Getting Started Digital Scrapbooking – We All Begin Somewhere…

I thought it would be nice to start up a series on the blog for those just starting digital scrapbooking.  I’ve had a couple of emails and questions from beginners in the past, so in this series I’ll try and cover the basics  of getting started with your digital scrapbook. It will run alongside the Scrapbooking 101 posts, which give more general tips that can be applied to scrapbookers of any ability.  Over the coming weeks I will be adding more specific information / tutorials but first, as a kind of introduction to this series, I thought I’d share with you how I got started Digital  Scrapbooking.

Getting Started Digital Scrapbooking-1 - Melidy Designs

I started my digital journey the way many seem to, as a traditional scrapbooker. At the age of 13 I developed a chronic illness, one of the side effects being that physical activity left me in pain and very lethargic. As a child I was very active and energetic, so I had to learn to adjust and find some new low intensity hobbies. I’d always enjoyed taking photographs and it was suggested to me by a health worker that I try scrapbooking.  It was a creative outlet to deal with the stresses and pain, and something that didn’t tire me out so much that I had to miss school – perfect. I loved it, but my supplies were bulky and just getting them out and putting them away was a bit of a task, so it wasn’t something I got to do very often!

My dabble into the digi world came around 9 years later… After a trip to Walt Disney World in 2011 I went looking for some inspiration online. I’d bought a leather bound scrapbook while I was there and I was so excited to fill it with our memories.  I found a couple of pages I loved just using Google Images and noticed that they seemed to be digital, which I hadn’t heard of before. The more layouts I saw the more I realised they kept leading me to one site – Rather than continuing to search “Disney Scrapbooking” into google, I started looking through the forums. I found it easier to find inspiration for a particular subject that way. It wasn’t long before before I took the plunge, registered and started to upload a couple of my traditional pages.

Fantasyland Traditional Scrapbook Layouts - Melidy Designs

The more time I spend on Mousescrappers, the more I started realising all of the things the digital scrapbookers could do that I couldn’t. Without even thinking about the various techniques and the endless supplies of kits, they could finish a page in an hour or so; sometimes it took me that long to get started! What’s more, they didn’t have to clean up the mess afterwards!  So, (after a little encouragement from a few of the members) I looked around for a couple of freebies, downloaded a trial of Photoshop Elements and I set about trying to figure out how to use it!!

This was my first EVER digital layout, it took me around 3 hours to complete and most of that was figuring out how to add a shadow (since it was a requirement of the challenge I was doing and waaay over my head as a beginner):

Includes products from The Shabby Princess, Sugar Plum Papery, Peppermint Creative and Carry Stephens

Here’s a little bit of insight for you. Your first layout will not be perfect, no matter how long you spend on it!  You’ll look back on it a year or two from now and  think “I’ve improved so much since then”. It will take you a while to get your own “style” and figure out what kind of pages you like.  Even once you think you’ve found your style, it will be constantly evolving. So rather than worrying about being perfect straight away, just jump in and experiment! That’s the only way you’ll learn the programme and improve! By the time the trail was up on Photoshop I was enthralled and just HAD to continue. I bought the program and I’ve never looked back!

Plus the amazing thing about digital scrapbooking means nothing is set in stone glue… Less than a year later, I totally re-did the layout:

Various products from Britt-ish Designs and template from Little Green Frog

My style and my abilities grew rapidly and I love this layout so, so much more than I ever did my first layout. And I’m sure you’ll notice this too further down the line.  That’s part of the beauty of digital scrapbooking, you aren’t committed to any design, you can re-use photo’s and kits ’till your heart’s content. So if you are  nervous to get started because you don’t think you can achieve the “perfect page” or your page won’t be as good as some of the others you see online, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.  Jump in and have fun! The perfect page will come in time, trust me!


The next post in the series will focus on programs. There’ll be information and testaments from my team on four of the most popular scrapbooking programs on the market in an effort to help you to try and find the right software for your needs. Keep your eye out for that article in the next fortnight.

If you have any tips for beginners, or are a beginner yourself and want me to cover something specific over the coming weeks, mention them in the comments section!