Digital Scrapbooking: Pros & Cons

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Digital Scrapbooking: Pros & Cons

So... I know we have a lot of newbies coming around that may still be deciding whether to dive completely into the deep end of digital scrapbooking. I also know there are several of us who still paper scrap, traditionally in addition to our digital scrapping... along with some who do a hybrid style or home decor projects. I thought it might be an interesting topic to discuss as far as what we all think the Pros & Cons are to digital scrapping vs traditional paper scrapping.

Would really love to hear everyone's thoughts on the subject, myself... but I know it would be very helpful to the newbies, too. smiley

I do... All of the above. I decided to try digital scrapbooking because with three young kids I'm drawn to the "instant gratification" of arranging the elements on the sheet. (Although the learning curve for the software is pretty big and it has taken a long time to figure it out.) But I don't think anything can compare to the feel of real paper and scissors in your hand, and gluing things down. I'm not into it right now because I don't need another thing to clean up after, but I do have visions of when the kiddos are older and we're all sitting around the kitchen table working on "art projects". I'm looking forward to that.
One of the biggest challenges if you'd call it that is that I'm ALWAYS on the computer now. My husband doesn't quite understand. He's used to me sitting around chatting with him and knitting while we're watching a TV show after the kids go to bed. Now I just holler at him from my office. Good thing there isn't much good TV on in the summer.

I do occasionally add a paper element to my layouts, but I am pure digi for the most part. The main reason is, the kids can't get into my stash and steal stuff! My daughter has a fascination with cutting up paper and making birds and other creatures with it, and she has gotten into my older paper without permission on more than one occasion. We also live in a tiny rented duplex and there's just no room for working with physical scrapping materials here.

The drawback is, of course, the lack of tactile elements in my layouts, but those are easily added in, especially since I print individual layouts instead of making photobooks.

When we were in the process of moving, I came across a couple of my paper scrapbooks and I have to admit that I didn't even like them anymore. They were probably the nicest scrapbooks I ever made, but I just hated how chunky and 3D the pages were. I missed the smooth, preciseness of my digital pages. I always thought I'd make some sort of return to paper scrapbooking, but now I'm not so sure...

I love doing both. What I love about digital is the storage space. I live is a tiny tiny house (maybe 600 sq ft) and our "spare" bedroom only has a little walking room to get to my desk with all my paper & stamping supplies (knitting and sewing stuff fills the basement smiley ). I like that when I'm done a layout or done for the night, I just save and shut down the computer. I also don't have to worry about my cat getting into my stuff and having glitter spread throughout the house. I also take some of my digital layouts (especially the ones I particularly like) and turn them into paper layouts. I especially like this one:

This is the digital:

And this is the paper rendition:

What does help is that I have an electronic die cutting machine (Craft Robo) (and a just newly purchased Zing smiley ).

So, those are the biggest pros for digit scrapping for me.

As for drawbacks. I can't go through my cabinet and look at all the stuff I have all at once. And I tend to be a horder so it takes me longer to go through all my files to find what I want than what it does to actually make a layout. Its too easy to collect too much stuff with almost limitless cheap storage.

Cat, that layout is gorgeous, both the digital and paper versions!

I also have issues with the thick, bulkiness of paper pages. Like Cat's above, that is gorgeous, but I could never put that in an album. I would end up framing it with no glass and hanging it on the wall. smiley

I just stuff them in the album. I try to use mostly stuff that won't get crushed too easily and I can only have so many pages in an album. I do like printing out my digital layouts and putting them into albums as well. I can print 2 back to back on a page and then it really cuts down on the bulk.

I'm totally on the same ship as most of you!

Pros: Less Messy House, Less space needed, Quick access to work where and when I want if I have my laptop with me, can make "several" copies of the same layout quickly and less expensively...

Cons: Miss the tactile"ness" of it all, Organization not quite as easy as paper scrapping & knowing what I have, Miss the speed of paper scrapping while learning/perfecting new techniques to accomplish the same thing in PSCS.

u'hmmm that's all I can think of at this late hour. smiley

PS Cat: love love love both your layouts. smiley

@Cat: Your clustering on the digital page is just fantastic!

I have to admit that dimension bothers me on paper pages. Always bothered. I like them with not too many layers, and I guess I´d never put a flair or a bottlecap in one of them. If I want a 3D thingy with paper I´ll probably do as Brandi said and make it as a paper art to hang on a wall.

However, I do paper scrap. What is working with me is to use paper scrap for mini albuns and digiscrap for long-term projects and this kind of page that you want to make, but aren´t sure if someday it will suit in a specific album or not.

That paper page is beautiful, Cat! When I was making paper scrapping, I never made anything so gorgeous, so the digital transition has been easier for me in that regard! haha

I like lists, so here are my pro/cons of digi-scrapping

Digi-scrapping Pros:
re-usable materials
less mess
easily shareable with long-distance family
access new supplies -- at any time of day or night!
(for me) process of creating a page is much faster, which means more likely that I will get it done
"undo" button!

Digi-scrapping Cons:
difficult to include memorabilia/ephemera
easy to "hoard" and create a stash that you never use
not as tactile - can only imitate different textures & effects
can't memorialize your own handwriting unless you write-in later or get your handwriting in a font
paper ensures that you have all those random little supplies for unexpected craft projects

I can do whatever I want, giving me the freedom to create HOW I want.
less mess, don't have to plan time to clean up.
Can make multiple copies, and long distance sharing
My daughter can get me older scrap paper.

slow computer machine, - when you're dealing with an old machine.

