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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
I love how it shows little things that we were up to.
Another example: College Intro Page (collage out of course catalog pages).
Sometimes the piece of ephemera is the star of the show — it is the story.
Use Just Part of It
This works really well with magazines or newspapers. In my college basketball layout, I included just the magazine cover.
Another example: Football Season 2004 (magazine cover).
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.
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.
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!!