Scrapbooking on a Budget

Scrapbooking on a Budget main article image
Posted on May 10, 2021 by Ronda Cook
Whether you are brand new to scrapbooking or not, or just on a tight budget, there are several ways to scrapbook on a budget. Scrapbooking is like any other hobby – it takes time to build up your supplies and skills.

First, let’s look at some things to consider before getting started.

Plan Your Project

Ever heard the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail?” There is certainly truth in that statement. For instance, when you go to the grocery store without a list, what happens? You forget the one or two things you needed, and usually buy things you don’t. It’s no different with scrapbooking.

Shopping for scrapbook supplies can be overwhelming because there is a lot to choose from. It’s easy to be tempted by all the beautiful papers and fun embellishments. If you don’t have a list or at least an idea of what you need, it’s easy to spend more money than intended.

How do you determine what you’ll need? You can either begin with the photos you want to scrapbook and develop a theme, or you can make a list of specific pages or albums you want to create, such as a vacation, a birthday, or sports.

Cardstock vs. Patterned Paper

Once you’ve decided on a theme, try to determine approximately how many sheets of cardstock and printed paper you will need. If you stick with the same base color of cardstock throughout your album, such as white or black, you can save money by buying it in bulk. The hobby stores usually sell basic colors in a pack of 25 or 50.

If you’re planning an album, choose 8-10 coordinating patterned papers to give it a cohesive look. Paper stacks are an option and cost less per individual sheet, and if you don’t think you can use all of the paper, consider splitting it with a friend or two for even more savings.


Think about the types of embellishments you’d like to use and write them down. You may see something at the store that you didn’t list, but will work perfectly, and that’s okay. There are other ways to save money on embellishments that we’ll explore later in this article.

Get Organized

Organize your supplies. It’s important to be organized so you know what you already have and what you will need. Plus, your scrapbook project will move along smoothly if you’re not having to look for your supplies.

Jot It Down

You never know when inspiration will strike so keep a small notebook with you and jot down ideas as they come. This includes when you’re shopping for supplies!

Creative Embellishment Ideas

Embellishments are usually the priciest of items we use on our pages. Now that we’re organized and lists are made, consider these creative solutions for embellishing both before and during your shopping excursion.

Collect Souvenirs

Consider incorporating ticket stubs, maps, menus, brochures, postcards as embellishments into your scrapbook pages.


There are many online sites where you can score free or low-cost printables, including Creative Fabrica and online scrapbooking sites. For just the cost of ink and a few sheets of cardstock, you could have enough items to embellish several scrapbook pages.

Office Supplies

Image by rob791 from Pixabay 

Office Supplies

Office supplies are generally cheaper and can serve double-duty when used as scrapbook embellishments. Paper fasteners can serve as brads, paper clips can be used as-is or bent into various shapes, post-it notes or flags, staples and stapler, mini file folders (or cut to size), stickers, stationery, and even markers. Browse the aisles and see what your imagination can come up with!

Paint Chip Samples

Image by KoalaParkLaundromat from Pixabay 

Paint Chips

Grab a few of those paint chips in the hardware section in several colors and you’ll have mini-blocks of color. Use as-is or punch out shapes from the coordinated colors.

Cookie cutter

Image by Catkin from Pixabay 

Cookie Cutters

Cookie cutters can be considered stencils. Use them as guides for cutting out shapes or drawing outlines. A fun idea is to trace the outline and fill it with journaling text on your page.

Gift wrap

Image by anncapictures from Pixabay 

Gift Wrap

Gift wrap makes for great backgrounds or stunning borders on scrapbook pages. Graphics or designs can be cut out for embellishments. Shop the gift wrap section at Dollar Tree or after a holiday season is over for great savings.

Old Books

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay 

Old Books and Magazines

Use text pages from old books and lettering or graphics from magazines to create ephemera, backgrounds, or ransom notes. Fold the pages into various origami designs. Print images onto old book pages.


Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Greeting Cards and Calendars

Cut out letters or graphics from greeting cards or outdated calendars and store unused items away for future scrapbook projects.

Photo by Michael & Diane Weidner on Unsplash.

Floral Bushes

Buy a bouquet of silk florals from Walmart or Dollar Tree and cut them apart and use the individual flowers for your pages.

Further Savings

In addition to the embellishment ideas above, consider the following budget-saving tips.

Save Scraps

Figure out an organizational system so you can find what you have when you need it. One such system is to organize by color. Reds, oranges, pinks… you get the picture.

Share With Friends

Scrapbookers are some of the friendliest people and usually willing to share whatever they have in their stash. If you attend crops or get-togethers with fellow crafters, let the others sift through your scrap piles and vice versa.

Shop the Clearance Rack

Whether it’s digging through the clearance bins at a brick-and-mortar or shopping the clearance items online, it just makes sense to buy after a holiday season has ended or a product line has been discontinued.

Buy in Bulk

Purchase scrapbook supplies that you know you’ll use regularly in your crafting projects such as glue sticks, double-sided tape, and card stock in bulk, as it is cheaper than when bought individually.

Invite your scrapbooking friends to consider buying in bulk with you and splitting the cost. Take advantage of coupons, discounts, and free shipping deals.

Scrapbooking can cost you a small fortune, but it doesn’t have to if you shop wisely and look at ways to substitute handmade for high-end.

Photo credit main preview photo: Susannah Burleson on Unsplash

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Scrapbooking on a Budget

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