Summer is for…updating kids’ school albums

Cathy ZielskeScrapbooking52 Comments


Each summer since my kids have been of school-going age (and each summer that I've been a scrapbooker) I always set out to use some of my time during these short and oft-air conditioned months to catch up on their school albums.

But I have to confess: last summer? I did nothing. Zilch. Zippo. Nada.

Nope. I waited until last Spring to finish Aidan's 6th Grade section (she's going into 9th soon) and Cole's 2nd Grade section (he's just wrapping up the 4th Grade).

However, this summer, I have a whole new outlook since going digital on this project. With my digital photo library, my scanner and a spare hour, I managed to put together his 3rd grade year in a snap. All that's left to do? Upload the digital files to and get them printed.

I present Coleman's 3rd Grade year:





(Note: I tweaked one of the album set templates above for the sports photos! If'n you're handy with Photoshop, you can really alter these templates until the cows come home!)

And of course, the final piece is the pocket page. I have my digital file that looks like this:


I print it out, then trim, then adhere to a background of kraft cardstock.




No, the pocket isn't designed to hold bucketloads of stuff, but for his end-of-year report card and other miscellaneous items, it works like a charm.

Remember, this album is just about touch points. It's not designed to capture every single aspect of his 4th Grade year. To that end, I include random snapshots from his entire life, not just things that happen during school hours.

In the end, it's a really simple and quick way to document his school journey.

Up next? His 4th Grade year. Stay tuned…

SUPPLIES:  School Album Set (Cathy Zielske) • Just Linens No. 4 (Michelle Martin) • Krafty No. 7 Paper Pack, Notebook Paper Pack (Katie Pertiet) • Avenir font • brads (American Crafts)


My school templates album sets are available in both 8.5 x 11 and 12 x 12.

I also have an add-on word pack with PNG and ABR files to cover 7th through 12th grade, as well as overseas and UK school titles.


Cathy ZielskeSummer is for…updating kids’ school albums

52 Comments on “Summer is for…updating kids’ school albums”

  1. #1

    Hi Cathy

    Love this school pack and the add on words. Can I change the wording in the add on pack or is it set. In Australia, It’s Preschool, Kindergaten, Year One, Year Two etc… thru to… Year 12.


  2. #2

    hi Cathy ~ I love the idea of this ~ my mum treasures so much of our school stuff and its slowly got mixed up and spread out over the years ~ so now, at 39 yrs old, I’m going to gather it all up and put it together for her ~ it’s never too late 🙂

  3. #3

    This looks great Cathy, you are making this digital scrapbooking look so easy and fun. I really like how you did it with school and home life.

  4. #4

    I love these Cathy! I plan on doing them for my own school photos, except I only really have the individual and group photo for each year, I do have all my reports so think it would be nice to do this even though I am 26!!!

  5. #5

    I’m totally inspired to work on this today. The photos are stacking up – I’ll take this post as a sign that it’s now time!

  6. #6

    I love this. I think I’m going to make something like this for my little boy!

    Just a question: is it possible to make the templates work on a european a4 size?

  7. #7

    Go YOU oh Mrs Productive!! The month of June done yesterday, a year in Cole’s life done today. I’ve got as far as buying the school album (about a month ago) and printing out the doc on what to do etc. Hmm, I should take a leaf out of your book literally!!

  8. #8
    Jennifer L

    That looks terrific! I have to get started on my kids’ albums from school. Still only in first and second grade. I already have product, so I won’t go digi, but I like the template. Is there an easy way to do this hybrid with the template?

  9. #9

    Georgina, it is preset, the words, because most people Dont’ have the fonts I used. But, the album set itself does have Kindergarten and Preschool included, and that word set has Year One through Year Thirteen!

  10. #10

    Sandra, i’m thinking you could do it, but you’d just have to tweak it a bit! You can select all of the layers on each template, drag them into a new document, or, you can resize your document, and then adjust layers. But it does take a bit of PS know how!

  11. #12

    I purchased your templates earlier this year and have had a lot of fun putting it together. As my girls are 25 and 23 and most of the photos need to be scanned I have a lot of work ahead of me. (oldest child half done) I am planning to have these printed at and as I have never used a printing service before I was wondering what finish you choose to print. I do like the matte finish when I print at home but I don’t really know what metallic is and if it is worth the extra price.

