Choosing an album when you are getting started scrapbooking can be overwhelming. There are so many options out there to choose from, not to mention they can be expensive. I’ve tried so many albums over my many years of scrapbooking and found there are some important factors to look for when choosing your album.
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So, do you know what makes a good scrapbook? The best scrapbook albums are sturdy and durable. When shopping, ask the sales associates which album is their favourite or best-seller. You’ll want to pick each up, flip through the pages and see how well the book is constructed. Make sure it’s durable. The next thing to find out is if the album will stand up to years of handling. Next ask about the product line. You’ll want to make sure that when you’re ready for your next album the same type will still be available. The third thing to consider is what type of album you like best. The three most popular styles are a D Ring, post-bound or a strap bound album. My favourite album is the We R Memory Keepers D-Ring Album. They are available in several different sizes and are super durable.
These are probably the most important factors to keep in mind when shopping for a scrapbooking album. But there are a few more things to keep in mind when making your choice.
Picking The Right Album
Choosing an album is an important step when scrapbooking, especially when first getting started. You go through all the care and hard work of crafting each scrapbook page. It’s special and you’ll want it to be treasured for years to come. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure to choose the right scrapbooking album.
As I mentioned above, there are three important things to look for when choosing the right scrapbooking album.
- Will it be available in the future
- Which kind of album do you like (Post Bound, D-Ring or Strap Bound)
How much do you want to spend?
Another consideration when choosing an album will be the price.
On average, a good quality, 12 x 12 album will likely cost around $40.
|Album Type||Size||Price Range|
|Post Bound||12 x 12||$20 to $40|
|8 1/2 x 11||$15 to $25|
|8 x 8||$10 to $20|
|D-Ring||12 x 12||$25 to $55|
|8 1/2 x 11||$15 to $30|
|8 x 8||$20|
|6 x 6||$10|
|Strap Bound||12 x 12||$40|
Which material is best?
The material on the outside cover of your scrapbook will make a big difference in your album’s longevity and beauty.
Leather is by far the best material for a scrapbook album. It is durable, long-lasting and easy to keep clean.
Another durable and nice-looking album is the Creative Memories strap hinge. This album I’ve had for almost twenty years looks almost like new.
In my opinion, the albums that fare the worst over time are cloth or linen. They are bound to get grimy looking after years of being handled and moved around.
Is the Album Archival Safe?
Archival safe, photo safe, and acid-free are all terms you may encounter on your scrapbooking journey. What they all mean is that the products are safe and won’t cause deterioration of your photos.
I’m sure you can think of a photo album you’ve seen in the past where it’s caused the picture to fade or left a sticky residue and, of course, those tape marks. Choosing archival-safe means that your pictures will last for a long, long time.
Want more information on archival safe scrapbooking? You might like this video by Howcast.
Chances are, if you are purchasing your album from a scrapbooking or craft store, it will be archival safe.
What Size Scrapbook Is Best?
Well it’s up to you!
Most standard scrapbooks are 12x 12 and 8 1/2 x 11.
It’s common to choose one of these sizes for the majority of your scrapbooking. These are perfect for everyday life, family and children, or whatever you’d like.
When you want to scrapbook an event with a clear start and end, you may want to continue with a standard size album or use a smaller size. The 8 x 8 or 6 x 6 also great to give as gifts.
My preference is a 12 x 12 album. I use this size for almost all of my scrapbooking.
If you decide to use 8 1/2 by 11, you will often need to cut down a 12 x 12 sheet of paper to fit your album. This can be wasteful unless you are super creative and can repurpose your scraps.
One downside of the 12 x 12 albums is that you may have difficulty fitting them on your regular bookshelves. For example, the We R Memory Keepers 12 x12 D-ring album is close to 15 inches wide.
Types of Albums
Post Bound Album
A post bound album is secured by two or three posts which screw into one another to hold the pages together. One nice feature of these albums is If you feel like the book is getting full, you can always add in post extenders to make it bigger.
This is probably one of the most common types of scrapbook you will find. They have been around for a long time and are very popular.
When choosing a post-bound album, be sure to inspect how many and where the post screws are in the book. If there are only two, make sure they aren’t too close to the spine’s centre. This causes the pages to drop out of the bottom of the album, which is not pretty!
The best post bound albums to have two or three posts that are evenly spaced and are fairly close to the end of the spine. Three is better than two, but not necessary.
One of the nicest things about these albums is that they lay flat and display a two-page layout nicely.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of post bound albums. I feel like after you’ve unscrewed and then re-screwed them back together a few times they get a bit worn out. The album in the above picture is about fifteen-years-old, so it has held up ok, but looks nowhere near as good as my leather D-ring albums.
Similar in design to a binder. These albums have three rings that hold hole-punched page protectors. This is the most user friendly of all albums. Easily remove or add pages with the binder rings.
The downside to these albums is their size and weight. While they can hold a lot of pages, they can get heavy and clunky. Another thing to consider is that the pages do not lie next to one another, which may spoil the look of a two-page layout.
Even with a couple of downsides this is the album I prefer. I am currently using the We R Memory Keepers Leather 12×12 D-ring album. It’s very easy to use, is durable and I have albums that are over ten years old that look brand new.
Strap Bound Album
Bound by a plastic strap, these albums are versatile, durable and the pages lay very nicely. This is the first style of scrapbook album that I had when I first got into scrapbooking, and I know many people who still prefer to use this kind. It’s not easy to find them in stores and most buy them from an advisor at Creative Memories.
Best Scrapbook Album Brands
After years of trial and error, I’ve created a list of brands that I think are create great, high-quality, and stylish products.
- We R Memory Keepers
- Creative Memories (this is an MLM business, you’ll buy directly from a consultant)
- Doodlebug Design
- Heidi Swapp
- Simple Stories
- American Crafts
These are my suggestions, and may not work for everyone. There are a lot of brands and different albums out there, so please feel free to try out another brand that may fit your needs better.
Where To Shop For Albums
- Your local scrapbooking store (do a quick google search, maybe there is one closer to you than you’d thought, plus, many do online orders.)
I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent on albums over the years that ended up given away or in the bin. It can be sp frustrating to try to find the right album. By making sure you check the durability, longevity of the brand, type of album, cost & archival quality you will be on your way to creating a scrapbook that will last for generations.