Learn how to cope with the grief & loss of a loved one through scrapbooking.
Creative Outlets

Creative Coping: A Scrapbooking Guide For Beginners

There’s a common myth that scrapbooking is only for women, seniors, or crafty people to record their happy times with pictures.

And it’s a myth that needs to be broken.

Scrapbooking is actually a powerful tool that you can use to cope with your grief.

What Is Scrapbooking

Since I like to keep everything super simple, scrapbooking is simply the hobby of putting memories in a book.

How Does Scrapbooking Help You Cope

Creative Coping is one of my absolute favorite ways to cope.

This type of coping allows you to power through so much, like:

  • Grief
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress

You get to turn your pain, fear, sorrow, & emotions into a creative outlet. One that you can share if you want or keep it to yourself.

Using a scrapbook allows you to:

  • Go down memory lane
  • Express your feelings in a creative & safe outlet
  • Release pent up emotions that you may not even know that you’re having
  • Gives you an opportunity to reflect

How To Get Started Scrapbooking

Before beginning a scrapbook you need to pick a direction that you want your scrapbook to go.

It could:

  • Be a theme for your loved one
  • Focus on a certain period of time like a vacation
  • Be a chronological order of your life together

Then you will need to determine what you want your scrapbook to hold.

You can fill it with anything that you want. There could be pictures, quotes, mementos, or poems.

Learn the basic of how to start a scrapbook.

Types Of Scrapbooks


This is of course the age of technology. So why not make your scrapbook on a computer. You can either keep it digital or order a printed copy.

There are several different scrapbook (also known as photo book) sites. A few of my favorites are:

Pro: Great to use if a lot of your photos are digital.

Con: Besides paying for shipping, digital scrapbooks have some limitations on the designs & creativity that you may be looking for.


Sometimes you just want to work with your hands. Creating a scrapbook by hand is the perfect way.

Pro: Working with your hands to create something is a great stress reliever.

Con: It can messy to put a scrapbook together by hand. As well as time consuming as you have to physically gather all the supplies.

Scrapbook Supplies

It’s easy to go into a craft store & get overwhelmed with all the options dedicated to scrapbooks.

But honestly, you don’t need that many supplies. And I suggest being minimal when first starting.

Keep to the basic supplies such as:

  • Specialty paper like cardstock
  • Glue or double sided tape
  • Stickers
  • Scissors
  • Trash can

Scrapbooks for beginners. Learn the step by step how to start & the benefits behind it.

Step-By-Step How To Put A Scrapbook Together

Step 1: Choose Your Book 

There are several types of scrapbooks that you can buy such as,

  • leather
  • plastic
  • soft cover
  • hardcover

As well as a variety of sizes including 12×12, 8.5×11, 8×8, & 6×6.  

You also have the option of deciding how your book is bound together. You can choose from:

  • Book-bound
  • 3 ring
  • Strap-hinge
  • Ribbon

Try to find the style & size that’s right for you.

  • Is this a book that you’ll carry around?
  • Are you going to keep it on a shelf?
  • Will this end up being a gift for someone else?

Step 2: Decide Your Layout

Take a moment to try to figure out how you want your pages to look.

  • Do you want a single photo focal point?
  • Are mementos going to take up most of the pages?
  • Will there be a story to go with each page?

For layout design inspiration you can check out, scrapbook.com.

They have tons of ideas. However don’t get caught up in making yours look picture perfect. Just look for inspiration.

The key to using a scrapbook as a coping mechanism is to let YOUR creativity & YOUR emotions out. Not someone else’s.

Step 3: Gather All Of Your Supplies

Now is the time to go out, or pull out the computer, & find all those supplies that we talked about above.

Some of my favorite places to find scrapbook supplies are:

How to start a photo book & benefit from it.

Step 4: Organize

The next step is to organize all of your photos & mementos together.

Group them into small stacks that will be in the order you want them in your book.

Step 5: Put The Puzzle Together

Now you can start putting it all together in a rough draft.

Don’t glue it together until you’re sure that the page is how you like it.

*Tip: Make sure that any glue that you buy is acid free.

Step 6: Repeat

 Keep going until it’s done.

That’s it. You’ve now started your own creative scrapbook.

Now that it’s finished take a look back through it. Ask yourself:

  • Am I proud of how that turned out?
  • How did going through all of those memories make me feel?
  • What’s your favorite memory from the book?
  • If your loved one could see it what would they think?

If you’re comfortable with it. Then show your memories & work off.


  • Don’t get carried away with supplies
  • Keep a simple background & just add embellishments
  • Don’t get Pinterest crazy with cutting techniques
  • Don’t put 50 pictures on 1 page

Looking for more ways to cope? Grab the Artist Within E-book filled with over 100 art therapy activities that you can do at home or check out the new Grief By Design course!

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Discover how starting a scrapbook can help you to cope with life's challenges.