Lesson 11: Printing Options for Digital Scrapbooking

So--you're making this really great book and then you realize the problem--you gotta print this sucker. How do you do this??

Printing is the price you pay for the ease of making your scrapbook on the computer. And it can be difficult finding an affordable option. My first suggestion to cut down your printing cost is this:


Ok, I just don't get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me. It just REALLY bugs me. I know, everyone has the right to scrap the way they want. But whenever I go to galleries, it's all the same. Beautiful pages--pages I am not sure I could ever put together so beautifully--but SO impractical!! I have a MILLION pictures and I want to use them. And since I have to print this thing, I can't afford to do a million pages all with one single picture! So, I fill up the space as best I can. I just did 10 pages on my Oregon trip. Yes, ten pages was a lot, but MAN did I fit a ton of pictures in there! Here's a couple of pages from it:

These are actually a spread--two 8 1/2 x 11 pages I combined together so you can see how they will layout on the page. Anyway--do you see how many pictures I stuffed in there? Granted--this is more than I usually do, but I had so many goo dones! And it's still great to look at and you can read it and it's artistic--but it's also practical. Occasionally I'll do a full bleed page of a really great photo--like you see above. That's the only time you'll catch me doing one picture on a page! And it's still not impractical--it looks freaking awesome, thank you very much.

So, my first tip in printing: Remember you will have pay for every page you make. Plan on about $2.00 per page. That can really add up fast.

Now, where do you print? As you read this section, if you have a website or location or any other tips for printing that I haven't mentioned, PLEASE add them in the comments section! My problem is that I found my printing option right off the bat. I've never tried any other way, though I've talked to people who have. The way I see it, you have three basic options:

Print them Yourself

This is for those lucky few out there who can actually afford their own fancy printer and can print at home. The most convenient but undoubtalby the most expensive option. And please, for the love of all that is holy, don't try to print on an inkjet printer! It MUST be a laser printer. If you do this option, plan on spending A LOT of money for ink (my $1,300 laser printer at work costs $800 to replace all four cartridges!) and then of course, you'll have to buy good quality paper. You'll also have to convert to 8 1/2 x 11 pages, unless you happen to have a 12x12 printer. Well, if you've got that, you could probably start your own business! So no, this is not the most practical option, but it sure would be awesome, if you have that choice! I know there are some really high quality photo printers out there that are probably not that expensive, so if you can do that, great! You'll also have to buy an album with page covers to slip your pages into. Those albums can cost anywhere from $20 - $50, depending on where you go.

Print in a Bound Book

This is my option. To me, it's the only option. Because it looks SO GREAT! Now, there are a lot of websites out there that offer this service. There are A LOT of companies out there!

And here's how little room they take up in my shelf:

Man, that's awesome. I can fit them in my purse. Easy to take with me to family gatherings. Not some huge massive album that you chuck on someone's lap and say, "Look at my scrapbook!" in that tone of voice we all dread. They're thinking, "I'm gonna be here a while." But these sleek little things aren't quite so intimidating, and I'm amazed how much people love to look at them!

Mypictales - I just recently switched from Cherishbound (now no longer online) to this company. And I LOVE them. MUCH cheaper than what I was paying before. The blue book above cost $90 (pre-coupon) to print, and it's hard-bound with 112 pages! See more here: Mypictales Review

Blurb.com - I have never printed my big year books or baby books with them, but I have done several smaller projects. Overall, the quality isn't quite as good, but their prices are VERY reasonable and they are especially good if you are printing a very large book--they go up to 400 pages! A lot of people print novels and stuff there. They have a downloadable program that is really user-friendly and easy to work with. You can use templates or upload full-bleed with your pages you've created in Photoshop. Another strength of this site is that you can send links of your finished books to people and share your book online. You can three of my books on this site--one is Afton's ABC book, and another is my Announcing Pregnancy book. That's another thing I love , and then also my second ABC book.

Mixbook - I haven't used this site for digital scrapbooking per se, but it's where I get my calendars printed that I do for my Mother-in-law each year for her birthday. Easy to use, and great if you would rather just use their elements rather than scrapbook it in Photoshop. You could throw a book together pretty easily. I tried to use them for my yearbooks, but my 8 1/2 x 11 size pages I made didn't fit in their book right, even though they listed it at the same size. The print quality of the calendar is great though. I would use them for other projects, but for me personally, the 8 1/2 x 11 size if very important to me so I won't use them for my yearbooks.

Heritage Makers: This site is more expensive, but has a lot more options as far as book size goes. You can choose from A LOT of different sizes, including 12x12. A 12x12 album is $80, for 21 pages. Additional pages are $1.99. Oddly enough, though they had several sizes, I couldn't find an 8 1/2 x 11 size. This site DOES have a lot of other cool things you can make there--but again, they are a little pricier. I've seen a printed book from this site and it was beautiful. Looked like a coffee table book. Expensive, but very impressive!

Shutterfly: This is a very popular site--I saw a REALLY great book from it on a digital site. It was cool--you could tell someone the URL and they could look at your book online. I have to admit, that's pretty awesome. This is also a great site if you don't want to bother to learn Photoshop or any other editing program. You can easily drop your photos in on templates. They also have a lot of choices on the cover, like leatherbound and stuff. Pretty cool. For an 8 1/2 x 11 book, its $29.99 for 20 pages, plus $1.00 for each additional page. The 12x12 is $54.99 plus $1.5o per additonal page after 20. Pretty reasonable, I think! Also, they are always doing promos and you can get great discounts on your books if you look for coupons.

