Scrapbooking began as a domestic pursuit, a means to preserve recipes, letters, cards, verse, and more. This form of compilation began in England during the fifteenth century and thrived in subsequent centuries. These old scrapbooks were referred to as commonplace books. Today, scrapbooking is a popular art form that has, once again, achieved great popularity among crafters as well as artists.

Historic scrapbook albums were often thematic in nature. They might represent friendship or a special trip. Some were merely general albums used to store all manner of correspondence, poems, or even drawings. As printing processes advanced and more people enjoyed access to printings, crafters would often decorate their scrapbooks with printed pictures and later even photographs and postcards. These books served two purposes–to document a person’s individual experiences or interests and to reflect the crafter’s ideas of aesthetics.

Many scrapbooks have historical value as they may reflect personal experiences in the context of great historical events such as life during the early Industrial Age or one of the World Wars. Modern scrapbooking became a large-scale industry, particularly in the U.S., during the 1980s and beyond. The commercialization of scrapbooks, scrap papers, stickers, tools, and other associated materials peaked in 2005-2006. Since then, the industry has experienced some decline; however, scrapbooking materials are widely available in craft stores throughout the U.S. and in other nations as well.

Scrapbook artisans use a wide array of materials to create their scrapbooks. Three ring binders are standard; however, books may be of any size. Modern scrapbook artists often choose themes that may reflect travels or life experiences such as weddings or childhood milestones. Scrapbooks often contain photographs and text along with decorative elements like ribbon, colored or printed paper, fabric, and a myriad of other items chosen by the artist.

Scrapbook artists often use various types of tools like scissors, pens, colored pencils, inks, rulers, cutters, stamps, and other implements needed to achieve their scrapbook designs. Scrapbook accessories may be attached to scrapbook pages used various means including glue, thread, or even photo sleeves. Finished scrapbooks are original works of art that may be part journal or diary and part artistic creation.

While many people think of scrapbooks as tangible objects, many artists also create digital scrapbooks. Digital scrapbooks may remain on computers or may be printed as professionally bound books. The art of scrapbooking continues to be popular among artists as well as amateur artisans and crafters. Even children may participate in the creation of scrapbooks.