Where do I get the goods? 29 places to find papers, fonts and other artwork to personalize and beautify your photo books and scrapbooks

Some obvious, some not-so-obvious places to shop for digital scrapbooking kits and other artwork that will take your albums from drab to fab

Are you thinking about taking the leap from photo book to digital scrapbook-style albums? If so, you’re probably wondering: Where do I get the pretty stuff that will make my pages pop?

I know, it might seem simpler to use a system like Shutterfly or Snapfish to create your photo books — after all, the supplies are all there together, ready for you to simply choose and use.

But don’t let that that simplicity limit your possibilities, your creativity and your fun! (Here are a few other BIG reasons to use Photoshop instead of online, all-in-one, design-and-print solutions, too!)

The variety of kits and supplies available if you instead choose to work in Photoshop can be mind-blowing! There are some seriously talented designers out there who will make upgrading a photo book to a digital scrapbook so, so easy!

Yes, it might sound complicated if you’re giving this a go for the first time. But trust me, it’s not as hard as you think. It’s as simple as dropping their artwork into a template or a design of your own.

(New to the idea of creating digital scrapbooks or albums with Photoshop? I am developing a class to teach you the ins and outs. If you can learn how to use Shutterfly, you can use how to use Photoshop! If you’d like to be notified when that class launches, contact me!)

I know you’re going to be so happy with the options available to you once you start digging in! Here are some sources to get you started (if you’re new) or to give you some ideas for fresh places to look if you’ve been around awhile.

A preview of a kit from Sweet Shoppe Designs.

Digital Scrapbook Stores: Kits, papers, elements, alphabets and more

These are treasure troves of beautiful stuff! Check them out! (By the way, I do not have any kind of affiliate agreement with any of these sites. I’m sharing them simply because I find they have great stuff!)

An example of Creative Market designer Royal Digital’s store

Other Places to Look: Papers, elements and more

These sites might require a little more digging — and piecing together items, rather than finding ready-to-go kits — but you can often find deals and unique items! Try searching for:

  • “digital scrapbooking”
  • “seamless pattern”
  • “scrapbook vector”
  • “scrapbook elements”
  • “digital clip art”
  • paper
  • background
  • alpha
  • alphabet (different than a font; each individual letter in an alpha is generally its own piece of artwork)

Sites to visit:

  • Etsy
  • Creative Market — I love this site, because it’s all designers who are selling their amazing artwork for very reasonable prices. And if you scrapbook for hire, you can get commercial licenses for a lot less money than buying a commercial license from a place like Adobe Stock.
  • Adobe Stock — Many Creative Cloud plans include a certain number of monthly credits for stock images. It’s a good way to use them!
  • Design Cuts
  • The Hungry JPG
  • Teachers Pay Teachers — Teachers (especially early-education ones) often have amazing eyes for fun design!
  • Close to My Heart — You might have used their paper products, but many people don’t realize they sell some (not a lot) digital products, too. And they’re inexpensive!

Sample from MyFonts.com

A snapshot of just one of the fonts available on MyFonts.com.

Fonts

Being able to use any font in your personal albums is one of the VERY BEST reasons to move to digital scrapbooking! There are SO MANY fonts out there. Never before have you been able to quickly, easily and sometimes cheaply find the perfect font for each of your layouts. Building a kids page? Find a kids-style font. Travel pics from China? Find a Chinese-style font. The possibilities are endless!

Free Fonts

There is no shortage of free fonts out there! But you need to be careful. Why?

  • Most free fonts are for personal use only. Scrapbooking for yourself is certainly personal use. Scrapbooking for someone else is not. Using a free font for non-personal use might seem like a petty crime, but the font designers would disagree — and you don’t want to risk a lawsuit, especially when the other party is sure to win.
  • Some free fonts don’t include all characters. Some, like dashes and parentheses, will show up as an ugly, empty rectangle when you type them into your journaling. And some look great in the preview but are rough-edged, have strange spacing between letters or are just plain ugly when you try to use them, especially in large chunks of texts (like your journaling). So, just be careful. (Learn more.)

I don’t recommend using too many of these, so I’m not sharing a ton here. But know that you can Google “free fonts” and come up with a long list of sites to visit.

Recommended free-fonts site

That said, there is one GOOD free fonts site that I recommend: Google Fonts. These fonts are open-source fonts (or are licensed by Google on your behalf), so you can use them for free in both personal and commercial uses. It’s a site that is well–respected by designers, and it has a HUGE selection. As of this writing, there are 3,245 free fonts available!

They also frequently include variations on weight or style (i.e. Open Sans Regular, Open Sans Bold, Open Sans Regular Italic), which is really nice for drawing attention to certain words or phrases within longer pieces of journaling on your pages.

High-Quality, Paid Fonts

Fonts that will cost you money typically will be super-high-quality and will often include glyphs, ligatures and other features that will take your typography game up a notch. They’re also more frequently free of “bugs” that are common with some free fonts, which (especially if you have a large number of free fonts installed) can sometimes make your computer freak out.

  • MyFonts.com — My favorite font store! There are some free fonts, but there are a lot of great ones that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
  • Creative Market — My favorite store for script and hand-drawn fonts, for sure!
  • Adobe Fonts — Your Creative Cloud license comes with free use of Adobe Fonts. Check it out!
  • Font Spring
  • Font Shop
  • fonts.com

So there you have it. This list should get you started in finding fun design elements, fonts and treats for your pages. Just remember to limit your time wandering down the rabbit hole, googly-eyed and drooling at all of the fun designs. Save some time for actually making some pages of your own!

A Final Word: The cost of digital kits

I am on a mission to save digital scrapbooking kit designers’ jobs! I would absolutely LOVE to see every designer out there be able to make a great living selling their artwork to people who love this hobby! After all, we would not have a hobby without them. And their beautiful papers and elements are what makes this hobby — and using Photoshop to do it — such an amazing thing.

Designing a kit is a LOT of work. I know, because I’ve done it. I spent more than 100 hours on creating my own School Days kit. And while I know it was my first kit — and I wasn’t fast or great at it — I also know that it takes time to design each little piece of every kit out there, especially the really good kits!

If a kit costs you a few bucks — or maybe even $20 — please don’t scoff at the price and hunt down a freebie kit instead. Remember that you’re supporting a designer who wants YOU to have the best artwork available to make memory masterpieces that you can pass on to your children, grandchildren, friends and other family members for years to come. And even if you create the albums only for yourself, they’re going to give you a LOT of joy.

Plus, you can use these kits and everything in them for as many pages as you want for the rest of your life! Compare that with the cost of a few sheets of paper and a stamp set at your local craft store, and you can see that these kits are a great deal.

So try to keep things in perspective. If you would spend $20 at a fast-food joint for a quick meal for your family without thinking twice, I would argue that spending $20 for a kit that you can use over and over again to create amazing memory masterpieces is easily justifiable! 

Just my two cents! Thank you to all of you awesome designers out there!

Are there shops I’m missing? Do you have a shop you’d like me to include? Please add a comment below!

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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