How to Include Ephemera in Your Scrapbook

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

I start each scrapbook by reviewing my time capsule box of ephemera and organizing it (more on that process here).  I won’t use everything but including ephemera is very important to me.

I’ve combed through my scrapbook archives and put together a bunch of tips in case you want to start including more ephemera in your scrapbooks!

Make it Part of a Cohesive Design

This is always my first choice: design the page around the ephemera and make it seamless.  I did this with one of my honeymoon pages.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

I designed it so everything on the page was the size of a standard business card, including the photos and text block.

Another example: Bay to Breakers (using my race bib).

Cut it Up

Sometimes I’m not too attached to the piece as a whole but I want just some of it on the page.

My favorite example of this is how I took a stack of college assignments and tests and cut them up into squares to make a layout.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

A single assignment on its own didn’t matter much.  I was trying to create a feeling of how much work I did and cutting them up did the trick!

More examples: Wedding Dress Shopping (cut up bridesmaid dress swatch), Big Game Week 2006 (cut up parking pass), New York Trip Title Page (cut up maps and luggage claim tags).

Make an Envelope or Pouch

Sometimes a piece can’t be glued down by itself.  Maybe it’s too fragile, or maybe it needs to be held together in some way.

For my wedding favors, I created vellum envelopes and glued those to the page.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

The favors were stacks of recipe  cards.  It wouldn’t have made sense to staple the cards together and it would have taken too much room to glue each card separately.  The envelope keeps them together and safe.

Another example: Big Game 2002 (creating a pouch to hold grass).

Scan It

This works great for items that are too large to go in the scrapbook.  I do this a lot with posters.

For Big Game Week my senior year of college, I scanned the Bonfire Rally poster.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

Another example: Football Season 2003 (scanned Homecoming poster and magnet).

Turn it Into a Backdrop

Similar to when I cut pieces up, using a piece of ephemera as a backdrop works if you aren’t too attached to it as a whole but want it on the page.

I used a map of the San Diego Zoo in this layout about our day there with my sister-in-law and niece.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

Another example: Golden Gate Bridge (with map of Presidio as backdrop).

Make a Collage

I love making collages!  This works very well when there are lots of bits and pieces.  Together they can tell a great story.

I created a collage with leftover bits of ephemera from 2004 and turned it into the end page for that book.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

I love how it shows little things that we were up to.

Another example: College Intro Page (collage out of course catalog pages).

Highlight It

Sometimes the piece of ephemera is the star of the show — it is the story.

I made this layout about the very first recipe we cooked together.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

More examples: Graduation Invitations, Wedding Invitations, Seeing Shows (programs + tickets).

Use Just Part of It

This works really well with magazines or newspapers.  In my college basketball layout, I included just the magazine cover.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

Another example: Football Season 2004 (magazine cover).

Photograph It

Sometimes you can’t take things home.  Sometimes things are three-dimensional.  Using a picture works well here.

I did this with my wedding favors page.  We gave away chocolate picture frames (totally not going to fit in the scrapbook), so I used a picture of them in the layout.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

This idea also works really well for foreign currency!  I like taking pictures of cash before we spend it.

If All Else Fails

It can be hard to work ephemera into a layout.  It’s a fixed size and sometimes it doesn’t play well with everything else on the page.

If that happens, ask yourself: is it important to the story?  If no, you don’t have to include it.  You don’t have to include everything.  If yes, then include it, even if the design isn’t great.  Remember my rules: the story is always more important than the design.

Scrapbook Ephemera Tips by Natalie Parker

I like to think of my name change scrapbook layout as an example.  I still don’t love it.  The design is blehhh.  But, changing to my married name was a big deal and I wanted to tell the story.  There was no way I was leaving out my Social Security letter (the first thing ever printed with my married name) or my old ID card (even if the picture isn’t flattering.

If all else fails, just go with it!

I hope this inspires you to add more ephemera in your scrapbooks!!


3 thoughts on “How to Include Ephemera in Your Scrapbook

  1. Fantastic ideas.

    I save a lot of stuff to include in my memory books & am going to use some of these ideas.

    One tip I have about taking pix of items – don’t throw the stuff away before the pix are printed, just in-case they’re out of focus etc.

    Thank you for the ideas.:)

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