Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Acrylic Albums

Acrylic albums are available in a multitude of shapes, sizes, thicknesses...and yes...materials. What we refer to as "acrylic" is not always acrylic.

When you buy acrylic, it is often covered by plastic film to protect the surface from scratches. This plastic film can be clear, blue, brown, I've even seen white. Don't let this fool you, the acrylic itself is still clear. When you're ready to create, simply roll up the edge of the plastic film and pull it off.

Acrylic albums are available from these manufactures (not an exhaustive list):

Clear Scraps
D. Reeves Design House
Rusty Pickle (sorry, their acrylic albums don't seem to be listed on their website)
Tinkering Ink
My Acrylic Album

If you checked out the links above, or if you've shopped for acrylic albums at all, you may have noticed two things. First, acrylic albums are expensive. Second, they are generally bound with rings.

Let's deal with the expense problem first.

I make my own acrylic albums. It's easier than it sounds, and I promise, it's probably easier than you've heard.

Lowe's and Home Depot both sell Plexiglas and Lexan (i.e., "acrylic") by the sheet. I purchased a 36-inch x 30-inch piece of 1/16-inch thick Plexiglas from Lowe's for approximately $15 with tax. Lowe's will cut the sheet to any size you want (mine does it for free but I don't know if they all do, if they don't, it's something like $0.35 per cut). The sheet I bought cut down into 12 8-inch x 8-inch pieces and 13 4-inch by 6-inch pieces. Enough to make at least one 8x8 and one 4x6 album (if not two of each size). All for $15.

Now, Plexiglas/acrylic is brittle so the cut edges may get chipped a little during cutting. An album I created from the cut 8x8 pieces can be seen here:

8x8 Acrylic Album

You can click on the pictures of the album to see larger versions. As you can see, any chips along the edges are not really visible. I did run sandpaper along the cut edges to smooth out any rough spots.

If want want an even easier option, Lowe's also sells 1/16-inch thick Plexiglas in 8-inch x 10-inch sheets, no cutting required, no chips along the edges. These sheets are approximately $1.50 each, more expensive than cutting down the larger sheets, but still much cheaper than most of the albums being sold in scrapbook stores.

These 8x10 sheets are what I will be using to create my new acrylic album (to be unveiled at the end of Acrylic Mania!).

I'll be covering binding methods next week!

Happy hump-day!


Rachel said...

This is a great money-saving idea -thanks!

NanaBeth said...

I have been looking forward to this all week. Can't thank you enough.