How to Make a "Baby's First Year" Scrapbook

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Making a scrapbook to document your baby’s first year can be a bit overwhelming. By following a few simple steps, though, you can create a memorable design in which to log all of your baby’s developmental milestones and special memories. When finished, you'll have a book you can be proud to show off to friends and family.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrapbook
  • Photographs of your baby
  • Paper trimmer
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Acid free spray glue or glue stick
  • Hole punch
  • Bone folder
  • Pencil
  • Decorative paper
  • Solid colored paper
  • Embellishments such as ribbon, decorative labels, gem stones, cardstock cutouts, and letter and number stickers.
The welcome page.
The welcome page. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Get Ready

Step 1

With paper, scissors, glue, and much love and patience, you can create a book that you and your child can enjoy for generations. Please see the last slide for an itemized list of tools and materials.

Supplies needed to create a scrapbook.
Supplies needed to create a scrapbook. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2

Consider organizing your scrapbook with a separate section for each month of your child’s first year. Each section can consist of one or more pages, depending upon how busy you were that month. For example, if your child turned 6 months in June, you could dedicate different pages to summer break activities, developmental milestones, and family memories. If not much happened at 7 months, though, a single page might do for July.

Divide your book into sections, by month.
Divide your book into sections, by month. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3

Each section should include a picture of your child taken in that month. A fun way to do this is to place your baby on his or her back and photograph from above, once a month on the baby's "birth day." You might include seasonal objects that respresent how many months old baby is.

Take a picture of your baby each month on his or her birth day.
Take a picture of your baby each month on his or her birth day. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 4

For example, baby Ryder turned four months old during the month of November, and was photographed with four autumn gourds.

A four-month old picture.
A four-month old picture. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 5

In March, when he turned eight months old, he was photographed with eight daffodils.

An eight-month old picture.
An eight-month old picture. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 6

As your child grows, keep a journal of milestones, special memories, and cute things he or she does. Label each page by month and jot down anything memorable before you forget. Grammar, handwriting and complete sentences aren't important, since you'll transfer the best bits to your scrapbook later. Here are a few examples of milestones you might like to include:

First smile Rolls over Sits up First foods First hair cut First word Crawls Walks

Keep a journal.
Keep a journal. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Gather Materials

Step 1

Choose a scrapbook: Invest in a high quality book that can last for generations. You get what you pay for: A good book has thick cotton pages and a well-made cover and spine. Choose books with large pages -- small books are hard to work on, and can be frustrating. Also, many books come with the option to add and subtract pages. These books are great because the pages can be removed for editing and then returned to the book upon completion.

Choose a high quality book.
Choose a high quality book. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2

Choose paper: A good rule of thumb is to use no more than one or two decorative patterns and two or three solid colors. Each page should have a color theme based on the season or on colors in photographs. All the papers should compliment one another and stay true to the overall color theme. A bit of skill may be required when choosing complimentary patterns. If you are new to this, leave it to the pros: Buy a prepackaged stack of patterned paper. These are assembled by designers to eliminate the guesswork. There are several brands on the market, and a trip to the paper aisle can simplify your paper decisions.

Choose a color theme for each page.
Choose a color theme for each page. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3

Choose embellishments: Once you have your paper, you can choose page embellishments (decorations) to enhance your theme. Scrapbooking is big business these days, and just about every craft store offers row after row of embellishments. These can include ribbon, stickers, beads, gems, stamps, buttons, and much more. In fact, it can be overwhelming -- it's a good idea to stick to no more than two or three embellishments per page.

Stick to two or three embellishments per page.
Stick to two or three embellishments per page. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Create Pages

Step 1

Layering strips and blocks of paper gives your pages a clean, crisp, interesting backdrop -- perfect for showcasing photographs, labels and keepsakes. It also helps your pages have a consistent look.

Layer blocks of colored paper.
Layer blocks of colored paper. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2

Begin layering by framing the photograph of your baby. To make a single border, simply cut a solid colored paper one half-inch bigger than your photograph. Center the image and secure with spray glue or a glue stick.

Create borders on photographs with paper.
Create borders on photographs with paper. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3

You can leave it as is, or add another border of patterned paper. Cut another square of paper one inch bigger than the total size of the photograph, including the quarter-inch border. Center the photo and secure it with spray glue or glue stick.

Create a double border with patterned paper.
Create a double border with patterned paper. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 4

Using a paper trimmer, cut strips of paper in into squares and rectangles, and arrange them around and under your photo. Your finished layers should cover most of the scrapbook page. Begin with three different sizes and arrange them until you are happy with your design. Don’t be afraid to trim paper as you go. There is no right or wrong layout, but use each pattern and solid only once in your layer. When you're done, use acid free spray glue or a glue stick to secure paper on page.

