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The school scrapbook page:

Create a collage of vintage images for visual impact

The first day of school can be an emotional collage of excitement, bewilderment, fear and adventure. All of these show up on this school scrapbook page (and face) of five year-old Linus braving his big day at Union School. We wanted to capture the thrill and newness of it all, as well as the centuries of educational tradition that Linus was now joining.

This scrapbook page is designed like an antique "school slate," once used by Victorian children for practicing their letters and numbers. The effect is easy with black paper and a simple frame of wood-grain paper. Across the bottom, we assembled a collage of vintage school-children "scraps," figures cut from larger vintage images, with various school artifacts as slates, pens and ink wells, balls, books, globes and apples, of course.

Our journaling was written on the "slate" with a white paint pen - looking just like chalk. And the wonderful pictures of Linus have photo corners of the always-coveted "gold stars." All together, it's an A+ School Scrapbook Page!

Materials for the School Scrapbook Page

  • Vintage images (Free PDF download).
  • Background paper: black or slate-gray 12" X 12" paper (we used American Traditional Designs - Asphalt, PA-0632).
  • Trim papers: wood-grain or brown (we used Creative Imaginations travel design 12" X 12" paper).
  • Scrap paper, 12" X 3/4".
  • Self-adhesive, gold stars, about 5/8" .
  • Paint pen, white. 
  • Glue stick or other non-acid paper adhesive.
  • Small scissors, like manicure scissors.
  • Scissors or paper cutter.


  1. School scrapbook, step 1Print the vintage images on matte photo paper. Carefully cut out with manicure scissors the figures that you want in your collage. (On our PDF image pages, we've provided you with several extra images beyond the ones we used on our sample scrapbook page.)
  2. Assemble your collage along the 12" X 3/4" strip of scrap paper. (See tips). When you are satisfied with the final arrangement, glue the figures to the scrap paper strip and press under books until the glue is dry. If necessary, trim the bottom of the image collage with a paper cutter or scissors.
  3. School scrapbook, step 2Cut three, 12" X 3/4" strips from the wood-grain paper. Apply glue stick to the backs of the strips, leaving 1" unglued at each end. Attach them along three edges of the black 12" X 12" page to form a partial frame, letting the unglued ends of the strips overlap (You may want to press the strips under books to keep the page flat while the glue dries). 
  4. When the glue is dry, cut the strips diagonally through the overlapped corners, to create mitered corners. Glue the loose ends of the strips to the page.
  5. Glue the image collage along the bottom (unframed) edge of the page.
  6. Arrange your photos on the "slate" portion of the school scrapbook page and glue them. Apply the gold stars to the exposed corners of the photos. Using the white paint pen, journal the who, what, when, where and why on the "slate."


  • Arranging a collage takes some trial and error. Be thrifty: Print a set or two of the vintage images on plain paper using your printer's low-ink draft setting, cut them out, then use them to plan your arrangement. When you are satisfied, glue or tape them together on a 12" strip of paper as a model to follow for your actual images.
  • Think creatively when arranging a collage. Place your "focal point" images first, then surround them with the others. Aim for a pleasant (or functional) variation in height and width of the figures. You can edit images to remove arms, legs, hats, heads, or entire figures. Vary your placement techniques, from lining the figures up, side by side, to layering them densely.
  • If some of the white paper edges are prominent on some cut-out images, touch them up with a similar-color marker.  Go lightly because the ink will bleed onto your photo.
  • When cutting out silhouettes with fine detail, two techniques will help. First, hold the scissors at a 45-degree angle toward the back of the paper to reduce the white edge that will show.  Second, move the paper as you cut, not the scissors.
  • If you need to change the size of any images for your scrapbook layout, refer to the information in the FAQ on resizing a PDF image.
  • There are many different kinds of scrapbooking covers and bindings, so you will need to adapt your page design for your particular book.

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