it would take up way more space in my scrapbooks than I want and it would take too much time if I had to hand write it.
- If your handwriting is readable but you just don't care for it you could type some things--like large blocks of text--and hand write smaller captions. Or you could do the opposite and print out titles and more important things in a large, fancy font and use your own handwriting for things that are smaller and less noticeable on the page.
- There are classes in calligraphy, books you can buy and info about it online if you want to learn to make your own titles.
- Try to relax and not worry about your handwriting. If you are lucky enough to have some old letters or journals left of your ancestors I am sure you are not concerned about how 'pretty' the handwriting is. With journaling it is what people say and not how the writing looks that is important. And it will be the same when your descendants are reading the things you wrote.
- It is true that if your albums got wet the stuff you had printed with printer ink would be ruined. For that reason I try write many of the names and places and dates with a pen. I keep the files of things I journal on my computer. That way the stories will be preserved even if something happened to the scrapbooks.
Ideas for Using Calendar Pages
At the present time the calendar pages are limited edition. Hopefully that will change but even if it doesn't you can still use these ideas by drawing your own grid. You might want to keep one page for a pattern and trace new ones using a light box--you can also use this idea if you want the calendar higher or lower on the page than the pre-printed ones.
Not all of these ideas have to do with journaling but I wanted to keep all the calendar page ideas together.
- Use them in your heritage album (or separately) to put all the family birthday, wedding anniversary and other important dates on.
- For documenting a special event in that spans a long period of time (wedding plans, family reunion, moving etc.)
- An album for a group (PTA, library friends group, etc.) that has a lot of activities.
- For the first page in your Christmas album--if you participate in a lot of holiday activities.
- The title page for a vacation album. You can use this to make an overview of the trip, the itinerary, etc. If the trip was more than a month use two pages, if it was less than a month put in some of the preparation stuff.
- A gift album for a relative or friend who wants their photos in an album (or maybe a mother-in-law who you would like to see put things in an album) but is not interested in spending much time or trouble. Your could use the calendar pages as the back side of the page. Make the first page an introductory or dedication page with a poem, etc. Start with the January calendar on the back of the title page and decorate each facing page to coordinate. Put in the dates so they will be encouraged to start right away. This will make it very easy for the recipient to do--basically write stuff on the calendar and put some photos on the opposite page. Some photo splits and black pen would be the only other thing they really need.
- An album similar to the one above only you do the calendar and photos each month and send the completed pages to grandparents or other far away relatives. In that case it would probably work better to have the January calendar with the January photos on the back, etc.
- I've made calendars out of them. Decorated each with appropriate month stuff...snowflakes for January; Used the Cupid Design Lines on Feb. The Green Hills design line stickers for March and so forth. I then just filled in the dates in the grid.
Beginning Saturday, I will write down daily, or nearly daily, what we did that day. Even if it's nothing special. I did the pages so they can be on the LEFT side of the album (staples on the right). I will then put them in an album and add a few 'representative' photos to the right side (back side of the next month). I can insert a refill sheet if we have some sort of special event in that month too. It will give a diary of sorts of your family's life. (Nancy D)
- I did the month of December, and used the nativity die-cut from the Christmas Combo pack. For the title, I used navy squares and gold letters. I also did a double-page spread of my son's soccer season (sort of like in the Crop Talk). I used lots of pictures, wrote down the games, the score, and if my son scored. It was a great way to recap the season.
- do the month in which a wedding occurs (before and after).
- I had some leftover landscape die-cuts from the old coordinator gifts and I used the orange fence/harvest one for OCTOBER. Used brown letters on orange title blocks and scattered some CM Studio fall leaves around. (Jean Gifford)
- January 2000 with month spelled in gold letters, some gold stars and S/G confetti sprinkled around. Labeled "a month of firsts". At the bottom of the page I put a matted Xerox copy of the last daily Peanuts strip (January 3rd) and did a bit of journaling about "one heartbreaking last"
- For long months that start on a Saturday, you will run out of squares. Rather than do the standard calendar thingie of splitting days into two triangles use a straight edge and pen to draw one or two extra boxes. Draw it at the top right corner of the grid (for Saturday, January 1st it sets off that special day) and you still have plenty of space for the name of the month. You could also draw the extra box(es)at the bottom.
