How to make a great graduation scrapbook

You want to do it, but how do you make a graduation scrapbook? Let me tell you about two different types of graduation photo books I've done. After you read this, I guarantee you'll learn at least one scrapbooking idea for graduation.

My graduation scrapbooks

On at least three occasions I've created and helped create a scrapbook for the graduation of someone special. My step-son graduated from college ten years ago. I helped my husband create a graduation scrapbook and we did it using the traditional method...meaning we didn't to it digitally. More recently I created high school graduation scrapbooks for my niece and nephew digitally. You can see the resulting scrapbooks in these photos:

graduation scrapbooks graduation scrapbooks

You immediately see a difference in the two scrapbooks...especially in the left photo. The digitally created scrapbook (on top) is much thinner than the traditional photo album. Both of them contain photos and words - journaling - as you see in the photo on the right.

How to create graduation scrapbook - method 1


...we found undeveloped film that was nearly 20 years old...found some precious shots!

The blue traditional scrapbook pictured above was a birth-to-college scrapbook that we mainly organized chronologically. One of the amazing things that happened creating this scrapbook was that we found undeveloped film that was nearly 20 years old. Not all of the film canesters developed right, but we got some precious shots of my step-son from when he was about 5 years old! Amazing! My husband had saved elementary school reports from teachers, pediatrician reports, photos, birthday cards his son had given him through the years, song lyrics his son had written and other memorabelia. Here's how we worked on this project:

  1. We used a power sort or power layout system and organized the photos and memorabelia in rough chronological order. Knowing the entire span of time the scrapbook covers, choose a precise or rough time period for each section of the scrapbook. Your segments could be 1 year, 3 years, 5 years or whatever you think will work best with the material you have collected.
  2. Using the power layout system, folders or manilla envelopes spread out on a table or floor, go through your photos and memorabelia and only put those items you plan to use into your power layout system. Have a pile or container for items that you don't want to use.
  3. Once you have your tangible items sorted, it's time to get them into your scrapbook. As we adhered photos and other items to the scrapbook pages, we left various amounts of room for stories and other text (titles, captions, explanations, etc.).
  4. Add your stories and other written comments. Write directly onto the pages or paste printed versions from your computer, if you prefer. My husband wrote stories about different times of his son's life. And he wrote a lot...not just captions. There was one two-page layout that kept bringing tears to his eyes. He said that when his son saw this, "he's going to cry." It turned out just that way...
  5. We added a few decorations like the yellow corner and border to the left-hand page in the photo above. Add the decorations ahead of time or as you go. We concentrated our time on photos, memorabelia and my husband writing stories that would have meaning for his son. Really concentrate on your stories to supplement and enhance the photos. You won't ever regret it.

This method could be used to create a digital scrapbook as well. In that case, you obviously don't need to have your photos printed. For memorabelia, you would scan as much of those as you can. One options I have used is to do the digital scrapbook and then provide a decorative tin or box to hold other tangible items in. It becomes a two-piece gift.

How to create graduation scrapbook - method 2

I took a different path when creating the white scrapbook pictured above. It wasn't just that I created it could have been done traditionally as well. For my niece and nephew I added photos and information about their ancestry on both sides of the family. If I had photos, they were included with some biographical information about the various ancesters. I also asked for letters from family to the graduate. Here's how I created the graduation scrapbooks:

  1. I asked living and close family members to write letters to the graduate. They had a deadline for inclusion in the scrapbook. You must give deadlines in order to receive letters. The letters can be in Word, email or other digital mode.
  2. I collected family photos for inclusion and scanned them so I had a digital version.
  3. I interviewed family members to gather information on ancestors for whom I did not have biographical information.
  4. You can choose to arrange the ancestry information any way that makes sense to you. I put my niece and nephew's mother's side first and gave each person a page for photo(s) and bio. As I got to more recent people, they had a photos page and an additional page for their biography and stories. Their dad's side of the family followed.
  5. I then had a page or two of a living family member with photos accompanied by their letter to the graduating senior.
  6. I added some layouts of significant interests and events. Collage pages really worked well for this.
  7. I finished the book with pictures from graduation.

The beauty of doing these books for my niece and nephew using digital scrapbooking software was the ability to use the same ancestry pages the second time around and I could easily print multiple copies. Had I done these traditionally, it would be a lot of work to do the duplication.