Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Album Revisit

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start printing my scrap pages 8x8, so I looked for 8x8 albums. (See that post here.) I decided on the American Crafts 8x8 D-ring cloth album and ordered it. My layouts have arrived, and so has the album. Wanna know what I think of the album?

In one word: DISAPPOINTED.

Nowhere in the album description anywhere online did it say that the 8x8 cloth album only comes with 2-rings instead of 3-rings. Why does it make a difference? The 2 rings are set very close together, towards the center of the album. Look what happens when I hold up the album filled with 49 layouts?


Yep, the pages flop down. :(

The top-loading page protectors are not sturdy enough. That coupled with the close-set 2-rings make the pages flop around when you stand it up or carry it around, or even just browse through the album.


And obviously, if you love to make 2-pagers, you can see how far apart your two pages are in this D-ring album. I think I could have dealt with that, if not for the floppiness of the pages.

Another thumbs down - because of the D-ring, the album is really thick!
It is a good 2 1/2 inches in the spine, so you'd have to make plenty of room for your album on your bookshelf.

Here's what 49 pages look like in the album, from the bottom.

So yes, I made a bad choice for me. I thought D-ring albums would be great for re-arranging, but this one really disappointed me. Does anyone out there know of any other 8x8 D-ring albums that comes with 3-rings and more sturdy page protectors? If all D-ring albums are like this, I am going back to post-bound albums. I'll just refrain from re-arranging my pages very often!

Luckily, along with the D-ring album, I also made a Shutterfly book and that arrived this week as well.

I've made Shutterfly books before, and I do resize the pages to accommodate for bleed and trim. What I've never done before is put a 2-page spread in the book. When I resized the pages, I purposefully overlapped the left and right pages a little bit in the middle, so that the part lost in the gutter of the 2-page spread would be the part that's overlapped and I wouldn't lose as much content in the gutter.

Here's what it looked like in photoshop when I prepped the 2-pager for print. See the overlap in the middle?

Here's what my printed book looks like.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it. The colors turned out a little darker than I expected. I'm not sure if it's my monitor's problem or Shutterfly's problem. I know I checked the box at Shutterfly to not mess with the colors on my pages, so I'm not sure what's wrong with it. I know that the individual pages I printed at came out resembling what I see on my computer screen a lot better.

So that's the summary of my album and book experience. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.

ETA: My friend Jennifer Wilson at Simple Scrapper also posted about the same issue today! Feel free to check out her post here. :)

10/06/2009 update: Lyndsey from American Crafts found my review. She contacted me and told me that American Crafts will be introducing 8x8 3-ring D-ring albums! She offered to send me one when it is released. She also has sent me a 12x12 post-bound album in the meantime, for the trouble I had with my 8x8 2-ring D-ring album. That is some pretty nifty web-searching and customer service!


  1. I like how that two-pager turned out. Good thinking!

    No idea on the D-Ring albums though. We've already had this discussion but even though post bound albums are a pain - I like the way the pages lie. So I'm not apt to try a ring album.

    My verification word is "Menpen"

    I think I need one of those!

  2. What a smart thing to do with your two pager!

    Bummer about the AC D Ring album. I'm really happy with the 12x12 classic leather D rings I have from We R Memory Keepers, but for some crazy reason they don't make the 8x8 size in the D ring, only the postbound. I hope you find something that works for you!

  3. Hi, for having printed on photo papers many of my scrap, I experience that I have to always light my files before printing. This is a question of screen calibration versus yr provider calibration. Anyway, once you know it, you can deal with it. But the way, I 'm french, and in France we can not find big square album books (30x30)so I decided after very long hesitation to make my own album with papers I will buy and special format ; all customize. Yours seems great.

  4. Thanks for sharing about the D-ring album. As much as it aggravates me to move my pages in the post bound, it may be the only type of album that doesn't let the pages slide around. I need to go look at Heather's albums...

    Your shutterfly album looks great..I love the double page layout.

    For cost reasons, I'm considering leaving the 12x12 album and using 8x8's. What do you think?? Do you print 12x12's??