I saw long ago what happens when the real scrapbooks have to many extras. About 15 years ago, I was working with a gal that wanted me to scan her wedding photos. It was the album from the photography....what a first looked like a wonderfully expensive album. But the corner tabs were metal, and she had laid her albums on the side. The wedding album on the bottom, with her three children's albums on top. Every time the photo corners hit a photo on the opposite page, there was damage to the photo.

I had seen the old scrapbooking damages, where tape was used on photos and yellowed, or the magnetic albums that prematurely yellowed photos. The news paper clips that fell to pieces.

Of course there are the worried that the digital drives will crash, but I figure when a DVD will hold so many, and they cost less than a quarter, I can give 3 out to family, and that gives backups for whatever reasons.

I will say that one of the cons for me with digital has been a feeling that I need to perfectly measure and divide everything. I guess I've got more learning to do, to be able to do it all quickly.

That paper page is beautiful, Cat! When I was making paper scrapping, I never made anything so gorgeous, so the digital transition has been easier for me in that regard! haha

Thank you! That's why I like to recreate some of the digital pages into paper. Believe me, some of my first paper pages were down right U-GLY!

The only "con" I can think of when it comes to digiscrapping is learning the software & then techniques... And while digiscrapping materials can be more economical (& you can re-use supplies or re-color them to fit your LO), I think having your LOs printed into a book costs more than making a traditional scrapbook. On the upside, the printed book will hold up for YEARS; whereas the glue, sticky tape, etc. on your traditional scrapbook will eventually release & your album will fall apart (as happened to my wedding album, which is why I need to re-do it & am contemplating scanning my photos and doing it digi-style this time).

With traditional scrapbooking it's pretty straightforward - glue, sticky tape, glitter, pens, scissors and what not - you're crafting. But, like a lot of you, the reason I never got into that (or stamping, for that matter....though I did go to a few stamping parties, made some cards & stationery and really enjoyed it) is I didn't have the room in the house.

I never got into the paper kind, but for me digital scrapbooking pros:
less mess
reusable materials
easily fix mistakes (UNDO, UNDO, UNDO) Lol
lots of photo effect options, sketches, Out of Bounds etc

shopping even when you don't need that kit..LOL...but it looks so pretty!
price of albums when printing
sitting at your desk all day working on that one layout you can't get just right ie. it might be a pizza night for the kids!! Lol

I personally don't think there are any cons to digital scrapbooking all pros smiley Well maybe just not enough hours in the day?
Gone for me are the days of a table piled high with papers, embellishments, glues, tools etc and moving things round on a page and ending up doing nothing. Then having to pack it all away again.
I save my pages and only print the books when they are on special - so for me that way having a beautiful bound photo book is way cheaper than spending heaps of money on scrapbooking supplies.
I LOVE digital scrapbooking smiley

I love that it takes me less than 5 minutes to get ready to scrap digitally: long enough to grab a cup of coffee, get the computer fired up, and some music going. Used to take me about 30-40 minutes to get everything ready to traditionally scrap and about an hour to put it away correctly. With two very busy kids, I just don't have that kind of time anymore. And I feel like I don't have to carve out huge chunks of time to scrap digitally like I did when I was traditional.

pros for digi- can make any shape, any color, and design,n you want tons of letter fonts can get packs, use things over and over, if you mess up you can change it.
cons for digi- most background papers look old, don't like scratchy backgrounds.

pros for tra- hands on more personal feelings involved, has better selections for paper tons of embellishments, can touch and feel
hold in hand, cant get erased have for ever
cons for tra- messy, more time consuming, takes up lot's of space, to many tools, can't use embellishments over and over,
once it's pasted it stays can move anything, if you mess up big time you have to start over again. Sometimes in stores you might not like the whole pack of papers, making it hard to find ones to go together.

Yes to all the above on digi... i used to have a paper scrapping room. i had to condense it all down. I use all the papers and elements now to make books (i started binding blank books!!!) and i don't allow myself to buy anything. It has to be from the stash I have. As for digi, yeah, now I collect that and it goes into external hard drives which is a whole lot smaller in space!!!

I don't really think there are any cons to digi scrapping. The only one I can kind of think of is that I am lazy about printing pages out... so most of my layouts are just in a gallery somewhere and family members don't see them. But I did print one book last year that had of some of my fave pages.

I don't think there are any cons to digi scrapping you can see a layout as it grows and it is very easy to change a layout if things don't quite gel.

I have a cabinet full of cardstock and paper that my grandchildren will now be using to make cards and pictures. I will not be going back to scrapbooking the manual way.

It felt so good to give my too many "non-digi" supplies away and go digi, for all the reasons above. I have a scanner so I can include ephemera or memorabilia. (A camera works for a lot of it also, especially with a rather inexpensive camera stand to hold it steady.)

I can organize into collections in Lightroom so I can use one digital element and put it into different folders without jamming my hard drive with duplicates. I don't need to worry if what I'm using is acid free. I have a large scale printer to print out my own pages which I put into acid free plastic covers and into albums. All this should hold up better than non-digi.

One thing I'm paranoid about and that is keeping backups. I have one backup, changed regularly in a safety deposit box, one at a daughter's house, one at home, and one I take with me in the car when I go anywhere. A fire could destroy all the work done on non-digi scrapbooks (unless they are scanned and kept as digital files). Much less chance that I might lose my pages with a good backup system.

@Peg: There are some good online backup places too. Definitely takes the worry out of losing physical copies. There are more thoughts on backing up here: