Does Your Family Support Your Scrapbooking?

This entry is part 42 of 86 in the series Scrapworthy Lives Results

Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.

Most respondents in my study report support for their hobby to varying degrees from their family. In fact, other family members are more supportive than non-family.

Husbands may roll their eyes or “think it is dumb” yet they still accommodate their wife’s hobby by taking care of children’s needs while their wife scrapbooks or providing financial resources to be put toward scrapbooking. It could be that scrapbookers who are supported in their leisure activity are more likely to consent to be interviewed in the first place. In other words, they feel confident that their hobby is something worth talking about with a researcher because their partners are supportive. Overall, there were no reports of the hobby harming family relationships, consistent with what previous scholars have found.

I did not specifically ask about how the hobby is negotiated in the household but did ask respondents how their family feels about their scrapbooking. Not one respondent talks about lying to other family members about how much they spend on their hobby or that they hide recent purchases[1] from family members as previous research suggests happens among other women crafters (including scrapbookers) (Downs 2006; Stalp 2006a; Stalp 2006b).

Family support extends beyond sharing space and economic resources with scrapbooking but also involves consenting to be photographed, taking pictures (of the scrapbooker), learning to take better photographs, going places for the scrapbook (e.g., scrapbook shopping and picture taking opportunities), and contributing their thoughts to the scrapbook. Family members have the right to refuse having their photograph taken, though most respondents did not mention this happening. Refusing to be photographed was the exception, not the rule. For example, one respondent comments how her family would not let her photograph them when they were seasick. Other than at that moment, they usually were good sports about it.

Not only do most scrapbookers want photographic images of family members for their scrapbooks, but they also want their words. Scrapbookers have various strategies for getting other family member’s words and thoughts in the scrapbook. Respondents use family member’s blog posts for journaling. Others email family members questionnaires to use in the scrapbook. Scrapbookers ask family to do things as simple as labeling photographs so that they knew what the caption for various photographs should read.

Extended family members also help scrapbookers scrapbook. The primary way extended family members help is by sending photographs to the scrapbooker who lives too far away to regularly see nieces, nephews, and grandchildren and take photographs themselves.

Overall, respondents feel like they are supported in their hobby by other family members. Scrapbookers feel the most support from family members who also scrapbook (or do other crafts), then from other female family members, and the least support from men family members. Husbands and boyfriends look at the scrapbooks but they do not really take an interest in the scrapbooks, like mothers of scrapbookers or other women do (i.e., asking about the scrapbooks or wanting to see the scrapbooks).

Scrapbookers seem to feel their hobby is most validated when another person becomes a scrapbooker, when they are asked to create scrapbooks for the family (e.g., heritage albums or an album for an elder family member’s 80th birthday), or they are asked to use their scrapbooking tools and supplies for other projects.

Does your family support your scrapbooking? How? Join the conversation below or on facebook.

[1] At City Scrapbooks (pseudonym), customers can write checks out to the acronym of the store, “CS,” so husbands are not be suspicious of checks written out to “City Scrapbooks.”


Downs, Heather Ann. 2006. “Crafting Culture: Scrapbooking and the Lives of Women.”    PhD dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL.

Stalp, Marybeth C. 2006a. “Hiding the (Fabric) Stash: Collecing, Hoarding, and Hiding Strategies of Contemporary US Quilters.” Textile 4(1):104-25.

——. 2006b. “Negotiating Time and Space for Serious Leisure: Quilting in the Modern U.S. Home.” The Journal of Leisure Research 38(1):104-32.

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  • Mandy

    Absolutely. My husband provides the financial support ;o). Aside from that, though, he does ask what I’m working on, gives input, and watched our son when I would either go to crops outside the house, or take bedtime duty on Friday nights so I could work on pages (our schedules are different now, and our son is older now, so this isn’t quite the case now). He also hangs on to ticket stubs, brochurs, stuff like that, because he knows it will likely end up in a book.  In regards to other family, those most interested or supportive  are also those who scrapbook, with the exception of my father. My dad is always asking me if I’ve done any scrapbooking, or if I’m working on anything. He’s always been more interested in it than my mom.

  • My family has been supportive of my scrapbooking, especially my husband.  It is fun to watch my 3 year old want to take pictures and look at his scrapbook.  

  • Thanks for sharing. That’s interesting that your dad is more interested. 

  • Mandy

    I think it is because my dad has always been the one more interested in taking pictures, keeping journals (he has written in spiral notebooks for as long as i can remember), and just documenting things. I guess it’s not that my mom isn’t interested, she just doesn’t ask to see things like my dad does.

  • That’s really neat that he keeps journals. Good for him!

  • Chelles Creations1

    Wow Stephanie, this excerpt was really interesting.  15-ish years ago when I was a Creative Memories consultant I had SEVERAL clients who spent a substantial chunk of change on their hobby and kept the amount a secret from the husband.  That was a frequent topic at my crops: “How to hide the costs of scrapbooking from your husband”.  Even now that I’m digital I frequently hear people comment on how it’s easier to hide digi-supplies from your spouse.  Just last month one lady posted that our digi store was going to be responsible for her divorce if her husband ever found out what she’d spent that weekend.
    I’ve also seen  the hobby harming family relationships” To be honest, I don’t think it’s the hobby causing the problem, but I have seen scrappers get so into creating that they neglect other responsibilities & relationships.  Some are able to find a balance, and some have to just quit.
    Personally, I was scrapbooking before I met my husband & have continued through the 19 years we’ve been married.  Sometimes he’s been more supportive than others.  Typically he’s most supportive when it doesn’t’ occupy too much of my time or money.  When my older children were young, I felt much more support from my extended family.  Both of my sisters also scrapped & we often did it together.  My mother watched the grandkids while we scrapped & frequently gave us money for supplies.  Her “pay” was to get to look through the completed pages AFTER the grandkids went home.  LOL!
    Ten years later I’m the only one still scrapbooking.  My extended family will look at my completed layouts if I offer.  But if I pull out my laptop to scrap while we are together, they are annoyed. 

    In your dissertation did you discuss the “lifespan” of scrapbooking as a hobby?  In my experience most scrapbookers start when they have young children.  (Making the traditional baby book.)  And they seldom scrap for longer than about 3 years.  There’s always a handful of die hard life-ers like me, but for most people it seems to come & go.  

  • Thanks for commenting. I’m not sure what the lifespan of scrapbooking is for most people. My guess is that most people might finish a project or two (or not at all) and then move onto something else. Some probably temporarily stop and come back to it and then of course there are those like use who can’t imagine giving it up. It would be interesting to talk to people who used to scrapbook but don’t anymore. I’ll have to keep that in mind for future research. 🙂

  • Thanks for commenting! That’s great they are supportive.