Tuesday, February 07, 2006

As a man who’s wife is an avid scrapbooker, and as one who (I admit) has dabbled a little myself (digitally), I find it interesting when I hear ladies say they wish their men were more involved in it with them. Frankly, what comes to mind first is the phrase, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it…”

But nonetheless, there’s been some talk lately about men and scrapbooking. Some I’ve talked with have wanted to make more “masculine” layouts for your husbands’ and sons’ pictures, others wonder how to involve their men more in their hobby. I feel like I’m in a very unique position to offer some real insights. So, I was asked to comment. So, with that in mind, I offer...

Some Thoughts on Men and Scrapbooking

How to Involve Your Men

...Don’t! Or at least beware...

First of all, you have to realize that scrapbooking is terrifying to most men. It’s YOUR world, not his. Look around your scrapping space in your house, especially if you’re into traditional, not just digital scrapbooking. If you’re anything like my wife, it will be filled with ribbons, bows, flowers, vivid colors, and all things “cute”, “darling”, and “special”. Look at your binders of finished pages. Are they covered in padded fabric, lined with lace, and closed with ribbon ties? You might have patterns and punches of teddy bears and hearts.

Trust me, you couldn’t scare him away more if you hung up crosses and wore garlic around your neck.

Now I’m not saying you should change that. That’s YOUR space, after all. He has his space, cluttered and murky as it might be, and you have yours. That’s fine. Just realize why he keeps his distance.

If you want him to be more interested, to involve him, here’s some ways to make it “safer” for him to approach.

One: Scrap his life

We men are very egotistical. We try to be selfless, but down inside, we are driven to feel important. I know I’m generalizing, but most layouts I’ve seen women do seem to focus on their children. That’s not surprising, and it’s certainly not wrong, but if you want to catch your husband’s interest, get some pictures of him doing what he loves to do and scrap that. Focus on him, and he’ll be interested.

And when you do that, scrap with care. Think, “Dignified”, not “darling”; “Cool”, not “cute”. Do simple layouts that focus on the pictures and the story. Few embellishments, if any. NO BOWS, BUTTONS, OR TAGS! NONE! Resist the urge. Flowers are also forbidden!

Let me tell you an embarrassing story, if you promise not to laugh too loud. Last year, my wife’s friends did us some real favors for our disabled child. They helped raise some big money for a special physical therapy program. They put in a lot of work. Wonderful people. In return, my wife wanted to do something very nice for them. She decided she wanted to give them all pedicures (my wife is also a cosmetologist). Since I have some artistic skill with a brush, she asked me to paint things on their toenails. After much begging and pleading, I finally agreed (wives can do that to their husbands).

Well, we did it, and they loved it and all was good and right in the world until months later, I saw one of the lady’s scrapbooks. She had enjoyed it so much that she had scrapped her pictures of the event. And there I was, permanently enshrined in her memory book, painting toenails, my manly image surrounded by dozens of pink and orange flowers and stripes!


I couldn’t have felt more emasculated than if she’d come at me with a rusty knife! I’m gonna be in therapy for years! Let that be a warning to you!

So, scrap him doing his things, in ways that he might even appreciate, and he will naturally be more interested.

Two: Get him to help with the journaling.

He might not have any clue as to what papers to choose, or how to arrange things on the page, but he can tell you the stories that will get you good journaling.

Sometimes, however, with us guys, it can be difficult to get it out of us. Imagine: A dad and his son come back from a fishing trip with some buddies. You ask: “How was the trip.” Father and son smile at each other, grunt out a chuckle, and say, “Great”, and “Yeah, it was fun.” Then they go and start cleaning up or gutting the fish.

Not much to go on, right?

So, when you get the pictures out of the cameras, and you’re looking at them together, ask better questions. “How did you catch that one?”, looking at your son holding up a huge trout. He might say, “That was a tough one to bring in! We had to…” bla bla bla… And suddenly, you have a story. “That was the one where Joe capsized his boat! Man he was soaked!” You get the idea. Ask him questions that can’t be answered by “yes”, “no”, or “grunt”.

If you’re really adventurous, and he’s been warmed up to it over the months, you could even show him an almost finished layout and ask him to help you write the journaling.

Three: Some things NOT to do

Don’t show him two color schemes and ask him which is better. Most men can’t even pick a tie that matches. I’m doing well if my socks come from the same side of the color wheel.

If, by some miracle, he does get involved, be careful how you show it off. Telling your friends is one thing. Showing the layouts to his friends while they’re watching a football game is another.

Don’t pressure him to sit down and do it with you. You might never get that far. And realize that if you do, you might have to go fishing or actually be interested in the football game with him. Turnabout is fair play, after all…

Mark Hansen


  1. Great post. Very funny, my wife got a kick out of that one.

  2. Count me firmly in the camp of helping with the occasional journaling. Mrs. Woody is a scrapper par excellence and takes her craft seriously. She also knows me well enough to understand that I have my artistic limitations. (She does, by the way, elicit my help with the odd color-scheme or layout dilemma, but I usually can figure out her preference and validate what she was already thinking.)

    The best way for me to "get involved" is merely to support my wife's work. I actively encourage her to scrap whenever she can, and go out of my way to make sure she has a work area that she can use. In fact, we often turn some brainless TV on or plug in a CD while working in tandem in the living room. What am I doing, you ask?

    Playing with my Harry Potter Legos.

    Silly question.

  3. This post should be a mandatory inclusion within the pages of EVERY scrapbooking media; as a "user warning!"

    This seriously could save marraiges, relationships, dare I say- lives!

    There are two parts only, to which Thor has a part in the family scrapbooking experience:
    1.Begging him to actually allow a photo of him to be taken. and
    2.When he reads through the finished product. Which he does enjoy and appreciate.

    One can only hope that women everywhere find this post, read it as cannonized scripture and apply it to their lives.

  4. I think the term scrapbooking has some negative attachments travelling throughout the years in mormon culture. it reminds me of this ..... http://www.100megspop3.com/adira/1950myhomea.jpg

    Journaling or ever creating personal Zines has a bit more of a feel for it. To convince a teen, calling it a Zine is definately the route to go.

  5. This is great, Mark.

    You're so delightful. I can actually *hear* you saying that.

    And Jodi is an AWESOME scrapbooker.

    Well, put.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.



Related Posts with Thumbnails