5 Rules for Scrapbooking with Boys

scrapbooking with boys

Scrapbooking? With boys? Yep. But not in the traditional 12×12 style – think journals, notebooks or baseball card albums.

Here are my 5 rules for scrapbooking with boys:


Rule #1: Call it a journal, not a scrapbook.

My son is 10 years old. I’ve been scrapbooking his entire life. To him, scrapbooking = mom’s hobby. Sure, I could educate him on how scrapbooking is a perfectly acceptable hobby for boys: Mark Twain invented and kept a Scrap Book, vampires have diaries, Tim Holtz is amazing, etc.

But right now I’m just trying to get him interested in recording memories and saving mementos. So for right now, we call it a journal.


Rule #2: Give it a purpose.

Why should he keep a scrapbook journal? Especially if mom already scrapbooks? Because this is for his thoughts and mementos, not someone else’s interpretation. If he likes to draw, make it primarily a sketch book. If he likes to write, make it mostly a journal.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book has a great introduction:

diary of a wimpy kid intro


Rule #3: Pick the right journal.

What is the “right” journal? It depends on the boy. And you probably won’t find what you’re looking for in the scrapbook aisle. Try these ideas:

Blank Journals:

When my son was 4 years old, he used a 4×6 photo album to hold little mementos, drawings and stickers. (See Summer Badge Booklet).

Last summer, he used a sketch book for his journal. I added patterned paper, stickers and sewing to the cover:

summer book 2012

This summer, he used Simple Stories page protectors with 3×4 sections (see Project Summer). It was kind of like a baseball card album only smaller; baseball cards fit loosely. He kept the page protectors in a Simple Stories binder throughout the summer, then transferred the contents to his own homemade duct tape cover (see below) to store on his bookshelf.

Also consider graph paper, small 3-ring binders or baseball card albums.

Make a Journal:

Create an album cover or journal using a cereal box (cut to the desired size) and duct tape. There are lots of fun duct tape designs now, such as the Duck Brand (available at Target, Wal-Mart, Michael’s, etc.).

duct tape journal

Activity Books & Fill-in-the-Blanks Journals:

Some books already have journaling and drawing prompts in them. Try one of these:

diary of a wimpy kid DIY

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do it Yourself Book ($13, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Wal-Mart and more).

This is my favorite journal for boys. It’s the one that got my son interested in keeping a journal when he was 7 years old. The book contains journaling prompts, drawing prompts, cartoons, fill in the blanks, likes and dislikes, etc. It’s worth a look to at least get some ideas.

A few of the inside pages:

diary of a wimpy kid - house

diary of a wimpy kid - comics

diary of a wimpy kid - future

diary of a wimpy kid - questions


dude diary

Dude Diary, available in 3 editions. ($11, Amazon, Barnes & Noble).

A little more gross than the Diary of a Wimpy Kid one, due to some talk about bugs and smells and such. This journal was quite popular with 9-year old boys at the school book fair. I guess 9-year old boys like to talk about bugs and smells and such.

dude diary 2


pigeon activity book

Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book ($15, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and more)

More of an activity book than a scrapbook or a journal, but it’s good for younger kids.


There are several other journal choices online, such as Wreck This Journal (silly activities to do with the pages), Journal Buddies for Boys (focus on journaling) and Doodle Sketchbook for Boys (focus on drawing). I haven’t seen those in person, though.


Rule #4: Offer advice, not instructions.

I tried to get my son to write more in his journal – I thought it would help his handwriting and journaling skills. But the more I pushed it, the less interested he was. Then I realized that I was making it sound like a homework assignment. Yuck.

So I don’t do that anymore. I also don’t hand him photos and memorabilia with instructions to place them in his journal. He takes his own photos (usually Lego creations or something outdoors) and collects his own mementos.

I do make suggestions – like if I have a ticket stub, I ask if he wants to keep it for his summer journal. This also reminds him that it’s his journal, not mine, and he can put whatever he wants in it.

To encourage journaling in a non-homework way, I printed some fun 3×4 journaling cards, put them on my desk and told my son that he could use some if he wanted. No big deal. I found him writing at my desk a few days later.

These are a few things from my son’s summer journal:

journal contents

  • photos – such as Lego creations
  • sketches, drawings, cartoons
  • game tokens, score sheets
  • journaling cards (the speech bubble one shown is Nisa Fiin’s freebie)
  • sports and movie ticket stubs
  • baseball cards/wrappers
  • mementos – such as a cut out section of a Lego box
  • list of favorites (the card shown is by One Little Bird)
  • video game screenshots

Also (not pictured):


Rule #5: Ask to look at his journal.

He’s probably quite proud of it. Even if you’ve already seen the journal 100 times, ask to see it again and praise him repeatedly.

My son was very excited when I asked to photograph some of his pages for this blog post. We looked through all of his journals again and reminisced. He wrote in them all by himself, with no help from me – and they show his personality far better than my scrapbook pages do. And they are wonderful.


This post has been approved by a 10-year old boy.

  • Ann

    What a marvelous, refreshing article. Kudos to you and your son…

  • http://pintester.com/ Pintester

    LIKE! Cool little boy, and cool Mom too. ;)

  • Karen L K

    That is so great that get him going on that and your approach is great.