DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Decorating a Traditional Album


After Your Initial $75 Investment

A couple of weeks ago I told you it was possible to get started in scrapbooking for only $75 and that’s the truth, but all you’ve got at that point is a cover, pages and adhesives. If you want more than pictures stuck to a bare page, the next step is Trimmers and Tools. There are just a few basic items you need to get started, but there is a lifetime of fun stuff to collect – and just about the time you think you have it all, they come up with something new that feels as if it is totally necessary.

Two Trimmers

When you begin to decorate your scrapbook pages, there are two primary objects you’ll be dealing with – photographs and decorative paper. Creative Memories has a specific tool designed for each of these jobs.

Decorative paper comes in 12X12 sheets and Creative Memories has an amazing 12-Inch Trimmer I think everyone needs to handle these sheets. The price is $49 and worth every penny. I’ve used lots of trimmers in my decades of scrapbooking, even several versions of CM trimmers, but nothing can compare to this baby.

To begin with, the 12-Inch Trimmer is sturdier than anything else available. This is a tool you’ll use all the time for lots of different things, so you want a good one. When I say it has a double track blade guide, interchangeable safety blades and an easily replaceable mat strip, it probably won’t mean a thing to you, but what I’m saying is that it is well-built, easy to use and there are affordable replacement parts that keep the whole thing going. Because the safety blade is interchangeable, you can not only easily replace a worn out blade, but you also don’t need to get a trimmer for every kind of cut you want to make. You just get blades.

If you can only afford one trimmer, the 12-Inch Trimmer is the one that you want, because it can be used to cut both paper and photos, but if possible you should also consider the Personal Trimmer. It’s a smaller, easier-to-handle trimmer, designed specifically for trimming photos. It’s $26.50. The 12-Inch Trimmer didn’t even exist when I discovered CM in the mid-90’s, so the Personal Trimmer was my first tool and I love it with a passion.

The Custom Cutting System

OK, this is where the fun begins. You do not need a custom cutting system. You can scrapbook forever without being able to cut circles, ovals, hexagons, etc. However, the question is this, “Do you want to?”

I was slow on the uptake for the Custom Cutting System. It cost a little more than I wanted to spend at first and then once I got it, it seemed to slow me down. Then one day they came up with the NEW Custom Cutting System. They made various improvements in the system, from the mat that protects your table to adding a swivel into the blade cartridge. I became a Custom Cutting System fan.

It takes several items to use the Custom Cutting System, all of which can be bought separately. The mat is $15 and you will find yourself using it for many design steps beyond cutting, once you have it. There are a number of pattern packages you can choose, each for $16. You will either get three patterns of the same shape in various sizes, or a single jumbo pattern, or there is a Gemstone set for diamond and heart shapes. The final piece needed is the Blade Cartridges and there are three, red green or blue – each at $7.50.

Here’s how it works. Each pattern has a track on the inside and the outside edge. Each color of cartridge has the blade a certain distance from the feet which go into the tracks. Between the two tracks and three blades, you can make six different sizes with each pattern. Just use the Sizing Template that comes with the patterns to decided which pattern and blade to use. Put what you want to cut on the mat, place the pattern on what you want to cut and then use the appropriate blade in the right track to get the size you want.

If you’re just starting get the mat, the circle patterns and a red blade. That’s a $38.50. You’ll soon want more patterns and more blades, but it’s best to get accustomed to using the system, before adding too much to your stash.

Become a Real Cut Up

I have to warn you, if you fall in love with these, they will be just the beginning of a tableful of tools you think you need to scrapbook. Let me remind you of where you are in your expenditures. You spent about $75 for your album and basic page supplies. The 12-Inch Trimmer is $49 and you are in business for your first album at $124. If you want more, you get the Personal Trimmer and start your Custom Cutting System, which still keeps you under $200. You’ll need to spend about $75 every time you start an album, but the tools will be there for you virtually forever.

Once you have all these great tools, you’re going to need some stuff to cut. So, next week we’ll talk about Decorative Papers and Embellishments.

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