Scan and Destroy Scrapbooks
September 29, 2018 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I make physical scrapbook pages. Many of them are "pocket pages", so they're actually 8-12 smaller pieces of paper arranged in a page protector. I would like to scan these pages in and then print them out as a photo book.

The goal: turn 6 full binders of mostly pocket pages into 3-6 photo books.
Requirements: efficiency at this scale, sufficient quality to toss originals.

For traditional scrapbook pages, scanning each 12x12 sheet works well. But with pocket pages, I'm not sure whether to scan the whole page together or as individual pieces. I'm pretty sure I don't want to scan it in the page protector (due to glare), but I'm worried about not getting the pieces lined up right physically when scanning them in. If I scan each 4x6 or 3x4 piece by itself, then having 8-12 times as many files to manage seems potentially overwhelming.

Given all of the scanned pieces or pages, I'm also not sure how to format it as a book to print. I think I want to format as a PDF rather than use an online tool that locks you into one company's printing process. I want to end up with a spiral bound book that's either 12x12 or 10x10.

(I want to come up with a process that I can keep using as I create future scrapbooks. While I love working with physical stuff, I don't love storing massive binders and also don't want to toss the record I've made of our lives.)
posted by triscuit to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you use Lulu or Kindle (which you can do even if you want just one copy), you'll need a PDF anyway. I don't know format what other companies use.

If you have Photoshop, you can scan the individual items and rearrange them. You will have more input files, but you just keep one Photoshop file per page. This may be more work but you will be able to correct errors (e.g. misaligned or partly hidden bits).

Scan at high resolution! What looks OK on your screen (about 75 dpi) will look crappy if printed. You want the final page to be at least 300 dpi.
posted by zompist at 2:06 PM on September 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

For the pocket pages: Take a photo or scan the whole page - that gives you the layout. Scan each individual piece.

Yes, this is a whopping amount of work. (And for small-detail pieces, scanning should be 400 dpi or more, which is slower and makes larger files, sorry.)

If you want to shred the originals, take the extra time to scan everything at high resolution and in case of any doubts about layout, scan the individual pieces. Fifteen years from now, you'll be glad you put in the work.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:55 PM on September 29, 2018

By any chance do you have access to a book scanner (say through a library)? A "pro" level scanner is probably faster and may do better with glare than a consumer model.
posted by oceano at 8:12 AM on September 30, 2018

Graphic designer here. I agree with the above that scanning each piece individually at high resolution is worth the extra time and effort, if this is going to be your forever archive.

You don’t mention what computer system you have, but if you have a Mac, using the free desktop publishing application Pages will allow you to line up individually scanned pieces easily on each page. You’ll then be able to output a high resolution PDF for printing.
posted by ejs at 11:52 AM on September 30, 2018

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