Graphic from The Lilypad
Do the words “speed scrap” give you a nervous twitch? Do you cringe at the thought of rushing through a layout, without time to warp your shadows or tweak your text? I promise, it’s not that scary! Speed scrapping can be challenging, yes, but also fun, inspiring, relaxing, and best of all – effective. Read on to learn the what, why, how, and where of speed scrapping, and see a few of my own layouts created during speed scraps.
What is a Speed Scrap?
A speed scrap is a challenge to scrap a layout based on a set of instructions (usually 5-7), within a limited amount of time (usually 1-2 hours, sometimes longer). Some sites host them in a chat room where participants can test their multitasking capabilities by chatting while scrapping, and some sites post the game in their forum. Either way, the speed scrap hostess releases one instruction every ten minutes or so.
The possibilities are endless, limited only by the creativity of your hostess. To give you an idea, though, here’s a list of instructions from a recent speed scrap at The Lilypad:
1. Choose a photo that you’d like to do a layout on – place it on your layout roughly where you might want it – we are working with one photo tonight!
2. Find a fairly plain background paper – place it on your layout as your background.
3. Choose any side/edge of your layout to put a border across. Border can be ribbon, paper, scalloped, etc. – and it can be layered pieces of whatever you like too!
4. Select a patterned paper & crop it into a square or rectangle and place it on your layout – somehow under your photo.
5. Use an element to “stick” your picture down – think stitching, photo corner, staple, or tape.
6. Add your finishing touches – journaling, elements, paint, whatever it is that makes your page look “finished” to you!
Most speed scraps give you an extra hour after the last instruction is posted to finish your layout, upload it to the gallery, and share it in the appropriate forum thread. Some stores are even doing “slow” speed scraps now, giving participants a full day or longer to finish their pages.
Why Speed Scrap?
Many stores offer incentives to participate like a coupon, mini kit, or entry into a drawing for a gift certificate. But we all know the best reward is a completed layout! Like a template, a speed scrap helps you overcome common scrapbooking obstacles – How many photos/papers/elements? Where do I put them? How/where should I embellish? Do I use a font or an alpha for my title? The big decisions are made for you, leaving you free to exercise your creativity.
Some people find that deadlines help them focus and actually get pages done. If you don’t think there’s any way you could finish a page in an hour, you might be surprised! Challenge yourself!
I probably would have never created my layout “Play Hard” if not for a Word Art speed scrap at Scrap Orchard. We were given several versions of that “play hard” word art to use in the layout, along with the other instructions. Big blended photos and lots of edge work are not typical of my style, but I love how this page turned out!
How to Speed Scrap?
If you’re new to fast scrapping, I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to make the experience as smooth as possible.
1. Don’t agonize over choices. Go with your gut instinct when choosing photos, papers, and embellishments and don’t second-guess yourself. Remember that nothing is ever set in stone, and you can always go back and fiddle with your layout later.
2. Choose a “casual” memory/photo – one that you won’t feel the need to spend hours perfecting. Now is probably not the time to tackle those wedding photos or first birthday shots!
3. Go with the flow – even if it’s not your normal style. Maybe you are a one-photo scrapper, and the first instruction calls for five photos. Take a deep breath, and grab five photos! Have fun trying a different style and stepping out of your comfort zone, and you might just be surprised how much you like the result.
4. Choose your kit and photos before the speed scrap starts, if possible. I try to at least have an event or set of photos in mind that I want to work with, then I narrow it down depending on the instructions. If the kit you chose doesn’t have, say, five flowers in it, just pull some from another kit. Speed scrapping is what pushed me out of my “kit scrapper” comfort zone and eased me into the art of mixing and matching!
5. Have fun! Part of the fun of speed scrapping is chatting with other participants. Ask questions, share ideas, and enjoy seeing how different all the final pages end up!
To show you just how different two pages can be from the same set of guidelines, here’s the hostess’ original page for One Story Down’s August speed scrap:
And here’s my layout, based on the same instructions and even using some of the same supplies:
Where to Speed Scrap?
Are you excited and ready for some fast fun? Here’s a (very non-exhaustive) list of sites and stores that offer speed scraps on at least a semi-regular basis. Where possible, I have linked directly to the location where speed scraps are held.
The Lilypad - Hosts speed scrap chats twice a month, with instructions also posted in the forums. One hour after the end of the chat to upload and post your layout in the correct forum thread to earn a participation prize.
One Story Down - Hosts a monthly speed scrap chat coinciding with their Block Party on the third Friday of every month. Participants have one week.
Scrap Orchard - Several speed scraps (“Make it Snappy” or MIS) held every month, including Template MIS and Word Art MIS in which scrappers are given a template or piece of word art to use.
GingerScraps – Some regular speed scraps, plus weekly Friday night “scrap and chats” with different projects (free template, mini kit, word art, freestyle, etc.) but no specific instructions. Focused more on chatting.
The Shabby Shoppe - Holding their next Fast and Fabulous speed scrap on the blog September 15. Participants who finish on time are entered to win one of three $10 Shabby Shoppe gift cards.
Gotta Pixel – Offers a variety of fast and slow scrap and chats, including “Sunday Brunch Crunch” challenges that give you a week to finish, and designer spotlight chat speed scraps with a 24-hour deadline and participation prizes.
Does your favorite scrapbook store host a speed scrap that I haven’t listed here, or do you have a favorite layout created during a speed scrap? Please share with us in the comments!