Layer paper in blocks.
Layer paper in blocks. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Add Milestones and Keepsakes

Step 1

Now you're ready to transfer the highlights of your journal entries into your book. Writing your notes on a layer of paper gives the book a personal touch. Imagine, years from now, when your child’s children can look in the book and see your handwriting -- it's a truly special touch in your child’s book.

Write journal entries on layers of paper.
Write journal entries on layers of paper. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2

You can also use decorative labels to add script.

Use decorative labels.
Use decorative labels. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3

Adding keepsakes such as ultrasound images, the baby shower invitation, and hospital bracelets can all be framed with a piece of paper and glued into your book. Simply trim a square of paper about an inch larger than your keepsakes. Secure 3D keepsakes (such as hospital bracelets and umbilical cord clips) with a ribbon. Simply punch two holes in the paper and thread the ribbon through.

Use ribbon to secure 3D keepsakes.
Use ribbon to secure 3D keepsakes. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 4

Flat keepsakes, such as a handprint, can be framed with a piece of decorative paper.

Frame flat keepsakes with decorative paper.
Frame flat keepsakes with decorative paper. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Embellish the Pages

Step 1

It's time to decorate! But be careful: Too many embellishments can make your pages crowded. Imagine that every embellishment has a point value. Flashy embellishments -- such as large gemstones or glittery stickers -- might be worth three points, while a plain ribbon or a simple button is worth one point. Limit yourself to four or five points per page.

Begin embellishing your pages.
Begin embellishing your pages. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2

Begin the embellishment process by giving each section a title. A simple number of the month placed at the top of each page might be enough. To do this, use a number stencil and cut the number out of one of your chosen papers. You can also buy precut numbers in the embellishment aisle of the craft store. Or write a title at the top of the page with letter stickers.

Create a title for each section.
Create a title for each section. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3

Finally, it's a good idea to cluster embellishments in one section of the page rather than scatter them. Scattered embellishments can look messy and amateurish. Clustering embellishments keeps the pages looking clean, tidy and professional.

Cluster embellishments.
Cluster embellishments. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Finished Page Examples

Step 1

"Welcome Page" contains layers of paper in blues and browns to compliment the black and white photograph of baby Ryder. His birth stats are handwritten on a decorative label and the embellishments are kept tidy in a cluster next to his picture.

This particular page contains paper measurements of: 2 by 12 inch patterned paper across the top 4 1/4 by 6 inch solid blue border around photograph 5 by 7 1/2 inch brown solid rectangle 6 by 7 inch light blue rectangle The scrapbook page is 9 1/2 by 11 inches.

Finished example: Welcome page.
Finished example: Welcome page. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 2

Baby Ryder turned 4 months in November, so this pages uses an Autumn color theme. Two complimentary patterns and three solid colors make up the paper layers, and the embellishments are kept simple with stenciled autumn leaves enhanced by gemstones. A blurb about Ryder's month was written on a piece of the layered solid paper.

Paper measurements for the "4 Month" section: 4 1/2 by 4 ½ inch inner border around photograph 6 by 6 inch outer border around photograph 3 ½ by 9 ½ inch vertical strip of patterned paper 3 by 8 ½ inch strip of solid 3 by 3 ½ inch rectangle of solid to frame number The scrapbook page is 9 1/2 by 11 inches.

Finished example: Four months.
Finished example: Four months. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 3

Baby Ryder turned 6 months during the summer, so a bright color theme was chosen. A photograph of Ryder surrounded by 6 oranges is enhanced with a decorative orange patterned paper, pale blue and shades of green. A blurb about his temperament and milestones is written on three decorative labels. The embellishments are kept to one single "statement" starburst.

Paper measurements for the "6 Month" section: 4 1/2 by 4 ½ inch inner border around photograph 6 by 6 inch outer border around photograph 2 ½ by 11 inch strip of solid 8 ½ by 5 inch vertical pattern The scrapbook page is 9 1/2 by 11 inches.

Finished example: Six months.
Finished example: Six months. (Image: Jessica Begum)

Step 4

Baby Ryder turned 8 months during the month of March, so a spring page was created. Complimentary floral paper is enhanced with pale lavender and turquoise, pulled from the colors of a keepsake quote and the pale lavenders in the photograph. The embellishments are silk flower buds, glued down the center of the page on the diagonal. A number "8" was cut using a stencil for the page title. A bit of ribbon, tied in a flat bow, enhances a layer of solid paper containing a short note about Ryder's 8th month.

Paper measurements for the "8 Month" section: 4 1/2 by 4 ½ inch inner border around photograph 6 by 6 inch outer border around photograph 8 ½ by 5 inch vertical pattern 1/4 inch border around keepsakes The scrapbook page is 9 1/2 by 11 inches.

Finished example: Eight months.
Finished example: Eight months. (Image: Jessica Begum)
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