A birthday memory book is the ultimate milestone birthday gift. To take photos and memories and put them in a “this is your life” birthday scrapbook is a thoughtful act of love that will be immensely appreciated. But what if you’re creatively challenged? Does that mean you can’t give this one of a kind, personalized birthday gift to that special person?
No, in fact, you don’t have to have special talent to create a milestone birthday memory album. Here are 10 simple tips to help you make a birthday scrapbook, even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
1. Plan early. If you can do this a little bit at a time, without having to rush, it will be less intimidating.
2. Collect all the photos of the birthday boy or girl that you can find, their family, friends, houses they lived in, pets, etc. Then ask for help. Friends and relatives will have photos that you don’t have. Ask them to email them to you. Or borrow their photos and scan them or have copies made.
3. Take notes. Ask everyone who helped you with the photos to share memories of the birthday person. Go right to the source and interview the birthday boy or girl. When we were working on a scrapbook for my dad, we got him to talk all about old times, without him ever suspecting we were using that information to put together this project.
4. Buy a scrapbook program for your computer, which is a simple way to turn out a professional looking page. If friends and relatives are emailing you photos, the pictures will already be in your computer and all you have to do is “paste” them into one of the software’s ready-made templates. Then add your own words and print.
5. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on the computer, get a birthday scrapbook kit from a local craft store. This will contain all the coordinating papers and embellishments. You just have to add the photos and journaling. Make sure you get glue and pens that are acid-free, so they won’t damage the photos over time.
6. Think small. Scrapbook albums that are 6 x 6 or 8 x 8 inches are easier and faster to finish than larger books. You’ll need less photos. And at those sizes your pages can be printed from any printer and trimmed down to size. Most family printers won’t print the larger 12 x 12 inch size.
7. Use cookie cutters, jar lids, etc. to trace around and cut out photos in interesting shapes. On some photos, cut away the entire background, so that the only thing left is the birthday person.
8. One unique idea is to do a theme, such as “40 Great Things About John (or Mary)” if he or she is turning 40, (or 50 great things, if he or she is turning 50, etc.) Ask friends and relatives to email you their lists, and combine them with your own thoughts. Give each person credit in smaller letters after their contribution.
9. Add a “Then and Now” page, with his or her favorites when he was younger and what he or she likes now. List things like favorite TV shows, movies, friends, foods, pets, musical groups, songs, hobbies and interests.
10. Include a page with the title “The Year You Were Born”. There are many great websites that have information of everything that happened on the year of his or her birth. Some have detailed listings that range from news items, popular songs, price of milk, and Academy Award winners.
Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to look professional. Remember when you were a kid and made cards for Mom and Dad. Those cards couldn’t compete with Hallmark on the open market, but to your parents, they were priceless. Even if this scrapbook looks less than perfect, this is the kind of birthday gift that is guaranteed to touch the recipient’s heart. Give a handmade birthday memory book and it will be treasured forever.