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Choosing an Album

Scrapbook OptionsIf you are new to scrapbooking, then you may walk into a scrapbook store and be overwhelmed, and easily confused! It is hard to know what to buy, and which products are good ones. But, the truth is, you can make it as easy, or complex as you want. If you are scrapbooking your family history, then most likely you want clean, simple looking scrapbook pages that will honor your family’s memory. A classic looking album and pages that you can pass on for generations is ideal.

So, the first part of scrapbooking is trying to figure out what kind of album you need. First of all, there are several sizes of scrapbook pages that you can start with. The common ones are:

8.5 x 11 (the size of a sheet of printer paper)

8×8 (a square, smaller album)

12×12 (the largest size)

You will need to decide which size is right for you depending on what your scrapbook will contain, and how many photos and memorabilia you have. If you do not have a lot to scrapbook, then you might want to consider buying an 8×8 album. These albums typically come with 10 pages (or 20 front and back). You can cut down on your cost by buying one of these smaller albums. They are typically less expensive, and if you do not need to purchase any additional pages, then you will have even less to spend. Many times you can buy an album this size with all the papers and embellishments for cheaper than larger kits.

The 12 x 12 size albums can vary greatly in price, and looks. You can buy albums that are very decorative on the cover, have a place to personalize the name, or even have spots to place a picture on the outside of the album. However, most of these albums come with only 10 pages (20 front and back), and therefore, you have to purchase additional pages to go in them. While these albums are definitely more appealing to the eye, I have learned that I do not care for using these for my scrapbook albums. Depending on the brand, it is difficult to add more pages to these albums, and requires the use of spacers (which usually come with the additional pages you have to buy). When you put the spacers in, and pack the album full, they can often look too big and bulky.

When I scrapbook in the 12 x 12 size, I have started using very plain, 12 x 12, 3-ring scrapbook albums like these leather albums from We R Memory Keepers. You can compare these to your large 3-ring notebook, but nicer. They are usually slightly padded on the outside, made of leather material, and have a place on the side to put a label. While they are very plain, they server their purpose. The beauty of these is that you can buy larger packs of sheet protectors to place your finished pages in. The cost is relatively inexpensive.

Scrapbooking in the 12 x 12 size can be intimidating for first time scrappers. Maybe you don’t feel like you can put that much “stuff” on the page. Or maybe, you just don’t want to. You can also purchase albums in the 8.5×11 size. The advantages to this size are that you can buy sheet protectors easily, and that cardstock comes in this size making it easy to mount your photos, and matte them. Again, this could be a good option if you are scrapbooking on a budget or looking to scrapbook an album quickly.

Whatever option you choose, keep it simple and make sure to always use acid free products. The point in creating a heritage scrapbook is to honor your family, and their lives. You do not need the most beautiful album to do that. You only need one that will last, and can be passed down to your posterity.

Meredith Ethington is the author of this blog. To learn more about Meredith, and her history with Scrapbooking and Genealogy, go here.

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