A Treasure-Chest scrapbook

I've always loved "treasure chests"--things that open to reveal (like Christmas morning) a wealth of glittering surprises, open for exploring.

In the popular virtual world known as "Second Life," I'm an architect and interior designer. And in real life, I'm always coming across photos, articles, and clippings with interesting ideas and designs that might be adapted in this virtual realm.

I used to keep these materials in a big box. But after it started overflowing, I decided to make a book out of them. So I started cutting and taping clippings and photos into a Wire-O sample blank book that a printer gave me a long time ago. And I just filled it.

Nothing's in any particular order. Things are just pasted in at random, where space allows. It's a nice sort of scrapbook that feeds my urge to "browse" for ideas and inspirations for projects. (It helps that I forget things easily...so I'll be constantly surprised when I turn the pages.)

I'll continue adding similar idea books. If anybody has suggestions for good, inexpensive blank books, I'd love to hear them! (For my next one, I'll try a Staples 6x9 Steno Book turned on its side.)

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this sounds like a really fun idea! I have a TON of magazine clippings and such that I end up just throwing in a file and never really look though. So, this would be a fun way to collect all of that info!

I also like this idea for trips and such where you collect napkins from the airplane or a postcard and photos and such. Need way to "scrapbook" vacations and special moments!

great weekend project! thank you!
nay nay

Will post a quick photo this weekend

You're welcome, nay nay...glad you like it! I'll try to post a gallery photo of one of its page spreads on Sunday. Often I cut out just the interesting bits, but occasionally, I've actually taped in a one- or two-page magazine article (folded in quarters to fit).

Also, if you tape clippings only along one top or side edge, you can get more real-estate in the book, because you can overlap more items on each page!

"Lover of all things creative."


you could get a junior agenda from 2008 (4.95 usd) ... if you paste over it then it wouldnt need to be blank pages...heck you could recycle any old notebook or journal :D

my artwork | my blog

Thanks Sara...I'll look into

Thanks Sara...I'll look into that!

"Lover of all things creative."

Make your own!

Seriously, since this is a home-made scrapbook/treasure chest book, why not bind your own? There are instructions here on this site--I believe that Innowen has written a few articles on this--and there are multiple kinds of binding styles/processes to choose from--or make them all.

In any case, that's my recommendation. :-)


Thanks again, Jon!

You're right...And when you're right, you're RIGHT!

Use sketchbooks

I've been doing something similar for about 10 years. I have 2 running "books" -- one for inspirational quotes and comics, and one for decorating ideas I'd like to try sometime. I paste them in a cheap spiral bound sketch diary. The pages are thick and take ink/colored pencils well, too. I have a small shelf of filled sketch diaries I enjoy going to when I'm looking for ideas. As I've filled more books, I've found I'm getting pickier about what new ideas I'll keep...I'm starting to notice ideas I put in a long time ago coming around again in new magazines.

Is this a commonplace book?

I'd like to try this. When you get lots of clippings taped in, does the book start getting thick? Is it a problem, or manageable? Should I tear out some of the pages to allow for the extra thickness? It sounds like Circa would be good for this, or photo albums that can be expanded. But spiral notebooks would be less of an effort -- no special trips to get supplies. Once I start using something, and get to liking it, it goes off the market or gets hard to find.

I wish I'd started something like this years ago. Of course nowadays it's mostly internet things I'd like to print out and put into one of these. It's not quite the same to save them on the hard drive.

Not sure if I'd call it a commonplace book, exactly...

but I guess it sort of is. I don't tape clippings -- I use a scrapbookers glue stick or, occasionally, double-sided tape squares.

Yes, if you use a spiral-bound notebook you'll need to tear out a few pages once it starts to get thick so it will still close properly. I never tear them out at the start...I wait to see how the book develops and then take out pages, as needed.

Circa would work, but the discs are so expensive and I have so many notebooks already that I don't believe it would be cost effective. If you use Circa for your planner or journal, you could cut the ragged edge off excess sketchbook pages you end up tearing out, then circa punch them.

I settled on the sketchbooks because they are cheap and readily available. They also come in several sizes, so you could pick whatever works best for you.

I highly recommend starting your own book(s). Printing from the internet is fine...I'm allergic to newsprint so read/print my comics and quotes almost exclusively from the internet these days (and sometimes from magazines).

Thanks for the inspiration

It's great that you have this collection. I have a few clippings from the late '80's that I really enjoy browsing but they were only saved unsystematically -- really by accident. If I had more, what a great scrapbook it would be. Most of the scrapbook ideas I've seen seem to be about particular life events. Having it all together, interests and birthdays and family photos etc would be so great. Thanks for posting this.

It does get thicker...but not unmanageable!

Hi GG,

Sorry I haven't been back to answer for a while! Yes, the book does get thicker, but it isn't unmanageable. The Wire-O binding seems to handle it quite well (both opening and closing).

I do also sketch...

Great suggesiton...Thanks btrgrnmal!

Oh...and another comment...

Sorry btrgrnmal...I posted my prior reply too quickly! Yes, ideas definitely grow old, tired, and of less interest. That's already started to happen. So when it does, I can quickly peel the item off and use the space for something else. So when I go to add a new item, I first look for an appropriate space that I've vacated on an existing page. The fact that there's no real overall organization is a plus here too!

Depending on how archival

Depending on how archival you want- consider acid- free scrapbooks, paper, and adhesive. Archival spray is also available for clippings. These products are available at scrapbook stores and online. I have used this method, as well as recycled planners, agendas, and notebooks.
Too much of everything [I love] is just enough.
~Calvin & Hobbes

Recycle old handbooks

Your spiral book idea sounds like a fun way to recycle old spiral bound training manuals, handbooks for very obselete computers, unused old calendars, etc.

All those spiral bound books "that'll be useful someday" and then never are :)


Yesterday my daughter was looking through a magazine and oooohed and ahhhhed over something. I started to tell her about this idea about the idea scrapbook and she says, "oh, you mean a morgue".

She's majoring in technical theater and apparently it's common practice for costumers and makeup artists to keep just such a book for inspiration and reference. They call it a morgue. Hers is currently three 4" binders packed pretty full.