When your family and friends open your albums, it’s the photos that grab their attention first, and it’s the journaling they look for next.

what should you write?

Your journaling could be:

  • a brief listing of the names of the people in a group photo
  • a caption addressed to your subject; for example a note to your son that when he was learning to walk he liked to carry something heavy and that’s why this photo of him carrying a 2-liter soda bottle is a treasured memory
  • the extensive telling of how an event unfolded
  • an anecdote
  • a personal message about your feelings on the scrapped topic
  • a stream-of-consciousness list related to the topic

However you journal, be sure to include date and place!

These posts have ideas and how-tos for writing the content of your journaling:

Using concrete details in your scrapbook journaling is good!

How to write with narrative and scene in your scrapbook page journaling

3 Ways to Include Dialogue in your Scrapbook Page Journaling

Writing that conveys your story AND the times in which it takes place

Tips for writing about yourself on scrapbook pages

Story Forms for Scrapbook Pages: Tell a Slice-of-life Story

Story Forms for Scrapbook Pages: Tell a Journey Story

Story forms for Scrapbook Pages: Tell an Ah-ha! Story

Story forms for your scrapbook pages: There’s a bear at the door!

how should you put the journaling onto the page?


You might print your journaling with your computer. You might make a digital page that includes computer-generated journaling. In these instances use a readable font.

If you want to include handwritten journaling it can be improved with guidelines and a good pen.  You can make guidelines with rubber and acrylic stamps for this purpose, with a pencil and ruler. If you’re fussy about how things look, practice on scrap paper first, to plan out what you will write. Figure out how much you can say in the space allotted and decide on the best pen weight for the guide. You can stamp or print guides directly onto your scrapbook page, or make your own journaling cards by stamping onto cardstock and trimming.

A set of archival ink pens in weights of 01, 03, 05, and 08 will provide a good assortment for your hand journaling. For a line width greater than 08, consider a going with a calligrapher pen. If you want to add fun touches like bright colors, metallic glimmers or even texture, try gel, metallic, soufflé, or glaze pens in a variety of colors. Just remember to cover those pens when you’re done and to store them horizontally.

These posts have ideas and how-tos for incorporating journaling into your page design:

10 ideas for placing scrapbook journaling on your page

How to use journaling strips to rock your scrapbook page design

Scrapbook page journaling: justification that strengthens design

How to handwrite in shapes on your scrapbook and journal pages

How to make circle journal spots for your scrapbook and journal pages


Handwriting combined with oversized chipboard yields a high-contrast and eye-catching title. A Jenni Bowlin journaling card houses primary journaling. A folded "Cutie Catcher" by Prima opens to reveal details about 3rd grade studies, classmates, and activities. It's a great way to hide and/or supplement visible journaling.