The biggest advice I have to save hours of frustration when printing your scrapbook pages is to PREP AS YOU GO. It took me 5 books before I realized that life would be much easier when it came time to print if I prepped my pages as I finished them. Duh Rachel.
  1. Pick a size: Before you even scrap a page, decide on the final size of your book. I usually do 12x12 books, but I have printed 8.5x11, 10x10, and 8x8. Make sure that it is always set for 300 dpi. For all square books design your layouts at 12x12. You can always make them smaller, but you lose quality when you make them bigger.
  2. Proofread: Don't skip this step. Trust me. I have books with many spelling errors and some books with even bigger errors like "I didn't know you went to Bear Lake" "Oops, supposed it's to be Bass Lake" or "I didn't know you went on a Disney cruise last year" "Oops, we went three years ago." Proofread titles, journaling, dates, names, captions, make sure every layer has a shadow (except for fonts), etc.
  3. Save: Save your layout as a .jpeg file with the quality set to 12 (highest quality). Create a folder for all of your finished jpeg files. Name the page something useful, like the page number it will be or the title of the page.
  4. Bleed: Bleed is the caution area required so that nothing important gets cut off in the printing process. Bleed is confusing, and then combined with the space lost where the binding is, I've just found it easier to add a .25 inch white border around all of my pages as a safety measure. Then I never have to worry about uploading my pages as 12.25x12.25 or making sure that elements, photos, and journaling are .25 inches from the edge of the page. To do this I save the page as a jpeg and then drag it onto a template that I've made (you can download below) and saved it again as a jpeg to a folder called "jpeg with border." Download white border template HERE or black border template HERE.
  5. Upload as you go: As soon as you finish a page, or a set of pages, save them and upload them to the printer's site. Uploading takes FOREVER, even on a fast internet connection. It is so much easier to upload them 5 at a time as you finish them, rather than 78 pages the night before your coupon expires.

without safety border

I like to scrap to the very edge--and in this layout, some journaling, the title, and a photo could potentially get cut off in the printing process.

with safety border

It does make the layout a little smaller, but when the book is 12x12, looking at a 11.75x11.75 layout is still pretty big. Plus the white border is not distracting.

Questions about printing? Have tips to add? Just leave a comment!

Up Next: Wrapping it all up

Printing digital scrapbooking pages is the worst part of scrapbooking for me. It takes forever and can be really frustrating. Plus I always have a mini-heart attack when I see the total price of printing a book. Eek!  But all of that goes away when you get your book in the mail. Your book, your pages, your memories now recorded forever. I've had a few friends recently ask me questions about how I print my scrapbook pages, so I thought I'd do a three-part series on what I've learned while navigating this complicated process.

**Special note: This review is for people printing completed scrapbook pages, meaning they created those pages in Photoshop NOT with the printer's online program.

choosing a printer.

I have printed books with Shutterfly, Mixbook, Viovio, and Apple. Each company is completely different. You have to decide what you think is most important to you, and then find the company that fits what you want.  Hands down Shutterfly creates the most beautiful books I've ever seen, but I'd have to sell my car to print all of my scrapbooking pages. I care about pretty pages, but I also care about price--otherwise nothing would ever get printed. Viovio has been my favorite company for printing photobooks because it is reasonably priced and the quality is great (i.e. the cover and binding are sturdy, the paper is decent weight, the colors are true to the original). I created a chart to compare prices among the popular printers, but of course Weebly won't let me paste it here so if you want to see the entire comparison, you'll have to download the document below (this is the updated document).

File Size: 12 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

cost comparison summary
(50 page 12x12 hard cover book)

  • Costco: $53.79
  • Paper Kiwi: $62.99
  • Viovio: $72.49
  • Blurb: $84.95
  • Mixbook: $87.49
  • Picaboo: $89.79
  • Shutterfly: $99.99
  • Persnickety Prints: $110.69
Costco has example books to look through at their warehouse. While I love their photo prints, the books feel flimsy and cheap like the pages would rip very easily. I've never tried Paper Kiwi, but maybe I should next time. Even after the comparison I would probably still stick with Viovio because of my personal preference for their 12x12 soft cover books. I don't like hard cover scrapbooks because they are harder to read and hold. I love the soft cover book because it feels more friendly like a magazine (though much much much higher quality). Plus a 50 page 12x12 soft cover book through Viovio only cost $55.49. Entirely my personal preference. The main point is to do your research and read user reviews before committing to a book (and the hefty price that comes with it).

Viovio Soft Cover

Mixbook Hard Cover

Next up: Preparing your pages for printing, bleed, etc.

coming soon.

New kit in the works for the special occasion!
Welcome to Elle Designs! People were probably getting sick of me posting scrapbooking stuff on my family blog, so I decided to create a separate blog for everything scrapbooking.  Well, everything free scrapbooking. I wanted somewhere to post what I make and find because it is such a waste for them to be limited to just me.  I also want to encourage others to start preserving family memories.  Paper scrapbooking turns some people away because it is very time consuming, expensive, and messy. But digital scrapbooking can be the complete opposite of all of those things. Most of all, it's fun and you can teach yourself! 

Lastly, despite what the title says, this is not a design site. I am not trying to promote a brand so that I can sell digital scrapbooking supplies.  My goal is to share and encourage for free.

Here are some disclaimers about the site and my products:
1) I am self-taught- I have never taken any graphic design classes. Someday I hope to, but for now I am self-taught.  That means I will try to make the highest quality products that I can, but if you zoom in real close on an element and it starts to look pixelated or the color is not quite right on a paper, sorry, I'm learning. But hey, it's free.
2) I'm doing this only for fun- It takes a lot of work to try and sell stuff and promote a brand plus come up with great ideas for products each week and make them.  I will not be posting every day. This is not the place to get full size kits with everything that is usually included. Right now I have no idea how to make ribbons or extract elements.  You will have to supplement with other kits.  I can doodle, so that's what you'll get for now. Again, it's free. 

I want to help you get started, so if you have any questions or requests for tutorials or products, leave a comment below, or email me at

Tour the site by clicking below or on the tabs above.
News: The latest updates
About Elle Designs: Information about the site and how to contact me as well as my terms of use
Getting Started: Advice on how to get started with digital scrapbooking
My Freebies: Links to download my freebies
Other Freebies: Links to where you can find other good freebies
Tutorials: Information about how to get started and tutorials on various scrapbooking tricks
Gallery: Layouts for inspiration and where you can post layouts as well

    about elle designs.

    I'm not really a designer, just a digital scrapbooker who wants to encourage others to scrapbook by sharing my  finds and creations.  For free.

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