  12. #13

    how did you join the different layers together to make one big layer eg your sons league sport team

  13. #14

    Fabulous… I bought it, yet I have not begun as I have other things ahead of it. I’m going back for the upper grades, though…. Thanks!!

  14. #15

    Arrived in St. Paul last night. I knew you weren’t running then, but I was thinking about where you run, etc. I admire your commitment and am on a healthy journey with you. Keep going’!

  15. #16

    After seeing this concept in Clean & Simple it has been just the solution I was looking for. I too am a year behind . . . I may have to try out the digital version. Did you switch from “traditional” to digi in the same album?

    Thanks for the great idea.

  16. #18
    Becky H

    Cathy it is good to see people as behind as I am. My oldest is going to be 21 and I have yet to do her high school years. My son is a junior next year and I am on 3rd grade. Love the layouts and the simple concept.

  17. #19

    Cathy, your timing is perfect. My oldest is off at a 5 week summer program. I miss him and I vowed to use this time to work on his school albums. He is graduating (high school) next year EGADS! I have started working on his high school years with your digital kit. I am loving it, but I will have to dig back into the pre-digital years and do some scanning. Here is a question…would you keep the same accent color for each year? It looks like yes!

    Thanks for making this wonderful set for all of us.


  18. #20

    okay, cathy. thanks for the nudge–again. i started using the templates (which i LOVE!!!) to document my oldest daughter. i completed pre-k through fifth, but i’ve got to go back and re-do fourth grade (stumbled upon some additional photos to work with), then add sixth (which she just finished). i love that i’ll have the first daughter’s primary school done this summer. then, on to daughters two and three! your pages were just the reminder i needed–my excitement level just went back up! 🙂

  19. #21
    Tanya Gilmartin

    OK, you know what? I’m gonna do this. you are so right that the digital pages are so much faster and “do-able”. Love the ease of templates!
    Cathy, I have a question- when you post photos of others, do you get everyone’s permission or approval? I have not posted as much on my blog as I want to because I am hesitant of this. Just interested to hear what you do.

  20. #22

    You know in Canada we tend to say ‘grade nine’ not ‘nineth grade’ 😉
    Yes summer is for updateing the school albums. I’ve got a pre-made coil bound one that is all pockets with pre-printed things to fill out. It’s more effective to keep current when there is a space for height, and signature.

    Stuff – I keep papers here and there throughout the year. Then at the end I take them all out and decide which ones are truly the best and save that small handful. The rest get thrown in the garbage (I know some people are screaming NO THAT’S SOMETHING YOUR CHILD CREATED! really chuck it, they won’t miss it and neither will you)

  21. #23

    Glenda, i use the matte finish, but honestly, it probably doesn’t matter because you know, the pages go into a page protector anyway.

    Now i have never tried the metallic finish. Maybe i’ll have to test that out one one to see what it’s all about?

  22. #24

    Anne, I simply deleted a few of the photo mask layers, and then made the photo mask layer that i wanted to drop a big team shot in larger, by clicking on that layer, grabbing the side handles that show up and dragging it to be larger. : )

  23. #25

    Michelle, I did switch. Right smack dab in the same album. And you know what? Cole won’t care when he’s all grown up. At least I don’t think he’ll be, “Mom… JEEZ! how DARE you mix traditional and digi!” : )

  24. #26

    Sarah, i just made a small circle shape with the circle shape tool, simplfied the layer, then using layer styles, added a stroke to the circle, but made the fill nothing. : )

  25. #28

    Tanya, in this instance, I haven’t received permission per se, but I also have no complete identifying info about the kids. Only first names. if any parent saw this and wanted it taken down, I’d do it in a second!

  26. #30
    Cathy Weber

    This is so nice Cathy. My kids are grown and I am long past doing school year stuff, but I really do love the number circles you have for the different pictures. Do you have any number brushes like that for use in other types of layouts? I hope so!

  27. #31

    Cathy, i presently do not, but am planning on doing a set of 1 though 31. In fact, i should get going on that soon! Thanks for the push!

  28. #32

    Love that beautiful simple design – and the strip of colour below the photos at the foot of the LO is really effective. Am intrigued by Cole’s sweatshirt: is that a green dragon on there?

  29. #33
    Kim in Vacaville

    Love these school pages – I wish my kids were little and I could document their school days like this :(. Cathy – do you use an IMac or a MacPro. I am getting ready to purchase my first apple computer and can’t decide between the two.

