Types of Albums for Scrapbooking

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What types of Scrapbooking Albums are Available? Which one is the best for me? These questions are one of the first things to beginning scrapbookers have to ask themselves. While scrapbook albums come a variety sizes (12x12, 9x9, 8 1/2 x 11, 6x6 etc), they also come in a variety of styles. Each style has it's own advantages and disadvantages and the choice you make depends on how you scrapbook, and what you want to acheive.

Post Bound Albums

These are one of the most common types of albums. They are made up a front and back cover, with a number of post down the spine. The number of posts depends on the size of the album. Most usually come with 10 "pages". The pages are a two part system. The first is a plastic sleeve, which opens at the top. The second part is a blank white or black cardstock page which is slipped into the sleeve. You can add more sleeves to the album by removing a cover and adding them to the album. It is usually possible to by packets of 10 "refill" pages.

Advantages:

  • Because you add the pages via the top of sleeves, you can scrap your pages in any order you like, as the order can easily be changed.
  • By using the sleeves, you can have two different pages from two different layouts in one sleeve ie back to back.
  • You can use any paper or cardstock you choose as the background to your page without adding bulk.
  • Because the pages connect to the album via the sleeves, you are not putting any pressure on your actual pages.
  • You can add extra posts so that you can increase the number of pages your album can hold.
  • You can start scrapping pages straight away while you save up for the album!

Disadvantages

  • Adding too many extra posts can place damaging pressure on the album.
  • Pages can arch slightly when album is completely open.

When I am scrapping randomn pages for my chronological albums (I keep my albums by year), then this is the system I use. I like to scrap out of order, and I can do this with the post-bound system.


Strap-Hinge Albums

Strap-hinge albums are made up of a front and back cover. Each page has two staples sticking out the side edge. To connect the pages to the album, flexible plastic straps are passed through the staples. Most strap-hinge albums also come with plastic page protectors. These slip on from the side of the page.

Advantages

  • Pages have a plastic reinforcing strip along both outside edges.
  • Pages lay very flat when the album is open.
  • Good for consistancy if you want a quick album.

Disadvantages

  • Because the pages are connected directly to the album, you must scrap your pages in order, as pages 2 and 3 are on the same "page", just on different sides.
  • The staples on the side can come loose or bend.
  • You are limited to black, white or natural pages, unless you are willing to "wallpaper" your pages with other cardstock or paper. This can increase both the cost and the weight of albums.
  • If you do wallpaper, you will have two plastic strips running down the middle between your two pages when the album is opened up.
I tend to use strap-hinge albums when I am doing a "stand alone album", that is a one-off events where I will do the pages in order. Since they are fronm one event, I generally pick a single layout or scheme which adds to the consistancy of the album.

Ring Binder Albums

These are similar to the ring binder albums you use at school or find in office supply shops. They come in a variety of styles, 3 or 4 rings or D-ring styles. They also come in a variety of sizes. These albums use a sleeve and page system similar to post-bound albums. 

Advantages

  • Metal rings are very strong.
  • Very easy to add new sleeves and to re-arrange pages.
  • D-ring album pages lie very flat when opened.

Disadvantages

  • Gap between pages when the album is open.
  • Rings can bend out of alignment making turning the page difficult.
  • Album size is not expandable.

Book Bound Albums

These are the type of albums first used many years ago to make scrapbooks. They are bound books with heavy weight paper pages. Some albums use tissue or other thin pages to separate and protect the heavy weight pages where photos and other items are placed.

Advantages

  • Very hard wearing.
  • Good for themed albums.
  • Excellent for those who like to use lots of journalling.

Disadvantages

  • You cannot use bulky embellishments.
  • Pages don't sit very flat.
  • You cannot add more pages.
  • You must scrapbooking your pages in order.

Summary

My personal favourite system is the 12x12 post-bound, top-loading system. I don't have a favourite brand. I use the quite cheap brand, available for as little as $15. Using this system allows me to scrap pages out of order. I generally look through my photos waiting to be scrapped and just grab the ones I think I can work with.

If you think you are interested in scrapbooking but aren't sure about committing to it, you can start creating your pages and then add them to a post-bound album later on.

If I am working on a theme album, such as a holiday, then I tend to use the 12x12 Creative Memories strap-hinge albums. There are a bit more expensive but they are of great quality, and since there are the ones I will be showing to people, they make a nice impression!


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