Unusual Things to Use as Scrapbook Embellishments

Dana Hinders
scrapbook page using Rainbow Loom bracelets as borders.

Whether you're on a tight budget or just want to try something creative, there are plenty of options for unique scrapbook embellishments that use materials you probably already have around your home. Try one or more of these embellishment ideas that will help you design one-of-a-kind layouts for your album.

15 Unique Embellishments for Your Scrapbook

Purchased stickers, rub-ons, and rubber stamps are great, but sometimes you may find yourself working on a layout that needs a little something extra.

1. Rainbow Loom Bracelets

If you have a daughter who has been caught up in the Rainbow Loom bracelet craze, these funky bracelets can easily be turned into borders for a scrapbook page. Unhook the bracelet and remove the clasp so you have one long, flat string. Use decorative brads to attach each end to your scrapbook page.

2. Beads

Beads are a fun and funky way to add a splash of color to your scrapbook layouts. You can use breads from broken jewelry or make your own beads by rolling thin strips of scrapbook paper around a toothpick. Use a glue stick to hold the paper together, then seal the bead with a coat of clear nail polish. Use large, single beads to accent a photo or memento, or create borders and frames with smaller beads.

3. Belts

Have you ever purchased a pair of pants for your child that came with a belt that never got worn? Cut the belt to fit your scrapbook page, then use it as a unique border. Let the grommets show for maximum visual appeal. Use strong double sided scrapbook tape to attach the belt to your page.

scrapbook page with belt embellishment

4. Dollhouse Accessories

You probably shouldn't swipe items from your daughter's dollhouse for your scrapbook page, but dollhouse kitchen utensils, school supplies, books, snacks, and toys can be cute accents for themed pages. Use strong glue dots designed for 3D embellishments to adhere them to your page. Try using dollhouse knives, forks, and spoons in a kitchen-inspired layout, for example.

5. Seed Packets

If you're a gardener, save your empty seed packets to add to your scrapbook. You can cut them open to use as envelopes for storing memorabilia or decoupage a bunch of them on a cardstock background to make your own customized patterned paper.

6. Confetti

Confetti can be used to add a festive touch to any page featuring photos from a graduation, birthday party, wedding, or other special celebration. Lay confetti on a piece of wax paper and spray the top with adhesive. Put the wax paper over your layout and press down so the confetti adheres, then gently remove the wax paper.

7. Calendar Pages

If you're still recording appointments on a traditional paper calendar, don't toss it when the year is done. Calendar pages make great embellishments your scrapbook, since they provide an unusual alternative to traditional journaling. If you don't have a full sized calendar to add to your scrapbook, use the pages from a tiny promotional calendar and circle the date of the event you're showcasing in your layout.

8. Game Pieces

Old board or card games can be a great source of embellishments for layouts about family game night. Spell out words in your journaling using Scrabble titles or arrange a few playing cards behind your journaling about teaching your kids how to play Go Fish. Add photos of you and your family preparing snacks for game night, playing the game, and crowning the winner.

9. Money

Sticking your life savings in your scrapbook wouldn't be smart, but coins or paper money from a special vacation can make for a unique scrapbook embellishment. If you want to be really creative, you could fold the bills into hearts or other money origami shapes.

10. Refrigerator Magnets

If you're trying to declutter your refrigerator, save your favorite magnets for use in your scrapbook. Magnets with cute sayings or frames to hold favorite photos work especially well for this purpose. If you happen to have any old Magnetic Poetry sets laying around, that's even better! Use them to spell out page titles, names, or even dates.

11. Felt Trivets

Trivets are traditionally used to protect your kitchen counter or dining room table from damage caused by hot serving dishes. However, felt trivets also make fabulous scrapbook embellishments since they come in so many different sizes, shapes, and designs. Attach them with double sided tape or glue dots.

scrapbook page using felt trivets

12. Old Books

If you have a favorite book that has seen better days, see if you can find a meaningful way to incorporate it into your scrapbook. Tags can be made from the illustrations in children's books. Book covers can be added to your layout to provide an interactive element if you glue extra photos and journaling to the inside of the cover. You can also cut out or copy your favorite passages or quotes from the book and use them to highlight or caption photos.

13. Wine Corks

Wine corks are a little bulky to add to your scrapbook on their own, but you can use them to carve your own tiny rubber stamps. Hearts, stars, swirls, and other geometric shapes are relatively easy to carve into a cork with a sharp craft knife, as long as you're careful. As long as the cork isn't too dry, you can also slice it into discs that you can adhere to your pages using glue dots. This is a fun way to remember a special bottle of wine or champagne.

14. Sand

Many people save a bit of sand as a souvenir from their beach vacation. Add the sand to your layout by covering the border of your page in a thin layer of Tacky Glue. Gently press the sand in the glue. Let your layout sit on your desk overnight so the glue can dry, and then give it a gentle shake to remove excess sand before adding it to your scrapbook album.

15. First Aid Supplies

If you're making a layout about your child scraping his knee while jumping out of the tree house in your backyard, Band-Aids make cute and thematically appropriate accents. First aid gauze can be stretched over any type of layout to add texture. The gauze can be left white or painted using watercolors.

scrapbook page with first aid supplies

A Note About Photo Safety

Items not specifically labeled as scrapbook supplies are likely not acid-free and may damage your photos over time. You can minimize the risk of damage by spraying embellishments with a protective coating such as Krylon's Make It Acid-Free spray, but this only works with items made from paper.

If you are experimenting with non-traditional scrapbook embellishments, never use original copies of irreplaceable photos. Remember that the ultimate goal of any scrapbooker is to preserve memories for future generations, which means that the long-term safety of your photos should always be considered.

Unusual Things to Use as Scrapbook Embellishments