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January 21, 2015

My 2014 Layflat Shutterfly Album


I finished my Daily Life Album a couple of weeks ago and ordered a 106 page Layflat Album from Shutterfly. I've ordered other layflat albums before, one from Adormapix and a few from Shutterfly, but never one quite this big.  I usually choose to use Blurb for my bigger family albums (2011 here, 2012 here, and Lydia's Album Here), but I REALLY love the layflat books so I decided I would bite the bullet on the extra price (and bulkiness) to see if I liked them better.

Boy oh boy, I love it! Yes, it's big and it's quite heavy but it's a special album and I think the size of it gives the impression that this album really means something to our family. It shows the time and effort I put into documenting our memories and how precious they are. It is special.

If you didn't want to go with the 12x12 size I believe all the pictures and journaling would still look great in a 10x10 or even an 8x8 size. I actually took pictures comparing my 8x8 layflat album to this one, but you'll have to look for that blog post next week since there's already too many pictures in this blog post!

Here are the specs on my album:
  • 12x12 Layflat Shutterfly Book
  • Hard Photo Cover
  • 106 Pages
  • Double thick, premium professional-grade paper. Satin finish. (from the Shutterfly Website)
  • Binding: The pages are glued back to back throughout the album and then to the front and back of the album. They are not attached to the spine. This is probably the only setback to me - I am a little worried over time that they may come apart. My other layflat albums have been fine so far, but this one is a lot bigger.
And pricing:
  • 20 Page 12x12 Book  - $64.99
  • Additional 86 pages ($1.50 each) - $129.00 
  • Layflat Pages - $50.00 (it's a flat $50 no matter how many pages you have)
  • Shipping $11.99
  • Price before coupons: $255.98 
  • Tax $8.24
  • TOTAL Price with 50% off coupon and Free Shipping: $130.24 Wait for those coupons. It's worth it! The 50% off coupon I used was right on their website, and they give them out frequently.
So, I'd say that is a pretty good price for a 106 layflat 12x12 album. My 100+ page Blurb books cost me just over $100 and those weren't layflat. I would say the extra $20-$30 is worth it.

Now to the actual album.

I've decided that I really like the white background on my cover pages. I did use the Shutterfly cover template to make sure my front cover design would look right.


It's nice and glossy. It'll be easy to wipe little smudges off. The photo quality is spot on. Looks just like it did on my computer screen.


Here's the spine. For some reason I completely missed adding text to my spine. I didn't even think about it when I was uploading. Oh well, my fault!

It's thick but not anywhere near as thick as my traditional 12x12 albums.


Here's the back. Just a little barcode. You can customize the spine and the back but I chose not to. Although I do regret not putting our family name and date on the spine. It totally slipped my mind.


And this is how it lays. There's a little bow, but not too bad.


A little close up of the spine and binding.


There's the little bow again.


This is what it looks like opened up.


More. Just so you get a feel for the binding.


Now some close ups of my pages so you can see the quality of the prints. I'm very satisfied.


The pages are pretty heavy duty. I won't have to worry about my kids bending or tearing them, unless they get a little crazy. But they know how precious these are and we do have "rules" for looking at albums. You must only take one book down at a time, you must carefully turn the pages and you must always have clean hands!


The pages have a pretty smooth, satin finish.



All of the journaling is crisp and clear. I used a mix 12 and 14 pt. I actually could have probably gone down to 8 or 10, but keeping it at 12 or 14 will give you the option of printing an 8x8 or 10x10 album.


I'm always amazed at how 3D my pages look when printed. Just like traditional.




Here are some shots of the full layouts. I love the layflat with no gutter. Totally seamless. I actually would love to try these with a double page spread with photos and/or elements in the center. I think it would look pretty nice.



Even the pages with black background papers look amazing.





You can see here on the right side page that my leaves got a little close to the edge. I must not have been using my guides when I created this page. This was the only page with something cut off. You HAVE to account for bleed if you are going to print this way.


I also realized my QR codes could be a little smaller. I do love that everything else is so nice and big with my Daily Life Templates. I really think this album would have been just fine printed at a 10x10 or 8x8 size.


And here's the final page. There's one sheet of white paper in the front and back of the book.


And last but not least the whole reason I scrap and print my digital scrapbook pages. This:


I think my kids might have been more excited to look at the book than I was. They loved seeing pictures of certain events and pictures of themselves. I think my oldest girls especially liked reading my journaling. And Matthew was so excited that we finally have an album that has pictures of him in it (a reminder that I really need to get his book done!). The album has already been pulled off the shelf and looked at several times. 

Totally worth it.
-Liz

P.S. If you have any more questions that I didn't answer in my blog post about my Shutterfly Album please let me know, and I'll try to answer them.

*There are affiliate links in this blog post. All opinions are my own.


20 comments:

April said...

I am a loyal Shutterfly customer as well. I make a book for each child each year. Mine are usually between 20 and 30 pages but I have been so happy with how they have turned out. For your spine...maybe you could find someone who has amazing writing or calligraphy skills that could write your information on it with a permanent marker or something?

