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Here are some points to consider when beginning an album and choosing the best structure for your project:
- How many items (such as photos, drawings, or three-dimensional objects) will the album hold? Will the items be on both sides of the leaves or just one? Make sure the structure you choose will accommodate them.
- How heavy are your items? If they are heavy enough, you may need a heavier-weight text paper to support them. This could range from watercolor paper to mat board to a heavy-weight drawing paper. The pages should support your objects. However, heavier-weight text papers mean stiffer pages. Stiffer pages in the book won’t turn as well, and could lead to their own structural issues, such as cracking. Make sure you find the right balance of support and usability.
- Will your items be displayed both horizontally and vertically? If so, you will need a larger page to accommodate this. If you’re planning to use a landscape format, consider the weight of the paper and how it will be supported on the fore edge. An item that is too heavy for the supporting paper will cause the supporting paper to rip, sag, and not display or shelve correctly. Choose a support that is sturdier—as thick or heavy, or thicker or heavier—than the item.
- How will your items be attached to the page? You could use solutions such as slots at the item corners, photo-mounting corners, or mounting strips—or you could make an album with frames.
- What color pages will bring out the best in the items on them? Black is great. It has a traditional look and makes colors pop, but it scratches easily. White is classic, but it can look dirty easily.
- Does the album need a title label on the cover? Paper labels are easy to make with word processing applications. Experiment with text boxes and borders.
- How about embellishments? Where could you easily integrate a ribbon, beads, or other collage material? You need to consider the collective height of any inclusions when planning your album and how it will function. Adding enough room for the inclusions at the spine when making the book will help the album function well into the future.