Starting your scrapbooking journey is an exciting endeavour, but let’s face it – choosing that very first album can be a tad overwhelming. The options seem endless, and your wallet might start to feel a little uneasy. As someone who’s been knee-deep in scrapbooking for years, I get it. I’ve tested a ton of albums in my time, and trust me, there are some must-know factors that can make or break your choice. So, if you’re on the hunt for that perfect scrapbook album, stick around. I’m here to share my wisdom and make your album-picking process a breeze!
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Understanding Your Needs and Scrapbooking Goals
Before you begin the process of selecting your ideal scrapbook album, it’s crucial to take a minute and think of what your scrapbooking goals and aspirations are.
Imagine your scrapbook as a visual narrative, a story waiting to be told through the pages. As you envision this narrative, consider the emotions you wish to evoke and the memories you want to preserve.
Is your scrapbook to document a once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding or graduation? Are you archiving your travel adventures? Or perhaps, you’re capturing the beauty in the everyday moments of your life. Each scrapbook is unique, a different tale waiting to be told.
This introspection not only adds depth to your project but also guides you toward an album that resonates with your intentions.
Consider the Emotions: Reflect on the emotions associated with the moments you’re capturing. Are they joyful, nostalgic, adventurous, or contemplative? These emotions can help determine the overall tone and aesthetic of your scrapbook album.
Themes and Cohesion: If you’re focusing on a specific event or theme, consider how the album can reflect that. Whether it’s a colour palette, specific patterns, or themed embellishments, these elements can tie your pages together cohesively.
Visualize the Outcome: Close your eyes and picture your completed scrapbook. How do you envision it on your shelf or in your cupboard? This visualization can guide your decisions, from album design to layout choices.
Storytelling: Think about how you want your scrapbook to tell its story. Will it follow a chronological order, or will it be based on a theme or maybe a special event? This storytelling approach can influence which album will be best for you.
Adaptability: While your current project might have a specific focus, consider if the album you choose can adapt to future scrapbooking projects. Selecting an album that offers flexibility ensures it can accommodate a variety of themes and stories over time.
By grounding your album choice in a clear understanding of your needs and goals, you’re setting the foundation for a scrapbook that not only preserves memories but also weaves them into a meaningful tapestry.
Choosing 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. Your scrapbook pages are works of art and you want them 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 a few important things to look for when choosing the right scrapbooking album.
- Needs & Goals
- Album Style (Post Bound, D-Ring or Strap Bound)
- Future Availability & Accessibility
How much do you want to spend?
Another consideration when choosing an album will be the price. When it comes to selecting your scrapbook album, it’s important to acknowledge that budget is a factor that can influence your decision. Scrapbooking is a labour of love, and while you want an album that beautifully houses your memories, it’s equally important to ensure that it fits within your financial boundaries. The good news is that there’s a wide range of album options available at various price points, allowing you to strike a balance between quality and affordability.
While it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, remember that your scrapbook album is an investment in preserving your memories. Look for an album that offers a reasonable level of quality, durability, and archival properties. A slightly higher initial investment in a well-made album can pay off in the long run by ensuring your cherished memories are well-protected.
To give you an idea, I’ve compiled a rough estimate of the average cost of different albums.
|Album Type||Page 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|
|9 x 12||$35|
|8 1/2 x 11||$15 to $30|
|8 x 8||$20|
|6 x 8||$30 – $35|
|6 x 6||$10|
|4×4||$10 – $15|
|3 x 8||$25|
|Strap Bound||12 x 12||$40|
|8.5 x 11||$10 -$20|
Durabilty & Longevity
Which material is best?
Your scrapbook album is a time capsule, holding memories that deserve preservation. therefore it’s important to choose an album that can withstand the test of time.
While you are shopping touch and feel the albums flip through the pages to assess the sturdiness and overall quality of the album. The material on the outside cover of your scrapbook will make a big difference in your album’s longevity and beauty over time.
Leather is a very good material to ensure the longevity of your new scrapbook album. It is durable, long-lasting and easy to keep clean. The only downside is the
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, turn yellow, leave 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? Click here to read all about the importance of acid-free scrapbooking
Or you might be interested in this video by Howcast.
If you are unsure if an album you are interested in is archival-safe, I recommend contacting the manufacturer. Chances are, if you are purchasing your album from a scrapbooking or craft store, it will be archival-safe.
What Size of Album To Choose
Choosing which size of album will work best for you will be a personal decision. As you can see from the table above, there are so many different sizes of albums available. Not too mention
In my experience, the most popular sizes of albums among scrapbookers are 12 x 12 and 6 x 8. Some scrapbookers opt for the 8.5 x 11, but it’s not quite as popular as 12 x 12 albums.
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. Small albums are perfect for making as gifts.
My preference is a 12 x 12 album for my everyday scrapbooking and the odd special event, but I also love to use the smaller 6 x 8 albums for some vacations, October Daily & December Daily.
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 scrapbooks 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 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.
There are a couple of downsides to a post-bound album in my opinion.
Album quality and durability can be lacking, so make sure to read reviews and do a bit or research before purchasing. There are some great quality albums available, and some not great ones.
I feel like after you’ve unscrewed and then re-screwed the post back together a few times they become worn out. The album in the above picture is about fifteen years old, so it has held up okay but looks nowhere near as good as my leather D-ring albums.
My second issue is that each album cannot hold as many pages when compared to D-Ring or Strap Bound 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, and you need to plan where you are going to store them. 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. (you can find them here) It’s very easy to use, is durable and I have albums that are over fifteen years old and look brand new.
Strap Bound Album
Bound by a plastic strap, these albums are versatile and 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. They are not easy to find 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 create great, high-quality, and stylish products.
- We are memory Keepers
- Creative Memories (** This is an MLM business; you’ll buy directly from a consultant)
- Doodlebug Design
- Heidi Swapp
- Simple Stories
- American Crafts
- Ali Edwards
- Studio Calico
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- even if they don’t have the style or size of album you are interested in, many will happily order what you need for you.
- Michaels / Hobby Lobby / Joann’s
I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent on albums over the years that ended up being given away or went in the bin due to their poor quality. It can be so 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.