1. Making scrapbooks has become so popular that the word itself has been "verbed" and has swept the country in a furious need to never forget anything. Scrapbooks have come a long way from being letters tucked behind sticky sheets of plastic, and anyone who practices it nowadays would undoubtedly say it costs a bit much to have the word "scrap" in the name. However, not only is scrapbooking extremely popular, it is also easy, a lot of fun, and a better way of preserving memories than that shoebox on the top closet shelf.
    Not only is scrapbooking a fun way to preserve photos, it is also a safer way. Sitting in frames exposes pictures to light and will fade them quickly. The old albums that go "skrrrrrritch!" when the plastic sheet is separated from the background with the sound of the adhesive giving way are also terrible for photos as the majority of them contained adhesives with acidic chemicals in them. Photos in contact with these chemicals often end up faded, discolored, and sometime outright ruined. Even if preservation and not showcasing is the main focus, proper handling is needed for the photos to last to their full potential.
    The first step in building a scrapbook is to decide what type to make. There are thousands of possibilities, and can range from just displaying photos to documenting a period in a person’s life. Some parents make a scrapbook for each year of a child’s life, while another popular gift to a newly-married couple is a chronicle of their relationship from meeting to wedding bells. Sometimes a parent may choose to make a scrap for a child documenting all the highlights of an academic career with report cards and school photos. No matter the purpose, there are designs and specialty materials for any topic and budget.
    The most pronounced characteristic of any and all scrapbooking materials is that they are all acid-free. Archivists and hobbyists alike have all determined that acid-bearing materials are toxic to photos and preservation, so any scrapbooking paper, adhesives, decorative trinkets and writing utensils will all boast being clear of it. Not to worry, as there will be nothing available as a must-have that does not bear the mark of acid-free that one can’t find in the scrapbooking materials market. Being such a popular hobby, even many non-standard materials are making sure to take acid out of mix, just in case a scrapbooker may find a cool new use for it.
    Scrapbook pages are most commonly twelves inches square. Smaller options are possible, but all of the paper and paper books will most likely be in that size. The size is a good option because it gives a lot of room for display on a page, will fit any document neatly with room to spare, and the uniformity makes materials easier to shop for.
    Once the paper has been chose, and themes decided on, a serious scrapbooker needs a solid arsenal of tools. The best strategy is to pick up supplies as they are needed, as a way to save money and eliminate frivolous spending. Needless to say, aside from all of the fun options, there are a few that are essential, most importantly, cutting tools. Scissors are only used when a decorative edge is needed, and even then they are not normal scissors! Huge variety packs of different cutting scissors are available on the market. What a scrapbook calls for is a paper trimmer. Used for photos and other small cutting needs, a  paper trimmer is a board with rulers and lines and angles that allows the user to make clean, custom cuts without bending or ripping photos or paper. Other cutting tools can be implemented for more detailed work or for larger projects, but the paper trimmer is by far the most versatile and useful cutting instrument.
    The next essential element is how to stick the stuff being saved to the stuff it is being saved on. While acid-free glue is an option, it can be uneven and warp paper. A much less messy and more innovative option is the variety of double-sided tapes available. Not only are they thin and very sticky, the convenient dispensers are perhaps the most useful part. The reliable tape offers a clean and safe environment for the photos and other materials. 
    Once past the beginner stage, there is a whole host of options for personalizing memories in digital scrapbooking. Computer software available for purchase offers thousands of templates for banners, new fonts for typing out captions, and clip art to enhance designs. Beyond stickers and ambiguous paper shapes, taking scrapbook to the electronic level offers the maker an entirely new level of creativity. Another option, though pricey, is a die-cut machine. This saves on the cost of stocking up on sometimes expensive die-cut shapes.
    To keep the sanity in check, it is also helpful to invest in some manner of storage and organization for all of the materials that scrapbooking can amass. If tools and paper can be found easily, and scraps can be stored hassle-free, money is saved on new elements. Having themes in mind when shopping and buying in packs that strike one’s taste is a good way to keep from going overboard.
    There are many places that cater to scrapbooking. Craft stores are devoting larger sections to merchandise related to scrapbooking, as it sells quickly. Another good place to find good deals on materials is the internet. Used scissors and trimmers can be a big savings, and finding just the right paper can save going all over the place and wasting money.
    Scrapbooking can be so much fun that lost in the whirlwind of creating beautiful pages and challenging themes is the actual benefit of having the memories to go back to and relive. Whether a good way to spend time with the family making memories or as a gift to someone else, scrapbooking is easy, fun, and a great way to keep the past alive. 

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