This file was originally created for scrapbooking consultants for use in classes, but work very well for individuals wanting to finish albums in a hurry--either because you have a lot of photos or not much spare time. It includes Power Layouts, Quick and Classic Pages, Quick Tips and Speed Cropping. Also see Photo Organization and One-Day Albums.

Quick and Classic Pages

(by Nicole B., Revised by Judy W.)

Most of us have piles of photos from over the years and the thought of trying to get them all into "fancy, creative" albums can be overwhelming! Don't let that stop you from the important task of preserving those memories--There Is Hope and I am here to help!!

By learning a few basic design principles your pages will have a clean classic look that will be enjoyed for years to come, and by using my time-saving "Power Tools" (Personal Trimmer, Circle Cutter and Corner Rounder) you will be able to achieve beautiful pages quickly and easily.

There are no absolute rules when it comes to design, but I hope the following tips will help you get started and enable you to get a lot done in your albums. Remember, your own creativity will take over!

The Over-All Look: When your album is opened and being viewed, both right and left sides are seen at once, keep this in mind when laying out your page. While it isn't necessary to have all "2 page layouts" it is more pleasing overall if the pages compliment each other and don't clash.

Cropping: For quick pages stick to one or two types of cropping on a page and use the Personal Trimmer and Circle Cutter for most of your cropping. Using the templates to crop your photos will add a fun element, but every time you pick up a pair of scissors you are "eating time." Fancy cut scissors can add interest to your page; but be selective. Using the scissors on just the corners of your photos and/or paper creates a fun look with less time. Generally it is better to use regular straight cut scissors on your photos and use the fancy cut scissors on paper to frame the photo. It usually looks best to use only one scissors style on each page.

Shapes: There are two general shape categories: soft/rounded and sharp/angled. For a coordinated look keep all the photos on a page in one category. For example: if cropping one photo into a circle or oval the other photos will "go better" if the Corner Rounder is used to soften the edges. Or, if the cropped photo is a diamond or octagon, the remaining photos should be left with "sharp angles".

Color: The quickest way to add impact is with colored paper. For a classic look, stay within one color "family" or "group" when selecting your paper. A color "family" is various shades of one color (navy blue, sky blue, baby blue). A color "group" is various colors with the same basic intensity (primaries, brights, pastels, neutrals). You can highlight a special photo on the page by framing it with one or two layers of color. You can add splashes of color around the page by placing "scraps" (squares, triangles, circles) behind the edges or sides of photos. You can quickly add a lot of color and unify the pages by placing a large piece or whole sheet of paper behind all the photos. Don't forget the shape category and follow through on your paper colors.

Mounting: Starting out you may what to use the photo splits, but once mastered, the Tape Runner is the fastest most efficient method for all photo and paper mounting. Before mounting your cropped photos, lay them on the blank scrapbook page, move them around and see what different looks are achieved. (Hint: when using the photo splits you may put you photo splits on, then remove the blue tabs when you get your look). Balance is the key to classic looking pages. Generally larger items (photos, die-cuts) will look better at the bottom of the page. Keep in mind what stickers you plan to use and where they would look best. ALWAYS leave enough room for documenting!

Documentation: Use "who, what, where, and when" and "quick captions" to label your photos. "Bullet journaling" is a fast way to get a lot more information down about a special photo. Using the ABC/123 stickers are great for quick and fun looking titles (top, bottom or down the side of your page).

Decoration: If desired, stickers and die-cut shapes are easy and fun. Remember to keep it simple. Die-Cuts should be kept in the same color "group" or "family" as the other paper. One or two die-cuts on a page is a good rule. Sometimes too many stickers on a page may detract from the photos and overall look. Put them in all four corners to frame a page, group them in one or two corners for a less symmetrical effect, or scatter a few around the page or next to photos. Use a Borderlines™ ruler to create a fancy, yet easy border design.

Quick Tips for Completing Albums Faster!

* Now that you're organized, you want to start with your smallest stack of photos or the 'easiest' album. This way, you will actually see your stacks of photos diminishing and your number of completed albums increasing! This will in turn motivate you to tackle your bigger projects.

* The quickest way to complete your albums is by doing simple pages that are both fun and attractive but not works of art intended for display. Remember that ten years from now, no one is going to say . . . "she should've put a stork die-cut on this page, or used xxx sticker on this corner." Many people's goal is to complete albums so that their photos and family stories are preserved for their great-grandchildren to enjoy.

* Attending workshops regularly is also a great way for you to have dedicated time for your photos and memories. Workshops are perfect for getting ideas and motivation from idea books and other croppers.

