Scrapbook Journaling: Should Every Scrapbook Page Have Journaling?

Don’t Let Journaling Hangups Stop You from Scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking Layout With Hearts and Paper Lace by Amy Solovay

Scrapbooking Layout With Hearts and Paper Lace by Amy Solovay


There are scrapbookers who insist that each of their scrapbook pages must have journaling. At the opposite extreme, there are other scrapbookers who stick bunches of pictures into their photo albums without writing a single word or even recording so much as the date of a pictured event.


Which approach is correct?


In my opinion, both approaches are correct, as long as the end results are pleasing to their owners. My own approach is somewhere in the middle.


There are plenty of good reasons to journal on every page. You want the page to be meaningful, and you want to preserve your memories.

But there are just as many good reasons to omit the journaling.


I don’t journal on all my scrapbook pages. I’ll share some reasons why I don’t, and I’ll tell you about the guidelines I live by when I create my own layouts. Please understand that I don’t seek to impose these ideas on you and insist on having you do things my way. It’s your scrapbook– create it in whatever way will make you happiest. In my opinion, there are no absolute rules when it comes to scrapbooking, and there are certainly no rules when it comes to scrapbook journaling. I’m only sharing my ideas in hopes that you will find them helpful if this is an area you’d like to work on in your own scrapbooking.

Reasons I’ve Skipped the Journaling on Selected Scrapbook Pages

When I scrap multiple pages about the same day, event or photo session, I don’t feel compelled to journal on every single page. I’ll usually title the first page about the event, or perhaps several of the pages if they warrant it. I then journal on a few of the pages if I feel like it.

The layout photographed above is one of these instances. The page appears about midway through one of my scrapbook albums, and the journaling on the surrounding pages is sufficient. No more needs to be said, and I don’t think anyone should write more than necessary just for the sake of having journaling on a page.


I also skip the journaling when I feel that it would be repetitive to include it. For instance, I already have more than a few pages titled “Mike and Amy,” with mushy journaling about how much I love my husband. There’s no need for me to keep creating these pages ad infinitum. I enjoy the challenge of dreaming up new ways to write “I love you,” and finding new angles for expressing my thoughts through journaling. Some days, when I’m not feeling so poetic, I’d prefer to skip the journaling rather than repeat the same thing over and over on dozens of different pages.


I often scrap layouts about events where I was not present, and I usually prefer not to journal on those pages. I give them titles and dates, and that’s about it – with a few exceptions. An example of this: I scrapbook my husband’s mountain biking trips so that those memories can be included in our photo albums. I enjoy looking at the pictures, and scrapping them, but I don’t need to journal about them.


Beyond being a way for me to preserve my memories, scrapbooking is also an outlet for me to express creativity. When journaling furthers the idea I am trying to express on a particular page, I use it. If it hinders the idea, I omit it. Sometimes ideas are better expressed visually than verbally, and some images speak for themselves.


I used to journal daily, but I did my journaling in spiral notebooks rather than scrapbooks. One of my current scrapbooking projects is “marrying” the text from my paper journals with photos from the same events. This is no easy task, and it’s been time-consuming. In order to speed up the process a bit, I decided that in some cases I would copy over the journaling from my notebooks and present it on separate pages at the beginning and / or end of a scrapbook album. In those cases, I title the album pages where it makes sense to do so, but I don’t feel compelled to journal on any of them.


So those are just a few of my reasons for skipping the journaling on my own scrapbook pages.

More Reasons You Might Want to Skip Journaling on a Scrapbook Page

I’ve seen scrapbookers get so hung up on journaling that it holds them back from creating new pages. This makes no sense at all; scrapbooking is supposed to be fun. If the thought of journaling stresses you out, feel free to skip it. Or, make it a goal to write simple, concise captions for each photo (or each group of similar photos.) This is easier than pressuring yourself to write an elaborate amount of journaling on each page. Do what you can, and don’t worry about anything beyond that.


If you really want to journal but find yourself getting hung up on it, my advice would be to buy a stamp set that includes basic journaling prompts. I haven’t tried using this stamp set by Stampers Anonymous, but it looks like exactly what you might need to jump start your journaling if you’re at a loss for ideas on how to get started with your journaling.


Sometimes, you might want to make scrapbook pages using photos you don’t know (or remember) any details about. In those cases, journaling is a real challenge. The easy way out is to skip the journaling, and it’s a legitimate option.


Another option is to ask someone else to complete the journaling, or at least to help you. For example, I could have asked my husband to complete the journaling on any of his mountain biking layouts. I chose not to, but if I had, the pages would be more meaningful. Another example: If you’re scrapping your own baby pictures, and your parents are still alive, you could consider asking them to write down what they remember about the photos you are scrapping.


There are scrapbookers who can create beautiful journaling without knowing a single detail about the photos they are scrapping. This is an admirable ability. I applaud anyone who can make that work in their own albums and pages, although it is not the approach I prefer to take. For my own scrapbooks, if the journaling is not essential to the page, I prefer to skip it.


So there you have it: That’s my answer to the question: “Should every scrapbook layout have journaling?” Your mileage may vary! What’s your opinion on this question? You’re invited to comment below. Thanks for any insights you have to share on the topic of scrapbook journaling.


Craft Supplies I Used in the Scrapbooking Layout Pictured Above


I created the original scrapbook layout pictured above using supplies and ideas from a variety of different sources.

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Posted By: Amy Solovay


This page was last updated on 9-20-2021.