Ideas for how to approach LARGE brag book?

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Ideas for how to approach LARGE brag book?

I'm planning to create a 50-page (four 4"x6" slots for photos per page, front and back) "brag book". I don't know where or when I got this pretty wooden album, but I got it to create a "50th Anniversary" album for my parents. Their anniversary passed this past September, but it doesn't matter, I've been very sick and they will understand. However, my Mother was just dx'ed with a serious illness, and I can't even say the words, so I won't. I need to complete this project asap. It's very important to me.

I was going to complete it digitally using templates (which I'm having a hard time finding...and what I found was way too expensive). I HAD tons of them from being a CT some years ago, but I can't find them! May have been lost when I lost 2 harddrives. Anyway... I can't really do it digitally, I just realized, because, even though I have an expensive printer, it doesn't print color properly. I don't have the patience to figure it out or the money to buy a new now I'm thinking, should I paper scrap this album.

Does anyone have any ideas for me on how to do this. I mean, I know how to paper scrap, but how do I get these photos copied? They all belong to my parents (I borrowed them...long story about my own photos), and I'm afraid to leave them in a store for prints. Or should I do it digitally, is there some way for me to get my photos copied online but not have to print them myself (have an order shipped to I'm not risking losing them)? I think I would actually like the 3D-look of paper scrapping, but then again, this album really was meant for flattened photos....might not work out so great.

My goal is to highlight each or clusters of the years my parents have been together. I have that part planned of each of their grandparents, parents, their childhood, their dating, wedding, then the kids come and all of the events that go with that...and some events, vacations, etc. along the way.

Can someone lead me in the right direction or give me some ideas? I don't know why I'm so intimidated by this, but if I know where I'm going with this and how to do it, I think that will enable me to actually get started.

Thank you so much!


Big projects like these are always intimidating, especially when it's a bit different than what you usually do.

It sounds like the biggest issue you have is the photos. If you only have physical copies of the photos, and you don't want to scrap those, you will either need to make copies for a physical book or scan them and use them digitally. So I would suggest deciding which way you are most comfortable with and is easiest and then let that dictate your style of book.

4x6 digital pages should be pretty easy to print out anywhere, since they're a normal photo size, so you could just print them wherever you get your photos done.

If you decide to go digital, I would be happy to help you get started. I actually have 2 sets of quick pages that could be easily switched to 4x6 format if you were interested (based on my Oxford and Cambodia kits).

Or I could make some templates. Perhaps some other people are interested in making a couple 4x6 templates and then we'd pretty quickly have a bunch for you to choose from. We could do a mini blog train if people were interested.

Oh Marisa, thanks so much for your help! I see that you're right...the issue IS the photos.

Do you know if there's such a thing as burning the completed brag book pages to dvd and bringing that in to a photo center to print the copies?

Going digital would probably be the easiest and quickest. Do you think those kind of "scrapbooks" look nice compared to the digital ones? (asking for your opinion) smiley

Okay, I'm going to have to decide I'll let you know. Thank you so much for offering to change your format sizes for me and for putting this out there to others for their are a very kind and considerate person. I appreciate it so much!

Can you scan the photos at your home? If so, you can go digital and print only the results. If not, maye a friend or relative you really trust can lend you a scanner, or you can bring the photos to his/her house. My mother doesn´t allow our childhood photos to go outside, so I´ve been scanning them there :p

Also, are you sure the problem is your printer, and not the kits you´re using? Once I purchased some kits that didn´t print well because the colors that the desinger used (on RGB) didn´t had a exact correspondent on CMYK (that´s the color mode that printers use). Jenn pointed me for an action on her blog that, among other things, correct this kind of error. Try running this action on something you tried to print and haven´t gone well, then print again, to see if it works now:

I´m not experient on creating layouts or quickpages, but can help too smiley

The biggest decision is how do you want to present your pictures. If the pictures are already digital than you have already started digitally. There are many printing services out there for digital prints, as well as Walmart and Walgreens have the service to bring your thumb drive or SD card.

If they are already prints you can still print the layout and place the print on it. You can also combine the two and paper craft some pages and creat digital pages of some.

One thing I am understanding is that the actual pages are 12X12. If this is so than can you replace some of the pages with 12X12 pages which will make a difference in what you would like to create.