Pros of Printed Books:
  • Sleek, beautiful, impressive
  • Thin, easy to store
  • Easy to replace--you can just order another one!

Cons of Printed Books:
  • Cost is all at once--you have to drop $80-$120 at one time
  • Can't see it "as you go". You have to wait until it's finished to print
  • If you tear a page, you can't replace it. You can only replace the entire book
  • Pages CAN tear, since they aren't in sheet protectors
I'm sure there are many other great companies for printing books--please let me know in the comments!

Print Page by Page

The other option is to print your pages through a company, one at a time. I have a good friend who does this, and her book is beautiful. This would require you to buy an album and page protectors like you did with old school paper scrapping. There are many places you can go to print your stuff.

Costco/Sam's Club

Both places will print 12x12's. A friend of mine said it's a good idea to put three 12x12 pages into one--create a new page that is 12x36, and drag three pages in. They will print 12x36, and it's cheaper than printing 3 12x12's separately. Gosh, I hope that made sense...

A 12x12 at costco is $2.99 a page. That's all I could find here--their website doesn't give a whole lot of helpful information here! You may have to call for exact prices.

Scrappingsimply.com - I've just recently discovered this site, and it's really great! You can upload your prints and order what you want, and they ship it to you. Shipping costs $5.00. They charge $1.99 for a 12x12 print, and $1.89 for an 8 1/2 x 11 print. They also print them full bleed--which means no white borders around the edges. That's very important. This site also has freebies every now and then which are great!

Persnickety Prints - I have never used this company myself, but it's name comes up A LOT when people mention where they print. Their prices are quite reasonable--listing $1.99 for 12x12, and they also do 10x10 pages, which is hard to find. AND they do 8 1/2 x 11, so I love them for that. So few places do!
Pros of Printing by the Page
  • Overall it's not necessarily cheaper, but it allows you to spread out the cost so you don't have to pay a lot all at once.
  • You can have your book as you go--you don't have to wait until the whole thing is printed, so your book is more a work in progress that you can show people
  • If a page is damaged, you can easily reprint it
  • You can do another print of the same page to go in another book, like one of your kids' book. (though, technically, you can also do this in a printed book)
Cons of Printing by the Page
  • You have thicker books, like the old paper scrap books
  • They aren't quite as impressive--or maybe that's just my opinion!
So there you have it--a short discussion on printing a scrapbook. Please, leave comments on this one. I know this is an area I am not a huge expert on, and I'd love to hear how other scrapbookers cross the barrier!


  1. I use Shutterfly but up until now have only done "special occasion" books (graduation, Hawaii trip, etc.) They have lots of sales and coupon codes. I paid a one-time fee of $29 (I think) that will give me a 10% discount for a year, which I think will be well worth it. You are limited on your layouts; I love how many pictures you're able to put on your 8.5x11 pages! You're amazing!

  2. Megan, because I have seen your books personally at work, I'd love to stay with your company; Cherishbound. I am glad you are offering this site. I've got a lot of scanning to do, and I need to start putting something together for Christmas! Thanks for your help!

  3. I meant to tell you how darling your baby is! Your scrapbooking pages are amazing! Love them! I know you'll be able to give me lots of great ideas!

  4. I've used a company called Blurb.com. There are preset templates and create your own. I haven't tried importing from a photo program however I can import my blog and with a few edits, print it off into a book form. Works best I believe with blogger. Looking forward to learning more at your class. Nova

  5. Hi! I came to your blog from Two Peas....I just had 30 pages printed at MyPicTales.com at 10x10 individual prints. They print on cardstock which was new for me. It reminds me of a really heavy somewhat glossy page you would find in a book. Each page was .50 which is by far the cheapest I've ever found. I am really happy with the prints although they are very different than a print from say Costco printed on regular photo paper.

    I've had books done at Shutterfly and Viovio and the page remind me of that only heavier.

    I put these in a 12x12 three ring binder with black cardstock behind them and it works great. Not as slim and tidy as books but another option.

  6. Oh, one more thing....I love your pages! I too don't get the 'one photo-gobs of embellishments' treatment. I try to get as many photos as possible on my pages without making it so busy that you can't see what's going on.

  7. Nova--I checked out blurb.com--wow! I really want to try it! Not with my major scrapbooks--I'm afraid I'm pretty loyal to Cherishbound, plus I want all my books to look the same. But I have some other projects that Blurb might work great with! Thanks for sharing!

    And Karma--welcome to my site! I will check out MyPicTales. The options for printing are getting greater and greater all the time. Thank you!

  8. Thank you for such a great summary! I recently purchased a binding machine and several covers to bind my own books without thinking about how to print the pages! I want to make several 4 x6 albums (all the same) for Christmas gifts this year. Do you know of any services that will print the pages back-to-back or are these books automatically one-sided?

    Thanks so much!


  9. snapmylifecreations.com (formerly Inkubook) is what I have always used. And yes, they do 8-1/2 x 11, both portrait and landscape. They have the cheapest prices I have found, plus are always running specials. I'm very happy with them.

  10. I found a groupon for $5 for a 8x11 40 page picture wrap around cover book. I bought three. They expire in 3 monthes and I have to pay shipping but I am excited to give digital scrapbooking a try. PS it is Photobook America and the retail price on the book was like $54. My sister in law uses picaboo and goes to groupon to get special coupons as they have them. Thanks for sharing you wisdom and super cute picture books.

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