If you’re fairly new to the world of digital scrapbooking, you might be wondering what your options are for getting your scrapbook layout from your screen to your scrapbooks. There are several options for doing this, and in my mind, having multiple, flexible options is one of the best things about scrapping digitally.
Options for displaying your finished layouts include:
- printing them as individual pages (through services like Scrapbook Pictures or Persnickety Prints) and storing them in scrapbook albums (like these from Creative Memories or any number of albums available at stores like Archivers or your local scrapbook store – if you’re lucky enough to have one!)
- printing them as hardbound books (through a service like Heritage Makers, Blurb, Snapfish or Shutterfly)
- printing them and putting them on display in frames (like these)
I will cover each of these options in a short series of blog posts, starting with…
Part 1: Printing as individual pages
Perhaps the easiest way to get your pages from your computer to something you can easily see and enjoy in real life is to print your pages individually and slip them into a regular scrapbook.
Digital scrapbooking kit used in the above layout: Arctic Expedition kit by Katie Pertiet (one of my all-time favorites!)
This is my preferred option — at least for now. As someone who doesn’t typically scrapbook chronologically, I find myself placing orders for about 20 pages at a time, with pages that span several years and subjects. I might never be done with my daughter’s first year, for example, but I want to be able to see and enjoy those pages that I do complete soon after I complete them on screen. If I waited until I had enough pages finished to make a full book – and until I knew I would never want to go back and scrapbook something I missed in that same time frame – I might be 90 before I printed these pages!
I also occasionally scrapbook in paper rather than digitally (although my paper-scrapping days are admittedly fewer and farther between as each year passes), and printing my pages as individual pages allows me to mix digital pages with paper images in the same album. It’s a beautiful thing!
So for my typical scrapbook albums, printing as individual pages is my preference. Quickly viewable. Mix-and-matchable. Flexible. Beautiful!
There are many companies – several of them online – who can print your pages as 12″ x 12″ (and other sizes) photos. If you order online, they will deliver them directly to your house, and you’ll be ready to slip them into your albums in no time. My favorite to use is ScrapbookPictures.com. They do an awesome job! However, I will admit that I have never used any other company, either, so the others might be equally as fabulous. (I guess I just think if there isn’t any reason to switch, why bother.) But I’ll throw out a few options for you just in case.
Printing options (all of these print 12×12, my standard size. Check them out to see if they print a size you are used to using.)
- ScrapbookPictures.com ($1.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping)
- PersnicketyPrints.com ($1.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping)
- ScrappingSimply.com ($1.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping)
- Costco Photo Center ($2.99 per standard 12″ square print + shipping – you might find that this is a better deal only if you can pick up your prints at a store near you)
Certainly, this is not a complete list. You might check with your local Target store, CVS, Walgreens and independently owned photography stores to see if they offer a 12 x 12 option. It seems to be becoming a more popular option. The others listed here are ones that fellow digital scrapbookers I know (or whose blogs I follow) use on a regular basis. So I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the ones above.
While you can also choose to purchase a wide-format inkjet printer (like this one from Epson) and large-format photo paper (which seems to be a little hard to find) and print your own photos, by the time you add the cost of the ink and supplies and consider the hassle of replacing ink, errors when printing, etc., it might be more affordable and certainly more convenient to order from a professional photo printing service like those listed above. The added benefit is that these photo printers print on high-quality photo paper and use a chemical and light process that ensures archival quality (read more about Persnickety’s process, for example). Ink jet prints are printed with ink on paper, which by nature makes them more susceptible to showing age and losing quality over time.
I can’t even begin to get into details about all of the different kinds and brands of scrapbook albums out there! There are just too many to count. If you’re looking for a new one, you can always look online at places like Archivers Annex or Scrapbooks.com.
Honestly, though, you can skip all of that if you ask me! My favorite albums of all time are those made by Creative Memories. The quality is amazing, they are guaranteed for life, and the best part about them is that they lie completely flat when open.
See those nice, flat pages? Ahhh….beautiful!
As you might be aware if you’re a scrapbooker already, many scrapbook albums – particularly the post-bound ones, which seem to be the most popular and offer the most variety in cover design – buckle in the middle near the spine, leaving wide gaps at the top of the book (between the page and the page protector) and folding/arching your pages unnaturally. This makes for awkward page turning, and it also can make the adhesive on paper pages less durable over time and can add undue wear to digital layouts printed on photo paper due to their constantly being arched and unarched while the book is opened and closed over time.
The following photos show what I mean about the buckling/arching of the pages inside their page protectors.
Notice, too, that this book only has 20 layouts (10 page protectors) in it. (And actually, they’re just plain paper at this point; if you add the extra weight of photos and embellishments, the pressure on each page will be even greater.) Plus, if you typically enjoy larger albums with many more pages, the fold at the center and the pressure it puts on the pages by way of arching and humps is even more.
Clearly, flatter is better in this case — both for the safety and longevity of your layouts and for the appearance of the album when you’re looking through it.
Pages and Page Protectors
Creative Memories offers a very high-quality page protector designed for digital pages. If you’re used to CM albums and are familiar with the reinforced edges of the standard pages, you know that those reinforced edges are actually thicker than a printed digital page, making the traditional pages bulkier than needed for digital pages. Also, with the reinforced edges thicker than the layouts filling the rest of the page protectors, if you have a large book of pages, the centers of the pages will sag while the album is lying on a table.
The side-loading 12×12 pages, however, are the perfect solution. They eliminate the need to buy separate page protectors (they include the plastic outer shell and an insert page combined), they eliminate unnecessary bulk by not having a reinforced edge (leaving everything smooth and flat while open), and their overall heavy quality will surely withstand the test of time and many, many page turns. Plus, they load from the spine-side, rather than the top, so no dust will enter your pages/page protectors when your albums are stored on your bookshelves — another drawback to traditional, top-loading albums and pages.
P.S. You can also have your CM albums imprinted with Persona Imprinting. You can have imprinting done on both the cover and spine. Here’s an example of one of our Creative Memories albums with Persona Imprinting.
[If you order Persona Imprinting online and don’t already have a Creative Memories consultant, enter Kelly Hampton’s name when it asks. (I think there will be two Kelly Hamptons that pop up; my consultant is the one lives in Indianapolis, and she’s fabulous!)]
Editor’s note: 11:53 p.m.
Just found out from Kelly that Creative Memories also prints 12×12 pages! Check out their printing service, too! ($3.99 per 12×12 page + shipping)