Does Size Matter…in scrapbooking?

The accepted standard size for scrapbooking is 12inches by 12 inches.

I’m not sure why that’s it standard, but it is.

12×12 albums don’t fit comfortably on any bookcase of livingroom shelving unit that I know of. They always stick out, inviting someone to bang into them.


I guess the size has something to to with having enough space to position several standard sized photos on the page together with embellishments. And a square is, generally speaking, an easier format to work with than a rectangle.

And as we’ve moved towards digital scrapbooking, we’ve kept the same sizing convention.

Most digital scrapbookers create their layouts in a 12×12 format. Including myself!

And the bizarre thing is that, unless we send them to a commercial printer to print out, we need to resize them down to 8×8 to fit them on our home printer.

Is it just me or does this sound crazy?

And I’m not poking my finger at other scrapbookers here. This is what I do too! I always scrap at 12×12 and resize for printing. And my layouts look great in the smaller size. And the 8×8 albums fit perfectly on my bookcase and look good too.

So does someone have the answer as to why we do it?

I know there are alternative shapes to scrap with; 8.5 inches x 10 inches or A4 size. And I’ve tried layouts in those formats. But I have to say I’m not really comfortable with them. I do prefer the square format.

So what are your views?

Are you a 12×12 scrapper or do you have another preferred format?

And does anyone know who started this scrapbook idea of a 12×12 standard?

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14 Responses to Does Size Matter…in scrapbooking?

  1. karooch April 21, 2008 at 7:47 am #

    This comment from Stella:

    I couldn’t find a way to send you a comment, but I found this email address. I enjoy your blog and it is in my favorite blog folder, but I don’t come back every day. You’ve got links to some very unusual freebies, and I thank you for that too.

    12 x 12 was not the original standard scrapbook size. When I made my first paper scrapbook the standard was 8.5 x 11 in the US. You could find a 12 x 12 album, but they weren’t all that easy to locate. Letter sized paper for backgrounds and cardstock were more likely to be available in the letter size than in the 12 x 12.

    Because I don’t scrap in date order (just finished two pages for July 1982 and printed out two copies of each) I’m still scrapping in letter sized.

    Oh, and my 3 ring albums fit on my shelves.

  2. karooch April 21, 2008 at 7:52 am #

    It’s interesting to hear how we’ve moved to the 12×12 size from the letter size Stella. I know it’s a more comfortable shape and size to scrap with (for me anyway) but it’s so impractical.

    Now I do so much of my scrapping in digital I’mprinting out 8×8 and I find that looks pretty good. I probably won’t get another 12×12 album, Although my main family albums are 12 x 12 so I will probably still keep doing a few in that size.

    Thanks a lot for finding a way to leave your comment. I didn’t realise the comment link at the ent of the post wasn’t working.

  3. denise April 22, 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    Are you my twin! Well, when you look at the animated scrappin you’ll know that it’s not possible, but maybe a mind twin. Naaah, try as i might, i can’t make word art that’s worth a dang! I may have to take your tutorial, LOL.

    N E Hoo! I was having that very thought for the last several weeks. I never thought i’d need to print my pages, but some of the pages i’ve scrapped, people want to hold. I have access to a standardly wideformat printer, but it only prints as large as 11″ wide. I have spent a lot of time in the local craft stores lately trying to figure this out.

    So, as you say, i can find 8×8 stuff and i can find brag book size. I’d love to do 10×10–keeps the detail a bit better than 8×8, but the bragbook size is a way that i’m thinking. Just not big enough.

    And i think that may be the problem, again, just as you stated. When you think scrapbook, you’re not just thinking about a photo and how it will be presented, but an event or special memory, which may have so much more to put on the page: flowers, a scrap of cloth, the baby’s first cut curl, a newspaper clipping, and let’s not forget the journaling, your own impression of the moment. Somehow it fits better (you can see everything or most things) on a 12×12 square (can i tell you that sometimes i’ve been known to start with a 13×13 or 14×14 square? I haven’t DARED to go higher than that, LOL).

    I always start with 12×12 (or other, LOL) and shrink. I have used some of Andrea Gold’s 81/2×11 (offered free through sometimes, but you got to catch it as soon as it comes out–she takes her free stuff down fast and i don’t blame her!), and i like them, but i have to confess, i like the squares better, even if smaller. I think having smaller pages makes me think “less is better” and think of ways to make a page less crowded.

    Ok, this is officially a ramble. Sorry. Did i even speak to the issue. Oh, i bought an 11×14 pad of art paper with a microfine perforation. Let’s see if i can break a printer. Shhhhh…..


  4. karooch April 23, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    OK So maybe we’re channeling each other Denise. How cool that you have access to an 11″ wide printer. Although then you have to get the paper. I like to print out on good glossy or satin photo card and typically that tends to come in A4 (in Australia) or Letter size formats.

    At least with 11″ you only have to downsize a little bit. And you layout will easily fit into the plastic pockets for Albums that never seem to be quite big enough for your cardstock (if you’re a paper scrapper).

    So I expect I’ll continue to scrap at 12×12, because I prefer a square shape, and resize for printing.

  5. Erika January 19, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    i decided to scrapbook my 2 sons journals and as it starts from their births and includes all milestones and school interests there was no doubt as to how busy it would keep me so i decided to use sleeve files of an A4 size. i copy many 12 x 12 layouts but just down scale to A4 and replace certain photos for journaling.

  6. karooch January 20, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Sounds like a cool idea Erika. Thanks for sharing it. I’m sure that plenty of readers will want to give it a try.

  7. Stef September 14, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    I have created scrapbooks of many different sizes. For my larger, personal projects, I use 12×12. For gifts, I go smaller 8×8, or with digital, I may go smaller. For me, sometimes smaller makes the perfect scrapbook gift since some people may not want to constantly look through a large 12×12 album, but would rather look through a smaller scrapbook.

    I think it is all personal preference.

    • karooch September 14, 2010 at 8:39 am #

      Well it’s definitely a matter of personal preference Stef. But i agree that 8×8 or even smaller makes a good sixe for a gift as it’s easy to store as well as to view.

  8. Stefanie September 15, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    I agree. I’m not sure how many people have the space to store a 12×12 album.

  9. Llyanina July 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Well, i like the 12×12 but here the paper to do scrapbooking is expensive, and i divided the paper in 4 pieces of 6×6 and i liked it, its so delicated and it fits everywhere.

    • karooch July 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

      And you can get some very pretty 6×6 albums these days as well Llyanina
      Or even make your own.

  10. Llyanina July 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Thats right! And it’s a unique album because its made with your own fingers.

  11. chris January 16, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi, I agree I started 12×12 now do A4 and even do smaller jsut what ever takes my fancy for what ever purpose I want to use the photos for. Go girl develop some nice papers albums all for A4 or smaller or jsut cut 12×12 and use the off cuts for accents.


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