So the biggest decision I see here is how you want to present your pictures.

Hi Cindy, I find for large projects like this, using already made pages (at least a few) will help you complete your book a little faster. I have a ton of bragbook pages on my site. I think I started making them in 7x5's back in Feb. 2009 then switched to 6x4's later on. You are welcome to snag any or all if you'd like. As far as affordable printing...I have an account with Artscow and can give you a coupon code for 100 4x6 prints. Just make up your pages first, upload to their site (create your account first) enter the code and done. I think you make have to pay shipping but it's not very much for photo's. Let me know if interested, I'll get the coupon code for you.

I believe they give you free stuff if you create an account, I just don't remember what they offer. If anyone else would like a coupon code, let me know...I have several for 4x6 and 5x7's.

Thanks for your help, Lorien! Yes, I can scan them at home. About my printer, yes, I'm sure because even word docs aren't printing correctly. I have 2 serious issues going on in my life, so I can't even think about fixing my printer. So it's not only printing graphics...wish it was. Thank you for providing a link and for your generous offer to help!

Thanks, Judy, for your helpful response! No, the photos are not digital. I even have my Dad's childhood photo...the old-fashioned kind...I won't even go out of the house with it. I remember when I was younger and my Mom had made (as she did for each of her children) a beautiful baby/childhood album for me...and somehow it was lost. Still wish I had that.

Can I transfer digital photos to a dvd and bring them to Walgreens? Do I have to put them on a portable harddrive?

Not sure what you mean about the 12 x 12 pages and replacing them. These brag book pages need to be 4" x 6". I just don't know if digital will be as nice as paper can be. I guess I could try making a few and decide then. So bogged down with life issues, I didn't even think of that!!!

Thanks again for your help!

Thanks, Tina, for your very helpful response and very generous offers! I think you may be right, for a project like this, and especially where time is of the essence, I should use the templates, at least for a whole bunch...maybe half and half, or something like that. Never even thought of this. Also never even thought of trying both out and seeing how I feel about it. Number 1, I need the photos to work with. I brought them home in a box from my parents and don't want to risk sending them out or anything. I CAN scan them, though.

Thank you for the link to your site, I will definitely be going there! I didn't know I had responses, and now it is so late. I can't wait to go there, though, being the scrap fiend that I am!

So with Artscow, would I create the digital pages or would I just submit the photos? Yes, I would definitely appreciate a coupon, money IS an issue for me, being sick & disabled. I am very definitely interested! Wow, it just so happens that the bb pages #100. Of course, I'll be journaling so it won't really be 100 photos, but coupon is definitely appreciated!

Thank you so much. Your help is so much appreciated!

If you are using your old pictures, you may want to scan them first, The life cycle of old pictures are unpridictable. The usually say that a 150 yrs for a black and white, but it does depend upon how they are stored. For color pictures about 50 years, but I have seen them start faiding after about 10 years.

The one advantage of scanning pictures is to clean up the decay, to restore and possibly stylize.

As to a DVD, call the store in your area and verify that they do have the drive to support that media, especially since they offer DVD as an option along with printed. Their printers are high res and do a great job, as well as high quality paper. In the past it was printed by the 8X10 sheet, but you could print several pictures on one page. The main point if the printer messes up, you do not have to pay for the page. You can also scan there and save to your media or drive as well as print.

If you plan to create digital layouts then you would upload them to Artscow. You can always create a digital bragbook page with the basics like background papers, frames and the photo of course and add other embellishments later...kind of like a hybrid page. It is easier to scrap your page first then upload it for printing...their design software (done online, nothing to download) takes a while to get the hang of.

Once you create an account go to where is says credit & discount on the left....enter the codes below and click validate. They will stay in your account until you are ready to use them (or they expire). When you are ready to purchase your prints, go there and click order now.

Also wanted to mention, when you are in your shopping cart, make sure to check on the right if you want glossy or matte finish...I missed that the first time smiley

Here are the coupon codes: They do expire so I will post a few codes for you.

