//Pocket Scrapbooking / What Is It & How Do I Get Started?

All righty, folks! Today we are going to delve into the world of pocket scrapbooking. And by "delve," I mean we are going to dip our toes in the water because I don't have enough hours in the day to talk about every nuance of this hobby. While the term "pocket scrapbooking" may sound folksy and juvenile, I promise that it's actually really fun and perfect for anyone, whether they're advanced scrapbookers or entirely new to the concept!

I have been scrapbooking since I was about 12 or 13 (my layouts from back then are so horrifyingly amateur and dorky that I cringe whenever I look at them...I think I may have "accidentally" destroyed some, too), so I have seen a wide variety of trends in the craft. I remember seeing people take a standard 12" x 12" page protector and sew pockets directly on it, but those pockets were often used to house loose embellishments, such as glitter or sequins. This, however, is very different from that.

So what is pocket scrapbooking?
Quite frankly, it's just as it sounds. You have pockets in your page protector that are usually intended to fit either 4x6, 4x4, 3x4, 6x6, or 12x12 photos and/or ephemera.

//an example of just some pocket page options//

Most of us have 4x6 photos, but if you're looking for 4x4 prints (like those from Instagram, for example) you can have them printed as a 4x6 and trim the outside edges or use a service like Postal Pix--which I personally use--to print photos that size. Easy peasy.

There are a few companies that offer products designed for this kind of memory-keeping, but the two big ones are Project Life by Becky Higgins and Albums Made Easy by We R Memory Keepers. I use a combination of products from both lines, as I find that some products are more affordable than similar products in the other line and both product lines are interchangeable (something I LOVE about these systems!). I'm not here to tell you which is the better one because I think that is something for one to determine on their own after checking out the products and taking their budget into consideration, so don't be afraid to play around!

Who would this be good for?
Literally anyone who is interested in memory keeping. Whether you're a novice or a pro, this system is designed to be entirely customized depending on your own needs. As I mentioned, we all have 4x6 prints, so if you find yourself wanting to scrapbook those more than anything else then purchase layouts with more 4x6 spaces than other sizes. You can stick to just the kits available for purchase and slip everything in right out of the box, or you can customize the cards to your liking, or even MAKE your own cards by printing them out or by trimming down patterned paper.

You can make each album dedicated to a certain individual, like each of your children, or to a certain period of time, like a month or year. This system is "intended" to document the everyday moments in your life, so many people like to make each layout dedicated to a certain week or day (something I'm trying to work on). But you can do whatever you want with it! The majority of layouts I see are filled with photos and just a few journaling cards to highlight certain memories, phrases, or plans.

What do I need?
If you already scrapbook or art journal, odds are you have many of the supplies necessary! You can easily get away with the following:
  • Binder or album
  • Pocket page protectors (try doing a search on Amazon or just stop by your local craft store)
  • Photos
That's it. Seriously. If you want to be super basic, that's all there is. I know, I know, if that's all you're working with you might as well just put your photos in a photo album and call it a day. And you're right! Which is why I also recommend the following to spruce up your layouts:
  • Cardstock and/or patterned paper
  • Embellishments (stickers, gem stones, sequins, buttons, etc)
  • 3x4 and 4x6 pocket scrapbooking cards
That last one is, in my opinion, the whole point of doing this system in the first place! You can buy them in coordinated packs from either Project Life, which offers Core Kits or Mini Kits (which contain fewer cards) or Albums Made Easy, which offers Journaling Cards, and you can use the cards as-is without any alteration and just slide them into the appropriately-sized pockets along with your photos, add some journaling on one/some of the cards and hooray! You've made a pocket page layout!

//example of layout using only unaltered journaling cards and photos//

If you want to get more advanced, this is where the embellishments come in. Some things you can do are:
  • Embellish the cards before putting them in pockets
  • Embellish directly on the photo before putting them in pockets
  • Put sequins, buttons, etc into pockets and stitch the top closed
  • Embellish directly on top of the page protector after placing in your photos/cards
  • Put a journaling card behind a photo with a pull tab for a sneaky bit of journaling


//examples of more embellished spreads//

There is also a great punch offered by We R Memory Keepers, offered in a round corner shape and a square corner shape, that cuts out papers/photos down to a 3x4 size that I love because I can buy 6x6-sized paper pads and punch out my own cards. If you find your layout to be heavily photo-based, then a pack of journaling cards--whether store-bought or ones you made yourself--will last you a long while. With this punch I can easily make stacks of journaling cards for a fraction of the cost in the long run.

I can't afford all that stuff!
Fret not, dear friends! There are many, many resources online to help you by providing you with free files to print your own 3x4 and 4x6 cards. Just print them out on card stock, trim them, and you're good to go!

Some good places to find these would be Becky Higgins's site, or just doing a search on Pinterest or Deviant Art. I find I have the best luck using "Project Life" as a search term. The pocket scrapbooking community is a wonderful one and by doing a Google search of "pocket scrapbooking" or "Project Life," you can find numerous message boards where scrapbookers swap tips and exchange resources. Get connected and you'll find that you'll become an expert in no time!

Also, I would recommend that you not go out and buy an entire core kit and oodles of supplies before giving this system a try on a smaller scale. You might find yourself spending a lot of money, and if you end up not liking this system then you're stuck. Instead, buy the page protectors and perhaps a small pack of journaling cards, or even trim patterned paper down to size yourself. See if you like playing around with the pockets. You may think of this style as too limited or not offering enough freedom, and that's okay!

I have found that I really enjoy this method of memory keeping. There are so many options that I don't feel too restricted and I intersperse my pocket page layouts with my more traditional scrapbook layout in the same album to provide variety and interest.

If you're interested, keep an eye on this blog because I'll be posting pocket page layouts from time to time.

Give it a shot and see what you think. If you decide to give pocket scrapbooking a go, leave a comment below and tell me about it!

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