Creating your own scrapbook baby book is super simple and looks so much cuter than anything you could buy. This would also make a wonderful gift.
It is doable. It won’t take you hours of scrapbooking – I created my own baby book for each of my children and they are only 18 months apart and I worked full time. Additionally, my son was a surprise adoption so truly – these come together very quickly. As a bonus, these are small and compact so you can have them next to you to record what happens each day.
Having a physical book also encourages you to put your phone aside and record your daily moments in a book.
As much as I loved having these personalized baby books to journal everything when they were babies, my children love them even more now. Their favorite part of their birthday week is getting out their baby books. We look at their first-year baby book and laugh at the stories I wrote and love looking at all the pictures.
Overview of a Scrapbook Baby Book
The book is designed to open up and end with a blank page. Here you can put your favorite picture or a devotion. I chose to put their hospital band, footprints, newspaper announcement, and in the case of my son, a devotion from the church for his adoption.
After that, the book follows a consistent theme which makes creating the book and upkeep a breeze. Each month contains four pages. The first spread has a calendar page on the left beginning with their birth month and corresponding pictures on the right. The second spread is still about their first birth month and is a space for free journaling then a corresponding four pictures. This gives you eight pictures total each month.
Start with a solid, good quality 8×8 scrapbook. I like the scrapbooks that have a window in the front. You can put your favorite picture of the year in here. Here is one from K & Company. This is a dependable brand.
I recommend buying the refills at the same time. You already know you’re going to need to them. If you get the above book (or one like it) then it only comes with 10 pages. A full calendar year will need 27 inserts total, so you will need an additional 17 insert pages. Refill packs like the ones below come in packs of 10, so you’ll need two.
For those that need the math on this……you will have two full layouts each month: the calendar plus pictures and then blank journaling pages plus pictures. You will begin and end the book with their birth month so you can introduce the book with their birth and end the book with their birthday party. So – 13 months times 4 pages for each month = 52 pages. 52 pages should lay out flat. Add 2 pages to the first and last page = 54. Divide 54 pages by 2 (2 pages fit in each insert) = 27 inserts.
When buying refills for your scrapbook, it is very important to either buy the refills specifically for the same brand of book you have or can buy universal refills, like these here. However, sometimes the universal refills can be a little tricky to get into your books. They should eventually work. I recommend putting all your refills into your scrapbook first so that part is done and you can begin the fun stuff.
3. Calendar Template
For my book, I had printed off a calendar template then created my own letters for each month by stamping each letter of the month. You could speed things up considerably by buying an 8×8 calendar pad. As a bonus, your pages would be archival quality. These will slip nicely into your books and would be ready to go. If they had these had been available 12 years ago when my children were babies, I definitely would have gone this route.
For the journaling pages, I would recommend using scrapbook paper so it is archival quality again. It lasts longer and protects your work from turning yellow. I didn’t think that far out – it wasn’t touching any pictures so I printed out some lined paper from the computer. Lined 8×8 paper or 6×6 (and then framed with your colored scrapbooks paper) is hard to find so another alternative is unlined lightly colored scrapbook paper if you are fine writing with no lines.
Lastly, you’ll want to find some matching paper for the background of the pictures on the opposite side. You can make this very simple like I did and use the existing 8×8 white sheet of paper that comes in the insert. Then cut out two 4×4 squares for each layout. It is just a background. Depending on the month, you may choose to put a bigger picture there, especially if you don’t feel like cropping.
Most parents get many pictures developed during the first year so it’s pretty easy to set aside 8 pictures and drop them into the scrapbook and you can crop & glue them later. You’ve already done the hard part – the journaling and separating the pictures into the specific months.
Make the book with the above steps completely before the baby arrives. This way all you have to do is journal when the baby arrives. I love looking back on the journaling. Seriously, who can remember all of these small details and funny stories? Especially when you are sleep deprived?
Expand beyond baby’s first year
I found these to be so easy to make and record the first year that I made another book that spanned years 2 and years 3 combined. It didn’t provide a daily calendar for those years (that would be overkill) but every month I would have journaling space on the left that I would write stories or about my kids’ development and a space for pictures on the right. Again, my kids love looking at these because as they grew into toddlers the stories became funnier.
Here are some pictures of how their second edition books turned out.