Thursday, August 03, 2006

Choosing a Scrapbook Album Size or Shape

By Christina VanGinkel

Scrapbookers have quite a number of choices when it comes to the size and shape of their albums. They can pick from a variety of mini sizes, including 4 x 6 and smaller, or go with a larger album, including 6 x 6, 8 ½ x 11, 8 x 8, or 12 x 12. Scrapbookers can also choose from a variety of shapes, including the traditional square or rectangle album, or go with a round, flower, or some other abstract shape. Some Scrapbookers pick one size and work with that format exclusively, while others choose randomly according to the project. I happen to fall in this second category. Depending on the subject of the album, what supplies I have available, and the pictures I am going to include in it, the size of the album itself can vary greatly, as can the shape.

You might feel that you are somewhat limited by the size albums you have available to you, but most likely you will either be able to purchase or make an album in whatever size or shape you want. The choice will really depend on the project. Consider what you plan to do with the finished album for example. If it is going to be a gift for someone, you might choose to go with a smaller sized, simpler shaped format to keep the costs of supplies and the time spent creating the album to a minimum. If it is to be a special gift, or something you plan to keep for your own future generations, you may not care about the time spent assembling it, or any additional costs due to the size.

Ideally, you will not consider either of these overly, time or cost, and choose an album size and shape simply on the merits of the project itself. For example, if you choose to make an album in memory of the family cat that passed away after gracing your family with sixteen years of love, consider the theme and the pictures available. When a good friend made just such an album, she first looked through all of her pictures to see what she had available. While she had many pictures where their cat was in them, she only came up with eight pictures that really made a statement as far as she was concerned. She also knew she wanted to keep the album out where it was easily accessible to family members, especially her two teenage daughters who had never known their home without kitty. She chose an 8 x 8 album because it provided just enough space for a picture on a page with a few embellishments, and then she used each adjoining page for journaling.

Once she started the album, she decided that two would be better, one for each of her daughters to put with their own keepsakes. She halted work on the original album, and made two additional ones, first making the two additional albums themselves from scratch, using a template she traced herself in the shape of a paw. Covers and pages were traced, and assembled with a simple ribbon binding. The shape of the albums are endearing for lack of a better word, the girls loved them when she gave them to them, and I have seen them show them off on several occasions.

By allowing the occasion to help guide the size and shape of each album you scrap, you can be assured that you will never become bored with making much the same book time after time. I have seen albums created inside of tins, both big and small, with hand cut covers, such as my friend's kitty albums, small matchbook styled albums that were actually too tiny for pictures, but held journaling sentiments and that were used as gifts. One of my personal favorites was an album that I made from an envelope. The envelope itself looked quite ordinary, though decorated in a cute design, and it opened to reveal my grandson's baby announcement and his first photos from the hospital when he was born. I wanted to create something as unique as the occasion itself, yet was so busy, that making a big album was out of the question. Sure, I could have saved everything to be assembled later into a bigger album, and that did happen, but I also wanted to make something right then to show off what an adorable addition we had in our family. The small envelope styled album was quick to make, fit the few pictures and embellishments I wanted to include, and I could carry it in my bag with ease.

The next time you have a scrapbook project to make, and are unsure of an album size or shape, let the project itself guide you in your decision.

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