How to Select a Scrapbook Album: Hardware

Today I am going to talk to you about the different styles of scrapbook albums. In particular, the focus is on the hardware the album uses: strap-hinge, post-bound, 3-ring, or slip-in. It can be overwhelming going to a craft superstore and wondering what the advantages and disadvantages of each album type might be.

Strap-Hinge Albums

Strap-hinge albums are the style favored by Creative Memories. I have a love/hate relationship with strap-hinge albums.
&#8226Sturdy: Your page protectors are not going to fall out of the album.
&#8226The pages turn easily. The pages do not get hung up on the hardware holding them in the album making for an easy viewing experience.
&#8226Your album is never too big or too small. The strap-hinge system allows you to tighten up the whole album to the number of pages in the album. Keep in mind, however, that the album does have its limits. You can not place unlimited number of pages in the album.
&#8226Difficult for children to figure out. If you have children, especially young, curious children, the strap-hinge album is difficult for a child to figure out. You will be less likely to walk into the room and see all of your page protectors across the living room floor compared to using other types of albums.
&#8226You do not have to use page protectors. There are scrapbookers out there who dislike page protectors. If you fall into this camp, then a strap-hinge album would work nicely for you. I do not fall into this camp. I use just enough adhesive to keep everything on the page until it gets into the page protector (the protector helps hold it altogether). I also strongly dislike fingerprints on my photographs. The page protector makes it impossible to get new fingerprints on photographs. You also must consider your pages sticking together or getting caught on one another without the page protector. Feel free to not use page protectors, but I think you should wait to do this until you are a slightly more experienced scrapbooker.

&#8226They are challenging to use if you scrapbook out of order. I scrapbook whatever I feel like and then put in an album. This means I might scrapbook something that happened yesterday today and tomorrow I might scrapbook pages about Easter. I find it difficult to do this using strap-hinge albums.

Post-Bound Albums

I almost always use post-bound albums. If you buy a post-bound album, make sure it has three posts instead of only two. In general, more inexpensive albums only include two posts. This is just not sturdy enough. Pay extra to have three posts. You will be glad you did.

&#8226Similar to strap-hinge albums, post-bound albums are more difficult for children to open up. I like the security of the post-bound album, while still keeping some of the flexibility you get with a 3-ring album.
&#8226There is a wide selection of albums made by several manufacturers. You will be able to find an album that suits you and your needs with a post-bound album.

&#8226Your scrapbook pages will not lay flat. This one is kind of hard to explain unless you have actually seen complete albums of the various types.
&#8226I like to put a bunch of page protectors in the album and then slide my completed scrapbook pages into the protectors as I complete them. I jump around to approximate the order the pages will be in once the album is complete. Sometimes I am off. It usually takes several tries to sort the pages once the album is mostly completely. If you then have to add more page protectors, you have to take all of them out to put it in the place you want it (similar to strap-hinge albums).
&#8226You can’t change the size of the posts real easily. Most post-bound albums come with very short posts. The page protector refills will come with additional posts to lengthen the original posts. The problem then is the post is composed of smaller posts. I prefer to change these out with a one longer post. This is much sturdier. This works as long as you have enough page protectors to cover up the new post. Sometimes you do not have enough pages to do this so you can not change the shorter posts out for longer posts.
3-Ring Albums

I have never used a 3-ring album. I most likely will begin using 3-ring albums once I run through my stash of post-bound and strap-hinge albums.

&#8226It is easy to scrapbook out of order. You do not have to remove all of your pages to insert one more page protector. You simply open up the album and place the page protector exactly where you want it.
&#8226You can shop the office supply aisle. If you make pages that are 8.5×11, you can buy a regular 3-ring notebook. This can make scrapbooking more affordable for scrapbookers on a budget or looking to be more frugal. If you scrapbook in the 12×12 size (which is what I almost always do), you will have to shop the scrapbook aisle for your albums.

&#8226It is easy for a kid to open up the album and pull out your pages.
&#8226There is no adjusting the size of the album. Use 3-ring albums only if you can fill the album.

Slip-In Albums

I have one slip-in album.

&#8226Easy. You do not have to add page protectors because they are already part of the album.

&#8226You can not add pages to the album.
&#8226In order to rearrange your pages, you will have to remove the scrapbook pages from the page protectors and rearrange instead of just moving page protectors around.

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