Do you have certain products you use on nearly every layout? Maybe you’re washi-obsessed, or can’t imagine scrapping without the perfect kraft background. That’s one thing I love about digital scrapbooking – I will never run out of my favorite alpha or beautiful patterned paper! I enjoy trying new products, of course, but keeping well-loved standbys on hand makes pulling together an awesome layout quick and easy. I usually mix new product with old favorites, and you can find one or two items from my “essentials” stash on nearly every layout. Here are the top six items I can’t scrap without, and a few of my favorite “essentials” products linked up for your shopping pleasure.
Stitching. I think I love digital stitching so much because I am completely inept with a real sewing machine! Stitches of some sort find their way onto almost every layout I scrap, holding down paper, ribbon, photos, or just for decoration. This messy pack by Amy Martin is my go-to choice for the perfect bit of imperfect stitching.
If you prefer your sewing to be neater, this pack by Chere Kaye includes a variety of nice straight stitching styles in black, white, and spring colors.
Shadow Styles. I’m lazy, I admit it. I know that pages with custom shadows “pop” out of the gallery, but I rarely have the time to build a custom shadow on every element. That’s where shadow styles come in handy. With options for everything from paper to flowers, stitching to staples, and buttons to lace, I can slap the right style on and be done with it, or if I have an extra few minutes, these styles are easy to tweak for an even more realistic look. These two packs are the ones I use the most (although I probably own every shadow style set ever created! I’m an addict!).
Painty Backgrounds. I adore paint, splatters, glitter, and splotches of all kinds, and I especially love papers that come pre-painted. What a time saver! This kind of paper also works great as the base for an art journaling page. These are two of my favorite packs – did you notice that the Primed Krafts come pre-stitched, too? Even better!
Typewriter Fonts. Someday I will buy myself an old-fashioned, real typewriter. Seeing typewritten journaling warms my heart and makes me think of 1950s journalists hunched over typing up next day’s news, or a soldier’s girl typing a letter to her sweetheart in World War II. I love the vintage feel, and I’m totally obsessed with all kinds of typewriter fonts.
One Story Down collected a great round-up on their blog recently. Although you can find thousands of free fonts, Heather Hess at The Lilypad creates awesome fonts that are totally worth the money. Here’s a few of my favorite typewriter fonts:
Patterned Paper. While patterned paper may not qualify as a “basic,” it’s certainly something I use on pretty much every layout. I love pattern and color! Amy Martin makes some great chevron packs, and Allison Pennington is well-known for her vibrantly hued, wildly patterned paper packs.
As much as I love fun, bright papers, most of my layouts start with a neutral base. These vintage-y ledger papers by Sahlin Studio provide the perfect background – subtle and neutral but still full of personality.
Photo Actions. I run a photo action (or more than one) on 99% of the photos on my layouts. Sometimes it’s as simple as tweaking the brightness, or converting to black and white; other times I want a special look. The Coffeeshop Blog and Pioneer Woman both offer a variety of excellent free actions, and when you’re ready for more, check your favorite store. Most digital scrapbook stores host at least one designer that sells Photoshop actions and/or Lightroom presets.
“Denim” is my favorite Coffeeshop action. Such a fun action to add a little pop to your next black and white conversion.
The Pioneer Woman blog is one of my favorites to read; she writes about cooking, photography, home and garden stuff, homeschooling, and life on a farm. She’s hilarious. This has nothing to do with scrapbooking, but you should definitely check her out! What does have to do with scrapbooking are her free photo actions. This collage from her site gives you a preview of just a few of the actions available in her two sets. The image is linked to the post where you can download them. I run “Boost” on nearly every photo, and can’t get enough of “Seventies” lately.
Once you’re ready to plunk down some cash, I recommend checking out My Four Hens Photography for professional photo actions. I love this Matchstick set for black and white conversions.
What are your favorite can’t-scrap-without-it, essential, or basic products? Let us know in the comments and enable your fellow scrappers!