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Graduation Scrapbook Ideas

The front cover is decorated with a handcrafted silk flower arrangement.

The front cover is decorated with a handcrafted silk flower arrangement.

A Repurposed Photo Album to Create a Scrapbook

There are all kinds of ways to start a scrapbook. Many different ideas come to mind, including paper bag albums, card and envelope albums, regular 12 x 12 albums, etc.

One day while shopping, I came across a sale on photo albums. I found a 10.5" tall by 8" wide hardcover album with a ring binder insert. I could visually see transforming it into a keepsake album.

What would I create?

What Features Will You Include in Your Album?

  • Embellishments
  • Flowers
  • Stickers
  • Words and phrases
  • Journaling tags
  • Decorative corner punches
  • Rounded page corners
  • Brads and eyelets
  • Ribbons and lace

The Little Details

It's all about the details, whether you are creating a scrapbook page or album. It's the little embellishments, flowers, journaling spots, and more that create the uniqueness to each memory-keeping design!

As I walked through the store and thought about ways to use the album, I came upon a graduation aisle filled with decorations for parties.

I found metallic-looking 2013 die-cut shapes in various colors and sizes. Then I came across some other interesting gift-wrapping decorations.

Putting it all together in my mind, I decided to create a graduation album.

Consider the Cost

Adding a lot of details to your album can drive up the cost.

Of course, if you have the ability to create your own embellishments at home, it will be less expensive to make your own die-cuts and handmade flowers.

Keep in mind when you start a project how much money you are willing to spend on materials. Set a budget. Come up with ways to make your own embellishments to keep costs down.

Measure and Cut the Base Pages

The first thing to do when creating a scrapbook album from a repurposed album is to measure how large the pages will have to be to fit in the scrapbook album without hanging over the edges.

The album is 10.5" by 8". That means the pages will have to be smaller in order to fit perfectly within the album.

Also, consider how the ring binder will come in to play with your page sizes. When you move the pages from right to left, the pages will slip around the ring. You have to deduct an amount off your page size to make sure the edges don't exceed the album at the highest point of the ring.

I measured the pages 10" tall by 6 3/4" wide. This was after playing around with the pages to see what size fit. It wasn't obvious until I slipped them over the ring binder and could determine how much more they needed to be trimmed.

This spine is 2 1/4" wide.

This spine is 2 1/4" wide.

The Spine

When considering the size of the pages, also consider the width of the spine. This will determine how deep your album can become.

The spine shown in the image above is 2 1/4" wide.

Choose Theme, Pattern, Colors, and Paper

This album is a graduation album. The same techniques apply to any other album. Whether it's a baby shower, wedding, or birthday album, you must choose your theme. You don't want to create a birthday album and not have anything but wedding stickers at home.

When you are looking for materials and supplies, consider what you are creating and try to visualize what themed materials you will need. It will also help save money when you are in the craft aisle. Instead of picking up a bunch of mismatched products, you'll be able to focus on only what you need for the given project.

I have wandering eyeball syndrome in the craft store, despite having great intentions of spending so much money on a bunch of baby shower supplies—for example, I come home with a little bit of everything, except what I went for in the first place!

Consider the pattern you are going to use to create your album.

Polka-dots and stripes do go together. But some color themes don't. Make sure that all of your patterns and colors match.

Lastly, there are amazing scrapbook papers and cardstock selections. It all really depends on what I'm making that determines if I buy a pre-packaged paper stack or loose paper by the sheet.

Whatever you decide, make sure that everything matches and goes together well when you start cutting and adhering it all together!

Back cover using the same paper as the owl cover

Back cover using the same paper as the owl cover

Think About Your Layout and Organize Your Supplies

Before creating a scrapbook, you'll have to think about the theme of it and how you want to put the pages in order.

When I created this layout, I made it up as I went along. I didn't have a pre-set idea in my mind.

Here are tips for organizing your supplies while you are creating the pages:

  1. Measure and cut your base pages. This scrapbook was created from black cardstock. I measured and cut about 20 pages to start.
  2. Punch holes in the base pages. Take one page and use it as an example to measure the punched holes. Place the page against the open rings and mark where you will punch the holes. Punch the holes and test to see if the page slides evenly over the rings. Use this page as the sample page for punching the holes in all the other pages. When you are finished punching the holes, set the base pages aside.
  3. Organize your supplies. Put all of your supplies together near your workspace. I have a craft studio with a large table in the room. I put all of my supplies in piles on the table so I can pick through them as I go along. Put each like item in the same pile—ribbons and lace, eyelets and brads, paper and cardstock, etc.
  4. Design the covers, front and back. You might already have the perfect cardstock picked out and set aside for the cover. If not, give it some thought. The pattern should be unique and different from any other pattern you use inside the album. I picked a piece of cardstock with an owl design. I was able to cut it up so that the owl could be used on the front and the rest of the paper could be used on the back.
  5. Pages. Once you design your cover, set those pages aside. Start picking out individual pages. Here are some tips on designing your pages:
  • Begin with page 1. The inside of the cover will open with page 1. Keep this in mind when designing page 1 so it doesn't clash with the inside cover.
  • Pages 2 and 3 and all other pages that open together. When the pages open together, keep in mind that while you can have two pages that look totally different, you'll need twice the supplies if you want the pages to look the same or similar. For example, if you want to decorate pages 2 and 3 with a certain ribbon, make sure you have enough on hand. You don't want to create two pages that look the same and run out of supplies to finish.

Measure and Assemble Your Pages

When you create your pages, measure the space you have to adhere photo mats, tags, embellishments, etc.

Begin with pages 2 and 3. Save the front and back pages so that you can make sure they look good with the first and last pages. You don't want to assemble the entire album and then notice that the first and last page could have been better coordinated had you waited to see how the album came together.

Pages 2 and 3 have large photo mats with slide-out side and top journaling tags.

To create the top journaling tags, I measured the photo mat so that the tag could easily slide in behind.

To create the side slide-out tags, I measured the unadhered space between the top and bottom of the photo mat. I also measured the length of the photo mat. That's how I was able to fit the slide-out tag perfectly centered behind the photo mat.

Use Decorative Punches

For pages 3 and 4, I used decorative punches to add a little more interest to the corners of the tags.

I used printed cardstock for the photo mats. I decorated with flowers and a row of flower trim.

Notice how the patterned cardstock used on the photo mats coordinates with the patterned cardstock used for the tags.

Use decorative punches to add interest to the corners of the journaling tags.

Use decorative punches to add interest to the corners of the journaling tags.

Use Pre-Printed Phrases and Titles

I found some vellum phrases and titles in my stash of craft stickers. These were not self-adhering, so I had to find a crafty way to make them stay on the pages without showing through to a large glue dot or splat of craft glue.

I used eyelets and brads to hold the phrases in place.

Also, for the journaling tags on these pages, I found some cardstock printed with lines. Instead of decorating the tags with ribbon, I decided to add a paper clip to each tag so that the album recipient could use the clips to hold extra notes or photos.

Each photo mat is secured with a ribbon tied into a bow at the bottom of each page. Notice how nicely a photo will look on these pages, slipped under the ribbon!

Incorporate Other Craft Supplies Such as Doilies

Using a doily cut in half, I made the headers for pages 6 and 7.

I decorated the doilies with assorted flowers.

Using a die-cut machine, I created extra journaling spots from fancy die cuts tags.

Notice how the printed cardstock was used for both the photo mats and the tags on these two pages.

Tags Are Optional

Your scrapbook pages do not have to include tags on every page.

A couple of notes about pages 8 and 9:

  • The flower embellishments were made from silk flowers, fabric circles, and pre-made stickers from a craft store.
  • On page 8, I used ribbon at the bottom of the page decorated with craft pearls.
  • On page 9, I used ribbon at the bottom of the page decorated with a bow.
  • Not all pages have to be perfectly the same each time.
  • It adds interest to change the embellishments from one page to the next.

Mix up Phrases and Embellishments

It's fun to be creative when playing with words and phrases.

One of the things I did when working on this album was to pair up some bird die cuts with a phrase.

I found the vellum phrase, "I believe I can fly," in my craft stash. The first thing I thought about was birds. I have a few different bird die cuts in my craft studio. I played around with a few of them until I found the right size for my pages.

I just love the look of these birds, and using them with acrylic self-adhesive rhinestones makes them sparkle!

On pages 10 and 11, I used two journaling tags per page. They are smaller tags. I think they look nice decorated with flowers and glitter brads.

Prepare the Inside Covers, First and Last Pages

There are 15 pages in this album if you count the inside front and back covers.

Using the same cardstock, I decorated the inside front cover and spine.

The inside front cover has a pocket decorated with a decorative punch and threaded with ribbon. I added a flower and a graduation gown sticker for dimension.

There is a two-page journaling tag that comes out of the pocket. The 2013 decoration is from the party aisle at the store. I used an apple brad to adhere the 2013 decoration. The tags swivel open with the brad closure.

The first page is decorated with a flower design I created out of handmade assembled flowers and a lady's pin I picked up on clearance at a fashion store.

In the party aisle, I also found a package of die cut graduation hats. I found one in the package just the right size for this album. I created a small graduation diploma out of white cardstock rolled up and tied with baker's twine!

The last page has a unique flip-up style journaling spot. I created it this way to add interest to the album. I wanted the back page to look a little different and to have extra room for co-graduates to write congratulation wishes.

Some things to note about the last page.

  • There are three different designs that coordinated well together—polka dots, floral, and swirl. They are all black and white pages, but sometimes you can use different patterns to create a look without clashing.
  • I used a decorative corner punch. For some of the other pages, I used a corner rounder.
  • I created handmade fabric flowers out of my die cuts and decorated them with bling.
  • The pockets throughout this album were created with envelopes. I glued the flaps of the envelopes down and cut off the top part. I adhered them to each base page before creating the photo mats. The tags slide with ease in the envelope pockets.
  • I also used acrylic sheets cut into two strips. They are at the beginning and end of the album, before the first and last page. I did that to help the base page slide around the rings with ease and without ripping. The acrylic strips help glide the pages easier.

Scrapbook Graduation Albums Make Wonderful Gifts

I hope you've enjoyed reading this article on creating a scrapbook graduation album you can gift to someone.

Inspiration comes from the heart.


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 19, 2016:

Crafty, congrats on HOTD! This is a clever idea to give to your graduate, whether it's high school or college. It's so resourceful and crafty to make it from scratch and from the heart to give us a gift. It looks like fun for this inventive idea. Lovely pics to go to the instructions, too! Thanks for sharing!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 19, 2016:

Congratulations for the HOTD!

I loved your suggestions for creating the graduation scrapbook album. One can make this for self as well as for gifting purpose. The colours and materials you have used for this project are very decent.