How many of you remember learning to write the “friendly letter” in elementary school? We learned that it’s less formal than the “business letter.” We learned to start the letter with a first paragraph that tells why we’re writing and then to move on into more paragraphs with the details you want to share, then finishing off with a paragraph that “concludes” or in some way ties things up.

Chances are much of the scrapbook page journaling you are already writing is like a “friendly letter” — with you addressing your subject, telling them of your thoughts or imparting some bit of advice.

Knowing that, go ahead and include the salutation, and the closing. Be absolutely clear about who the letter is to and who it’s coming from. See  for composing and placing your scrapbook page letter below.



Your scrapbook page journaling may take a variety of forms — from a listing of the names of the people in a photo, to a quick retelling of events, to a complex story and contemplation. Knowing what “form” your journaling will take as you begin to lay out your page will help you plan the page design so that the journaling not only fits–but contributes to the strength of the page design. The form we are looking at today is of journaling written as a letter to someone (or something!)



Write a letter to a loved one

Michelle Houghton wrote a letter to her daughters about how lucky they are to have the dad they do. She says, “I originally thought about writing it as a thank you to my husband, but I always tend to get a little mushy when I write to John.  Writing to my girls kept the tone a little lighter.  The journaling also records when and where the photos were taken, but the letter form make the page more personal.”

Dear Sam and Lori by Michelle Houghton | Supplies:
Patterned paper – American Crafts and Cosmo Cricket; Die cuts – SEI; Wood arrow – Pink Paislee; Ink – Sharpie and Copic

Marie-Pierre Capistran‘s “Norwegian Star” has several passages of journaling written to her youngest daughter. Marie-Pierre says, “We just came back from a cruise and instead of doing a mini album or a page about the whole vacation, I decided to tell Maya how the cruise went, from her point of view. I wrote her a post card (the return address reads: Mom, On the Norwegian Star Ship, Somewhere between NY and Bermuda, XOX OXO…) and I printed several photos of her on the cruise and I wrote down several little details that happened for and about her during HER cruise. I plan on doing another one for my other daughter. I think this is fun because even though it was one trip, I will have it documented in 2 different ways with lots of different photos.”

Norwegian Star by Marie-Pierre Capistran | Supplies: Cardstock: Bazzill; Journaling cards: Elle’s studio, Jenni Bowlin; Washi Tape: Bella Blvd; Thickers: AC; Stamp: Pink Paislee; Ink: Rangers.

Adriana Puckett loves writing letters to her children on an important occasion or milestone. She says, “I think they enjoy reading journaling written this way. I used a natural handwriting script to mimic the handwritten letter.  It can be a challenge to get the handwriting readable – just play around with different sizes, anti aliasing settings (crisp/sharp/smooth), and different fonts until you have one that you like.”

You are so Beautiful by Adriana Puckett | Supplies: All patterned paper and most embellishments from the Autobiography kit by ScrapKitchen Designs at The Sweet Shoppe. Template by Jenn Lindsey. Sparkles from OScraps Firefly kit; Greenery from Sherwood Studio – Kitchen Tales kit; Font: DJB Deanna Script.

Katie Scott wrote a letter to her daughter on the occasion of starting third grade, talking about what’s ahead and the skills and traits her daughter has that will get her through it sucessfully. She hand wrote the journaling on days-of-the-week tabs arranged in a vertical band.

Third Grade by Katie Scott | Supplies: Patterned Papers from DCWV, Chatterbox, & Sizzix, Letter Stickers: American Crafts: Journaling Spots: Heidi Swapp

Doris Sander takes a picture of her son every year on the day and time of his birth.  She says, “It’s a sweet way to record his growth and my thoughts for him in that year. This year, the journaling is in the form of a letter to him.  Since the letter took up so much design space on the page, I overlaid my title on it with stamps and a grey ink so the handwritten journaling would still show through.”

You’ll Always Be My Baby by Doris Sander | Supplies: patterned paper, feathers, sticker – Jenni Bowlin Studio, punch – Jenni Bowlin for Fiskars, ink – Jenni Bowlin for Ranger, stamps – Technique Tuesday, cards, thread, bobbin parts, numbers, milk cap, journaling paper, lotto chip – vintage

Write a letter to a pet

Stefanie Semple I wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter to her cat. It gave her the opportunity to get the habits of a favorite pet recorded. She made the page using a digital “quick-page,” which is like a template but also includes papers and embellishments. She minimized the template to make room for her extensive journaling. and placed in on her canvas. Stefanie says, “I love to match the back ground paper(s) to the back ground of the photo in order to allow the subject of the photo to stand out.”

Soak in the Sunshine by Stefanie Semple | Supplies: Kit: Fall Festival by Eliese’s Pieces; Template: Layer Works No. 47 by Studio Double D

Write an imagined letter to yourself

Terry Billman put together a fun layout featuring a letter FROM her cute mini dachshund to Terry. She says, “I look at the expression in her eyes and often wonder what she is thinking. Dogs do think, don’t they? Sure they do! The letter includes references to daily details and my summary of the things I know she wants–and, thus, would tell me in a letter.” Terry placed a digital of Bailey at center stage, staring right into your eyes. Her goal was to pare this cute,  oh-so-sweet photo with  journaling, that will have the reader thinking, “C’mon mom, don’t be so hard on her. Give her what she wants!”

Naughty by Terry Billman | Supplies: Anna Aspnes: Art Play Gather, Art Play Saffron Villa, Art Play Ablaze, Distressed Edge Overlay, Summer Bliss, Abstract Fotoblendz No. 5, Warm Glows No. 2; Katie Pertiet: Fine Line Borderlines, Woodshop Papers No. 1, Postage Strip Words, Stacked Photo Clusters No. 2, Wooden Alpha No. 8

Write to something instead of someone

Amy Kingsford wrote a love letter to her favorite season on “Dear Autumn,” writing about the many things that she absolutely adores about fall.  Amy says, “I like writing letters to places and things–rather than a person–because its formality lends extra significance to the subject matter of my page. I accented the page with several fall-themed embellishments and added an everyday photo that I took on a photo walk last fall.”

Dearest Autumn by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Michelle Godin Designs: Sloppy Stencils 2, Too Cool For School Papers, A Hint of Autumn Stamps, Sunshine and Grass Stains Elements; Kaye Winiecki: Pieces of Autumn; Sahlin Studio: Washi Tape Strips No. 3; Sara Gleason: Petals No. 3; Pink Trike Designs: Cut It Out Frames; Shawna Clingerman” Creative Bliss Elements; One Little Bird: Possibilities Elements