Making Sense of Scrapbook Styles and Sizes

Albums piled up
Tsuneo Yamashita/Stockbyte/Getty Images

One of the first things you need to decide when you get started with scrapbooking is which type of scrapbook album to buy. There are a myriad of choices and confusing styles. Do you want a three-ring or a post-bound scrapbook? A 12-by-12-inch or an 8-by-8-inch album? This quick rundown goes over the pros and cons of each scrapbook type, as well as the best ways to use them.

Scrapbook Styles

The style of a scrapbook album is primarily determined by how it is bound. The most typical styles fall into these five categories:

Post-Bound

A post-bound album has machine screws and posts that screw together to bind the book. The page protectors have holes punched in them where the posts are inserted to hold them securely in the album. Each page protector opens at the top, allowing you to slide completed scrapbook pages right into the protectors. Two pages can be slid into each page protector back-to-back to create a double-sided page. If you need to move pages around, you can easily remove them from their protectors. When you want to add additional page protectors to your album, you can unscrew the machine screws and add extenders to lengthen the posts.

Three-Ring

A three-ring album uses page protectors that are usually identical to those found in post-bound albums. Instead of being bound by posts, a three-ring album uses standard three-ring notebook-style hinges to hold the page protectors in the book. D-ring albums allow the pages that sit flat in the book when it is closed. If you anticipate removing or adding pages to your album often, three-ring albums offer the most flexibility.

Strap-Hinge

Strap-hinge scrapbooks use pages that have staples built into the edges. Plastic straps slide through these staples and hold the pages in the book. Since the pages themselves are bound into the book, page protector sleeves are slid over the pages to cover them. To add or remove pages from the album the strap-hinge assembly is taken apart.

Book-Bound

A book-bound scrapbook is bound like a traditional, hardcover book. It has a sewn and glued binding where the pages are permanently bound. Pages cannot be added, but many book-bound scrapbooks have perforations that allow pages to be taken out to give more room for bulkier items on the remaining pages.

Other Types

Other scrapbook bindings include rings, spiral, ribbon, or hand-made fasteners. If you try your hand at making your own album, you're not limited to store-bought sizes and binding types.

Scrapbook Sizes

When choosing a size for your scrapbook, think about the number of photos, memorabilia, embellishments, and journaling you plan to put on each page. Common sizes include:

12-by-12 Inches

12-by-12-inch albums are a popular choice found in a wide variety of styles, colors, and designs. A 12-by-12 two-page spread can easily hold 10 or more photos if needed. Many people use a 12-by-12-inch album as their main family scrapbook.

8 ½-by-11 Inches

8 ½-x-11-inch albums hold fewer photos than 12-by-12-inch scrapbooks, but the upside is that the paper for these smaller albums is less expensive. While not as popular as the 12-by-12 books, a large variety of 8 ½-by-11 books can be found at most local scrapbook stores. Some manufacturers have turned this album on its side and created an 11-by-8 ½ album.

8-by-8 and 6-by-6 Inches

Following in the popularity of the 12-by-12 square scrapbook page design, 8-by-8 and 6-by-6-inch albums have become a common choice for themed albums. These smaller books can be completed in a shorter amount of time and the square page lends itself nicely to photos and journaling on a scrapbook page.

Other Sizes

Mini, theme, and handmade scrapbooks can come in any size. You can make them yourself or find them made from metal tins, paper bags, or paper-covered chipboard. These little books make great gifts and usually hold photos that revolve around a single theme, event, or person.