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Types of Scrapbooks-the Basics

As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Scrapbook albums are the places where we store our memories for generations to come

Scrapbook albums are the places where we store our memories for generations to come

How To Chose A Scrapbook Album

In a world of digital everything, are scrapbooks really relevant? I say an emphatic yes to that question.

Why? Because yes, you can view family pictures on the internet, but there is nothing like flipping the pages of a scrapbook album with your kids and grandkids.

I have been making scrapbook albums for all of my family and grand kids and great grand kids for over 20 years. They are given these when they are married. The first words are usually, "Oh grandma, you actually saved that?" because in addition to the pictures I have saved, I also have saved band concert programs, graduation programs and more.

I have given them a piece of my time and talent that really cannot be digitally reproduced. It is a legacy that I hope one day they will sit down with their kids and grandkids to share.

Once you decide to start scrapbooking, the first thing that you will need to decide is what album you are going to start with. I have to say that the first time I faced this choice, I became very confused over the many choices that I had. No matter if you are a beginning scrapbook artist or an experienced one, it's important to know and understand the differences between scrapbook albums so that you can make the right choice for your project. Here is everything you need to know about choosing a scrapbook album.

To start with, the names of the albums is basically based on the way they are bound. Most of the styles are covered here to make it easy for you to chose.

In addition, you will need to think about the type of material that the scrapbook is covered in. Some will be vinyl and some will be leather, so it's your choice. Naturally, the leather covered albums will be more durable in the long run but also will be a higher price. If this is a presentation album such as a wedding, special birthday or anninversary, you might want to consider leather.

Finally you will need to think about the size that you want to chose. The most popular album is the 12"x12". But there are other sizes such as a 9" x 9" and a 6"x6" . If you want to create an album that will hold pictures and memorabilia, then the 12"x12" would be your best choice. I tend to use the other sizes for things like brag books and gift albums.

Quality Over Price

When you are looking for an album, more than likely you look at price. While I agree price should be a consideration, quality should also be weighed into your decision. If the cover of the album and the covers are not good quality and weigh enough, more than likely it will fall apart once you add lots of pages. So, consider how many pages will be in your album. The more pages that will be in it, the better the album should be.

Scrapbook Album Sizes

When it comes to choosing the size of your album, there is not one that is better than another. It's better to chose an album based on your need or project. The most popular size is the 12" x 12". It's most readily available and often comes as a complete kit. This size is best where you want to use multiple pictures and memorabilia.

There is also a 9'x9 ' size which of course is smaller and takes less paper and embellishments.

The 8 1/2 ' x 11" size is perfect for smaller projects like vacations, a year of school or a pet album.

The 6" x 6" size is also available. This is a great size for beginners or children to work on.

Themed Scrapbook Albums

Special Choices For Special Scrapbooks

These days the scrapbook industry has responded to the demand for special scrapbook albums. Now, you can get more themes beyond just the plain Jane albums. You can get sport themed scrapbook albums, wedding albums, birthday albums, special occasion albums, Disney and cruise albums. If you are creating a special scrapbook for a special someone, you will be able to make it personal with a themed scrapbook album.

No matter what album you chose, it's always smart to buy extra photo protectors at the time of purchase. That way you have the right size when you go to expand your album

What is Your Favorite Type Of Scrapbook Album?

Learn how to make a post bound album here

Learn how to make a post bound album here

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Post Bound Album

When you shop for a scrapbook album, more than likely you will see more post bound albums. These albums are head in place by screws and posts that bind the book together. The page protectors have holes in them that fit over the posts. The page protectors line up to fit that particular manufacturers albums. The scrapbook pages are generally loaded into the page protectors from the top, making it easy to lead and unload them. They can be loaded on both sides of the page protector, which allows you to create two pages facing each other as in a layout. The other feature of the post bound album, is that you can add more pages by adding additional posts. You simply unscrew the screws, add extenders and then add additional posts. For me as I add more and more pages to my albums this makes it really easy. They generally come with 10 page protectors already loaded in the album


Three Ring Albums or D Ring Albums

Another Album Alternative

Think of a loose leaf binder and you can imagine easily what a three ring, D ring album is. Instead of posts that bind the album together, there are three rings. You still have page protectors just like a post bound album. Ring albums allow you to open pages that lay open flat. The advantage of this type of album is that it is easier and faster to add pages and move them around.. They come in either a "D ring album" or an "O ring album" Most recently you can see these albums being used for Project Life projects. I have a very special ring album that my daughter in law made for me with a Christmas theme that I treasure.

