Get Inspired by Scrapbook Challenges

by | Scrapbooking Ideas | 27 comments

I tend to be a visually inspired scrapbooker. I usually have to see something to get the creative mojo flowing. I’ve never been one to be inspired by conceptual ideas (i.e. use a ribbon, 2 pattern papers and rubons in your layout).

Tammy Dailor

As such, scrapbooking challenges never really inspired me to create.

But when I found myself in a scrapbooking rut recently, a challenge helped get me out of it.

I started to explore the world of challenges a bit and gained a new appreciation for what they can offer.

5 Lessons Learned from Scrapbooking Challenges

1. Creativity is enhanced

When you are given a set of instructions for a challenge — such as a list of supplies to include in your design — your own creativity will come into play through the products you choose and how you use them. Mix bold patterns together, use a funky color combination, add embellishments in an unexpected way, combine a variety of alphabets for a unique title. Instead of seeing the challenge as limiting, find ways to push your creativity within the established boundaries.

2. Get out of your comfort zone

When we get into a groove and do the same thing over and over, our pages can start to look stale and boring. Challenges can stretch us in new directions. In a product challenge you start with the products rather than the photos. Color challenges might have you use a colors you never use. A journaling challenge gets you to think about the story before you do anything else. Figuring out how to create layouts in all these different scenarios helps you to strengthen your scrapbooking skills.

3. The art of flexibility

Challenges can provide you with a framework to get started, but don’t be afraid to stray when you need to. If black cardstock wasn’t on the list but you need it to mat a photo to achieve contrast, use it. Maybe you have to turn your photos to black and white to get them to work with the pattern papers. Don’t take the challenge so literally that you create a page you won’t enjoy. Add and subtract products as needed to achieve a look you are happy with.

4. Seeing a different perspective

Sometimes challenges can help us makes connections with our photos and stories that we might have missed. Many journaling challenges, like creating a Then and Now layout or journaling about a childhood memory, can send you off in a direction you never would have thought of. Use these challenges to spark ideas for photos you may have forgotten about or help you develop stories for photos you’ve skipped for the lack of a story.

5. The key to scrapbooking faster

Limiting product choices can help you create layouts quickly. Because you make your selections ahead of time based on the challenge criteria, there are fewer decisions to make as you create. No more searching through 3 jars of ribbon to find the perfect one. Everything you are allowed to use is already right in front of you.

Are you ready to stretch yourself take on a scrapbooking challenge or two? Here are some great websites that offer a variety of different challenges to get you started:

Digital Scrapbooking Challenges

Paper Scrapbooking Challenges

Tammy Dailor is a long time paper scrapbooker. She blogs at, where she shares ideas, solutions and strategies for making scrapbooking easier. Follow Tammy on twitter @tdailor.


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  1. Norma

    Thanks for a great post. I’ve never really tried a challenge, but I’ve taken online classes that gave me new techniques to try & use on a layout or sketches to launch from and I did find that it can be very helpful & inspiring to have that little spark to start from…may have to try a challenge soon!

    • Tammy Dailor

      You are welcome Norma! That’s exactly what happened to me – it created a little spark and I created a page I never would have created otherwise. And it’s still one of my favorites. Whenever you need a little push, try a challenge and see what happens! πŸ™‚

  2. Barbara

    I LOVE challenges! They help me to get some pages done that I might not otherwise do. And, I’ve gotten some very nice prizes and posting bonuses, too!

    • Tammy Dailor

      Oh, now that’s a perk I forgot about! Whenever there’s product/prize incentive, it certainly makes you more excited about giving it a try. πŸ™‚

  3. grannymike

    Thanks for an interesting slant on scrapping. I, too, am more visually inspired. I tired a challenge or two several years back when I first started scrapping, but I’ve not tried one since. Like Norma, I’ve been challenged by classes I’ve taken, especially one, to approach my scrapping differently and to follow assignments with specific tasks. It did help stretch me and the way I think. Thanks for the reminder that there are more than one way to do things and more than one way to be inspired.

