How to Choose the Right Scrapbook

How to Choose the Right Scrapbook

How to Choose the Right Scrapbook

How to choose the right scrapbook for your project

Choosing the right scrapbook seems easy, right? You just go to Beth’s CM website and order one. Oh. Wait. There are DECISIONS to make!

*Disclosure: If you purchase Creative Memories products and type in Beth Belair as your advisor, I will receive a commission at no cost to you.

I’m talking here specifically about traditional paper scrapbooks that you create using printed photos, a scrapbook album, adhesives, pens for journaling and paper for embellishments. Digital scrapbooks are another post for another day.

To find the right fit you need to ask yourself some questions:

  1. What type of project am I creating?

    1. Gift albums tend to be smaller, more decorative and are often centered around a theme.
    2. Family albums tend to be larger. Many times the color & texture of the scrapbook are chosen to compliment the decor of the room in which they will be stored.
    3. Baby albums are usually larger and the design is chosen by gender or by the decor of the nursery. I chose white leather albums for my babies. At least the exterior of the scrapbook won’t look dated someday!
    4. Wedding albums also tend to be larger and of a classic design. Sometimes the color & details are chosen to match the wedding colors and sometimes they are a traditional black or white leather or bookcloth.
    5. Vacation scrapbooks run the gamut from classic leather to bright and colorful to compliment the feel of the trip. Depending on the length of the stay and the destination, they are often larger sizes.
  2. What binding style appeals most to me? All of these are available in a wide variety of designs and most come in a variety of textures.

    1. Strap Hinge: These are the only scrapbooks I have used. I began scrapbooking at a Creative Memories party with friends. I fell in love and became a consultant so there was no need to look elsewhere.
      1. Pages have stitches that allow a flexible plastic strap to pass through them. The strap is buckled and pulled tightly against the back cover.
      2. You can scrapbook directly on the page.
      3. Page protectors are side-loading so that dust will not settle onto your pages while stored on a shelf. Dust can be abrasive to photos.
      4. Page protectors are optional, although highly recommended to prevent spills, fingerprints, and additional artwork added by well-meaning children.
      5. There is minimal space between the pages, making these perfect for 2-page spreads.
      6. Pages and photos lay flat, whether open or closed, so that photos do not crack over time.
      7. Pages turn easily without getting hung up on hardware.
      8. Sturdy.
      9. Album is never too big or too small because the strap tightens the cover to exactly the size of the pages included. It can be expanded easily–just tighten or loosen the strap to change the album size.
      10. It’s hard for children to figure out how to remove pages and protectors from this type of album, so you won’t walk into a room to find your photos and layouts all over the floor.
    2. Post Bound: I have never used one of these albums.
      1. Pages are attached to metal posts.
      2. To add pages, posts are unscrewed, metal extensions are added, then rescrewed.
      3. These albums come with black or white cardstock covered by top-loading sheet protectors.
      4. Designs must be worked on outside of the album. You insert your layout after it is complete.
      5. Most people say that you shouldn’t scrapbook directly on the included cardstock (if you consider it, check to be sure it is acid- and lignin-free). That means you must purchase scrapbook paper to use as a full sheet for a background for each layout.
      6. There is minimal space between the pages, making these great for 2-page spreads.
    3. 3-Ring or D-Ring Binder:  I have never tried one of these albums either.
      1. These are 3-ring binders just like you used in school.
      2. A D-Ring binder makes it more likely for pages to lie flat, but make sure they are completely flat before storing them or the bent photos could crack over time.
      3. Designs must be worked on outside of the album. You insert your layout after it is complete.
      4. Top-loading sheet protectors or pocket pages are usually used in these albums.
      5. You can fit in lots of pages, but they are not expandable.
      6. It’s easy to rearrange the pages.
      7. These tend to be inexpensive.
    4. Spiral or Book-bound
      1. These can be simple and inexpensive or elegant and pricy.
      2. They are usually used for a special occasion or gift scrapbook since the number of pages is set.
      3. Make sure the pages are acid-free and lignin-free before investing in one of these scrapbooks.
  3. What type of pages look best to me?