* Don't forget to use your Fast Supplies:
1.) Creative Memories Idea Books (filled with great page layout ideas)
2.) Circle Cutter--you'll never go back to the "old fashioned way" again!
3.) Personal Trimmer
4.) Corner Rounder
5.) ShortCuts Paper and die-cuts for adding quick color and design to your pages
6.) Tape Runner (don't forget to keep your casing, tape runner refills are available)

* Have supplies on hand. This will encourage you to work on your albums at home and not have to wait until the workshop to borrow someone's cropping tools like the trimmer.

* Have your Creative Memories supplies organized and ready for use! You will be able to take those ten minutes you have between errands, chores, etc., and use them productively!! Take a look at Creative Memories' newest organizational tools for all your supplies: The Album Tote Bag (ideal for carrying albums, page refills, and page protectors to and from crops). The Album Tote helps keep your work in progress album pages in order, clean, and undamaged. The Memory Mate Tote Bag (ideal for all your cropping supplies, pens, stickers, templates, adhesives, die-cuts, paper, and idea books). This is the best organizer for all your supplies ~ everything has it's own 'personal' space. It is easy to carry, compact, and perfect for keeping supplies out of the way.

* You'll be so glad you took the time to get it all together! Those few minutes between errands, chores, naps (ha-ha!), etc., will be spent producing finished pages instead of searching for your supplies!!

Power Layouts

Benefits of pre-planning your pages

This is the best solution for those of us who are very 'visual'. We need to see the big picture of how our album is going to look, before we can start adhering photos.
It allows you to spread out all your photos and cropping supplies at one time for just a few hours. It's great if you have small children or cannot leave your supplies out for long periods of time.
If you get photos out of order, you'll find out and correct the problem before adhering to a page. You'll see where you need two-page spreads and can change the order where needed, if possible, before affixing photos.
You can choose your colors more carefully, coordinating colors on facing pages, or placing theme colors throughout a series of similar pages, if desired. You can save up all your 'orphan' photos that don't fit with any particular theme, and make a page of miscellaneous photos.
When you can see thirty pages of your album laid out before you, you can see everything that needs to be changed before you adhere any photos, thus making fewer mistakes. This alone saves a lot of time!
When you're finished with this few hours of "Power Layouts", you will have thirty or so pages ready to go -- one page at a time if that's all you can do -- whenever you have a few extra minutes -- you can complete a page or two a day, or come to another workshop and finish them all! Completion is a breeze and you only have your mounting supplies, album pages, and layout pages on the table or in your Memory Mate Bag.
You can use this method for all your scrapbook/photo album projects.

Materials Needed:
Layout kit: (30 layout boards, storage box and post-it notes.)
Large workspace (1 1/2 tables or a bare floor or your bed)
Backlog of photos (preferably in chronological order)
Memorabilia for those photos
Idea Books
Cropping Tools
Decorative Supplies
Zip lock bags and or envelopes
Backing from design line stickers (to gather letters for titles if you use the same color on two pages)
Adhesives and pens are NOT needed for this stage of your project.

Note: Don't plan on a long time storage of your photos on these pages. They are for short-term storage only as the boxes and cardboard sheet are acidic. If you should need longer time use Ziploc bags. In place of buying the layout boards people can save the cardboard inserts from the refill pages and page protectors.

Layout Method:
Lay out boards in groups of two across tables leaving some open room for cropping tools and decorative supplies. Check your album, if you've started, to see which page you are working with first ~ left or right ~ so you can adjust the first layouts accordingly. If you are starting a new album, you would start with the right-hand page.

Part 1 - Rough Layout

 Note: As you sort your photos throw any photo away that are blurry.

Toss photos onto layout sheets as you think they'll fit and in the probable order. Fill all the pages and/or use all the photos. Don't worry about
exact placement of photos yet.

 If you have a large number of photos, you can divide the photos between pages, but still don't worry about which ones go on which pages.

 Fill all the layout pages and/or use all the photos.

Part 2 - Second Layout

Starting again with the first page, eliminate any photos you don't want or need. Crop pictures and arrange on the page. Add any memorabilia to the appropriate pages.

Now is the time to determine if your pictures will really fit on one page, or if you need a two- page spread, etc. Also, do you need a whole page, or can you combine those photos with another page?

 Make sure all two-page spreads are on facing pages, if possible.

 Do you have several 'orphan' photos that really don't go with any others? Maybe you could make a page (or spread) with no theme, containing all the miscellaneous photos.

After this layout, all your pages should be in the final order and combination.

Part 3 - Final Layout

Starting at the first page again, plan any decoration of your pages at this point.

