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I have always been impressed by the papercrafting talent of the scrapbookers around me but have never been able to find the inclination, time, space, attention span or the spare funds to indulge in the pastime myself. When my kids want to look at pictures, I set up a slide show on the computer screen and we gather ’round to enjoy it. Moreover I fear that a painstakingly produced scrapbook could only wind up another heartbreaking victim of my kids’ destructive tendencies thereby causing familial tension and discord.

I have come to grips with the idea that I will never be a scrapbooker.

But a couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to the idea of digital scrapbooking. So, days later when I came across Photoshop Elements at Costco I had to have it. I took the program home, installed it, collected some scrapbooking elements and I was off!

The end product of a well-crafted digital scrapbook page looks strikingly like the real thing. Then you can send your 12×12 pages to the printer to be printed or bound into a book and print as many copies as you like. I like to create 4×6 pages for brag books for grandparents and I have saved more than a buck or two making my own customized Christmas cards, birthday invitations and personalized thank-yous.

If you are interested in becoming a digital scrapbooker, don’t be intimidated! My pages can’t compare to the artful examples I have seen in galleries but I enjoy putting them together and I haven’t had any complaints from the grandparents. Here is a general idea of how to get started:

1. You must have a photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel or Paint Shop Pro.Familiarize yourself with your program.

2. Collect scrapbook elements and fonts online at these and other websites:

shabbyprincess.com– provides one free kit every month and offers many more for sale.

heatheranndesigns.com– offers some really useful templates

twopeasinabucket.com– elements, tutorials and forums where you can learn from the pros

scrapvillage.com– hundreds of beautiful and fun free fonts

These sites are my favorites but you can google “digital scrapbooking” for many, many more. All of these sites have help sections illustrating how to use their products and most of the sites have galleries that will give you ideas on how to use the elements to create a desirable end result.

3. Select some pictures, open a new file in your photo editor and go to town!

For a more detailed tutorial, click here. Happy crafting!

More on this topic:
Memory keeping in the digital age
Our Christmas card, 2009