100 Prints 4" x 6" use between 01/22/2013 - 02/22/2013 k4cfrr53ngn7
100 Prints 4" x 6" use between 02/22/2013 - 03/22/2013 v29bmcrjq50x
100 Prints 4" x 6" use between 03/22/2013 - 04/22/2013 4px2pfehw4xv

50 Prints 5" x 7" use between 01/22/2013 - 02/22/2013 83u4hkay6ewu
50 Prints 5" x 7" use between 02/22/2013 - 03/22/2013 2z28ih5f7oyg
50 Prints 5" x 7" use between 03/22/2013 - 04/22/2013 xpvsbuzwfzue

3 9x7 Photo Book (20 pages) use between 01/18/2013 - 02/17/2013 bs55kssd14oj
3 6x6 Photo Book (20 pages) use between 01/18/2013 - 02/17/2013 ybi0mf9wwe7n

Anyone is invited to use these coupons, I just ask that you please leave the 4x6 prints for Cindy to use. Thank you.

I have enough coupons to last through 2014, lol, so I have plenty to share but they can't be used until after April. They also like to send me free stuff every time a coupon gets used so I will more than likely have more to share before April.

You're right about the old photos...even though they look pretty good, when scanned, some of them look a bit or a lot faded.

I will do this:
"As to a DVD, call the store in your area and verify that they do have the drive to support that media, especially since they offer DVD as an option along with printed."

Thank you! Great info.!

I remember my sister-in-law sending some photos to Walgreens, then I went there in an hour and the prints were ready for pick-up! Forgot about that! Do you think I can send my completed bragbook pages and do the same? She sent them through the internet directly to their site.

Thanks again!


Tina, thanks for all of your help! I finally decided (with the help of all of you) that I'm going to create digital LOs using my vintage photos. Then I will switch back and forth when I get to some of the "newer" photos -between digital and paper...OR...great idea to add embellishments later! That's what I'm going to do. I LOVE this idea! Thank you! Don't know why I didn't think of that.

One problem I had with my Dad's childhood I was opening the book so I could scan the photos, the book fell apart! The pages came 1/2 of the album! I was about to panic, then I saw it should be easy to fix. Found my paper reinforcements (to reinforce the holes in looseleaf paper). Will do that to the pages and then try to use the black "shoelace" (that's what it looks like, it's black, anyway) to thread them all back in. Hope it's as easy as it seems it will be!

Thanks so much for the coupons! And thanks for the tips about how to follow through at Artscow!

Thanks also for sharing your beautiful BB pages. Wow, I dl'ed a lot of them, but I had to stop and take a break! Thank you again!


I notice that my old vintage family photos (1920's -and newer) are perfectly clear, but when I scan them, some of them are blurry. Does anyone know why this might be and if they will print out clearly (as the original photos) or blurry (as they look after being scanned, on my pc)? Does anyone have any advice for this problem...would I be better off sending the photos to artscow directly from my pc...would that make any difference? Probably not?

Thanks for your help!

I'm glad you found some pages to help you along with your book. I felt overwhelmed when I tried creating my first book so a little help with the pre-made pages were a lifesaver to me!

About the blurry scans, I'm not positive but I think the results could be the scanner itself, not the photo. I have (currently) an all in one printer, copier scanner that does not scan very good at all. But my old scanner which was just a scanner by itself, scanned really nicely. I put mine away for awhile due to space issues and everytime I need to scan a photo (for Facebook or blog or whatever), I want to kick myself because the photo always looks scratched and grainy. I don't think it will change once it's scanned unfortunately. If you know anyone with a different scanner, ask them to try a photo and compare just to see if the scanner is the problem.

Thanks for your help, Tina! I also have an all-in-one. I had a one-piece scanner, it's somewhere in my Dad's garage! Wonder if it still works! Then again, I hate to re-scan the photos, already ruined my Dad's album. As I would open the book and place on my scanner, the pages would come out! I hope I can fix it so that it's okay (and he doesn't know)! smiley

I agree with Tina. I have an all in one but would never use it for scanning photos. I invested in an Epson Perfection and went back and scanned all my photos. It's software does some correction for scratches and dust. For the most part it did a wonderful job but for really old photos although not blurry it just does not take away all of the imperfections but then to me that makes the digi photos even more special. I would also make sure when you scan you do it at 300 dpi and that might help the blurriness.

