7 Creative Scrapbooking Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

scrapbooking on a budget
Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich/Shutterstock

Scrapbooking is all about the memories, right?

Wrong. It’s all about the clever layouts and the bells and whistles.

Putting together the perfect page of photos, mementos and design elements has been elevated to an art form (and sometimes a competition).

And those cute papers, fun diecuts and store-bought page accessories can really add up. By the time you stumble out of the craft store with a bag of supplies, your wallet can be significantly lighter.

So what’s a thrifty scrapbooker to do?

How to Save Money on Scrapbooking

With a little bit of creativity, you can put together personal, stylish pages without spending a fortune.

Here are tips and tricks from savvy online crafters for locking down cheap scrapbooking supplies.

1. Base Your Design Around Souvenirs

Once you start looking for scrapbook fodder, you’ll see souvenirs everywhere.

Yes, ticket stubs are great. But you can also hang on to maps, menus, brochures and magazines as materials to remember a trip, a night out or just a normal Wednesday.

Kim used souvenirs from the hospital as the base for her so-called Lazy Mom’s Baby Book. She saved all kinds of money by avoiding the expensive baby page add-ons and sticking with freebies from the hospital.

scrapbooking on a budget, save money, scrapbooking, DIY, crafts, scrapbook materials
Kim Woodward, NewlyWoodwards

2. Let the Photos Do the Talking

When it comes to filling real estate on the scrapbook page, photos are among the cheapest options per square inch. And if you’re in the business of preserving memories, a picture is worth a thousand expensive doodads.

Upload your photos to helpful online shops and then get the prints in the mail for just a few cents apiece. Shutterfly and Walmart are good places to start.

If you’re looking to print from Instagram, I’ve had good luck with Fox Print, which lets you upload files straight from your photostream.

Mel used clever cutting techniques to get some serious mileage out a few photos on this page. Grab a pair of scissors and some glue, and you’ve got everything you need to make an artistic and affordable layout.

scrapbooking on a budget, save money, scrapbooking, DIY, crafts, scrapbook materials
Mel, I Speak Melsh

3. Snag Free Printables

Scrapbookers are a friendly bunch, and they love to share. Online scrapbooking sites offer all kinds of free printables that are fair game for personal projects.

For no more than the cost of toner and few pieces of paper, you’ll have enough graphic elements to complement a bunch of pages in your scrapbook.

MyScrapNook has you covered with templates for stencils, borders, tags and even entire pages. Meanwhile, ScrapbookScrapbook.com has hundreds of printables categorized by theme.

4. Grab a Paper Clip

Seriously, it’s incredible what people can do with a few paper clips and a pair of pliers. And could you choose a cheaper office supply? I don’t think so.

Check out what these smarties are making out of paper clips: angels and hangers and fish hooks (oh, my!). All of these design lie flat and can add a little bit of dimension and texture to your pages.

Jessica made these simple paper clips hearts and pretty much blew my mind. So clever!

5. Hoard Paint Chips

I wonder if hardware store employees ever get sick of scrapbookers raiding the paint chip section… probably. But until they kick us out, we will continue to swipe these free craft supplies.

Grab those little cards in whichever colors strike your fancy and you’ll have little blocks of solid color to do with what you wish.

Emily Grace is on to something with the natural ombre effect you find on the longer paint chips. Punch out a repeating shape in different shades of the same color to make a trendy layout for zero dollars.

scrapbooking on a budget, save money, scrapbooking, DIY, crafts, scrapbook materials
Emily Grace, Grace and Good Eats

6. Cookie Cutters are Your Friends

Think of cookie cutters as another stencil option. Use them as guides for cutting out shapes, drawing outlines and making cookies to eat while you look at your scrapbook.

Hannah used cookie cutters as guides for corralling blocks of handwriting. The well-defined outlines play well with the freeform handwriting, creating a fun, free low-maintenance element to add to your page.

scrapbooking on a budget, save money, scrapbooking, DIY, crafts, scrapbook materials
Hannah, We Lived Happily Ever After

7. Pull Out Some Old Books

Oh, the things you can do with pages and pages of text!

Creative geniuses are painting watercolor flowers on ancient pages and folding paper into origami dresses. You can even print your own images on old pages using this handy tutorial.

Or, get really tricky and lift the ink off old pages with tape for a collage.

Julie used pages from an old book as background and layered clippings on top in larger font, ransom-note style. It’s the cutest ransom note I’ve ever seen!

scrapbooking on a budget, save money, scrapbooking, DIY, crafts, scrapbook materials
Julie, JulieJac

Fresh out of old books? Hit up your nearest thrift store, estate sale or library book sale for good deals on old books.

Your Turn: What are your best tips for scrapbooking on the cheap?

Lyndsee Simpson is a writer and editor living Washington, D.C. She’s on a quest to find some sweet old books this weekend.