What's the Difference Between a Scrapbook and an Altered Book?


We sometimes encounter confusion regarding the difference between a scrapbook and an altered book.

These are two entirely different art forms, although as with any paper craft, there can be overlap.

  • Scrapbooks, sometimes called memory books, represent a marriage between a photo album, a journal and an artistic display. They "tell a story" that is personal to the person making the album. A typical layout may contain photographs, journaling, and embellishments to add eye appeal. The artist may incorporate other "memories" such as invitations, greeting cards, travel itineraries, programs, ticket stubs, expired passports, birth announcements, etc.

  • Typically, these special albums are designed and sold expressly for the purpose of preserving memories. They vary in size, shape, price, and in the number of layouts possible.

  • Often, layouts are encased in acetate page protectors.

  • As a rule, all papers, glues, inks and other elements are manufactured to be acid free and archival. The idea is to protect the photographs and other memories from decay caused by acid or alkaline substances.

  • Altered books, on the other hand, are not usually intended to record memories for future generations. They are art forms and may contain any and all elements that the artist chooses to use to express his or her idea.

  • Altered books are ordinary books that the artist has "altered" in some way.

  • Since books are not acid free, altered books are not archival. If photographs are used in an altered book, if must be with the understanding that the photograph is not protected against the ravages of time.

Video Demo of a Scrapbook Layout

So to sum up, a scrapbook preserves memories for future generations to enjoy. An altered book is simply an art form that expresses the artist's vision. Admittedly, some people have difficulty getting their mind around the concept.

It's this. You create an altered book for the same reason to you make an oil painting or create a piece of fabric art. It's a vehicle for expressing your creativity. Some people "get it." Some don't.

For more information, Creative Scrapbooking Ideas, Free Scrapbooking Graphics offers a great range of information for beginner and for the more advanced crafters as well.

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