making a themed album

Making A Themed Album

Hello! So happy to be sharing my thoughts on scrapbooking with everyone here at the Awesome Ladies Project this year.

Quick bio: I’m Shannan (shannanpages on Instagram) and I am a mostly-digital scrapbooker these days. I’ve been scrapbooking since 2008 and my style is clean, simple and minimalist (I love messy artsy pages but just can’t do it!). I live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and two kids (10 and 13).

I have a Monday-Wednesday corporate job in the city so I try to spend my four days home scrapbooking if I can (those pesky kids need you to take them to activities! and the house sometimes needs cleaning! I know right?!). I also design digital scrapbooking templates and supplies for my online shop. Even though I have kids, I scrapbook mostly about myself because it’s what I know best (and is the most fun & rewarding). I love music, cooking & TV, but scrapbooking is my number one passion. I just love it.

Today I’m delving into themed albums.

I would define a themed album as a scrapbook project that focuses on a single subject. These projects allow you to dig deep into a topic (hopefully something you are really into) and provide a cohesive home for those stories.

I love making regular, random pages about anything and everything, but I also like having a few themed projects on the go as well. You might work on a themed album over a few days (like a wedding anniversary or trip) or you might spend weeks, months or years building it up over time. For some people, themed albums may be the only type of memory keeping they do.

As with any scrapbooking, a themed album can be any size and format. Some may have a definite beginning and end and some may not. The great thing about a themed album is that your focus is narrowed which makes it easy to brainstorm ideas for the project and to know which stories & photos fit.

You might even develop a themed album over time without knowing it. For example, if you find yourself adding lots of camping trip pages to your regular scrapbooks, it could be time to move them all into a new camping-themed album. There’s something valuable about having them all in there together.

If you have a passion for something, I highly recommend starting a themed album for it. Here are some of mine. You’ll notice I print a lot of these projects as photobooks instead of scrapbook albums. This is to save space at home for me and works well if the project has a definite beginning and end. It also makes sense when you are making digital pages anyway. You’ll also notice that I’m a big fan of repetitive design in a themed project – it helps me to finish when I don’t have to make creative decisions about every single layout.


This idea started out as my #100day project last year but I actually worked on it for six months. I wanted to document the songs that really had an impact on me and my life. I made the pages digitally in Photoshop Elements using a great Cathy Zielske template (HERE) that I sized down into a square.

I started with the songs that I had deemed 5-stars in iTunes and tweaked the list as I went, trying to keep it to memorable songs rather than just my favourites (although there is a lot of crossover). It was really a simple process to research some basic song details, make a quick note about what the song means to me then add a photo (either from the internet or my own record collection). I uploaded the finished pages to Chatbooks to print as a softcover 6×6 square photobook. This turned out to be one of my most favourite projects ever.


I made this little mini-book about our house way, way back. I’m so glad I did because so much has changed since then. The kids really enjoyed looking at our rooms pre-them when I pulled this out recently. I plan to update this book soon with the years in between as well as adding in some of the earlier photos from when the house was built and I first moved in. I’m thinking about redoing it as a 3×8 album with some journaling – the mini-book is probably too small to add much else too.

A home book would also be a great project if you’ve lived in a lot of different places or if you have gone through (or are planning) major renovations. Or narrow it right down and make an album about your garden.


I love food and cooking so I started this Travelers Notebook (my first one) a few years ago to document our favourite meals and recipes – the kinds of things we make over and over. I have a few more pages to add to finish this off – another 2020 goal. I make my pages digitally then print off and glue into the notebook. Travelers Notebooks are a great size option for themed albums.


Travel albums are probably the most obvious examples of a themed project. I’ve done books about our two US trips and have a Fiji project on the go. Travel albums require a lot of work – there are so many photos to sift through and it’s easy to get stuck on the best way to organise the project. But the end result is always worth it and you deserve an album after all the effort you took in photographing your trip.

As always, I went with a really simple design that focused on the photos and divided my pages up by day (and chose to print as a book again because of the size). I didn’t add much journaling to the pages but I did keep a travel diary so I added in each day’s journal at the end of the book as an appendix.

If you feel inclined, think about some topics that might make a great themed album for you in any style or format you like. Or take a look through your scrapbooks and see if there are any recurring themes that jump out. If you have a trip that you’ve wanted to document but feel overwhelmed, take a simple route, not every project has to be a crafty masterpiece. Some projects just need to get done. If you want to make an entire album of cat or dog photos, do that. It will be awesome. It’s really cool to give those stories some structure and a home that makes sense.


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  1. The timing on this post is too funny because I just started working on a bread themed scrapbook! I’m working my way through Bonnie Ohara’s Breadbaking for Beginners, and I’m documenting the process in a travelers notebook. I LOVE your #100songsthatchangedmylife book. It looks beautiful and is such a cool idea. (Heck they all are.)

    1. A bread book sounds amazing! I have bread making on my to-conquer list this year. I follow Jenna Fischer from The Office on Instagram and she posts a lot of stories about making her way through a similar bread book. I am obsessed. Please share some pages – I’d love to see!

  2. This is so great, Shannan! You’ve got me inspired to create an album of my favorite musicals!

    And I love your home album! My mom has a scrapbook of our family home. My parents bought it when they got married in the 80s, and they’ve lived in it ever since. It’s definitely fun to see all the changes through the years.

    1. That home album sounds great! And musicals – what an awesome topic. My mum has seen a lot of stage shows and has all the programs – I’ve always thought of making her something.

  3. Love this, Shannan! I like that you printed pages and glued them into a TN – another option if you don’t want to deco each page. You’ve got my brain firing at all the themed mini-books I could make. I had an outing in a local state park. I have hiked different sections of the Pacific Crest Trail and can round up all the photos into its own album. And I don’t know why I don’t scrap my fave music, movies, etc. when I see everyone around me doing that! Thanks for the great post!

    1. Thanks so much Alison! I’ve just ordered some of the Citrus Twist ‘Life Crafted’ albums which are like Travelers Notebooks but in page protectors and I’m really looking forward to doing something with those.