Scrapbooking sounds like a very time consuming hobby, and it certainly can be! It also sounds like a huge project that takes years to complete and requires expensive 12 x12 leather albums. I want to share more ways to document your story and mini scrapbook albums are a great way to do just that without breaking the bank or investing a lot of time in a long-term project. Last week, I shared my 30 things about me at 30 mini scrapbook album, and as I typed out the supplies I used to create the album, I realized that I grab the same tools over and over again when I’m working on mini scrapbook albums. Today, I want to dedicate a post to my favorite mini scrapbook album tools and give you an idea of why I use certain products over others.
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My mini scrapbook albums all follow the same basic foundation: thick album covers that I hole-punch and bind with small binder rings, cardstock paper used for the foundation pages, and a handful of basic embellishments to make my pages look cute.
My favorite mini scrapbook album tools
Albums and Album Covers:
- When I want to do some pocket scrapbooking in a smaller format, I reach for a Simple Stories 6×8 Album. I love the sturdy covers, the pocket page designs, and that the albums come in a variety of colors. I have red, green, navy, and yellow albums for different projects. The albums come with an assortment of pocket pages, thick cardstock in coordinated designs, and some very thick chipboard dividers to get you started.
- When I want to make a less photo-intense mini scrapbook album, I use loose chipboard pieces to create my covers. When I’m at a scrapbook store (which is less and less recently as most of the ones near me are now closed), I pick up a couple pieces of loose medium to thick chipboard in a variety of sizes. I try to keep my albums around 6×6 or 5×7 so it’s easier to pull together the pages for the album and so they are easy to handle when showing them to friends and family. I cover the chipboard covers with patterned paper and hole punch them with my crop-o-dile.
- In a pinch, I’ll use cardboard from a package to create album covers. For my 30 things about me at 30 mini scrapbook album, I used cardboard from my first Stitch Fix box because the inside of the box had a beautiful pattern and I thought it would look nice on the inside of my mini album. Cardboard can be more difficult to work with because you need to cut it down to the size you want to use, but if you’re like me and have boxes coming to your door (or at work) pretty frequently, then you have a constant source for album covers.
- On occasion, I will use the 4×4 albums from We R Memory Keepers. This is a good size to use if you’re documenting things like the books you read over the summer, a weekend trip, or Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life challenge.
- When you start scrapbooking or card making, a paper trimmer should be one of the first tools you invest in for the long haul. I started with an oversized paper cutter but have been using this smaller and more lightweight option for years now. I like how it does not take up much room but it is easy to have less-the-straight-cuts with this type of trimmer, but I don’t mind.
- The tool I expect to outlive me is my Crop-a-Dile. There are newer versions now, but mine is a hole puncher (two sizes) and grommet attacher. I use mine for punching holes 99.9% of the time now that grommets and brads are a little out of style. What is nice about the Crop-a-Dile is I can easily punch through thick chipboard and other materials like acrylic and leather without much effort. I also like that I can set a guide on the tool so my holes are a uniform distance from the edge of the project, which comes in handy when punching holes for my mini album covers!
- I use basic binder rings to bind my albums. I had a zutter-bind-it-all for a while but never got around to using it because it took up too much space and I was too lazy to figure out how to use it at the time because I wasn’t making many mini albums a few years ago. I like that binder rings give me freedom when working on a project. I can move pages around, remove a page if I make a big mistake, and add in more pages if I run out of space. I can also increase the size of the rings used if my album gets a little too fat.
- Would you believe me if I told you I have three staplers? I have a mini stapler I purchased in Japan for travel scrapbooking, a regular stapler for basic projects, and a long-arm stapler that I use when I want to staple something in the middle of a page or to create a booklet and a regular stapler just doesn’t cut it. If I buy a fourth stapler, it would be Tim Holtz’s tiny attacher because the staples are a good size for scrapbooking on a smaller scale.
- I haven’t done anything impressive with my Silhouette Cameo, but I want to do some fun things for the next 30 Days of Lists, so I’m adding it to this list. It is an electronic cutting tool that helps you make die cuts and stickers. It’s a popular tool if you’re interested in creating your own sticker set but don’t want to hand-cut each sheet of designs.
- While I have four staplers, I only have two clear acrylic stamp blocks and have my eye on one or two more. Now that I’m using a ton of stamps in my layouts and mini albums, I know how important a good stamp block is. I have a small 2×2 block that is good for smaller acrylic stamps (the clear type of stamp you have to mount to something in order to use) and a larger 2×4 block. I wish I had a longer stamp block and a stamp block with a grid pattern on it so I could line up my letters more easily. If you’re just starting out with stamping, buy one medium or large block to get started.
