What Are Scrapbook Embellishments and How to Use Them

Last Updated: December 28, 2021

Scrapbook embellishments are crucial in creating a Pinterest-worthy scrapbook page. A scrapbook album without any stickers or embellishments is really just a plain photo album. Think of these embellishments as the icing, sprinkles, chocolate chips, marshmallows, crushed nuts, or whatever you put on your cake. Unless you’re really going for a clean, simple, and minimalist scrapbook style, you probably need to brush up on your scrapbook stickers and embellishments knowledge! Find out when and how to use these fun and lovely decorations on your next scrapbook page!

Scrapbook kit with scrapbook embellishments and paper pads from Altenew

Enjoy the Ride Scrapbook Collection

What Is a Scrapbook?

A scrapbook is a blank book with pages that you can use to stick photos, clippings, drawings, or memorabilia. The origin of “scrap book” can be traced back to 15th century England, when commonplace books and friendship albums were popular. Commonplace albums were used to keep “scraps” of paper such as recipes, letters, quotes, poems, and clippings. These are similar to the modern-day photo album, but they put ephemera in it instead of photographs. Friendship albums were more similar to a “yearbook.” Back then, if you were a guest at someone’s home, you need to sign your name and leave a personal note on their friendship album. Some guests put a little creative spin on it and left quotes, poems, and drawing as time went by.

Scrapbook page with digital scrapbooking cutouts from Altenew

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What’s the difference between a store-bought photo album and a scrapbook album? The latter’s pages can be customized according to your needs and preferences. That’s where scrapbook embellishments come in. While you can always decorate your photo album, a scrapbook page is more personalized when it comes to shape, designs, layout, colors, and theme. It also includes handwritten or typed journaling.

What Are Scrapbook Embellishments?

By definition, the word “embellishment” means “a decorative detail or feature added to something to make it more attractive.” Basically, a scrapbook embellishment is something that adorns or decorates a scrapbook page.

Scrapbook stickers and embellishments from Altenew

Scrapbook Collections

Contrary to popular belief, you can use almost anything to embellish your scrapbook layouts! From ribbons and twines to buttons and brads - as long as it is small enough, not very bulky, and can be adhered to your page, then you can use it as an embellishment. There aren’t that many rules for using scrapbook stickers and embellishments so you can let your creative flag fly. You can even create your own DIY embellishments with just a few basic supplies! Watch the video below to find out how!

However, if you are a beginner in scrapbooking who still needs help figuring out which embellishments to use or an experienced scrapper who simply doesn’t have enough time to create DIY decorations, then you’re in luck! Most arts and crafts stores carry a wide variety of stickers and decorations for scrapbooking. These embellishments come in every size, color, design, pattern, and theme! It will make your scrapbooking journey easier. You can easily find scrapbooking embellishments online!

DIY scrapbook embellishments using stamps and paper clips

Bride-To-Be Stamp & Die Bundle

Let’s get to know the most common and popular scrapbook stickers and embellishments!

1. Chipboard Stickers - You’ve probably seen these a lot when you scroll through scrapbook-related pages on Instagram or Pinterest. These are basically stickers that are made of thicker cardboard instead of regular sticker paper. Scrapbookers prefer these scrapbook stickers because they add more dimension and are generally more high-quality and long-lasting. The designs of these stickers range from florals, nature, and animals to shapes, words, quotes, and banners.

Scrapbook stickers from Altenew

Live Your Dream Chipboard Stickers

2. Clear Stickers - These are waterproof and slightly thinner than chipboard stickers. As the name suggests, it is made of clear vinyl, so you can see through it. These are also available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.

3. Alphabet Stickers - Alphabet stickers are essential scrapbook embellishments. These are perfect for short titles or sub-titles for your page. Most alpha stickers come in chipboard puffy stickers. There’s a multitude of colors, fonts, and sizes available out there as well.

  1. How do you use scrapbook stickers? You can use scrapbook stickers as-is or create unique patterns or designs with them. While most stickers have a theme or specific design, you can always use them in other fun and creative ways. Reiko used a few floral stickers and a camera sticker to frame her daughter’s photo in this blog post. Floral stickers, in particular, can be cut up and used all over the page. Depending on the scrapbook stickers you have on hand, you can mix and match them and use them to tell your story.

4. Cardstock Die-cuts - These are cut-out shapes, patterns, designs, or pre-made words and phrases printed on thick cardstock. They usually come in a variety pack, so you can always mix and match them however you like. Some are in sticker form; others need adhesives.

  1. What are 3D embellishments? Some die-cuts, stickers, wood veneers, and epoxy buttons are considered 3D embellishments. These are embellishments that add more dimension and texture to your scrapbook page. To put it simply, these are not flat and two-dimensional.

Scrapbook ephemera from Altenew

Enjoy the Ride Ephemera Bundle

5. Acetate Die-cuts - These are similar to cardstock die-cuts but printed in acetate sheets. These delicate scrapbook embellishments are semi-transparent and can add a touch of elegance to any scrapbook page.

