There's a lot more choice now in what size album you use for your Project Life. I started out using using 12 x 12 albums but changed to 6 x 8 handbooks towards the end of last year so thought I'd share why I changed and what different options there are.
The 12 x 12 Standard
When I started Project Life in 2013 the only (off-the shelf) option was 12 x 12. Within a week I changed to one 12 x 12 spread per week as a double spread per week was just too big for me. But I found that completing one side one week and the other next didn’t always work that well so I changed to completing a fortnightly double spread. That way I was able to make sure the spread worked as a whole and it saved time too.
I continued this approach until last summer. I had a lot going on in my life and I wasn’t enjoying working on 12 x 12 and started to fall behind. Thinking back now I think the issue was that in really quiet times I was finding that a double 12 x 12 spread was a lot to fill in if not much had happened. I like documenting the everyday but after a year and half some of it was starting to feel a bit repetitive. Other weeks a lot happened but the photos and PL cards I wanted to use for one event didn’t sit well with another event in the same spread. I know that is part of the design challenge but it was starting to be a bit of a drag.
The change to 6 x 8
I’d toyed with the idea of 6 x 8 at the start of 2014 but in the end had decided to stay with 12 x 12 as I was unsure about changing sizes and if it would work for me. However by last summer I knew I needed to change something as while I wasn't enjoying working 12 x 12 I still loved Project Life and wanted to continue. I took a break from Project Life for a month while life calmed down and then we were away on a 3 week road trip in the US. I’d had grand plans about how I was going to document the trip in my Project Life but instead opted to work on a mini-album while on the trip (that I will share on the blog in the future) and which I loved doing. I think working on a different format helped me get motivated again and once I was back in the UK I decided to ditch the 12 x 12 and swap to 6 x 8 from October.
It took a few weeks to get into the flow of a different size of album but I soon found this size suited me much more than 12 x 12. I still have bitty weeks where either it was very quite or wildly different things happened. But I still find it easier to make it all work together on the 6 x 8 size. I think 12 x 12 had too much ‘visual real estate’ for me! With so many pockets to fill in you could have too much going on and there were too many different stories to read.
I also think this smaller size lets me experiment more as if I try something more unusual there’s less chance that it clashes with something else on the page. It’s also made me much choosier about what I add onto the spread and I use less filler cards unless it fits with the page or I really love it. Unless of course if I’ve had a really,really quiet week!
The future – new sizes
Towards the end of last year news came out that there would be new 9 x 12 albums coming in 2015. Was I tempted? Of course and I did consider it for 2015. However my 6 x 8 album was nowhere near full and while it will cut across years I’d rather do that than have a half empty album. In the future I may switch to 9 x 12 and I don’t think I will ever go back to 12 x 12. I much prefer the portrait dimensions of 6 x 8 and 9 x 12 than the square dimensions of 12 x 12. To me portrait just feels more book-like. However I’ve also been tempted by the 6 x 12 album Kelly Purkey is creating this year. But for the time being I’m more than happy with my 6 x 8 album.
What size do you use? Have you changed sizes and why?
Supplies – where to buy
12 x 12
9 x 12
This size has only been around for a month or so. There are only two places I know of currently where you can buy them Studio Calico and A Beautiful Mess has their new albums on pre-order. A Beautiful Mess are also launching a kit specifically designed for 9 x 12 albums so check that out as well if you fancy this size of album.
6 x 12
There is no specific album for 6 x 12. You can either buy a 12 x 12 chipboard album and cut it to size or use a 6 x 12 album intended for Thickers but I’m not sure how the rings of the album will match up with page protectors. More details on how Kelly Purkey is using this size album are available on her website. Update: Kelly kindly confirmed that the Becky Higgins Project Life page protectors do fit the Thickers album rings. But 9 x 12 page protectors from Studio Calico need some extra holes to be punched to fit. This will also apply to the 9 x 12 page protectors from A Beautiful Mess as their holes are apparently nearly the same as Studio Calico’s version.
6 x 8
There’s quite a bit of choice with this size but each brands page protectors tend to only fit their own albums so you do need to keep that in mind. Studio Calico’s 6 x 8 albums have the widest spine of this album size so holds more. Snap albums have the greatest choice of page protector styles but their albums spines are narrower and I didn’t really like any of their album designs. To date I’ve been using Snap page protectors in a Studio Calico album and was having to punch extra holes in the page protectors. This was because previously Studio Calico’s page protectors weren’t as nice a quality as Snap’s. However Studio Calico recently revamped their handbook line and the quality of the page protectors looks to have improved . I’ve already bought a new handbook and page protector from Studio Calico and will start using that once my current album is full. Becky Higgins also offers a 6 x 8 option.
If you don’t want to buy from the US Hey Little Magpie tends to get most of Studio Calico’s lines in and also sells Becky Higgins supplies.