- Use very small punches on the calendars to write the number of the dates on(you can use stickers but it takes a very long time for the ink to dry).
Some of the ideas are: January - Snowflake; February - Hearts; March - Clovers; April - Raindrops (heart punch cut in half) or eggs; May - Flowers; June - Beach balls(Circle punches decorated with pens); July - Stars; August - Suns; September - House or bell (school); October - Pumpkin; November - Leaves; December - Santa, bells, circles (for ornaments), stars, triangles (trees), etc. Check with your LSS to see if they allow customers to use their punches during rented "workshop" time. Another thought--if you purchase the punches for yourself you could make calendar "kits" to market to your customers. Also you might ask about having people bring punches to a unit meeting so you could share.(Ruth CMC and Pam in Cincinnati)
Ideas for Using Ruled Pages
- Use ruled pages at the beginning of a set of vacation pictures. Put a title on and a picture of the family, and then journal about all those little things that can be forgotten, like why we chose this particular place for vacation or how the kids fought (or got along) on the drive, maybe a little history about the place, etc. Ruled pages are just a great way to capture all those things through journaling that you want to remember but don't have pictures for.
- Use them in a baby album. Have a ruled page for each month. Decorate the borders or add stickers to the bottom, and a photo or 2, then journal about the month. Do a layout on the facing page. (Shawn G. in So Cal)
- Create a tribute to your husband--or other family member. Write or copy a poem in the center of the page. All around the edges put photos of your loved one.
- Journal about an occasion that you don't have any photos for. Put an appropriate border down the side. (Rhonda M.)
- Write details of a vacation or other big event so you can concentrate on the photos on the following pages. (Rhonda M.)
- Make an album with only ruled pages. Use it to write down memories from your childhood. If you have photos to illustrate a particular memory use them but concentrate on the journaling. Select the album size according to how much you expect to write. You could also combine the writings of more than one family member.
- Those who like to use nicknames and minimal journaling on their pages can use a ruled page at the back for an index of the person's nickname, real name, age and relationship to the family.
If you are looking for interesting or fancy fonts, go to One Scrappy Site. Not only are there hundreds of free fonts to download, but there are directions on how to download and install fonts, which fonts never to delete, printing in reverse, etc. There are also suggestions of which fonts and which paper colors to use for some specific years in your heritage albums.
A lot of people feel all journaling should be handwritten while others dislike their handwriting so much they won't do it at all. I am in the middle--I hand write most titles, captions and short items but print out the long items. I do keep a copy of what I write on the computer in case of a mishap like albums getting wet.
Another site that has a lot of interesting fonts is DaFont. They have fonts in the style of television show, movie and record album titles. Also they have dingbat fonts with many company logos.
Use a regular lined template and put it OVER a die-cut frame to journal a shape. Sort of like purchasing a whole week's groceries worth of journaling templates from 'other' places . . . only WAY CHEAPER!
Have someone write a few minutes about one of their photos--the occasion, who the people are, what they are talking about, etc. Then give the photo to another person to write about. The difference between what a picture actually depicts and what it seems to depict can be tremendous. You will easily see the value of detailed journaling.
Cut a strip of light colored paper the size you need to write the title on. Use decorative scissors or the deckle cutter to cut the paper. Lay the strip on a piece of scrap paper. Put the straight edge of a ruler along the edge of the paper so that just a tiny strip shows along the edge. Using a coordinating color pen go along the ruler to color the edges of the paper. (For some scissors you will need to color a wider area to make it look right so you will need two strokes of the pen.)