6. Wood Veneers - Wood veneer is a type of woodcut that is paper-thin. These embellishments are quite trendy in scrapbooking because they are versatile. Some companies offer self-adhesive wood veneers for ease of use, but you can always find strong adhesives to stick your wood veneers onto your page.

7. Washi Tapes - While washi tapes were often used in journaling; these beauties have made their way into the world of scrapbooking. These are colorful, decorative tapes made of “rice paper” and are available in various sizes. Wide washi tapes are game-changers in the world of scrapbooking because they can instantly provide gorgeous backgrounds.

Epoxy buttons and wood veneers bundle from Altenew

Reflection Collection Epoxy Buttons & Wood Veneer Bundle

8. Epoxy Buttons - When you look for scrapbooking embellishments online, you’ll probably come across epoxy buttons! These fun little buttons are often made of wood or plastic and come in different shapes, colors, and designs. Most companies offer self-adhesive epoxy buttons for easier application.

9. Gold Decorative Elements - While not as common, these are the epitome of classy adornment! Available in elegant and intricate designs and patterns, these embellishments are made out of embossed foil. These are usually available in gold, silver, and iridescent white.

Altenew Sequins for scrapbooking

Make a Statement Sequins Bundle

10. Sequins - The Oxford Dictionary defines sequins as “a small, shiny disk sewn as one of many onto clothing for decoration.” In scrapbooking, these shiny little disk-like beads are showstoppers! If you want to add some bling to your scrapbook page, then these will be your go-to. Like other scrapbook embellishments, these come in a variety of sizes and colors.

11. Ribbon - This is a strip of fabric, usually long and narrow, used for decorating gifts, boxes, clothes, and even hair. In scrapbooking, you can use ribbons as a border, a frame, or highlight an element.

Enjoy the Ride Scrapbook Collection

Enjoy the Ride Scrapbook Collection

12. Twine - This is a thin thread that is stronger and sturdier than most strings. It is usually made out of strands of hemp, cotton, or nylon. Twine can add more texture and interest to your scrapbook page. You can also use it to bind the pages together and create a scrapbook album.

13. Thread - You wouldn’t think of a thread as something you can use in scrapbooking. However, this simple, everyday object can actually make a significant difference on your page. Use it as a border, frame your photos with it, and add finishing touches with it. You can also use it to sew a design or pattern directly onto your scrapbook page. The possibilities are endless! Metallic threads like these are especially great for a variety of designs and techniques.

Creative Cutouts: Nested Wreath

Creative Cutouts: Nested Wreath

14. Digital Scrapbooking Cutouts - If you’re on a tight budget, you can still embellish your beloved scrapbook pages with scrapbooking cutouts. Some companies sell these cutouts, but you can always find free, downloadable ones online that you can simply print out at home. These are essentially shapes, designs, or patterns created digitally. You can print them out in thicker cardstock, sticker sheet, or other types of paper.

15. Ephemera - In your search for scrapbook stickers and embellishments, you’ve most probably come across the term “ephemera.”

Scrapbook ephemera bundle from Altenew

Enjoy the Ride Ephemera Bundle

What are ephemera, and how do you use them on a scrapbook? 

Simply put, ephemera is anything paper-based that is collected or kept as memorabilia. Do you like collecting movie or plane tickets, playing cards, letters or notes, leaflets, theater programs, ticket stubs, gift tags, newspaper clippings, or even receipts? These are some examples of ephemera. Think of it as vintage items that were not meant to last a long time. It could be handwritten or printed, about a significant person or event, and usually have sentimental value. Since these were printed or made for a short-term purpose, some might get torn or fade over time. That’s why others opt to scan and print out it, turn it into a collage, or cut it out and use it as a scrapbook embellishment. Adding ephemera to your scrapbook page can give it a vintage vibe and evoke a familiar feeling.

Fun Fact! Did you know that there is an Ephemera Society of America? According to Maurice Rickards (founder of The Ephemera Society in England), ephemera is “the minor transient documents of everyday life.” She added that “such items reflect the moods and mores of past times in a way that more formal records cannot.” Finding and collecting vintage ephemera is enjoyable and valuable since it provides “information which offers unique windows into cultures past.”

Scrapbook embellishments from Altenew

Altenew Embellishments

The plethora of scrapbook embellishments readily available can be a bit overwhelming. It could get frustrating, not knowing what to buy and what to “DIY.” Getting to know these embellishments will help eliminate confusion and hopefully help you decide which ones to keep in your stash. Just a reminder, Don’t be a penny-pincher, or you’ll end up with cheap and low-quality stickers and embellishments. Make sure to buy high-quality and decent scrapbooking embellishments online from reputable companies.

1 comment

  • Connie

    Hi, so I’m new at scrapbooks and scrapbooking! I have most things for a good scrapbook except for embellishments and patterned paper! I love this site too!

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