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Product Review – Leather Scrapbooking Albums by Spaark

spaarklogo.jpgSpaark recently gave us the opportunity to review a new product that they will be introducing at CHA Chicago this month. They are a line of very nice leather scrapbooking albums. They supplied us with a couple to review and embellish which we did, experimenting with many different materials and embellishments.

(See the bottom of this review to enter a free draw to win 1 of 3 Leather Scrapbooking Albums from Spaark!)

Description.

albumcolours.jpgThe albums are made of flexible premium bonded leather (2 mil.) and are available in 2 different sizes: 12″ x 12″ and 8″ x 8″. They are available in 5 colors: black, green, blue, lilac and ivory. (See photo at right). The inside spine of the album is scored to allow them to open and close freely at the binding. The page sleeves are held in place by 2 unique aluminum metal rings which allow the album to “lay flat” when open. They are shipped with 10 sheet protectors which are easily inserted into the binding rings. The albums arrive packaged in a high quality gift box, complete with a lid. The album box is printed with an elegant circle pattern but could easily be embellished if you so choose. Of course, all components are guaranteed archival safe and are acid and lignin free.

Initial Impressions.

greenunembellishedwithsheetssml.jpgThe first thing we noticed upon receiving the albums was the rich texture and solid feel to the albums (the smell of leather did not hurt either!) We received a black one and a green one for the review and we really appreciated the smooth warm colours. The aluminum binding rings seemed a little utilitarian at first but definitely grew on us especially once we saw how easy they are to use and how well they hold the pages. The leather is soft and quite flexible with the outside in your chosen colour and the inside left natural. They look and feel like they will last forever!

Our Testing.

Embellishing these leather albums is easier than you may imagine. This is in part due to the smoothness of the surface as well as the thickness of the leather. We tested a number of rub-ons and glues and found they all applied well and stayed put. We used our Crop-a-Dile to punchspaarkblackembellished.JPG holes through the leather and set eyelets. The leather punched easily and cleanly and the eyelets looked great set in covers. In one example, we used these eyelets as a base for a closure which we created at the cover edge out of thin leather straps. We also test cut the leather for adding patterns or ‘windows’ to the layouts inside and found the leather cut easily using a straight edge and razor-knife. (The knife must be sharp though or the cuts will not be clean.) The smooth surface of the album allowed us to easily apply rub-ons as well as doodle free-hand using a white Gelly Roll pen from Sakura. We were pleased with the results that Stix 2 Anything permanent PVA glue had when we used it to attach Heidi Swapp bling, ribbon and various fabrics. The binding rings are easily embellished with string or ribbon and can also be written or doodled on with markers. (We used a thin black Sharpie for testing.) The albums are stiff enough to stand up well on a shelf. In our testing we felt that the albums held our layouts in place very well and that they were well protected by the covers. In the end, we found that we did not want to clutter up the albums too much with embellishments as they look so clean and elegant as is.

Conclusion.
greenembellishedcloseupsml.JPGThese albums are quite unique in this market, in fact it’s hard for us to think of anything else to really compare them to. Their simplicity, binding system and high quality leather construction all contribute to their appeal. Our overall impression is that these albums would be welcome in any scrapbooker’s home and would be put to good use (Christmas gift? Hint, hint!)

Spaark will be displaying these products at CHA Chicago 2007. Visit them at booth #209 or for more information, see their website here.

Scrapbook Giveaway! Win 1 of 3 Leather Scrapbook Albums. Click to enter. In conjunction with this review, Spaark is holding a draw for 3 of these binders (12 x 12 size) over at their site. All you need to do to enter is leave your name and email address. (How easy is that?) The draw will end on July 31st, so head over to Spaark now to enter to win.

giftboxcloseupsml.jpg greenalbumandopenalbum.jpg

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