3-ring binders haven’t changed much over the years; they often have a top and bottom lip that helps you to open the rings (the album at the bottom of the pile). But now they have been retro-fitted for scrapbooking! So if you love the nostalgic feel and like to be able to move the pages of your album around easily, this is the way to go. The only drawback is, I seem to have troubles when I fill the binders up too full and the rings don’t want to connect properly anymore. Many 3-ring binder scrapbooking albums have compartmental inserts that can hold several photos, cards, scrapbook pages or a combination of each.
Post-bound scrapbooking albums come with a flap on the inside of the spine on both the back and front covers (the album second from the top with the red squares). When you lift the flap in the front of the album, you can see a set of three screws that couple with a set of 3 posts found under the back flap of the album. These work together to hold each page of the album in place. The album’s front cover and back cover are two separate pieces and the binding is covered by a third piece. These three pieces are also held in place with the screws and posts. The posts are extendable, meaning you can buy extensions and screw them onto the pre-existing posts to make your album hold more scrapbook pages. Post-bound scrapbooking albums are my favorite and probably the most widely available. I like them because I like to be able to customize the size of my album’s width as well as be able to easily find plastic insert refills.
Spiral-bound scrapbooking albums don’t have the flexibility of moving pages around or adding additional pages, but you can always tear out pages if you have too many (the album second from the bottom). Spiral-bound means never having to worry about rings that don’t fit together or screws that have to be tightened, however it does mean being careful if the spiral biding is wire because if the wire spirals become flattened in any way it prevents your scrapbooking album from being opened. Many spiral-bound scrapbooking albums come with pages that hold individual photos instead of scrapbook pages.
Journal, or book style, scrapbooking albums can be compared to spiral-bound scrapbooking albums in that they don’t have the flexibility to move pages or add additional pages, however because the binding isn’t a spiral wire, they are a bit sturdier (the album on the top of the pile). The book’s pages are highly customizable because they can be glued together, cut windows into, painted on, or any other sort of altering technique. However, this isn’t generally considered a traditional scrapbooking album.
Handmade scrapbooking albums can have bindings made from ribbon, string, jute, thread, yarn, or just about anything else you can think of. There are many different binding techniques to try. Binding your own scrapbooking album gives you the flexibility to have different sized pages, ephemera, souvenirs and etc included as pages in your album.
There are also book binders you can purchase that look like laminators but can bind an album’s pages. The company that sells the binder also sells the albums. The albums are a front and back cover with glue up the inside of the spine. You add your pages to the album and set the album into the binding machine which heats up the glue so your pages become bound to the spine of the album. This type of binding also gives you the flexibility to have different sized pages, ephemera, and souvenirs included as pages in your album.
Many of the aforementioned albums come in several different sizes and designs. The way I choose is by deciding which album will work best with the way I want to tell the story of my pictures, then after I have picked a style of album I look for color, design, or theme. For my son’s relatives album I chose a hand-binding, for our trip to Hawaii I chose a book style, and for my daughter’s baby book I chose a post-bound. No matter the size or theme, there is always a huge sense of accomplishment when you can step back and look at your completed album. What is your favorite binding and why?