  4. Terra

    I used to participate in challenges frequently and really feel like they were instrumental in teaching me how to digital scrapbook. I’m not quite sure why I stopped participating in challenges but this post has reminded me of how much I enjoyed them and I’m going to try a couple this weekend.

    • Tammy Dailor

      It’s funny how we “forget” about things. It is good to get a reminder, especially for something you enjoyed doing and worked so well!

  5. Din T

    My favorite thing about Scrapbook Challenges is they motivate me to meld my scrapbook supplies and my photos together into a page or two. I often need the challenge to get myself away from the routine “to do” lists and actually scrapbook.

    • Tammy Dailor

      Exactly! I love it when I come across one and it sparks a great idea for a page. I don’t mind taking the help if I get fantastic layouts from it.

  6. Cindy

    I’ve never tried a challenge – I see them often in digi-land but didn’t know about all those resources for paper scrapping too, so thanks! I am going to have to try those out and thanks for allowing the exploration of some new sites!

    • Tammy Dailor

      You’re welcome! Every site has something different to offer. I hope you give one a try!

  7. Debbie P

    I need a challenge. While shopping the other day I couldn’t find anything to work with. I felt like I am in a rut and get out of my comfort zone!

    Thanks for the tips!

  8. Suzanne

    Thanks for the insights, Tammy! Indeed, joining challenges is one of the great ways to jump start one’s scrapping mojo. I am trying to join some now and yes, the chance of winning prizes makes it extra fun! πŸ˜‰

  9. Kathy

    Your suggestion about the challenge that limits supplies….that one really spoke to me! I tend to spend WAY too much time fussing around, finding the “perfect” finishing touches. Thanks so much, I will definitely tray challenge like this in the near future.

  10. Lynea Ford

    Thank you for including the links to some great sites. I feel inspired by your article to try some new challenges, and the links you included have given me the perfect resources and tools!

  11. rebecca.k

    Thank you for the nudge to try something new. I am off to check out the links you have listed. Thanks!

  12. DoggiNo

    Challenges are the best way to push your boundaries. I LOVE them ! Ok, I do have my favourite ones, and some are really challenging but I still walk way with having learned something or having discovered a new technique. That can’t be bad, can it !

  13. Nathalie

    I am also a challenge junkie… I might not actually participate or use all the requirements but they are often a starting point for a page or an idea of a page. Great post!

  14. Crystal

    I love scrapbook challenges. Most of the pages I do start with challenges.

  15. candyK

    I appreciate this. Usually I scrap because I am in class, but lately I’ve been enjoying the many different type of challenges at ScrapGirls. Some feature just one requirement, others are thematic. Its a jump start for me.

  16. Nicky H

    I love challenges, as long as they leave a little room for creativity. If they are the ones that say “use 3 photos, 4 words of journaling, 5 papers, and 17 buttons” it kinds of takes away all the fun. πŸ™‚

  17. Cynthia Miller

    Well honestly it took me quite a while to get involved in challenges. I was blown away by the creativity that people have and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by showing up with something “mediocre.” So I tried one, and actually got feedback! I like the “rules” I’m given… its almost like being given a grab bag of stuff and told “now go do something with this.” Amazing how each of us interprets what we’re given in all different ways. And the prize is… I’m adding a great page to my album!

  18. Jen Evangelista

    I love challenges! They are great when in a rut! And you sometimes can win more stuff to scrap with, hehe πŸ˜‰

  19. Margot/NZ

    I love challenges for very reasons you have outlined. I’m motivated by those factors, rather than the prizes or ‘winning’, so rarely if ever post my page. This way any challenge is still a good one for me to try – I’m keeping a notebook with some challenge ideas so if I get into a rut or just want something new to try, I can pick one from the list.

  20. Tamsin

    Thanks for an interesting post. There’s nothing quite like a challenge to get you thinking. You can get some really different and exciting results when taking one on!


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