MEMORY KEEPING 101 – DECORATIVE PAPER IS MY FRIEND
Now that you’ve gotten the basic tools and supplies to do your album, it comes time to get some paper. I am personally addicted to paper. It would take me a lifetime to use up all the paper I have, but what did I do last weekend? Bought another book of papers on clearance at Tuesday Morning!
Let’s Start with the Creative Memories Paper
At Creative Memories there are two basic types of paper – Cardstock and Printed Paper. Cardstock is heavy, solid-colored paper that is the same color all the way through. Creative Memories has it in plain and shimmer colors. Obviously, the shimmer has a shine to it and the plain does not. The Printed Paper is thinner and has patterns printed on both sides.
The Cardstock comes in 15-20 basic colors (according to what’s available at the time and 5-7 shimmer colors. You buy it in packs of ten sheets – $1 a sheet for plain, $1.20 for shimmer. They are packaged in shrink wrap. I keep threatening to have a bit of a splurge and buy one pack of each, but instead it seems I’m always out of red, navy, goldenrod or pink. Some colors come and go. Others are a staple you will always be able to buy.
The Printed Packs are $9.50 and they come with 12 two-sided pages in a Ziplock-type bag. They are a bit challenging to me. To begin with, they are rarely available for long. If you see a pack you like, you better buy it immediately. Sometimes they are gone almost as soon as they are offered – especially holiday packs or pretty florals. And if you really like it, you’d better buy at least two packs, because invariably the two patterns you like best will be on the same sheet of paper.
I use both types of papers as the building blocks of my pages. I start with what some folks call the wallpaper. That’s a sheet on the bottom which sets the theme for the page. Most of the time, that’s a printed page, so it is like wallpaper, but for very formal and solemn pages, I am more likely to use cardstock. I’m just not very solemn very often. Then I build my pages with mats, photos, memorabilia and embellishments.
Cheating on CM
As I mentioned above, I don’t stick to CM-only papers. They are wonderful and sufficient to do pretty much whatever you want to do, but as long as the paper is archival (meaning it won’t destroy my photos) I’ll buy it anywhere.
When you leave the CM world you do have to be careful. You run into all kinds of things like printed paper where the pattern is only on one side or where a pattern is printed on cardstock. CM is the gold standard, but there is nothing standard about the rest of them. One big bound book was exactly 12X12 and the pages were quite thin. That meant first it wasn’t heavy enough to use as wallpaper and no matter how carefully you cut or tore out a page, it would never come out 12X12, because part of it was left in the book. Then some of the papers are perforated and if you don’t want the perforation to show, you’ll need to trim it down.
You also must be careful to buy archival paper. It needs to be acid free and lignin free or you’ll end up with paper that will harm your photos. It might look like you could just use construction paper, but if you do, you’ll eventually be very sorry, because the colors will fade and the chemicals will seep into your photos, ruining them. Cute stationary won’t do either. Get scrapbooking paper.
If you are just starting, I’d say chose several cardstock colors which appeal to you, a couple of themed packages which fit in your lifestyle and a mat pack. Or you could come to me and buy single sheets to get you started. It would be easy to spend $100 on papers, but if you let me know your budget, I’ll help you get the right stuff at the right price. While decorative papers are an ongoing expenditure, you will rarely use up all of a color or pattern immediately so you will begin to build your own hoard.
If you follow my suggestions in these blogs, you can have the beginnings of a new hobby for less than $300. That’s a smaller entry into a new hobby than most. Think about what you spend on your kids sports equipment. The sports equipment will be replaced in years to come, but you’ll still have your memories to share in beautiful albums.
I have a lot more to say about paper, mostly about storing it, but I guess you’ll have to come back next week, because I have run out of words for today.