Recent Articles About Us Team Search Blinkies Join In Subscribe Support F.A.Q. Contact Us



{reported by Emilie Ahern}

How do I get started? You will obviously need a few tools to begin.
- A photo editing program: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Digital Scrapbook Artist, Microsoft Digital Image Pro, Corel Draw or any kind of program that supports .png files & layers.
- At least 256 MB RAM on your computer operating system. (obviously the more the better)

Is digital scrapbooking cheaper than traditional scrapbooking? In short. Yes. There is sometimes an immediate large investment because of purchasing software. But digital elements are usually cheaper than traditional, can be used as many times as you like and there are always endless freebies you can find. And yes, there ARE good freebies out there. More on that later. 12x12" prints cost around $3 to print.

What are the benefits of digital scrapbooking?
- Inexpensive.
- No mess.
- You can alter digital elements to any color you would like to match any theme and stretch your purchased supplies even more.
- You can continue to switch elements until your layout is just right.
- It is much faster than traditional scrapping.

How do I save my finished pages? You should save your file as a layered file first (psd file for Photoshop or psp file for Paint Shop Pro). You may need to edit your scrapbook page later so saving it in layers allows for that. Once you have your file saved, you need to find out what format is best for the printing method you will be using. If you are uploading your file to a photo lab, you will want to save it in a JPEG format. If you are printing from home you can use whichever format is compatible with your printer. JPEGs or pdfs are great for printing at home. You will need to see which file format your print shop prefers if you are uploading it to be printed professionally but TIFF files are the standard file format used in the printing industry.

(Table courtesy of )

Where can I print my finished digital pages?

- Photo Labs: Many traditional photo labs now offer 12x12" prints for an affordable price. You can either put them in albums as is or add additional embellishments for a hybrid project. here are a few of the least expensive options.

Costco $2.99
Sams $3.56
Kinko's They will print your 12" layouts as 11" layouts on 11" x 17" archival paper for about $2. Just trim off the white edge, and mount on 12” x 12” cardstock for a wonderful, layered layout. They will print standard 8.5" x 11" layouts for under $1.

- At Home: If you have a large format printer or a standard size printer that can print to the edge of the paper, you can print your layouts from home. This is convenient, but takes a lot of ink.

- Online: There are many online resources for printing your digital layouts and having them mailed straight to your door. There are many online, but here are just a couple I found through a google search. - starting at $0.74 - $1.99

What about prinitng a photobook? There are also many online services which allow you to create an entire photobook and print it. They will then send you the completed book, bound to your specifications. These sites offer softbound, hardbound, leather covers...the works! But not all photobooks are created equal. Three popular photobook sites and my take:

My Publisher - Photobooks range from $10 and up. I made the mistake of ordering the $10 soft cover photobook once as Grandparent gifts for Christmas. They all disintegrated within about 10 days. Pages fell out, staples ripped through get the picture. I have never tried a hardback from this company based on my soft cover experience, so I cannot comment on their quality.

Apple iBooks - For you MAC users this is the go to resourse for creating your photobooks. The uploading system is easy to manage and completely customizable. The quality of the finished hardbound books are fabulous. I highly recommend this resource.

Shutterfly - In my opinion this is the best photobook printing site. They offer tons of options, including their premade templates as well as many templates designed exclusively for them by CK designers like Ali Edwards and Jessica Sprague. You can also easily upload you finished album pages without using their formats at all. Prices range from and the quality of their hardbound books is excellent. This is our TSR Top Pick for online album printing.

Where do I find high quality Digital Freebies?

For real...with a bit of searching you could digi scrap with freebies forever and never need to buy a thing. My favorite source by far is Designer Digitals. Each week they usually have 3 different freebies and they are quality freebies designed by Katie Pertiet, Ali Edwards and other talented artists. Here is a sampling of what is available for freebie download in the forum right now....but they have much more than this.

I downloaded this freebie paper kit by Mindy Terasawa from also has an amazing selection of quality freebies. Here's a favorite I found last night. Crazy Beautiful by Fei-Fei's Stuff. (I will be using the paper photo frame for today's project)

and Compulsive Entitlement by Taylor Made Designs from

And I made this layout using ONLY these freebies in NO TIME at all! Probably less than 30 mintues.

