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How to Select the Right Album for a Scrapbook

You've got the "scraps"—now you need the book. Before you rush out and buy the first flashy binder that grabs your eye, put a little thought into what you really need.


  • Step 1: Consider temporary mounting If you have anything you might want to remove at some point, you'll need to find a way to mount it temporarily, like with photo corners. Again, write down the requirements.
  • FACT: Famous American scrapbookers include founding father Thomas Jefferson, literary hero Mark Twain and Tori Spelling.
  • Step 2: Consider purpose Consider the purpose of your scrapbook. If it's for personal use, a delicate, handmade binder could work. An archival item to be circulated or passed down through the generations requires a sturdier build. Write down your needs.
  • TIP: Every scrapbook tells a story, so think about how you want to tell this one—humorously or seriously, boldly or gently, sweetly or naughtily, etc.
  • Step 3: Measure layouts Measure layouts and record the dimensions. If your materials include large items like maps or posters, they might merit an oversize book like a tabletop ledger. Smaller, more intimate presentations work better in a baby book or diary.
  • Step 4: Consider pages If you have unusually shaped layouts, consider using double pages or pages that fold out. Make a note of this, too.
  • Step 5: Buy the book Buy the book. Now you're ready to start the final step in the process—assembling your masterpiece.
  • TIP: Buy refill pages when you buy the book so you don't have to hunt them down later.
  • Step 6: Think about number of pages Think about how many pages you need, and whether that might expand. You don't want a half-filled book, but if your theme might expand over the years—like "Thanksgiving" or "Summer Cottage Memories"—you'll need a binder so pages can be added.
  • Step 7: Consider emotional impact Consider the emotional impact you want your scrapbook to have. Should people feel nostalgic? Impressed? Amused? Write down the word or words that come to mind—they'll serve as helpful reminders when you find yourself overwhelmed by choices.
  • TIP: Magnetic photo albums are not recommended for archival use—magnets can distort and discolor photo chemicals over time.
  • Step 8: Pick a book You're ready to pick a book. Look for a style that accommodates all your materials in the way you want to organize them, and make sure it's the right color, texture, and size for your theme.
  • Step 9: Consider special features Consider the special features of your layout. If your materials include souvenirs and keepsakes that are not flat and easily mountable, you may need to plan creative treatments or buy customizable pages to accommodate the objects. Note this down.

You Will Need

  • Your planned scrapbook layouts
  • Time to think
  • A notepad and pen
  • And a ruler or tape measure

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