The Scrapbook Digital Collage Technique: How to Use It


This looks easy! This is called digital scrapbook collage and it really is easy to do. Now, you may be thinking, “I thought collages were only for old fashioned hand scrappers and crafters!” You just need to remember, digital scrapbooks are everything scrapbooking has always aspired to be. In short, digital scrapbooks can do and be anything, so let your imagination run wild!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move right in to learning the 4 things you need to know to make this as simple as possible? Here we go:

  1. How can I use digital collage techniques in my family memory or school days scrapbooks?
  2. How do I plan what to use on a page and what to leave out?
  3. Do I need a theme?
  4. How do I know when to stop the scrapbooking composition?

Just follow along and we’ll discuss each one in simple fashion and have you creating your own digital scrapbook page collage themes in no time.

One of the things that make this technique so great is that it lets you use many collected odds and ends, your good or even badly composed photos and makes great use of inexpensive home made supplies. Even better yet, once they are digital, you can use them over and over as many times as you like. Digital Power! Isn’t it great?

Let’s get started.

Question 1. How can I use digital collage techniques in my family memory or school days scrapbooks?

Most scrapbookers, including me, don’t consider ourselves as artists. But since anyone over the age of 5 can place layered objects on a background, we all have the fundamentals of collage. Digital Collage is just the twenty-first century version of the art form. Collage in simple terms means the layering of objects, mostly found or collected, in a way that evokes a mood or message to the viewer.

That sure sounds like scrapbooking to me!

To use collage in digital form all you need do is to scan or photograph your collected objects and then use the crop and/or transparent functions of your scrapbook or photo editing software to make them look like you cut them out with scissors. The best part is that even if you don’t know how to do this, since you are layering your now digitized images, it doesn’t matter as long as you can place all the articles over one another. What’s more, digital can be a combination of hand scrapped and digital as there are no limits except your imagination.

In the case of a family memory book or school year scrapbook, you collect things like old homework, party invitations, school ribbons, awards and in this day and age… even your Tweets and text messages. Save the digital items in a directory and scan or photograph the rest and add them to the same directory so everything you need is in one place.

Don’t forget your digital photos and by all means, don’t worry if you have too much, you may use it all, not use some or even need more. We are just collecting stuff at this point so don’t limit yourself.

2. How do I plan what to use on a page and what to leave out?

Once your collecting is done and you have everything poly backwire headset in digital form, it’s time to do just a little planning. Not a lot as your collection will change and adjust as you add and move things around. We just need to get a direction planned so we have a starting point.

Take a couple minutes and decide how realistic you want the mood of your collage scrapbook page to be. Consider how full you want the page to be and how wild or reserved you want it. Just hint at a theme and maybe start with a base color for the background. I don’t want you to worry too much about finalizing the design. Your best ideas will most often come only as you begin laying out your digi-scrap page.

Question 3, Do I need a theme?

The real answer is both Yes and No. Yes you want to have a high level theme in mind such as “The First Day of School” or “My Daughters 10th Birthday.” On the other hand, no you don’t need to have it so detailed as to limit it’s final look and design. For example planning on a 3-2 picture two page matching layout will only serve to slow you down and limit your creativity.

Remember, this is more of a “Scrapbook Art Project” and in art, there is no right or wrong way for your page to turn out. Enjoy the process.

Just start by choosing a background size and color. White, black, or your darker solid colors are great neutral backgrounds for a digital scrapbook collage page. What you will find is that not much of the background will show by the time you are done layering your collected materials but you may want a little extra dimension as a border and for the parts of the page that do show.

On to our final question.

Question 4, How do I know when to stop the scrapbooking composition?

This is really the easiest of our questions and the most fun in the digital scrapbook collage process. Stop when you like what you see and it tells the story makes you feel the emotion you are looking to tell.

I like to start the scrap page with the main photo first. I start by placing the photo slightly left/right of center on the digital background. It usually moves as I continue, but I’ve found it’s a great way to start the creativity flowing. Even if I’m using multiple photos on the collage page, there is usually one that will serve as the focus. The others can then be placed randomly around the page.

Now that you have your digital photos on the page, you will want to start with your larger collected digital objects and begin layering them down to the smaller ones. You also have the option to print the page here and hand scrap the rest, but I find I waste a lot of photo paper that way as I end up wanting to move things around as I go. All digital is so much better as I can play with size, layers and position all I want and it costs me nothing.

Don’t forget your wording! Journaling, poems, quotes or other handwriting gives not only a story reference message but serves to set the mood.

Now it’s just layer, layer, layer! When you think you like the setup of your digital scrapbooking collage, go ahead and save it. Try not to revise it too much at this point. There is usually a temptation to start straightening things… Don’t! If you must play, use a copy so that you can compare to the original.

That’s it! You are done! And the fun thing is that no two collages look the same –even when you use the same photo! It’s also a great holiday activity for the kids.

Finally, I have said that this can be some digital and some traditional handscrapping, but I must point out that going full digital has many more advantages that old fashioned handscrappers can’t compete with.

With digital you:

  • Never damage your original photos
  • Have no limits on space as it’s all in your computer
  • Have no mess to cleanup or glue to dry
  • Have zero cost to play and arrange until you hit print
  • 3D objects don’t cause damage to other pages in the book
  • Have no acids/chemicals to worry about
  • You can send your finished pages by email
  • You can add your pages to presentations and videos
  • Your scrapbooks can be printed as true hard bound books

I’m sold on the advantages that digital has and I’m hoping that if you have never thought of going digital with your scrapbooks before that this will at least get you thinking.

In summation:

Digital Scrapbook Collage Techniques is a simple and very entertaining endeavor. Anyone over about the age of 5 has the needed abilities to create a collage and most 5 year olds know more about computers than many seniors.

Scrapbook collage pages make great themes for both family and school scrapbooks and use mostly items that you already have in your home and on your computer.

You don’t need a detailed theme plan, you can play and rearrange your page until you like what you see and you only stop when you tell the story you want to tell.

Now, it’s time to start gathering up your objects and start your own digital scrapbook collage page.

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