All About Albums

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Hopefully, at some point in your digital scrapbooking journey, you will print out your layouts to share with others. Some digi scrappers never print and that’s perfectly ok, but I (Katie) have found that my digi happiness grows when I print out my pages. I love to look at them in a book because then it feels like I’m really sharing the story of our lives. My children especially love that they have their very own albums filled with precious memories. I highly recommend printing layouts and we have some great resources for you to read through when you want to learn more about the printing process.

Decisions to make:

  • Photobooks or Albums – Do you want to print an entire completed project at once? Then photobooks are for you! If you scrap out of order, you might want to consider albums with pages that can be added to and/or rearranged.
  • 3 ring or post bound – Albums usually come with a ring or post binding. Rings are easiest if you want to rearrange pages frequently. Posts are nice because the pages are presented right next to each other so 2 page spreads look better in this type of album. Both are great choices, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
  • Size of layouts – Do you want to print 12×12, 8×8, 6×6, or even mix sizes? You need to consider this when choosing an album to store your layouts.

Here’s how I approach albums:

As you can see in the above photo, I have 2 tall & narrow Billy bookcases from IKEA filled with albums. Not all of the albums are full (yet). I have not done anything fancy with the labels on the albums (yet) because I have just penciled in the album titles and/or dates until they are filled. On the top shelves I have Pioneer Photo Albums for regular printed photos. The bottom shelves have sturdy cardboard magazine files where I keep yearbooks, small albums, notebooks, and other miscellaneous scrapbook projects. The 8×8 linen post bound albums on the 3 middle shelves are the same ones Janet wrote about in this post and they are sadly not available anymore. The same company (We R Memory Keepers) does make the linen album in a 3 ring style and also has several other finishes and sizes of albums. I chose post bound because I prefer the look of the pages when they are right next to each other without rings in the middle.

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It is harder to fill post bound albums if you don’t plan ahead because you will have to pull pages out of the protectors and move them around or else undo the posts when you want to rearrange things. This ends up being a stumbling block for me to putting new layouts in my albums and can result in an embarrassing stack of loose layouts like this –

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Oh well, at least they’re printed, right? I still prefer the post binding though so I just need to have a big album filling “party” one day.

I color code my albums because I’m cool like that. lol! The green ones are for me and my hubby. The blue albums are for my son. The red albums are for my daughter. The tan albums are for heritage pages and the black albums are miscellaneous projects. Several of the albums are still empty, I just got a great close-out deal when they discontinued them so I bought enough to get us through our lives. Plus, it looks nice to have those bookshelves all filled up. Remember, I’m kind of obsessed with scrapbooking! Winking smile

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I fill my books up to capacity by adding extra page protectors. I can comfortably fit about 65 page protectors in each of these albums which equals 130 layouts per book! I love how thin digital layouts are – no bulk means lots of pages in a little space. Photobooks are even more compact, but I prefer albums for a few reasons:

  • I come from a paper scrapbooking background and an album with page protectors feels more “scrapbooky” to me.
  • I don’t scrap in order and if I had to wait to finish a whole topic to get a book printed, there would be nothing on my shelves.
  • I LOVE having page protectors on my pages. I don’t have to worry about young kids looking at my books, or pages ripping. The albums and page protectors are sturdy and I can wipe the fingerprints right off the page protectors if they get “gunky”.

I’m not against photobooks and I’ve actually put together a few of them that I love.

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Generally speaking though, I prefer albums. They just work better with my creative process and personal style. I also love 8×8 size albums because of the way they fit on bookcases. I don’t like the way that 12×12 albums stick out from the shelf and I feel like they are a little too big and cumbersome for me. When I was a paper scrapper, I always used 12×12. Since I’ve gone digi, I use 8×8. I feel like this size is small enough to manage physically, but big enough to provide plenty of creative canvas space. Here’s an example of 3 common sizes of layouts:

From left to right – 12×12, 8×8, and 6×6

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As you can see, I prefer square layouts although some digi scrappers prefer rectangle sizes. That is another thing to consider when you are looking for albums. Another advantage of ring bound albums is the ability to mix shapes and sizes of layouts. You can put 12×12, 8.5×11, and 6×6 all in the same book using the same ring system.

I thought it would be fun to hear from some of our team members and let them share their approach to albums.

Heddy says

I print my layouts in 8×8 size and slip them into post-bound albums. I have the kid/family pages in one album “set” organized by year and then I keep another album for AAM/pre-kid pages.
Although I love the look of photobooks, I just can’t seem to say “Okay, I am now done scrapping 2010 and will print a photobook.” I may not ever be done scrapping a particular year! That’s I prefer post-bound albums – I can slip new pages in anytime I want.

Melissa says

I print 8×8 and use D ring binders – usually 2 per year. I am hopelessly behind in printing – haven’t printed in over a year, and I probably have 200 layouts that are printed, but have yet to be put into albums. Very bad, I know!

Tara says

I use a 12×12 3 ring binder and I have mixed sizes of layouts. 12×12, 8.5×11, 6×12, 8×8, 5×7, 11×8.5… I like the flexibility I have with a three ring binder. I started with strap hinge? and postbound… I ended up moving everything over to three ring binders.

Wendy says

You know me… I’m the photobook girl. I scrap 12×12, but print in 8×8 custom cover photobooks. I have done other sizes as gifts, but my own library is 8×8. If the 10×10 had been around when I started, I probably would have chosen that instead. But since I started in 8×8, I’m sticking with it. I don’t have photos, but I do have all my book covers in one “gallery” here.

Anne says

I just made an order to Persnickety Prints a few days ago (was over a year behind, ahem). This time I ordered prints in 12×12 instead of the 8×8 I’ve done before, it’s a bit pricier but worth it. Can’t wait for them to arrive! I mix all my pages (digital+traditional) in four album roughly based on Stacy Julian’s system. After receiving my order, I wanted to add that I LOVE the 12×12 print. There is no turning back for me now Wink It is off course more expensive, but the details and the largeness of the page are so worth it. So this is me waiting for the next sale, so I can order some more. Smiley

Steph says

When I started digital, I was 8×8. Then for some reason (can’t remember what it was), I moved to 12×12 and that’s what I have been printing for a few years.  Although, seeing my youngest struggle to hold the 12×12 albums has made me want to go back to 8×8.  I really like the post bound albums because they lay flat and my two-page spreads can flow into each other smoothly.  I’m not picky on the albums at all. I found a great deal at Costco a couple of years ago and bought a bunch of albums that have worked well for me. When these run out for me, I will probably do something like these albums because they look very similar to the ones I am currently using.

I typically only do photobooks when it is for an event or a specific period of time that has a definite start and stop.  I get a little freaked out about wanting to add something later and not being able to. It’s such a big deal to me that I know it would become a roadblock and I would stop printing.
A long time ago, I stopped printing layouts because I didn’t want to organize them chronologically anymore. I just didn’t want the hassle of having to move layouts around since I don’t scrapbook chronologically. It was a huge roadblock for me. I talk about how I got over it and what I do instead here.

 

Now that we’ve shared all about our albums, we’d love to know how you keep your layouts ! Do you use photobooks? Albums? What types and styles do you prefer? Please share in the comments. Smile

katie big

P.S. Congratulations to Sandy H. who was the random winner from yesterday’s comments!