Most of my projects require only an album, pocket pages or page protectors, and printed photos. The majority of what I use will be from Becky Higgins, Project Life, but there are many great quality products that do the same thing and accomplish the same goal. Project Life is a brand name but much like Band Aid and Kleenex, we have used the brand name to describe the product.
So, first, use up what you have on hand then shop for each item as you need it. Take advantage of the coupons and discounts – you almost never have to pay full price and most times can get 40% off at places like Michaels, Jo-Ann Stores or Hobby Lobby.
Albums: My favorite type of album is the ring binder. It comes in all sizes and is so much easier to use than the post albums when you have to add or rearrange pages. Some albums are bound, meaning you cannot remove, add or rearrange your pages. These are great if you can make your project fit the album because when filled, you have a nice compact, finished product ready for the shelf.
Cards: Cards are used for journaling or just as fillers if you don’t have enough photos to complete a page. Well, not just fillers -they do add color and character to each page. My pages are usually so full of photos that I almost always use cards only for journaling or as a date marker. You can cut your own as you need them or use any of the wonderful sets available if you are using pockets. If you are printing the whole collage and inserting into a page protector, your cards and journaling are digital, too.
Punches: I use the round corner punch just because of preference and that is how I started and want to be consistent. There are corner punches and those that will cut out the complete 2×2 or 3×4 photo from a printed sheet. This is also a great way to make your own cards for the 2×2 slots. Punches do come in the larger photo sizes, but I find that a pair of scissors or a paper cutter works much better on those.
Scissors/Cutters: I use an ordinary paper cutter or a pair of scissors to cut apart my photo collages if I am cutting to put in pockets. I’m not a perfectionist so if I’m off 1/36″ of an inch, I’m okay with that.
Another great method for cutting your photos to the correct size is to use templates. This is especially true if you have already printed your photos and need to crop them down to the correct size. Just place the transparent template over your photo, slide until you get the photo you want, and trim.
Pocket Pages/Page Protectors: When printing your collage on a single sheet, like we do for the 8×8 and sometimes the 6×8, you will need a single pocket, sometimes called a page protector. When using individual photos, you need a pocket page. In the first project, we will use a 4×4 album and one page will be a 4×4 page protector and the other will be a 4×4 pocket page with four individual 2×2 pockets. Again, lots of good brands available, but be consistent within the same album as they can be just a little different by brand.
Pens/Markers: Most of my journaling is done while still in the app, so it is digital. When I do write on a photo, I usually use a Sharpie or other permanent pen. When writing on cards, I use the erasable Pilot Frixion pen. This pen is amazing, erases without leaving a trace -even days later.
Photos: I print two sizes for collages that I plan to cut apart. I use 8.5 by 11 or 4×6. The 4×6 works perfectly when using a 4×4 album, but the 8.5×11 gives you the ability to print more photos at one time. I love to print my 12×12 scrapbook pages as an 8×8 first so I can arrange in my album and check for errors before sending them to be made into a bound book or printed as 12×12. Most of the photo collage apps now have the option of printing a 4×4 and two 2x2s on a 4×6 base and many have various 8.5×11 templates.
Sidenote: I order all of my ink for my Canon printer directly from Canon. The price is full retail, but it is seldom on sale at office supply stores anyway. By doing this, I almost always get freebies when ordering. The order I got today was for two ink cartridges, one black, one color. My free items included the following photo paper packs:
- 2 pkg of 20 – 5×7
- 1 pkg of 50 – 4×6
- 2 pkg of 20 -8.5×11
- 5 pkg of 100 – 4×6
All or $58.28 and free shipping. Plus I didn’t have to go shopping, and since I use eBates, I also get 2.5% cash back from them.