Pay Tribute with a Special Gift

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Scrapbookers know first-hand the power of combining photos and journaling on a page, especially when that journaling carries with it a special message. The next time you need a personal gift for someone special, consider creating a scrapbook album that takes advantage of this combination.

A Tribute Album takes a little planning and a lot of cooperation, but when you need a gift that will be appreciated and remembered, this one fits the bill perfectly.  The concept of a Tribute Album is fairly straightforward – combine in a themed scrapbook album photos and letters from individuals who know and love the person to whom the album is dedicated.

This type of album works especially well for milestone events & special celebrations, such as a 50th anniversary, significant birthday, graduation or retirement. But it can also be adapted to fit just about any reason you might have for creating such a special gift.

Tribute Album Title Page

The album I’ll use as an example was one I made for my mother a couple years ago for her 60th birthday. Contributors included my dad, my brother & sister, several of the grandkids, all of mom’s siblings, most of my dad’s siblings, and several extended family members, long-time friends and coworkers.

10 Steps to Creating a Tribute Album:

1. Choose the recipient of the album. This will be the person to whom everyone is paying tribute.

2. Develop a list of anyone and everyone you would like to contribute to the album. This might include family members, both immediate and distant; coworkers; childhood friends & families; employers; college buddies; sorority/fraternity sisters & brothers; teammates; etc. Compile mailing addresses (and possibly phone numbers) for everyone on the list. This might require a few phone calls and a little help from someone close to your recipient who might have access to an address book. You may also want to ask more people than you really plan to include, because chances are pretty good not everyone will respond.

3. Decide what you will include in the album. A standard approach is to use some kind of message or letter plus photos or other memorabilia from each contributor. You could do much more, however, by adding yearbook excerpts, more extensive photos, responses to a specific question or theme, etc.

Sample Page using Both Old & New Photos

Sample Page using Both Old & New Photos

4. Decide how you will format the album. For example, you could limit each contributor to one page in your book, with photos and messages falling within set limits, such as size, colors, theme, etc. You will also need to know whether you are creating a traditional paper album or designing it digitally.

5. Once you’ve decided what you will include and how you will format the album, it’s time to draft a letter to everyone you are hoping will contribute to the book with information about what you are doing, how they can participate, specific guidelines on what you would like them to do, and deadlines for getting it done.

If you would like them to follow set limits for how they write their message, it may be a good idea to include the actual card or paper you would like them to send their message on. This is especially helpful when you plan to include their actual handwriting, as opposed to a less personal computer font. The item you send could be the actual pre-cut piece of the paper you plan to use in a traditional album or a white blank postcard of a specific size for a digital album with instructions to write on it with a fine-tipped black pen. Once written upon, this card can then be scanned and incorporated into your digital page. This was the approach used in my mom’s album.

Sample Album Page with Artwork from Kids

Sample Album Page with Artwork from Kids & Scanned Handwritten Message

Another thing to consider is how children might participate in the project, such as grandchildren. In my mom’s case, my nieces made drawings, which I then scanned and included on the page with the message from their mom (my sister).

Be sure you include in your letter the address to which you’d like items sent, as well as any instructions that might be needed to help ensure the album and its contents remain a surprise until you are ready for them to be revealed.

You can find a sample letter HERE, which you are welcome to copy and adapt to suit your individual project.

6. Mail your letters. Plan to make a few follow-up phone calls or emails as your deadline approaches. This is especially true for those on the list you feel are especially important to include in the album, such as a spouse, parent, best friend, etc.

Sample Introductory Page

Sample Introductory Page

7. While you are waiting for your letters and photos to arrive, it’s a good time to plan your own contribution to the album. You could include a page just like everyone else. Or you may instead wish to create a special introductory letter, title page, or other features that will add to the overall album. For my mom’s album, I created a title page and then combined my own letter into an introduction to the overall album.

Sample Extra Page with Portrait Photos

Sample "Extra" Page with Portrait Photos

Then at the end of the book, I compiled several photos of my mom, including a few wedding photos, some other miscellaneous shots, and then several portraits showing her through her lifespan up until the date of her 60th birthday. By using photos from the past, I was also able to include my grandparents in the album, even though they are no longer with us.

Sample Extra Page with Past Photos

Sample "Extra" Page with Past Photos

8. Once you have all of the items from your contributors, it’s time to put the album together. Of course, there are as many ways to do this as there are scrapbookers … you are limited only by your imagination. If you feel intimidated by doing a whole album at once, consider creating a standard page design and then just repeat it until all of your items have been included. Another helpful method is using a pre-designed template or theme album. In the example shown, I adapted an ABC album available through a digital scrapbooking company called Lifetimez, formerly available through Top-Line Creations (no longer in existence).

9. Once you get your album done, all that is left is presenting it to your recipient. Take some time to make this special and try to do it in person, if possible. Think about creating a special display box or particularly fancy wrapping. This is the type of gift that is really going to touch the heart … and you’re going to want to be there for the hugs.

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10. Last but not least, be sure to return any photos and other items to the contributors, unless they specified that isn’t necessary. It’s also a great time to thank them for their help and let them know how much their participation was appreciated – by you, as well as your recipient!

If you have access to older copies of Creating Keepsakes magazine, there is a wonderful article by Becky Higgins concerning Tribute Albums in the March/April 1998 issue. And if you have other ideas or experiences with making Tribute Albums, we’d love to hear them! Feel free to share in a comment below …

Click HERE to download this Tip Sheet in PDF format.

Click on “comment” below to share your thoughts…

Comments

  1. ltarbox says:

    Great ideas Kristin! I’d love to do this someday! Thanks for spelling it out so nicely for us!

  2. ltarbox says:

    Great ideas Kristin! I’d love to do this someday! Thanks for spelling it out so nicely for us!

  3. Poppy says:

    Thank you for the tip Kristin. I hope to do one of these one day in a larger book. This year I guess my mini memory books that I’m making for gifts are kind of mini tributes for the grandparents. I hope they touch their hearts as much as they touch ours!

  4. Poppy says:

    Thank you for the tip Kristin. I hope to do one of these one day in a larger book. This year I guess my mini memory books that I’m making for gifts are kind of mini tributes for the grandparents. I hope they touch their hearts as much as they touch ours!

  5. Luisa says:

    Great article Kristin… Can we share the link and PDF in our blogs?

  6. Luisa says:

    Great article Kristin… Can we share the link and PDF in our blogs?

  7. Luisa says:

    I forgot to mention that I retweeted the article…

  8. Luisa says:

    I forgot to mention that I retweeted the article…

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