In some cases free doesn’t always equate to good or even decent. This goes for everything from food to advice. You should always be cautious about accepting items for free when you don’t know all the details of the deal.
I felt this apprehension the first time I was invited to take advantage of free downloads for scrapbook paper and embellishments. Fortunately, I had the benefit of knowing veteran scrappers who were well-versed in digital scrapping and had experience navigating online resources that offered quality products for free.
When I first started exploring the sites I didn’t realize that the goal of the companies offering free goods was to introduce themselves to newbies, show off their wares, and then ask for a sale. I later learned that you don’t have to purchase merchandise in order to download freebies. However, you should be cautious when visiting certain sites, as some feature caveats in regards to the type and amount of scrapbooking freebies you can access. For example, some items fall into the “gift with purchase” category.
I’ve had the most success with select scrapbooking sites, such as ScrapbookScrapbook which offers a slew of free printable scrapbooking items in a variety of colors and styles. Another excellent resource for free material is the Digi Free search engine from Craft Crave. It bills itself as the largest search engine for free scrapbooking items online, and I have to agree that it outdoes the competition on many levels. In addition, Scrapbook Presentations offers very nice clip art embellishments for free.
Another way to find reputable sites that offer free scrapbook materials is to subscribe to newsletters from local scrapbook shops. Each month my local scrapbook store highlights a few places where you can get high-quality scrapbook freebies, such as Raspberry Road Designs. The company offers new scrapbooking freebies on a weekly basis, though most coordinate with their kits, which you have to buy. Still, if you are a creative scrapper, you will have no problem finding a way to incorporate the free items into your layouts.