I’ve printed pages out as gifts for people, but I haven’t really printed any for us. I’m pretty excited to get home, though, and be able to send some pages off to be printed. Judah and I love to pull up the completed pages on the computer and look at them, and I think it will be even more enjoyable to be able to physically flip through an album or book and look at them. Of course, there are differences than with paper scrapbooking; there’s something about the feel of paper and the different textures, but seriously, I averaged about three paper pages a year, so it’s not like I had too many pages to feel anyway.
I know some people who print pages at home, but to me, it’s not really worth the ink that it takes. I think the quality is better when you print elsewhere as well, and places that are actually photo labs tend to have prints that last longer, don’t run, etc. On the other hand, I’ve seen photos that are printed at home, and after awhile, the color tends to fade. But that’s just my humble opinion.
So then the options become:
- Print as a book
- Print individual pages and put them in your own scrapbook
- Of course, there’s always the option of doing other fun things with them, too, like printing pages as calendars.
Size: Eek. I typically create pages in 12×12, but I must say that this is a point of conflict for me as well. The albums are huge, and they can be somewhat awkward to have conveniently lying around for people to pick up and peruse through. I really like the square look, but 8×8 feels too small. Why has no one come up with 10×10 albums that are easy to find? That’d be a great size! I suppose I should go with 8.5×11 or something more practical, but oh the square! You can, of course, print in any size you want, but album sizes are easier to find in these sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8×8, 8×10, 8×11.5 and 12×12.
Printing things in 4×6 is also great because you can print them off like a regular photo for cheap! Sometimes I make little 4×6 greeting cards that I can quickly e-mail to the grandparents and that can be easily – and did I mention cheaply?! – printed at Walgreens or any local photo lab. This also works really well for invitations, thank you cards and announcements (and they’re easy to mail). If you want a look that’s a little fancier, you can mount them on a solid piece of cardstock.
Printing individual pages: A lot of people send their pages off to be printed and bound in a book, but I tend to prefer printing individual pages and then slipping them into albums with protective sheets. I like the flexibility of being able to say, “AH! I forgot to do a page about this!” or “I think I’ll slip this page in between these two.” Other people like to store regular photos next to scrapbook pages in an album by inserting 4×6 refill pages (usually holds 12 or so photos) into their scrapbook albums.
Here are some places out there in Cyber Land that print pages (Click on the link for a PDF comparison chart of some printing services.). I made the info that I’ve found into a chart because I find it much easier to see side-by-side comparisons on things. I have only had personal experience with a handful of these companies (Other info has been accumulated from various scrapbooking sites and forums.), so take this for what it’s worth. I know there are other companies, but these tend to be ones that are more cost efficient and good quality. I know, too, that these prices are very subject to change, but as of today, this was the most recent info I could find.
Money saving tip: Note as well that often these places will run specials – reduced prices, free shipping, etc. – and often the best way to find out about these is to sign up for their newsletters. Often I will just do an internet search for special deals on various sites, too.
Printing books: …Of course there is something to be said for a cool, bound book. Maybe I’ll do some in the future, especially for special occasions (Hmm. A significant birthday filled with letters, advice and pictures from others as a gift, maybe, or an ABC book for Judah.). I did make small wedding albums at MyPublisher for our parents as gifts, and those turned out pretty nice.
There are a plethora of other book printing options. Many of the places that print single pages, for instance, also print books.
- Lulu (www.Lulu.com)
- Scrapbook Please (http://www.scrapbooksplease.com/photobooks.aspx)
- Viovio (http://www.viovio.com/) – Lots of different size options and pretty darn good prices. Reviews I’ve seen have been quite good. (Here’s one: http://sheekgeek.org/2009/jessicasheekgeek/my-review-of-viovio.) If you go with this company, check out this page for layout guidelines: http://www.viovio.com/wiki/Step+by+Step+Scrapbook+Instructions
- Winkflash (http://www.winkflash.com/books/)
- Lulu (www.Lulu.com) – For printing calendars or books. I printed an 11×8.5 calendar as a gift, and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. You also have the option of adding images to individual calendar days (like a picture of Mom on Mom’s birthday). The color on some of the pages did look a little off, but honestly, I’m not sure if that error is because of my own computer/ screen or if it was a Lulu error. Still, a pretty good deal – about $13 plus shipping for a standard calendar, plus shipping. Often, though, they have discounts for shipping or products (Just search the internet for codes. Sometimes they have codes right on the site, too.). The calendar didn’t take too long to ship at all – maybe a week after ordering at most. I suspect that would increase during the holidays, however.
- Viovio (www.viovio.com) also prints calendars, and their prices looked pretty decent. I might give them a try one of these days since their prices were comparable to Lulu. For now, though, I’m pretty impressed with Lulu and will probably stick with them.
So there you have it. A brief, not at all comprehensive overview of some of the many printing options available.