5 Steps to creating a family memory book

Creating Your Legacy
Creating a Family Memory Book

We're all probably familiar with our grandmother's scrapbook collection. You know — those large, usually dusty albums filled with photos, postcards, old greeting cards, and other paper memorabilia. Today, everything is digital and most likely online in social media accounts or blogs. Even our grandparents have become social media wizards, posting family-friendly memes and uploading hundreds of photos, some of which are not exactly masterpieces of photographic art.

However, nothing will ever beat a scrapbook, or memory book. There's just something more intimate and special about physical memory books that you can hold in your hands and flip through. Sure, there are a lot of great digital options out there, like telling your family' story through a Memories Living Timeline. But we should appreciate the old-school ways of archiving memories as well.

So, here are 5 steps to create a family memory book. Get your scissors and glue ready, and follow along on this fun art project.

1. Gather and curate

First things first: gather the materials you would like to include in your memory book. Remember, this is not your grandma's old-fashioned scrapbook, although you're making this memory book in the spirit of that tradition. Don't be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. You shouldn't just gather stacks of photos: if you do, you'll just end up with a regular photo album.

Try to collect photos, postcards, and holiday and birthday greeting cards. If your family member was featured in a local newspaper, that is definitely something that's worth including in your memory book. Other memorabilia include ticket stubs, such as the first baseball game your father or grandpa took you to. Or perhaps they're from a play or movie you watched with your spouse on one of your dates.

A plane ticket could add a dimension to your vacation photos, as could foreign currency from places you've visited. You can even press dried flowers that signify a special event from the past, or symbolize someone's love.

Think like a museum curator. What "artifacts" from your life would you like to display in your family museum? By viewing your memory book like a tangible version of your family history — because that's essentially what it is — you'll be able to come up with some really creative ways to tell stories.

2. Choose your memory book

One of the most important aspects of the memory book is the book itself. There are many choices out in the market. If you're an online shopper, don't forget to check out a good old physical store as well. There are some unique albums and scrapbooks available in actual stores that you might not find online, especially in stationary boutiques, where scrapbooks may be handmade by local book binders.

To save costs on adhesives like glue, which can be messy anyway, we suggest you check out photo albums or scrapbooks that already have adhesive applied on to the pages. It's faster, cleaner, and you can easily rearrange your content. There are also many cover types you can choose from, but the most popular are hardback, which are usually made of tough, recycled cardboard. Since your memory book is something that you want to last for many decades, think about investing in leather-bound memory books, even if they are more pricey.

Another important aspect to consider is the book's ability to archive precious materials like photographs. Most photo albums and scrapbooks use protective film that is acid-free, and are certified for professional archiving. However, it doesn't hurt to take the time to check the product description to see if your book is indeed archive-worthy. Memories

3. Get creative with layouts

As we said earlier, the memory book is not just any old-fashioned scrapbook. You have the freedom to get creative not only with the content you choose, but with the layout and design as well. You can go with a clean, minimalist style to direct focus to the content itself, or you can make complex collages to tell unique stories about family members or special events from the past. You can even draw or write on the pages themselves — especially if your memory book has film covers on top of the content. It will give your memory book an extra dimension.

The important thing to keep in mind is that each piece of content, whether a photograph or other material, should shine as if it's a superstar. This means you should probably avoid overlapping materials too much if you're trying to make a multi-piece collage. In order to tell a coherent story, any sentences must be clear. So, visualize the story you want to tell before arranging the material on to the pages.

4. Create a narrative

Once you've figured out your layout, think about how you want to present the beautiful lives of your family members. Each person in your family is unique, and each one has a great story to tell. While you can tell an overall narrative of your family through shared memories (e.g. vacations, family reunions, and celebrations), you should also try to give each member their own "chapter".

For instance, if your child is a sports fan, you can dedicate a few pages of the memory book to their passion. Along with photos of them playing or watching sports, you can include ticket stubs to games they've attended, or a ribbon they received from participating in a sporting event.

If you want to tell the story of a family member who has already passed away, you can arrange photos like a timeline, showing their childhood pictures first. Include depictions of their major accomplishments like a graduation photo, as well as interesting milestones in their life, such as military photos or wedding anniversaries.

5. Collaborate

Collaboration is a natural part of being in a family. Doing things together, like an art project that everyone will be a part of, is a great way to bond with each other. Since members of your family are part of the story, encourage them to collaborate with you. After all, it is their memories that will make up the memory book. Why not tell their stories themselves? It'll give a personal touch to your memory book.

If some family members are too busy to physically take part in the process, put on your reporter's hat and interview them. This is not only a fun exercise, it is also a good way of researching how you could tell their stories in the best way possible. Plus, it's simply a good bonding experience with busy family members who you might not always have the chance to converse with regularly. You're sure to learn something new about your loved ones — and they'll appreciate you for listening to them.