Use your post it notes to:
* Note volume number and page number of an idea you want to use from the Creative Memories Design and Page Layout Idea Books.
* Jot down specific ideas you want to include on the page.
* Write a title or heading you'd like to add, or something special you want to say about a particular photo, or transfer writing from the backs of photos.

Choose any paper, and cut to size and shape you want, and lay it on the sheet with your photos and memorabilia, as you want the finished product to appear.

Lay any strips of stickers and /or die-cuts on the layout page.

Part 4 - Storage

Note: At this time you can also crop all your photos as you put them in the storage boxes and if you have time can put on the photo splits.
Stack your layout pages in order, with the first to go into your album ending up on top, and the last on the bottom.
Place this stack of pages into your gift box. While you want to be careful not to tilt the box, because this could disturb the layouts, experience
has found that this is not a big problem if it occurs.

Part 5 - Mounting

You are now ready to mount your photos to album pages at your convenience.

Notes: You can leave your layouts uncropped and crop your photos while waiting at the doctor, swim lesson, tee ball, setting in front of the TV, and etc. Just place cropped photos along with the layout sheet upside down in the lid of the box. Flip and transfer back to the bottom of the box when you are ready to go.

Speed Cropping

(compiled by Sherilyn)

Speed cropping is about focusing on the photos. While the decorations can be fun, they don't have to overwhelm the photos or be time-consuming! Fast pages can be beautiful pages . . . and not every page needs to be speed cropped. You can dawdle on a page here and there, doing intricate cutting or designing but if you dawdle on every page your album project never seems to go anywhere . . . and that is frustrating . . . and frustration leads to stress . . . and if you are a stressed scrapper, you will not continue to scrap! By speed cropping, you are assuring that you will make progress in your albums and be a happy cropper who sees the fruits of her labor of love.

One thought that helps me relax and move along: "This page is just one of the hundreds, if not thousands I will do in my lifetime . . . it does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be done!" Besides . . . who decides "perfect", anyway?

Supplies every serious speedcropper needs

When you only have a few minutes . . .

5 Minutes
Sort through your most recent pack of photos.
Take a great everyday snap shot.

10 Minutes
 Crop a pack of photos
 Look up special sayings, quotes, or songs to include on pages.
 Journal and/or decorate a previously mounted page.
 Take inventory of your supplies; call your consultant to order what you need.

30 Minutes
Design and complete a page or pages.
Locate older photos and begin placing them in chronological order.
Grab one of those destructive albums your pictures are still in and remove· them (Keeping them in order to make remounting a snap.)
Pre-cut some acid-free colored paper in your favorite shapes.
Plan a gift album and/or sort through your double prints for children's or grandparents' albums.

1 Hour
 Interview a family member on tape regarding their old photos.
 Continue sorting, cropping, mounting.
 Go through your negatives and find pictures to copy for a specialty album.

3-4 Hours
 Crop, Mount, and Journal
 Do some Power Layouts - in 3-4 hours,· you can layout a whole album!

Organizational Tips

Another key to Speed Cropping is organization. With your supplies organized and at your fingertips, page assembly goes much faster and you can make the most of small snippets of time.

The Accessory Binder
Use the binder to store all your cropping accessories.
Keep full sheets of paper in paper protectors.
Keep scraps in the wide sticker protectors, sorted by color.
Keep ShortCuts triangles in the wide sticker protectors, sorted by color
Keep ShortCuts strips in the long and regular sticker protectors, sorted by color.
Keep die-cuts sorted by theme in the wide sticker protectors or the· accessory protectors.
Stand this up in front of you or next to you while· you work, and everything is right there within easy reach!

The Memory Mate Bag
Perfect storage for all of your tools--you will always know where they are!
Special storage for Pen sets and scissors·
Turn your Personal Trimmer upside-down and store small items in the bottom, like cotton squares for wiping off blue-pencil or an extra pair of scissors.
Use the three ring binder for Crop Talks and Idea Books. This section can be removed for easier access--just lay it on the table next to you while you crop.
The cutting system Circles and Ovals easily fit into an Accessory Protector.
Large items like the Corners and Borders Template for Class Coordinators slide easily behind the binder section

The Album Tote
Carries your albums and pages safely and conveniently.
Three sections to keep your albums from rubbing up· against each other or page packets
Fits even the 12x15 album box
Padded inner pocket protects loose pages when necessary
Smaller pockets inside are perfect for packs of photos straight from the developer
Can also hold the Accessory Binder
Can hold one 12x15, three 12x12's, and an 8x10 (I've· done it!)
Also great for other things, like an airline carry on, overnight bag, or to carry your laptops in!

back to top of page