Each layout is a work of art, so after spending so much time and effort, it would be madness to then put the pages in a shoddy album. You want to impress people with the first impression and you want to protect your work. It would also be silly to then show off your newly completed album to family and friends for them to put mucky fingerprints all over your pages! So plastic page protectors are used to safely encase each page allowing lots of people to see but not damage your work. Then, after everyone has seen and admired your album where do you then keep it? In order to preserve your layouts all three aspects should be considered.
Scrapbooking is not a cheap past-time (although it can be!). We all get drawn into buying lovely papers, embellishments and trinkets and before you know it a lot of money has changed hands. So it might be tempting to save money on an album. There are certainly all sorts of albums out there in all shapes, sizes, colours and prices. Some albums come with slip cases which protect the album when stored or when being posted.
You do not have to buy an album before you begin to scrapbook. You may decide to work on 12” by 12”, 8.5” x 11”pages or 8” x 8” pages and then choose your album. However choosing the album is a good place to start once you have dipped a toe into scrapbooking because this might determine the contents and style of the pages.
Obviously the size of the album will determine the size of the pages you make as you can’t squeeze a 12” page into an 8” album! But also the theme of the album is important. If it is a family heritage album to be passed around a large family then you need to buy a very sturdy album with plenty of pages. A leather post bound album is going to be expensive but worthwhile in the long run as you want future generations to enjoy your work. Similarly a circle journal which is to be posted need to stand up to the rigours of the postal services. However, a baby’s first days, or a short event such as a holiday could easily be recorded in a smaller album which makes it more intimate. If you are scrapbooking with kids, and it’s more fun than longevity you are after, then you can choose a cheaper album.
Post Bound Albums – these have small metal posts, two, three or four depending on the size, which easily screw in to the back cover to hold the pages in place. This means the album is expandable so you can add or remove pages easily. With some you can buy extension posts to allow you to add even more pages. These tend to be very sturdy albums and so, more pricey. They often come with some page protectors.
Spiral Bound – these albums tend to be cheaper since you cannot add more pages. They may become bulky if lots of embellishments are on each page. You cannot add page protectors to these.
Ring bound – these have two or three rings, like an office file, and allow you to add or remove pages. You are limited as to how many pages you can add but you can add page protectors.
There are other types of albums such as strap bound which have an expandable strap hinges, and manufacturers will always invent new album types. But the main thing is never, ever store photos in ‘magnetic’ albums. These were sold in the ’80s and ’90s (and even some places today) and they had self adhesive backing which you placed your photos and covered with the plastic front. These are not archival and will damage your photos. You will have difficulty removing photos from these albums if they are several years old and the photos may already be damaged.
Page protectors are the plastic sleeves in which you place your finished page. Generally the page protectors allow you to insert the page from the top, so this means the page won’t fall out when flicking through the album. The page protectors are then secured into your album or some albums do have them already bound in to the spine. Page protectors are used not only to secure the page in to the album but to protect the page from fingerprints and damage.
Not all albums have page protectors in them and you can leave your page open, without a plastic covering. This is OK if you have embellishments you want people to touch or open and you don’t mind the page being a little bit spoilt with fingerprints. However, most scrappers agree that page protectors should be used to ensure photos are kept safely.
The worst places for albums and photos are the loft or attic or the basement. Typically it is in these places where we tend to store items. Lofts and basements are subject to extreme changes in temperature throughout the year because they are not insulated. These changes in temperature then mean changes in humidity which cause damage to paper and photos. Lofts and basements are also the most likely places for water damage, caused by a leak or burst pipe, and it could go un-noticed for along time.
The ideal place to store an album is in the main part of your house. Here the temperature is controlled and will not fluctuate radically. You can keep an album on a bookcase but make sure it is not in direct sunlight or the sun will fade the spine unless it is in a slip case. Store albums upright on a shelf supported by a book of a similar size on either side, but make sure the album is not squashed or the contents could be damaged.
Points to Remember
- Do not store an album in direct sunlight
- Do not store an album next to a radiator
- Do not store an album where it might get wet or damaged
- Keep the box the album comes in if you are posting it, this will give extra protection
- Remember to use only archival quality albums i.e. those that are acid and lignin free.