Shannon said...

Your book is wonderful. I use shutterfly too and print 8 copies of our yearly scrapbook for all my children! I was really impressed with your shadowing job! This is such a weak area of mine. I was wondering if you might do a tutorial on that sometime. Thanks!

Tiff Scraps said...

Looks amazing! And this makes me want to finish my 2014 pages and get my book. When you uploaded your jpgs, did you upload each side separately, or were they uploaded as 12x24?

Jenny said...

LOVE seeing this! I am in awe of how realistic your shadows look. I've only done one layflat book from Adorama, but it wasn't for scrapbook pages (I just did a collage album using their templates). It's nice, but I like the color and print quality in my Shutterfly books better, so I've been thinking about trying a layflat book from Shutterfly. Anyway, your book is AWESOME! :)

Elizabeth Albers said...

Good idea, April!

Shannon - I'll try to put together a little shadowing tutorial....although I think there might be others out there more qualified. Maybe I'll link up to the different tutorials I've seen.

Tiff - I thought you could upload 24x12, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. If anybody knows tell me how!

I think that Adorama and Shutterfly are comparable. I didn't notice a huge difference in them. I did notice a difference in my Blurb books. I do think Shutterfly and Adorama has better print quality.

Jenny said...

I did the 12x24 pages for my most recent book. Once you're in the book editor, and the pages you want to add are showing in the viewer across the bottom of the screen, hover your mouse over one of your images, and you should see a little red/orange button that says "Use as spread." It doesn't show up until you hover your mouse over the image.

icindisutter said...

Wow, that does look nice! The shadows look amazing. Might have to try a lay flat book next time! I thought every page had a higher price

Unknown said...

Wow, I had to look and look again at your pages. You're right they look 3D - you're shadowing is amazing. Inspires me to work on mine!

Unknown said...

I loved your review, and I love that it confirms that I am still using the best book printing service. I have been printing my annual books on Shutterfly Layflat books for 3 years (since they came out), and I have been impressed with the quality each time. There was one year where they weren't trimming the pages evenly, and my borders looked unbalanced, but they tried 2 times to get it right for me! My book this year is spot-on, though. I always load up my pages as 12x24 unless I have sides of the page that need to be trimmed evenly on each side and center (like when there is a big square centered on each side). I also plan for certain elements to be trimmed off on many pages. It helps make it consistent when a few get accidentally trimmed. Only other point I would make is when you load up your spine template, the color seems much lighter than is should. It prints ok, though.

Elizabeth Albers said...

Thanks, Jenny! I knew there must be a way.

Rebecca said...

I love your Shutterfly & Blurb books so much! I have read (and re-read several times) all your posts about the books you do. I am still confused about the bleed on the Shutterfly Layflat Book. I really want to make one and I am using the guide templates you have on your blog. Can you or someone else PLEASE help me to understand? When I add my layout to Shutterfly, is Shutterfly showing me exactly how my page will look when printed (meaning the bleed/cropping has already occurred)? If I want a picture to be at the edge of my layout, how do I know where the edge will actually be? If I am using your guides, is it certain that when I put a photo right up to the guide that that will be the very edge of my layout in the layflat book? I really appreciate any help anyone can give me. Thanks!! Rebecca

Elizabeth Albers said...

Hey Rebecca, The bleed is just a guide to help show you what might be cropped off. You want to make sure anything important is inside those guides. I just went and looked at my Shutterfly Album on the website and the one leaf that got cropped off did show it getting cropped of on the website. I think what you see on the website is similar to what you would see in a printed book, although maybe not exact.

I'm going to do a little blog post. I have some images that might help you. Look for it next week.

horizonview said...

I ordered this book on Wednesday, and it's being shipped as I write this! My book was 106 pages as well. I opted to order at 40% off though, and didn't look for a free shipping coupon. I also ordered a matte finish cover for an extra $10. So my book came to slightly over $170. Can't wait to receive it. Thanks for your detailed review of this book.

Elizabeth Albers said...

Oh, I hope you like it!

horizonview said...

I do like it! You can read my post here: http://hvacres.blogspot.com/2015/03/project-life-2014-published.html

Probably one thing I should do differently is increase my outside margin. I've already completed Jan. and Feb. for 2015, so will just proceed for this year yet. Thanks again for your review.

Elizabeth Albers said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I love it!

Alanna said...

How is the book holding up now that you've had it for almost a year? I have had more issues with pages coming loose in the regular shutterfly books. :(

Elizabeth Albers said...

I haven't had any issues with it yet. My kids frequently take it out and look at it. I'm sorry you are having a hard time with the regular shutterfly books.

Jenny said...

Hi Liz, I came back to this post today to take a look at your layflat album again. I am wishful thinking about ordering mine for 2015. "Wishful thinking" because I'm only on Week 17! Oh, well... Anyway, I just had to comment again because your shadows never cease to amaze me. I look at those close-ups, and just think, "Wow!" :)

Elizabeth Albers said...

Awww...thanks! I hope you can get caught up!

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