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I have mentioned that I am a scrapbook magazine junkie.  I love flipping through scrapbook magazines looking for the latest and greatest ideas and inspiration.  I don't think I have ever completely copied a layout or project simply because I did not have all the materials necessary on hand.  I tend to start with someone else's idea and then expand upon it or change it to suit my style, needs and supplies.  I wonder about proper scraplift ettiquette.  I'm honestly not sure if there are any rules, but here are some thoughts for you to think about.

In the world of scrapbooking, imitation can be the sincerest form of flattery or a big no-no depending on the circumstances. Scraplifting, or borrowing ideas from another person’s layout, is inevitable as we all search for inspiration for our scrapbooks. There has developed a fine line between being motivated by another person’s color choice and copying outright.

In the “old days,” it seemed perfectly logical to completely copy a layout from a magazine. After all, who was going to see it? However, now that the scrapbooking has gone digital people have more access to each other’s layouts. It’s not so easy to “get away with” a complete scrap lift if you are posting your final page on an Internet forum. The advent of scrapbooking contests has also made scraplifting an important issue in the community.

What are the Scraplifting Rules of Etiquette? Use the following Do’s and Don’ts as your guide when you draw inspiration from the works of others.

  1. Do use layouts in magazines and online galleries to expand your scrapbooking horizons. I know for a fact that there are certain color combinations or picture taking techniques that I would never have tried on my own if I hadn’t seen them in use elsewhere. Scrapbooking is a creative activity, and sometimes we just need to be inspired by others. Seeing different techniques, arrangements and creative ideas can help you stretch your wings a bit and work outside of your comfort zone. And when you do that, you’ll be surprised at what you can create!
  2. Don’t copy outright, especially if you are entering a contest. This is the scrapbooking equivalent of cheating. Use a simple rule…if you are borrowing more than three elements directly, then you are in danger of being seen as a copycat. If you like the title font, color use and cropping of the pictures, try using a different layout arrangement and title. If the paper catches your eye, do something completely new and different with it. This may not seem like a big deal if you don’t plan on entering a layout in a contest or displaying it online, but practicing adaptations like these will make you a more creative (and more confident) scrapbooker.
  3. Do give credit where credit is due. If you are posting your page on an online forum, and were inspired by another person’s layout, let the community know! As long as you haven’t outright copied, the original person is sure to be flattered. Who doesn’t like a little celebrity?
  4. Don’t scraplift until you’ve asked yourself a few questions. Analyze the layout and ask yourself what you really like about it. What draws your attention to the page? Is it the contrast between the size of the photo and the title? Is it the additional touches like rivets and ribbon? If you can identify what elements are speaking to you, you might not need to copy at all. In the past, when I’ve taken the time to analyze why I’m drawn to a particular layout, I’ve discovered a way to make that same element totally me and totally original. It’s worth a shot!
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