  5. Okay, so after seeing your pics of your pages falling out of your albums, I had to go check mine out. I don't have the cloth d-ring, but the AC Modern D-ring. They still only have 2 rings that I am pretty sure are placed the same as yours. And, while the pages do slip down a little bit in mine, I didn't notice it quite as much, but my albums are really full too. I love the fact that the albums are so thick b/c I can get more layouts in them. I just counted my thickest one and it has 58 pages in it, so that is 116 layouts. I don't know, for me, it is worth it to be able to move them around easily, but then again, I don't do many 2 pagers and have never used the post bound. Sorry that you are disappointed, that is never any fun. Hope you find something that you are happy with.

  6. Haha! You stole my post for today! Thank you - you explained the issue so well. I wrote a post anyway, asking everyone to help us both.

    Btw, I bought brown too!

  7. Hi Christine - I ordered 2 of these - but I haven't been able to put any pages in them yet. I just ordered them this weekend, so they aren't here yet. Janet uses these and posted about them on The Daily Digi, so I thougt I would give them a try since they are 20% off at the moment. They have 3 D-rings, and only has about 2.25" of spine. Hope that helps!

  8. I'm sorry that you had to be the one that found out the hard way about those D-ring albums, but you've definitely helped save some of us some frustration.

    I'm waiting on my own Shutterfly album so I'll soon find out if the photos seem a little dark or not. Not long ago I changed my monitor's resolution and had to get used to my screen looking a little dark to me since all my prints were coming out darker than I liked.

  9. Lynnette (Nettio)9/03/2009 10:24 AM

    That's really weird about how close the rings are in that album. I use the American Crafts 8.5x11 Cloth albums and just combine the 8x8's in with the bigger pages, so they technically only have 2 rings holding them in. But I don't think they stick out as much as what you're showing. They look like this in my album:

    I do agree that the page protectors are not all that sturdy. I kind of wonder if it's because they assumed the pages would be more like cardstock and our printed pages aren't? Sorry you were disappointed! You might want to write to the company and let them know, since I'm not sure how many paper scrappers buy 8x8 albums.

  10. I have the 12x12 AC 3 ring album. At first, I loved them. Loved being to re-arrange on the fly, since I don't typically scrap/print in order.
    But...I hate them now. The album is larger than 12x12 (the cover part). So, it is super huge and hard to look at unless you're sitting at a table. So, while I love for folks to be able to look through my albums, they are so cumbersome!!

    I've been trying to find those 6x6 WRMK albums you posted the other day. The B&M Jo-Ann stores here are MOST unhelpful (don't even get me started with their lack of customer service). I'd really like to look at one in person before I buy them. I may look at Archiver's and see what they have.

    I'm debating on switching to 8x8, due to cost and the insane number of pages I'm printing.

    I am not a big fan of Shutterfly. Every book I've printed with them has been dark...especially flesh tones. For the money they charge, I'm very disappointed.

    My fave book publishing places are Blurb and Inkubook. I love, love, love the Inkubook 10x10 album. It is a great size!

    Whew. Maybe I should post about this too...I've commented long enough here!! :)

  11. Wow - I suppose I will be glad I quit buying binders, I just order the flat books now, saves me headaches - and your 2 page overlapped idea seems to have worked marvelously! How amazing!

    You were right - Kadi AND Annie got married...Kadi August 1, Annie August 29 - it's been a long month...

    And yes, 9-year-old Abby made espresso at 9:30 PM for ALL of the children - and Daddy (who was SLEEPING on his watch, which is where Abby and Ruby were supposed to be). I get off work at 10 PM lol.


  12. Total bummer about the album, but at least your layouts look fab!

  13. Sorry that the binder didn't work out good. I should have been so disappointed. At least the Shutterfly album looks fab! Great idea with the pre-cropping.

    I mostly print 8x8 (20x20 cm), but glue them into 12x12 albums. That way I can add pictures that didn't made it into the LO or other stuff I want to keep from that occasion.

  14. it's e beautiful book!!! I've bought a little album for editing LO per LO (as you) ....and I think it's not very good... I've bought a photobook too on Pixum , and I'm happy for this even it's dark (like yours...but mine is less expansive).
    What I love on photobooks it's the cover and double pages ;-))) (excuses for my englih...I'm French!lol)

  15. Listgirl -- Sorry about your bad experience with the D-ring album. We're working on improving them, but in the meantime I'd like to send you a replacement album. Please email your mailing address to me at lyndseyw[at]

    American Crafts


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