There are so many digital kits and sites. How do I find products that fit MY style? Some of you mentioned you have a hard time finding your style of digital scrapbook kit. As you digital scrapbook more often, you will start to know who makes your style of digital kits, just as you know now which paper manufacturer makes your style of paper products and embellishments.

Here are three sites I like...they each have a good variety of designers and styles and are easy to navigate. They all also have freebie sections, but you have to register first (it's free) to be able to see and access the freebies.

Here's a quick little overview of a variety of styles out there in the digital scrapbooking world.

Sleek and Sophisiticated: Paislee Press Designs, Leiko Beck Designs
Bright and Whimsical: Emily Merritt
Fun and Colorful: Be Audacious Designs
Vintage: Miss Crow's Magickal Emporium
Ultra Feminine: Fei Fei's Stuff
Queen of Cool Templates: Kellie Mize

Designers You Already Know: Ali Edwards, Jenni Bowlin Studios

I really hope that answered many of your questions about the basics of digital scrapbooking. Please leave comments with any other questions you have about digital scrapping here and we will address them when we can.

Please check back tomorrow for helpful hints on storing alphabet stickers reported by Layle Koncar and with photo examples from our crack team of reporters!


MotherofJackals said...

Okay now I feel dumb. Going digital is not even close to a has hard as I was making it in my mind. Adding stuff after (hybrid scrapping) takes care of my feeling that just printed pages would be to flat. I have way to much traditional scrapping stuff to just dump it all but digital is looking so good I'm going to have to at least try it.

I knew there was free stuff but had no clue how MUCH. Wow you seriously would not be forced to buy stuff unless you just loved a kit.

Elizabeth said...

That was a great over view of digi!! :)

Bonnie said...

Extremely helpful and I appreciate the chart with printing I have ever seen. I made the huge mistake of buying way too many digi kits at first and came to appreciate that I did not need most of it. Good lesson learned but wish I would have had your wise perspective. You really are doing every potential digi-scrapper a great service with this post. As a scrapaholic I am finding ever more ways to use what I have and to be inspired by others. With that in mind I find reviews such as you provide highly valuable. Lovin' this site. Thank you! :)

NanaBeth said...

As you wander around the web, you will find more and more freebies! Around holidays you can usually find blog "hops" with digital freebies-my computer runneth over.

bumblesnbees said...

WOW! I will have to send this to my neighbour-she is moving into digital as she is finding that she does not have the time for the traditional. I had no idea that you could send out to have the pages printed-I thought that it would be expensive due to the $$$ of ink to print out your own at home. Thanks so much!

Queen of Paper said...

ooo...this makes me almost want to try digi! cute lo em!

Lucy Chesna said...

this is great...thanks for the links

Theresa said...

Thank you for all the valuable information on going digital. I have not tried it directly, but have used Shutterly to build some GORGEOUS digital scrapbooks. I used a set of layouts done by Lisa Bearnson to make a book of my mom's life for her birthday, and it turned out AMAZING! I also used a different set to make a "get well" book for my dad a few months before he passed away - not only did he love and cherish it, but that thing got passed around the whole hospital because it turned out so nice. I also use Shutterly for printing all of my photos - they are top notch!

Christine said...

Great info on digi scrappin''s one. I'd like to know what size external hard drive you would recommend for digital scrapbooking. 500MB? or 1TB? I don't want to get more than I need, but don't want to shortchange myself either. My laptop is getting pretty full with all of my photos, music and digital elements.

Melissa said...

Emilie, you rock. Such a concise, info- and freebie-packed article. Love it!

Jenny said...

Cute LO! Maybe one day I'll figure all this digi stuff out... ;)

Sam said...

Great article! I'm new to digi scrapping and I'm totally lovin' it (I too was "I don't need no stinkin' digi). With so much out there, I was glad to read your lists -- and then realized I was on the right track. Whew!

jill said...

thank you thank you thank you for this article. I just never really got the appeal of digi because I didn't understand how you could print it out, and everything you can do with it. This was good info.