All in one scanners are nice for copies, paper, faxing, etc. But the resolution is not as fine as a good single scanner. The Epson Perfection is a great scanner. It scans pictures and negatives. You do have the choice to use Digital Ice that comes with the scanner. It helps to reduce the scratches, dust, etc. It can help correct color. It also scans over 4800 dpi. I also found that Cannon's Lide scanner is great as a portable scanner that scans at a nice high resolution. The utilites for the scanner allow you to do some adjustments before scanning.

Check the glass on the scanner, see if the glass is clean, not dusty. This can effect the scan, especially if you were scanning old album pages. They are very dusty. You will have to clean the glass often. There is a difference in scanners and the quality of the glass for the scanner.

As to the album, have you tried to take the book apart. Most old album books have a couple of pins holding them together. By taking it apart you will find less damage to the pages.

I was asked to scan off my mother-in-laws old book that she had put together while growing up. The pages were falling apart. But she had written on each page and put together a nice memory scrap book. I took the book apart and scanned each page to get the layout of each page, than scanned each picture. After that I cut all of the edges off that were frayed. Cut wide stripes that I added as borders to each page. Thus creating a nice 12X12 page that would fit into a 12X12 page protector.

I have a habit of when the craft store has really good sales of picking up a few items that I like, so I had a nice album cover ready to put the pages into. When I presented the book to her she could not believe it was the same book. She commented how the pages would fall apart in her hands. New life was now given to the book and she is enjoying going through the old memories.

@Judy Wonderful what you did for your mother-in-law. Some great tips

You are also correct about cleaning the glass regularly while scanning. While doing all my old photo albums I had the glass cleaner and lint free cloth handy at all times!

Also, I know what you mean about scanning pages of a scrapbook. I did the same with my own personal scrapbook from when I was growing up. I also did my baby book. In my baby book Mom had put all my birthday cards and such from relatives-scanned them all, front/inside/back! I also had a picture I drew when in school on construction paper. It was too big so I had to cut it, around the coloring as much as possible, scanned each piece which I will put together when I get to it. There is soooo much you can do with a good scanner!

I see that you all are correct about the all-in-one scanner that I've been using. I created a scrapbook album for one of my nephews years ago, and I never had a problem with the scanned photos. I'm going to try to dig up my old scanner. I believe it was IBM.

I didn't know you could adjust the dpi. How do I make sure it's set at 300 dpi?

Thanks for your help! Much appreciated! smiley

Thanks for your help, Judy! I think I'll try to get my "old" single scanner. If I can find it and it works well, great. If not, I will look into The Epson Perfection and Cannon's Lide scanner , as you suggest (thank you).

I'll clean my scanner, but I don't think that's the problem because some photos come out okay. You're right about the "dustiness" of the old photos! My gosh, I'm constantly dusting everything on my desk!

I'm going to take my Dad's book apart. It seems to be held together by something that looks like a black shoelace. What happened was the holes punched in the paper were worn and just ripped off the two binders they were attached to. If that makes sense, I don't know how else to describe it! Wow, you did an awesome job for your mother-in-law! That may be the way I have to go, as well. Thank you for the great idea and for your help!

For the dpi look at your setup in the software there should be a setting in there. You can usually go higher but 300 dpi is pretty much the standard.

Hi Cindy,
The old shoe lace is what the book was put together with. Back than they did not reinforce the area where the holes went. Although I did use acid free items, the old book is not acid free. That is why it is falling apart. At least putting the pages in protective acid free sheets will help to slow down the process.

Thanks, Janet! Will check the software...didn't think of that! smiley

I just checked the book actually IS a shoelace! The book pages are 13 1/4" W x 10" H (almost 13 1/2" W). I don't think there are any page protectors in that size? However, the hardcover and back cover measurements are 14" W x a little over 11" H).

Also, I can't just cut out the photos for the first 20 pages or so because they're glued on! Glued on the inside cover, on the back cover, and about 20 pp - glued on both sides.

Maybe I can find 11"x14" page protectors and just leave the covers as they are. Then I wouldn't have to add the page reinforcers, right?

Thanks again for your help, Judy!

Hi Tina,

Do you by any chance have another one of these:
100 Prints 4" x 6" use between 03/22/2013 - 04/22/2013 4px2pfehw4xv

Thank you very much!

Hey Cindy....I just found this smiley
Good thing you emailed me smiley