- Plain cardstock is one of the things I run out of the most when I’m busy making mini-albums. I like using cardstock as my foundation pages in my mini scrapbook albums because it gives me a fresh canvas to work on. I highly suggest purchasing quality cardstock, like Bazzil, if you’re not using page protectors or adding a lot of things to each page. The inexpensive paper from big box stores, like Recollections from Michaels, is thin and won’t always hold up to heavy embellishments but it will get the job done. My 30 things about me at 30 album used cheaper cardstock and I’m okay with that because I knew I wasn’t adding a lot of things to each page.
- I also use patterned paper to make my foundation pages, but you will want to make sure the paper is either double-sided, or you need to consider doubling the amount of paper you need to cut to cover up the plain back of non-double-sided paper. You can obviously leave the pages plain white, but I think albums look more put together when the pages are double-sided. Patterned paper is also good for decorating your pages. I’m currently on a 6×6 paper pad kick. I like that I get a few designs from a whole collection in a paper pad and the 6×6 format means the designs are shrunk down and more appropriate for smaller-sized projects like a mini album.
- Consider using specialty paper like vellum paper for your albums. You can create an album using brown paper bags, old books, and more. I used watercolor paper to make the pages in my March 2016 30 Days of Lists album and they feel so nice as you flip through the pages.
- Wet adhesive is what you and I would call regular glue. There are different options, but my longtime favorite is the 2 way glue squeeze & roll pen from Zig Memory System. It looks like a pen, blue adhesive comes out and dries clear. It’s simple, effective, and can usually be found at the counter of your local scrapbook store. For larger projects, or if my hand is sore from climbing, I reach for my Tombow Mono Liquid Glue Aqua that has a pen tip and a broad tip all in one. It contains more glue, so if you’re working on a glue-heavy project, I suggest getting this one instead of the Zig.
- Dry adhesive is the umbrella term for adhesives like glue dots, foam squares, tape runners, and photo splits. I like using dry adhesive when I’m creating mini-albums with lots of layers because I don’t need to worry about using too much glue and causing ripples in the paper (which is what happens to me when I use too much wet adhesive!).
- I include dimensional adhesive like Glossy Accents from Ranger in its own category because I don’t use it to glue paper together or to adhere a photo to a page. I use Glossy Accents to glue down tricky embellishments like flair/badges, wood veneer, and chipboard pieces.
Writing and Words:
- I keep things simple when it comes to any sort of journaling in my mini-albums. The pen I reach for the most is the ultra fine point Sharpie marker. I’m not concerned about the marker being archival safe or not because I have scrapbooks my grandmother put together in 1953 and wrote in them using ballpoint pens and they are holding up really well. I also use the 03 Precision Pen from American Crafts and have a set of micron pens for detailed doodles or squeezing journaling into tight places.
- If you don’t like your handwriting, alpha stamp sets are a cost-effective route for creating titles and journaling on pages. I have several sets from rukristin papercrafts and Kelly Purkey. I suggest finding one or two sets with classic typefaces so your layouts don’t look outdated after a few months.
- I used to have a Thickers (from American Crafts) addiction and I’m not afraid to admit it. Alpha stickers are a fantastic tool to have in your supplies because you not only get to create words, phrases, and journaling with your stickers, but they double as beautiful embellishments. My current favorite alpha stickers come in the monthly kits from Kelly Purkey. They are a simple sans serif in all caps, which is very versatile.
- I do a fair amount of printing at home with my Canon Selphy CP910 (read my review here). It’s nice to have around for projects that don’t need many photos, like mini scrapbook albums or filling gaps in Project Life pages. It’s also nice to have for family get togethers so your family can go home with a physical photo instead of asking you to post the photo to Facebook right away so they can get a copy of the digital. Physical photos are so nice to have around and I hope you share that with your family.
- If I have a large photo order or need various sizes printed out, I use Persnickety Prints. They are a trusted company within the scrapbooking industry and their customer service is fantastic. They check each individual photo to make sure things are printing out correctly and they offer a huge range of paper type, finishes, and sizes that you will be hard pressed to find something they don’t do. Persnikey Prints also offers membership-type deals where you pre-pay for a set amount of images and the credit is loaded into your account so you don’t need to pull out your credit card each time you place an order, which I find really helpful.
- When I need larger photos printed quickly, I send my photos to Target photo lab and pick them up in an hour. I figure I’m at Target often enough that it makes sense to send my orders there if I need a few prints. We printed out some 8×6 photos from our wedding day to frame for our families and the prints from Target were unexpectedly beautiful. If you don’t have a local photo lab, I suggest looking into options from Target, Walmart, and Costco.
Those are my favorite mini scrapbook album tools! I love scrapbooking and I know that these tools and products work well for me, and I hope you find something here that helps with your next mini scrapbook album.