As a little girl, I loved taking my (half finished) baby book out of its box and thumbing through the pages — my “firsts,” my birth stats, my earliest photographs. It’s a pretty tacky, generic-looking book — I think it has rubber ducks on a shiny, muted pink cover — and the questions aren’t exactly creative, but there was just something special about seeing my mom’s handwriting documenting our first moments as a family.
So when it came time to think about my own baby’s baby book, I felt an urge to find the right one. Nothing tacky or generic or uninspired — after all, it’s his one and only baby book. And, having had an equally compelling urge to flex my creative muscles, I decided to create my own baby book. A baby scrapbook, to be exact.
But oh, the mistakes I made.
Here are 10 things you SHOULDN’T do when making a baby scrapbook:
DON’T wait until after your baby is born
I started my baby scrapbook months before his due date, and I still haven’t finished it. If I waited until after he was born — when the term “downtime” all but disappeared from my life — I’m sure that there wouldn’t be a single page finished. Use your nesting urges productively.
DON’T waste your money on random scrapbook papers
It’s easy to get carried away with buying all sorts of scrapbook paper that you might (maybe, possibly) use, but it’s a better idea to have some sort of cohesive “look” that you’re going for. That way you’re not left with stacks of unused scrapbook paper.
DON’T waste your money on pre-designed scrapbook paper
If you’re doing something creative like scrapbooking, why stifle your creativity?
DON’T glue down photo matting
And this might be my biggest mistake, because I’m now confined to horizontally oriented photos of a certain size — rather than creating my pages around favorite photos.
A better idea is to pre-cut your photo matting and store them in baggies until it’s time to assemble your pages.
DON’T buy the wrong type of album
There are several different types of albums, depending on what you’re looking for. A post-bound album has two pages that lay flat when opened (like a book), and a 3-ring album is easier to expand yet doesn’t have the seamless page-to-page transition of a post-bound book. There are also many different sizes — from 6″ x 6″ to 12″ x 12″ — so make sure that you buy the right album for your paper size (and visa versa).
Buy from Amazon
DON’T use the wrong scrapbook materials
Make sure the paper is acid-free, the glue is made for scrapbooking (again, no acid, and stronger than an ordinary glue stick), and you don’t use any questionable embellishments that could potentially cause long-term damage, such as metal.
Photo: Flickr/wonderfully complex
DON’T stray from your personality
Do you see this photo? This is not my personality at all — yet I thought it was what I was “supposed” to do for a baby book. Baby books don’t have to be babyish — it’s better to create something you, yourself, love.
DON’T use original ultrasound photos
Scan them to your computer and print them out on high-quality photo paper. Ultrasounds are typically printed on thermal paper, which is highly reactive to air and heat — meaning they fade faster than usual.
DON’T ignore downloadable scrapbook resources
There are plenty of free downloadable and printable scrapbook paper floating around the Interwebs, as well as super-inexpensive options on Etsy. (This 32-pack of paper costs $2.99 from the Etsy shop Scrappers Union.