I had a holiday dilemma. I needed a photo book on the fly, but had no time to have one made. It needed to be something inexpensive, gift worthy, but not a scrapbook. I checked out PhotoBook Creator by Unibind.
Depending on what option you choose, the PhotoBook Creator comes with a minimum of:
* A Photobook Creator binding machine
* A black linen photo book
* Photo layout software
The machine was not complicated to operate. My children could use it. The best part? It turned out a hardcover-bound photo book for the kids to give their Great Grandma for Christmas.
First, I identified the size book to use. Unibind offers sizes ranging from 12" x12" to 4"x6" with a variety of colors and thicknesses to choose from. I used a 4"x6" black linen landscape book with 5mm of thickness.
Since this was a small book, I used standard 4"x6" photo prints made at a local lab. The hardest part was picking out the images to use. Once I selected the photos, I needed to determine the layout. I arranged the pictures front to back, so you never saw the printís backside.
Next, I stacked up the pictures and decided to secure them with a small binder clip. I didn't trust myself to keep the images lined up. I simply took those pictures and lined them in the spine of the book of choice. Once this was complete, I plugged in the machine and laid the book spine down in the Creator. There is no on/off switch but as soon as I placed the book, a red light appeared indicating activation. The book then triggered the heating element and the binding cycle to start. Despite the urge to hold onto the book, I didn't as per the instructions. It says to allow the book to rest freely while binding.
Once the binding cycle was complete (in about 5 minutes), the light turned from red to green. The instructions say to keep the book standing on the machine until cool (aprox. 2 minutes). My recommendation is to keep it cooling longer. When I took it off after 3 minutes, some of the papers had shifted. If a paper comes out or is loose, you can repeat the process like I did.
For my first attempt, I took my original 4"x6" and put in 20 Fuji Premium Plus glossy photos (4"x6"). I followed the directions and let it cool for 2 minutes. I proceeded to take out all the papers. You could see the spine of the book had warm glue residue (resembled hot glue gun glue). Also, the edges of the paper had glue. I used the same book to create the gift for Great Grandma the second time. I arranged the pictures, used my binder clip and set the spine. This time I let the book cool for at least 10 minutes. And my quick photo book was done.
Overall, this machine was very easy to use. The size makes it easily transferable and you do not need any chemicals to use it. The most time-consuming part is choosing the size of your book, arranging the pictures (using the software to organize) and getting it printed. The easiest part is binding the book.
The Creator costs $124.99 and the kit is priced at $19. Overall, it is a good investment. You can purchase additional Photobooks for about $1.36 each, a fraction of the cost. But the books are standard. You aren't getting the book covers, canvas or metallic finishes. At least, not yet.