Scrapbooking China Memories

We just completed our first year in China. It has been a wonderful year, full of new experiences and challenges. We took thousands of pictures, both in Beijing and on all the trips we have undertaken in this vast country.

Chinese scrapbooking supplies

Chinese scrapbooking supplies: travel cards, wrapping paper, stamps and embellishment puppets.

Now I am struggling to preserve my memories. We are not leaving yet. We will return to some places that we have visited in the coming years, perhaps taking better pictures of the same things. Then again, I do not want to be stuck with a massive photo/ scrapbook project at the end of our time here. By then I will have also forgotten and stopped noticing things about this amazing and weird country. Here I am sharing some ideas for supplies and layouts to use to get a “Chinese feeling” for your scrapbook, a project I’ll hopefully start soon.


Gift wrap from good museums: the Shanghai Museum has some great gift wrap (20 kuai for 2 sheets) and the Suzhou museum as well (10 kuai). The Paper Tiger brand, for sale eg at the Beijing Bookworm and Babygro, has nice modern China inspired gift wrap and tags. These work well as background for pictures or scrapbook pages.

Playing cards and post cards: at most tourist sites and markets you can find packets of playing cards of many, many different subjects. Ranging from Chinese Emperors to Shanghai ladies to antique coins and Angry Birds, you name it. Great to use as embellishments for your scrapbooking designs and only 10 kuai a packet (about 1 dollar). Consider buying them together with friends and splitting the packs. Post cards are usually also sold in packs of ten, between 20 and 30 kuai. Special postcard shops are now also popping up, eg Postcard to the Future in Suzhou and Xidi.

Match boxes: also available in many different designs, often in special shops in tourist locations at around 10-20 kuai.

Silk: buy a bit of silk to use in your lay outs. Or buy a cheap (fake) silk scarf with Chinese design to cut up and use.

Paper cuttings: buy small paper cuttings (separate or as a book) to use in lay outs. Usually  a few kuai for a separate one and 10 kuai for a little book for several in it.

Travel card stickers: near metro stations and in stationery markets you can buy stickers to personalize  your travel card, many feature Chinese designs (2 kuai).

Chinese embellishments and stamps: at stationery markets and Taobao you can buy stamps and embellishments with Chinese designs (from 5 kuai for embellishments to 25 kuai for stamps).

Sheep sheep items: anything with China’s most famous cartoon figure Sheep Sheep (Yang Yang) on it.

Layout ideas

wooden lattice work

Use wooden latticework as inspiration for layout design.

Wooden lattice work and Chinese walls and doors: take pictures of wooden latticework in windows, of white walls covered in bamboo and Chinese doors and use these as inspirations for a layout (or as backgrounds in a digital lay out).

Also, get inspired by the Chinglish signs (strangely translated English) that are everywhere in China.

*Where to buy? Supplies are available in Chinese tourist locations and of course at places like the Silk Market, Hongqiao Pearl Market and Yashow Market in Beijing (haggling necessary). Also try stationery markets such as at the Toy Market behind Hongqiao (2nd and 3rd floor) and Tianyi (Dianmen Dajie).