  30. #36

    I took a break from scrapbooking my daughter’s school year and checked your blog…great minds think alike. Her album was inspired by Aiden and Cole’s years ago. My son starts school next fall and I’m going to go digi for his. Thanks for the inspiration.

  31. #38

    Hi Cathy

    I love your 8.5×11 style but here in little ole NZ we use A4 – you can’t get 8.5×11 anything unless you order it from the US. And A4 page protectors are REALLY hard to find (but sometimes you get lucky). I would be interested to know if any of your readers know of a reliable source? But I digress.

    So I was very interested in your comments about tweaking the templates. I see from reading the comments already, you can’t change the words in the templates cos of the font. What else ‘can’t be changed?’ Can you change sizes of titles and the like? I presume you can select the layer and drag the corner to preserve the aspect ratio?

    And about tweaking the size of the page and the whole thing…I’ve done Ms Jessica Spragues Up & Running in Photoshop…and I am reasonable at the whole ‘figure it out as I go thing’…do you think I know enough to resize the templates to A4? Or do I need to be a graphic designer extraordinaire? Maybe I just need to buy one and give it a go huh?

    Enuf with the questions!

  32. #39

    Sharon, you can increase or decrease the size of the word art in the templates, yes, by clicking and dragging. The titles etc have been created using the Archer font, then rasterized (simplified in PSE) so any computer can read them.

    It is a bit tricky to resize, if you’re a new PSE user. I wouldn’t recommend it because it might be frustrating.

    But maybe i can work on an A4 set!

  33. #40


    I’ve noticed that most of your layouts are 8.5 x 11. Do you use this size exclusively? When I was a paper scrapper I used 12 x 12. When I converted to digital I printed 8×8. I’ve always loved all of your 8.5 x 11’s and now I’m thinking about that size. Do you find it hard to scrap a rectangle? How will I mix the 2 sizes (or 3!)?

    Thanks for all of your inspiration!

  34. #41
    Kay Gregory-Clark

    This isn’t about scrapbooking or the school albums, but just have to write and send HUGE THANK-YOUs!!! I just received my first pair of Fitflops, thanks to your blog comments and those of others, tho I was rather anxious about sizing. I have a very high arch and narrow foot and it’s almost impossible to find sandals; forget flip-flops. I’ve been wearing these all afternoon and love them more each minute! Now I can’t wait to order some more. hugs. My feet are SO happy!

  35. #42

    For me, 8.5 x 11 is the most natural page size, coming from my design background in magazine and print design. I love rectangles. But, I love squares.

    My preferred personal size is 8.5 x 11, for my own albums. : )

  36. #44
    Lorraine Reynolds

    Can anyone out there help me with contactint Scrapbook Circle? (From Cathy’s giveaway the other day. I keep getting my emails back from their ‘contact’ links. I wanted to try and see if they ship internationally!

    Cathy as always I LUV YOUR STUFF!

  37. #45

    I adore your sense of humor (“… and his very attractive and kind parents”). I just started my first digi layout yesterday (your “Never”) and as soon as I did the background layer successfully I said “I can do this” and then when I unsuccssfully tried to do the mat layer said “then again, maybe not.” But I will keep plugging away. Thanks for all the inspiration. Love your blog!

  38. #46

    Would there be any chance of adding an extra set or two of words — for your Australian fans as above, and also for us Canadians. Here, it’s Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, etc.


  39. #48

    I’m giving serious thought to going digital – you keep posting great templates, I just don’t have the software for it yet. Inspirational!

  40. #49

    Thank you very much for your answer. I have something to try the next few weeks when I have my vacation. I just love the idea!

  41. #50

    Hi Cathy – Sorry to bother you months after this was published! But I’m turning your school album into a baby book and I was wondering if you could tell me what font you used (or something similar) for the month titles? The script ones? I want to write her name in the same font on the cover. Thanks!!!
    (P.S. You have single handedly turned me into a digital scrapbooker and I’m LOVING IT!!! So thanks!!!)

  42. #51

    The script? The only script i use on my templates is Amelie. Does that help? Just google it, and itll pop up! Its a cheap font, actually

    The other font i use is called Archer from Hoefler Frere-Jones. Unfortunately, that one? Not so cheap! : )

    Hope that helps!

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