Wander into any crafts store and you’ll see a huge array of scrapbooking materials—fancy paper, specialized pens and glues, funky scissors, and stickers, so many stickers. What is all the fuss about?
People have been scrapbooking since the 1400s when commonplace books, which included recipes, poems, letters, quotations, and more, became popular in England. By the 1500s, friendship books became stylish, which are akin to modern-day autograph books. As photography became widespread in the 1800s, scrapbooks grew to include photos of loved ones. The modern scrapbooking trend, embellished paper and all, began in early 1980 and has grown to the epic proportions we know now. In fact, the entire scrapbooking industry doubled in size between 2001 and 2004 and continues to grow as the hobby expands.
Why do people scrapbook when photo albums are so much easier and take less time? Many people point to preservation of the pictures as the main reason to scrapbook. With acid-free papers and glues, scrapbooking is seen as a way to preserve memories and mementos as treasured artifacts for their friends and family. Others point to the journaling aspect of scrapbooking. While pictures in an album are nice, scrapbooks strive to tell the story associated with the captured image.
And then there is the social side of scrapbooking. Entire clubs have been built around the hobby, with members meeting monthly to share materials and conversation while working on their scrapbooks.
Sometimes, scrapbooks help fulfill an emotional need, such as creating a scrapbook for a deceased loved one or to commemorate a painful event. And while scrappers are overwhelmingly women, some men also enjoy scrapbooking. Interested in scrapbooking? Resources abound. Check your local library for books and magazines devoted to the hobby, or visit your local craft store to ask about classes.