Lately, I’ve been loving smaller scrapbooks to house my family memories and photos- and I’ve even purchased some photobooks from a national photo-processing company. However, I’ve been intrigued my at-home photobook creators and was most pleased when Unibind asked me to review their PhotoBook Creator Kit.
The kit came with the binding tool, a CD of design software, and one linen landscape photobook in black. Here’s the information provided by the company:
Making your own hardback books has never been easier then with the PhotoBook Creator by Unibind! The Photobook Creator gives you the ability to make beautiful hardback books in just 90 seconds, right from the comfort of your own home or office. There is no need to load your pages up to a server or wait weeks for delivery. The Photobook Creator is perfect for scrapbookers, photographers, small business owners, or anyone who wants the ability to bind and preserve digital images in an attractive, durable way. Each PhotoBook Creator Kit includes one PhotoBook Binding Machine, one black linen hardback 8.5″ x 11″ landscape PhotoBook and photo layout software.
I opened my package and removed the unit from the box- it was surprisingly lightweight, and there was absolutely no setup. There isn’t even an on/off switch! It’s magnet-activated, so when you put the photobook spine down into the machine, it turns itself on.
Now, a word about the photobook albums themselves: they are really nice hard-backed albums with a premium linen cover. They are well made and look EXACTLY like what I bought online- for quite a pretty penny, I might add!Â They come inÂ multiple sizes and colors, and are available online and in Archiver’s stores, too. Anyway, they are constructed with a steel spine and a special resin that is not animal-based. That resin is also repositionable, too- if you goof up, you can just run it through another heat cycle and remove the page without any gumminess or residue. But more on that a little later.
So I put together a quick album of our trip to Disney and got it ready- really, that wasÂ the most challenging part of this process! My album wasÂ 6X6 (not included with the kit) and my pages have some chunky embellishments.
I lined up my pages, place them in the spine, then placed the photobook in the binding unit.
I let it cool for a few minutes, and took a look- the pages were all in there securely! This next photo was hard to capture, but I held the book up by one of the middle pages and actually shook it a little to see if it would come loose.
Now, as I mentioned, my book did have a lot of layering, and so it pops open a bit.
My next project was to actually just print out photos to make a quick memory book from another trip- this was one he could take to school and show his friends. I thought the nice, hard cover would make it durable for careless hands:
Talk about easy! I just printed out the photos ,Â glued them together back-to-back, and popped them in. In 5 minutes, his book was ready and he was able to take to school the next morning. How brilliant is that?
Now, here’s where I goofed up: I got so excited to bind it, I neglected to notice that one of the pages was UPSIDE DOWN. When I took it out of the binder, all cooled down, I had a minor freak-out. (So much so, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture!!) But anyway, I remembered what I’d been told- if you make a boo-boo, just rebind it….and then, when the light goes green, remove the page before the resin cools and hardens.
So I did just that. I reheated the book, removed it when the light had just turned green, and pulled out the offending photo. Surprisingly, there was NO GOO on the page at all- the photo came out cleanly! So I flipped it around, and popped it back into the binding unit. This time I let it go through the cooling cycle. VOILA! All better!
But let’s think a little more creatively, shall we? How about binding up those cool ATC’s or Mail Art? Lucky for us, Photo books come in 4X4 inch squares and 4X6 inch sizes. I used a 4X4 to bind all of the cards I collected at CHA! Now I won’t lose these little buggers AND it looks great.
Overall, this is a great tool for the price. The MSRP is$99.99 (and you can get it for that price at Borders.com) but I saw the same thing for $69.99 at Target.com, and it includes software (which I didn’t even bother to use, but it’s great for first-time digi-scrappers) as well as 3 books and paper! I’d recommend this for anyone who would love a professional look but likes to print out their own photos. Come to think of it, this would be a great gift for my Dad- he’s always printing photos out, but them has no place to put them!
The Photobooks can be purchased readily and retail between $9.99 and $20.00. Kind of pricey for the casual user, but right on target for archival, book-quality albums.
Recently, at CHA (the Craft and Hobby Association Convention & Tradeshow) I had the opportunity to swing by the Unibind booth and speak with Ken Oliver, as well as see the Unibind in action. I posted it here, if you’d like to see it!
So…what would YOU Unibind?
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