    1. For strap-hinge scrapbooks, plain pages come in white, spargo, or natural pages. Creative Memories scrapbook pages are acid-free, lignin-free, and buffered, meaning that if you place acidic memorabilia, such as a newspaper article, on the page, the acid will not be able to migrate to your photos. The pages have reinforced edges to provide durability and easier page-turning.
      1. White pages are the canvas that we typically think of for scrapbooking. They are versatile and can work with any theme.
      2. Spargo pages provide a neutral background that is not as stark as white. I love these pages for simple family scrapbooks. I can finish pages quickly with photos, journaling, and minimal embellishment and the pages look finished, not “naked.”
      3. Natural pages are my favorites for heritage and vacation scrapbooks. I have used them for Christmas layouts too and they add a warmth that is difficult to achieve with white pages.
    2. Creative Memories also offers pre-designed pages in just about any theme you can think of! These 12×12 or 8×8 albums come pre-assembled with pages already embellished and ready for you to adhere your 4×6 photos and add some journaling. Super fast and easy.
    3. Pocket Pages are available in several sizes. You can simply slide your photos into a pocket and be finished. Slide-in packs are available to embellish these pages and to add some space for journaling. Pocket pages and embellishments are also easy to find in stores that sell scrapbooking products.
    4. Top-loading page protectors are commonly found in post-bound or 3-ring binder type scrapbooks. You can create layouts on background paper and slide them into these protectors once your layout is complete.
  4. What size is best for me? Sizes are determined by measuring the usable space on a page, so if the edges are reinforced, they will be slightly larger than the size stated.

    1. 12×12 scrapbooks are pretty much the industry standard. Working with a square shape makes creating a layout easy. Without cropping you can fit 4 4×6 photos on a page and still have room for journaling. Scrapbooking paper comes in the 12×12 size, so you can easily wallpaper a page without trimming the paper. This size is ideal for
      1. family scrapbooks
      2. a school year for a child because you will have room to journal around certificates and artwork
      3. wedding scrapbooks
      4. baby albums
      5. heritage albums, especially if you have larger memorabilia to include
      6. Christmas scrapbooks
    2. 8.5×11 scrapbooks are widely available. Most stores that sell scrapbooking supplies sell paper in both the 12×12 and 8.5×11 sizes. You can usually fit one or two photos on a page. Certificates and artwork would cover the entire page. This size works well for
      1. vacations
      2. documenting home remodeling projects
      3. pets
      4. theme-specific projects
    3. 8×8, 6×6, or 5×7 gift albums are usually created for a very specific theme or as a gift for a teacher, coach or grandparent. One photo will fit on each page unless you crop them. You can journal on the page or on the facing page if you need more room to tell your story.
    4. How many photos do I have?
      1. If you have 80 or more photos, a 12×12 album size is probably going to be the best choice unless you like pocket-style scrapbooks. An 11×14 CM pocket album holds up to 150 photos and can be expanded to hold up to 350!
      2. For 40-60 photos an 8.5×11 album would work fine.
      3. Sometimes an event doesn’t leave us with many photos. Mini albums are easy to find in 6×6, 5×7, or 8×8 sizes. There are other sizes available too.
    5. Where will be using this scrapbook?
      1. Even though 12×12 scrapbooks are pretty standard, they hang over the edge of some shelves and sometimes they are too tall for the shelf.
      2. Smaller scrapbooks are better for photos you would like to take with you, like a brag book. Or perhaps you would like to showcase some before and after photos for your job and would like to have a scrapbook that can fit into your briefcase or computer bag.
      3. 12×12 scrapbooks look great on a coffee table.

There are so many scrapbooks available! But try not to get bogged down in the choice. Remember that the memories inside are the most important thing.

Happy scrapping!