I have been creating with paper for years and that includes some time creating scrapbook pages and photo albums.  Actually, one of my favorite projects is creating a mini album from scratch.  I love cutting the chip board, crafting the cover, and designing the pages. And I love choosing the right papers and colors to use in the mini album.  This process can take several hours if you have a complicated album or just a few hours if it’s a more simplified album. To a person who doesn’t make photo albums, this process can be boring or terrifying….depending on your outlook.  However, many people who may not like to make the albums still enjoy looking at them, interacting with them, and enjoying the memories that the photos stir up.

As I have made several mini albums as gifts I have learned a few things that are key to making an album someone will actually use. Knowing if the recipient likes to share photos is the first step. This post starts where we already know the recipient likes to save pictures and share them with family.  Even if most of their pictures are still in a box or digitally in files, this is a great way to get them out for people to enjoy.

Tip #1 Create the album in a size so that the recipient doesn’t need to crop the photos. Having to crop photos just makes more work for the recipient. If they like to crop their photos, that is fine. However, In my experience most people who don’t do memory keeping or scrapbooking don’t like to have to crop their photos.  You want them to be able to put the pictures in quickly so they can enjoy the results faster.

Tip #2 Keep the book simple.  If the album is complicated with “pull outs” and “slide behinds” you will over whelm them.  They won’t know where to start and may be afraid to ruin your hard work.  So make it easy for them to see how they can add their photos to the album.

Tip #3 Bigger is not always better.  Be careful not to make the book so large they can’t use it.  If it is large and heavy no one can pick it up and look through the pictures. IE your 93 year old granny who loves to reminisce about her old four wheelin’ days but can’t enjoy them if she is trapped under this giant heavy photo book in her assisted living apartment.

Tip #4 Offer to add the photos for them.  Sometimes people will ask me to make a mini album for a specific purpose.  Adding the photos for them takes the stress off both parties.  You know the photos will actually get in the book and your recipient doesn’t have to stress about adhesive and a paper cutter.

Tip #5 Ideas for holding photos without glue or adhesive:

Use a punch out or die cut shape like a circle to hold the photos on the page. Almost any shape will do as long as it doesn’t cover too much of the photo and will hold it snug in the book.


Using a circle punch out cut in half and adhered to the top and bottom of the page.

Tip #6 Use a strip of tape with the backing left on it.  Place the adhesive in the middle of where the photo should go.  Then all you have to do is peel the backing off and add your photo.  This can also be helpful as it makes it obvious where to put the picture.  I don’t recommend this however if you want the space to be used for either a photo or journaling.

A piece of double stick tape can be placed in the middle.

Tip #7 Tuck spots or pockets are a great way to add photos to an album.  Tuck spots are little areas where the paper or embellishment is not adhered all the way down so a photo can be tucked into the corner or slipped behind it.  Pockets are very similar but are mostly as the name implies, pockets to hold the photos with the intention that the viewer would have to pull them out to enjoy looking at them.

A “tuck spot” can be a great place to tuck photos into.

Lastly, I wanted to show an album I made for someone who is not a scrapbooker.  This book could really not be any simpler.  It was intended to hold a new photo each month of their new baby. Looking back I would make a small change.  I would move the monthly banner down just a bit so that the photo would sit more centered on the page.  I would recommend adding a strip of adhesive to each page as the monthly banner is not able to hold the photo securely in the album.

If you are interested in making an album like this one, head on over to my online classes.  I have an online class and more examples of this style of mini album available for free.

Thanks for stopping by.