Technically in this album, you could just use page protectors. But most page protectors are 81/2 " by 11 1/2 ". If you are going to use office page protectors, it is important to use archival safe ones. They are more budget friendly than scrapbook page protectors.

Most scrapbook makers prefer to use the standard 12 " by 12" scrapbook page protectors.

Strap Hinge Album


Strap Hinge Album

Strap-hinge style scrapbooks use pages that have staples built into the edges. Plastic straps slide through these staples and hold the pages in the book. Since the pages themselves are bound into the book, page protector sleeves are slid over the pages to cover them. To add or remove pages from the album the strap-hinge assembly is taken apart. They are not as popular as they have been in the past, but are still available. The plastic wire loops run all the through the edges of each page. Since the straps have already been slid over the pages to cover them, it's a tedious task to remove the straps in order to add or remove pages from the album. So this type of album would be best used for yearly additions like Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries ect.

Book Bound Albums

These are bound just like a book would be. They don't have pages that can be loaded, but often have perforations so that you can tear unwanted pages away. You cannot add pages to these types of albums. A book bound album is easier to work with when you want to add bulky embellishments

Scrapbooking Albums – Scrapbook Creative ideas, Crafts Galore, Making Memories

Scrapbooking Albums – Scrapbook Creative ideas, Crafts Galore, Making Memories

Spiral Bound Albums

These albums are much like the spiral notebooks from your school days. They are generally plain, often made of kraft paper. You can decorate the covers. While, they will not hold many pictures, they are perfect for art journals, garden journals and beginning scrapbooks for children. You could use these with stickers and art materials as a birthday party activity or a birthday favor

There are also systems that you can purchase to bind your own albums. These are readily available.

Save Page Protector Inserts

Save money on page protectors. Keep the insert from your page protectors. That way when you are shopping, you will always know what size and kind you will need. Place this insert in the back of the album you are working on. I keep the insert in a page protector in the back

Making Your Own Mini Albums

Though many of us would not make a 12" by 12" album, we would create our own mini albums. These are much smaller albums and make from our own imagination. They are often made of scrap cardboard from cereal boxes or packaging. They are bound or have a small fixed three hole metal ring in them. They have cut punched paper to size. The rest is up to the artist.

More Mini Scrapbook Ideas

Digital Scrapbook Layouts

Digital layouts like this are often available at no cost

Digital layouts like this are often available at no cost

Digital Albums

Another alternative to standard scrapbook albums are digital albums. Unlike standard scrapbook albums, these are layouts that are created digitally and then either printed out as a scrapbook album or transferred digitally to be shared. They are stored on your computer.

The Advantages To Digital Albums

  • Less cost for embellishments, papers and tools
  • No physical storage of albums and pictures
  • Pictures can be stored on a chip

Disadvantages To Digital Albums

  • Limited size as to the size of the album 8 1/2 by 11 inches or less
  • You would have to purchase a special printer to get larger size album
  • Cost of ink and printer may be higher than a typical album
  • Take considerable space on your computer
  • Many free programs, but there is a cost to print them in addition to the paper and ink
  • You may need digital creation software which may or may not be an extra cost

Digital Scrapbook Programs


Printed Photo Albums

Many of the principal online photo companies offer scrapbook albums that are printed for you. The cost is based on the type of cover you order as well as the number of pages. These are bound books that are still considered scrapbooks.

There is some leeway in design and layout. You can also add sayings, sentiments and some journaling

There are often sales on these scrapbooks, so check out different websites to get the best value.

Need More Inspiration?

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    Resources, ideas and inspiration to help you learn, create and share your paper craft passion

© 2014 Linda F Correa

What Scrapbook Albums Are You Working On? - What Albums Have You Chosen And Are Your Favorites?

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on July 02, 2014:

@Sylvestermouse: I was a big post bound album fan, but recently I too have begun to see the advantages of the three ring albums. With project life, they have really jumped in popularity

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 28, 2014:

I really do love scrapbooks! I grew up with the spiral bound albums, but I have come to prefer the binders with the 3 rings so I can move things around, remove or add content easily.

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