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Creative Journaling Ideas for Scrapbooking

Creative Journaling Ideas for Scrapbooking main article image
Posted on February 13, 2021 by Ronda Cook

There’s nothing more enjoyable than looking through photo albums and/or scrapbooks, reliving memories of the past. Unless, of course, you’re a scrapbooker! Then there’s nothing more satisfying than creatively preserving those memories whether it’s through traditional or digital scrapbooking!

Just as equally important as preserving your photos is the journaling. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but how will future generations know the details behind the story? If you’ve inherited a box of photos from your parents, you’ll understand. It is fun looking at the photos, but if nothing’s written on the back, do you even know who’s in the picture?

Journaling doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. At minimum, share the basics. You know – the who, what, where, when and/or why. If you don’t feel like journaling at the same time as when you put together your pages, be sure to set aside time later on to come back and fill it in. Keep notes with your pages. When you’re ready, give yourself an hour or so to dig deep and really reflect on the story you want to tell.

TIP: Creating scrapbooks is a right-brain activity, while journaling is a left-brain activity; another good reason why separating the tasks may be beneficial.

Dig Deeper

“I want to leave a legacy; how will they remember me?” Song lyrics written and sung by popular Christian artist Nicole Nordeman sums it up perfectly. Journaling is something everyone can and should do. Your legacy is in your hands. Tell the stories you want others to remember.

As you become more comfortable with your journaling, set aside time to dig deep into your reflections and share from the heart. Explore the emotions that are brought to the forefront when looking at specific photos and flesh out the story using descriptive words that evoke the senses, such as taste, smell, sight, touch and feelings. Keep a dictionary or thesaurus close by for researching definitions, synonyms and antonyms. These resources can provide for great inspiration!

Creative Journal Ideas

Everyone has a story to tell, but what if you’re not a great writer? Just as there’s no right or wrong way to scrapbook, there’s not a right or wrong way to journal either. Not every photo or scrapbook page needs a full-length story written out. Details and thoughts can be conveyed creatively. Explore the following suggestions to get the juices flowing and add variety to your pages.

TitlesGive your page and journaling a focus. A “story” or “thought” can be told through a creative title.

Title Journaling - It's All About Determination

Photos and scrapbook pages by Ronda Cook.

Questions and Answers. Are you lacking information on some of your older relatives? Interviewing them is a great way to record details about them and their life. Take photos during the interview and include them in the layout. Questions and answers can also be used to capture our children’s precious thoughts during various stages of their childhood.

Dialogue. Capture a comment or a conversation. Kids say the funniest things, and this is a great way to keep those moments alive.

Dialogue Journaling - I'm Not a Diva

Photo by Ronda Cook. Scrapbook layout by Ronda Cook featuring Vista-La-Diva font and DC Pink and Gold Leopard Paper Digital.

Letters. If it’s easier to wrap your head around writing a letter than writing a story, go for it! Writing a letter for future generations is a novel idea!

Quotes, Poetry, Song Lyrics. Ever hear a great quote or song that speaks to your heart, and conveys feelings you could never verbalize yourself? There’s no rule that says all of your journaling has to be your own words or thoughts. As long as your scrapbook pages are for personal use, feel free to use quotes, poems or song lyrics as your journaling.

Song Lyric Journaling - Find Your Wings

Photo by Christine von Raesfeld on Unsplash. Layout by Ronda Cook featuring Angelic font and Heart-With-Wings-Clipart.

Bullet Points. Use bullet points listing descriptive words or concise, attention-grabbing sentences to describe details or to emphasize specific details.

Lists. Make a list about a topic, such as 10 Things I Love About, or Taylor’s Favorite Toys.

List Journaling - 10 Things I Miss About You

Photos by Ronda Cook. Scrapbook layout by Ronda Cook featuring Bone font and 100 Dog Bone Pattern Digital Paper.

Timeline. Create a timeline to record important information. This works great in vacation and heritage albums.

Daily Routine. Record an everyday moment or a daily routine, such as “A Day in the Life of,” or “My Morning Routine.”

Comparison Chart. Create a layout featuring a comparison chart, such as comparing prices now vs. then, growth charts, sports stats, grades, etc.

Handwritten vs. Computer-Generated

Be sure to include your own handwriting in some of your journaling even if you hate it. You’re recording “real life” and your handwriting is a part of who you are. Who doesn’t love reading handwritten letters – something that has gone by the wayside with today’s technology? Future generations will enjoy your handwriting even if you don’t, especially your loved ones.     

TIP:  Write in pencil first to ensure your thoughts will fit into the amount of space you have. Once you have it the way you want it, you can go over your handwriting in acid-free pen or marker.

The beauty of using the printed word is the wide variety of fonts available in today’s market, such as on Creative Fabrica. Each font has its own “personality” and conveys a particular “feeling,” thus the reason for various categories such as vintage, rustic, creative, crafty, etc. Fonts are even categorized according to holidays. A Christmas-y font wouldn’t work well on a Halloween scrapbook page.

Computer-generated journaling can be printed on a variety of products – card stock, vellum, sticker, etc. Just make sure you’re printing on acid- and lignin-free paper, so you’re not compromising the safety of your printed photos.

TIP:  Print off a test page first to ensure your size and spacing will fit the desired area. It’s also important to test the ink color to ensure the text will be dark or bold enough.

Journaling Inspiration

Hone your writing skills through practice, practice, practice. Just write! Inspiration can be found anywhere and sometimes in the least likely places. Create a physical or digital resource file where you can organize and store ideas you may want to use in your scrapbook pages. Items you may want to collect include magazine/newspaper clippings, programs, invitations, greeting cards, notes/letters, ticket stubs, brochures, post cards, pamphlets.

Another great method to record inspiration is keeping a small notebook nearby – in your purse, on your nightstand, in your car. Take notes of conversations, things your kids/grandkids say, a daily routine, random acts of kindness, special events, etc. You may think you will remember everything, but you won’t. Not by a landslide.

Photos may be snapshots of your life, but journaling is a window into your soul. Tell your story so that loved ones have a piece of you when you’re gone, and future generations will get an in-depth glimpse of your legacy. Write from the heart. Dig deeper when looking at photos. Look beyond the obvious.

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Love this!

Fernanda Rafagnin

May 13, 2021

Great ideas! Thank you for the inspiration.

Julie Richards

March 2, 2021

I genuinely loved this article. I journal every day...but you are right about use pencil first! lol That actually made me giggle when I read it because I am horrible when it comes to judging my journaling space!

Ronda Cook's profile picture
Ronda Cook

March 2, 2021


Thanks Julie! And yes, I've learned the hard way many times! LOL

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