6 Tips for Perfect Memorabilia Scans

by Kim Jackson

Preserve your family heritage and summertime stories by including memorabilia on your scrapbook layouts. From tickets to report cards, these little pieces of history have a big impact on the story you're trying to tell with your layout. They add a sense of realism to the story by supporting your photos and journaling. Whether you're scrapbooking little known family stories or your summer vacation, let our six scanning tips help you get your memories into your albums.

Digital Layout with Scanned Memorabilia

Permanent Record by Pattie Knox, as seen in The Best of Digital Scrapbooking from Creating Keepsakes magazine, page 69.


  1. Best Results. For the best results when scanning, make sure your scanner is set to its highest bit depth. Visit scantips.com for a more in-depth discussion and tips of many makes and models of scanners.
  2. Remove Unwanted Gray. When you scan a drawing on white paper, the paper often has a gray tint. To turn the gray back to white, adjust the levels and white balance using your photo-editing software. In Photoshop, you can click the white (rightmost) eyedropper on the Levels dialog box. Move the cursor onto your image, and click the gray area. The gray will be converted to pure white.
  3. Scan Newspaper. The transluscent nature of newsprint can cause the text on the opposite side of the paper to "ghost" through when scanned. Avoid this by laying a piece of black paper over the back of a facedown clipping before scanning.
  4. Scan Bulky Items. When scanning bulky items that keep the scanner lid from closing tightly, the light seeping in around the edges may create unfavorable results. Prevent this from happening by covering small items with a shoebox lid before scanning. For larger items (such as a book), try covering the entire scanner with a heavy, dark cloth or towel.
  5. Protect Your Scanner. Avoid scratching the scanner bed glass by laying a clear transparency sheet under items such as buttons that could damage the glass when the cover is closed.
  6. Scan at Full Size. Scan items such as artwork, certificates, diplomas, and more at full size, and then reduce them to the size you want for your layout using your photo-editing software. By doing so, you'll be able to preserve the details of the original.

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For more digital scanning tips and techniques, check out The Best of Digital Scrapbooking. And for more ideas for preserving your family and summertime stories, check out the July/August 2011 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine.

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Shoebox Lid
I never thought about covering a small bulky item with a shoebox lid to prevent light seeping in. Thanks so much for the tip!

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