Creative Pursuits: Help Your Kids Start Scrapbooking—the Right Way
By Maureen Taylor
My daughter's friends are crazy about arts and crafts, especially scrapbooks. They purchase lettering books, stickers, and papers to try out new ideas. It keeps them occupied for hours!
In my hyperactive household any activity that keeps kids busy for more than a few minutes is encouraged. That's why the window seat in my home office and three shelves in my kitchen pantry are filled with supplies purchased for creative pursuits. Whenever I hear, “I'm bored,” I lead my children over to the materials, go online to get some new ideas, and let them create.
With new supplies and equipment constantly being advertised and on sale at scrapbook stores, art supply warehouses, and large vendors like Wal-Mart, it's easy to pick up a few items to refresh the pile without spending a lot of money.
Since I like to keep my daughter's creations for sentimental reasons, I only buy materials that will last generations. I figure that some day these girls will want to show their children how they spent lazy summer afternoons. It doesn't take expensive paper or tools to be preservation-savvy. Buzzwords to look for on packages are terms that have appeared in past columns. In general look for items that fit the following criteria:
- Papers should be acid and lignin free.
- Inks need to be fade-proof, waterproof, and quick drying
- Adhesives should not be rubber- or latex-based.
- Page protectors labeled polypropylene or non-PVC (poly vinyl chloride) are safe to use.
Let's peek into my cache of supplies to see what the girls use to spark their creativity
I buy paper in bulk in a variety of colors, patterns, sizes, and thicknesses. Occasionally I let my daughter and her friends pick out a few single sheets for a special project. It's amazing how much paper can be used and discarded in a single afternoon. Any pieces that can be used for future page layouts or projects are salvaged for another time.
As any scrapbook enthusiast knows, stickers, stamps, and other embellishments can be expensive, but with a few cutting tools--paper punches, scissors, and paper trimmers--your kids can creatively decorate their pages themselves. I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive creative tools like using cookie cutters as stencils or cheap scissors with a patterned edge. Fiskars features scrapbook and paper crafting ideas using scissors and punches on their website, www.fiskars.com. (click to visit Fiskars in a new window)
Stickers and Adhesives
Another option is to let kids design their own stickers using a Xyron machine. It's simple to operate and safe for kids to use. Place the sticker into the machine, turn the knob and as it passes through the rollers a layer of adhesive is applied to the back. Xyron machines range in price and some models are expensive. I waited until my local store had a 40% off sale to buy one. Most of Xyron's products meet preservation standards. Their website www.xyron.com also contains project ideas. If you buy stickers, make sure that they are acid and lignin free and that the adhesive is appropriate for long term storage. There are several companies that produce preservation-quality stickers.
I've invested in a set of pens or ink pads labeled light-fast, fade-proof, quick-drying, waterproof, and non-bleeding. EK Success (www.eksuccess.com) offers the Zig memory system, pens and pencils that fit those criteria. They are also available at scrapbook stores, art supply stores, and even at some office supply stores. Ink pads for rubber-stamping or for thumbprint drawings in a variety of colors can keep kids occupied for a long time.
My daughter and her friends design their own lettering using pens and pencils, getting inspiration from publications like “Letter Art” (American Girl Library, www.americangirl.com). They also create doodles for borders and edges using any of the books by Ed Emberley that teaches kids the basics of drawing and thumbprint sketches. Your local library and local or online bookstore should have a selection of titles. Arts and crafts stores also carry series of books that offer instruction on designing lettering and borders using dots or other motifs.
If you're unsure what products are considered preservation-quality, there is help for the consumer. Creating Keepsakes, the scrapbook magazine, has a panel of experts who decide which products meet conservation standards. Look for their CKOK symbol of approval or consult the list on their website, www.creatingkeepsakes.com. (click to visit Creating Keepsakes in a new window)
The Scrapbook Preservation Society is a group of manufacturers interested in creating products that will meet preservation standards. Their website, www.scrapbookpreservationsociety.com, contains FAQs and online articles cover a wide range of topics from adhesives to using fabric as an embellishment. You're sure to find products that fit your budget and that will enable your children to create lasting artwork.
Use page protectors to protect their creations from handling, and turn your house into an art gallery. Regularly change the work displayed on the walls of your home with recent drawings. Your kids will be thrilled to see their efforts framed for all to see.
As a mother, I love to look through my children's artwork from past years. With the choices on the market today, it's easy to let your kids create pieces that will still be around when they are grandparents.
This article originally appeared on Ancestry.com.