How to Build Your Digital Scrapbook Stash

Building Your Digital Stash

Browsing through digital scrapbook stores can be both exciting and a little overwhelming. There’s so many things to see, and with a few clicks of your mouse, voila! You can shop – and scrap – in the comfort of your own home in your pajamas, and all in a matter of mere minutes. It’s like being a kid in a candy store: you want everything. Starting out, it’s tempting to just click and buy whatever catches your eye. However, as you begin to accumulate supplies, it’s important to look for foundation pieces; the ones you know you’ll go to time and time again.


How do you decide what you must have in your digital supplies, your “stash”? If you’ve scrapped with paper products before moving to digital, then your list of must-haves may be easier to identify than you think. Grab some of your traditional layouts and put them on a table or the floor or an area where you can quickly skim over multiple pages. Without getting into the details like tiny elements or journaling, what sort of trends do you see in your layouts?  Do you always use a solid background for your pages?  If so, a good kit of digital cardstock might be right up your alley. Do you always use flowers, stitching, or buttons?  Remember, this is not an in-depth to-the-detail review of your layouts; it’s just a quick once-over to see if there are items that you reach for on a repeating basis, ergo your must-haves.


Never scrapped before?  A few words of advice for the brand-new-to-scrapbooking individual:


Find foundation pieces. Just like a good starter wardrobe, look for those digital items you’ll reach for time and time again. Not sure where to begin? Browse the online galleries and see what layouts you’re drawn to, from a paper and element perspective. Try to look past the photo and break down the layout into components. Also, take a look around your house. Are you a more modern person and like clean, simple design … or do you go for the more ornate, traditional or heavily layered looks with lots of pillows and patterns? This does not necessarily mean your pages will reflect your general style in other areas of your life, but look at it as a starting point.


Don’t buy a kit “just because”. Yes, you will be able to re-use digital items over and over again, but if you buy a kit just because it has one or two “cute” items, is it really value for your money? Think about the types of memories you’ll be wanting to preserve (family events, vacations, Project Life).  A fabulous winter kit with snowflakes and ice, no matter how well it’s designed, probably isn’t a good fit for a summer vacation album, now is it?  There are many designers that I totally love, but I have very little of their kits, sometimes nothing at all. It’s not that I don’t like their designs; rather, I don’t think I’d have a need for the theme or style of the kit.


Beware the freebie. Free kits can be a great way to get started. I mean, there’s no cost outlay and you can just start playing. Look for freebies from your favorite designers, designers you know you’ll keep going back to – you’ll be able to combine their kits for some total awesomeness. You can often find free items on designer blogs or by signing up for their newsletters. However, a word of caution: just because a kit is free, doesn’t mean you’ll use it (yes, there’s the “just because” thing again). I’ve also found that freebies seem to multiply, like rabbits, taking up valuable storage space – and that will become all too important as you accumulate more supplies and get to creating. Be selective and discerning with your purchases, even if they don’t cost you anything.


What are my foundation pieces?  I have some kits that I purchased quite a few years ago, and I still go back to them, over and over again:


  • A selection of kraft papers, some lightly textured, some distressed.
  • Straight lines of stitches in a variety of designs, e.g., straight, zigzag, blanket stitch.
  • Three of four journaling fonts.
  • Three different staple designs.
  • Date brushes.


Hope you enjoy building your stash – it’s a lot of fun!

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  • Vivian April 7, 2014   Reply →

    Boy. I sure wish I had read this post back when I first got into digital scrapbooking. You can get into an overwhelming mess in a hurry, and those freebies contribute a LOT to the mish mash that you accumulate. Not saying that freebies are a bad thing. Great post.

  • Jen April 8, 2014   Reply →

    Great advise! And I totally agree about the freebies — and I run a freebie site! You have to be discerning in what you download. And regularly go through what you have and weed out things that don’t appeal to you any longer.

    I do think freebies are a great way to try out something new. Never used stamps? Grab a freebie and see if they are for you first. If you fall in love with a look/technique/etc you can then invest in some quality products.

    I found that once I really started scrapping, it was easier to know what I would really use and what would just sit there wasting hard drive space.

  • Amanda October 23, 2014   Reply →

    I’d also add > Just because a freebie is offered by a “designer,” it doesn’t mean that it’s high quality. Check out freebies from designers that you know and trust or check designers from a store that you know and trust to have good quality standards and download freebies from the designers who sell there. 100 free kits do no good if you can only use one or two pieces from each because of quality issues.

  • AnnetteD October 23, 2014   Reply →

    Excellent article – I actually have spent a lot of time destashing freebies recently.

  • Tropt October 25, 2014   Reply →

    Such good advice! And yes, I’ve also purged a lot of the freebies I so obsessively collected as a newbie. 🙂

  • Berniek June 23, 2016   Reply →

    I love your ‘find your style’ advice. The looking around your home. I love big bold patterned backgrounds. My curtains? Big and boldly patterned!

    Also completely agree on the freebies. I collected mainly freebies for the first few years, included things I have never used and I never will. Such as quickpages. I hate them! I have so many though. word art I love. But I have SO MUCH word art that I will never what I need between all of those freebie wa. So this year I’ve decided to hang out exclusively at TLP and I will only collect TLP items now. (well, and the Scrapbook Parade). It makes life much easier. 🙂

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