How to design your own stamp album

post stamps image by Svetlana Kashkina from

Custom stamp albums allow housing for specialised stamp collections that cannot be accommodated by commercial albums. Archival-quality materials should be used to protect stamps. The goals for the album will depend on the size and subjects of the collection involved. Are there full sheets of stamps to be displayed on a single page, and if so, what sizes are they? Is the collection finite or will it continue to grow? How much money are you willing to spend, and how professional do you want the album to look? What mounting materials will be used? The more planning and forethought, the better the resulting album.

Assemble the stamps to be mounted on the pages. Match them with their catalogue numbers and descriptions from the stamp catalogue. Put the stamps in the order you want them to appear in the album, positioning them by issued sets or topics, or whatever arrangement you wish your album to assume.

Lay down the first page and make a temporary arrangement of the stamps it will contain, using the stamp tongs to handle the stamps. Leave a wider margin toward the edge of the page that will fit into the binder. For handwritten pages, a quadrille-ruled paper helps with stamp and writing alignment. Space the stamps widely enough to allow for the inclusion of information below each stamp, and room for a description of the sets of stamps. The collection will be more attractive if there is some open space rather than a crowded arrangement.

Fasten the stamps in place using stamp hinges or hingeless mounts. Hingeless mounts are recommended for mint stamps that still have their original gum or for valuable stamps that should be protected.

Write the title for that page at the top and the name of the set of stamps above each set. You might want to explain why the stamps were issued. Tip each stamp up and write the catalogue number or other descriptive coding under the stamp so it is hidden beneath the stamp. Below each stamp, write the stamp subject matter and any other information you would like to present. Use either smudgeproof pencil or an indelible-ink pen that will not affect the stamps.

Continue placing stamps page by page and writing information down. Place the pages in the binder in the correct order and label the binder on the spine and the front cover.

Purchase stamp album generating software, locate freeware or shareware programs or use programs such as Microsoft Publisher or Adobe PageMaker. Decide on binder and page sizes. If not the standard 8 1/2- by 11-inch size, buy custom or larger paper and use a paper trimmer and hole punch to trim it to proper size.

Measure stamps so you will know what size boxes to create for the stamps to fit on the page. Add an extra 1/8 to 1/4 inch to each dimension. Some software programs can calculate box sizes automatically. Follow the same procedure as for handwritten pages, but create the boxes in the computer program instead.

Add text after the boxes have been created, choosing the font and size you desire for headings and descriptions. Create a border around the page if desired, leaving a wider margin where the page will be inserted into the binder. Add photos, explanations and notes as desired. Save your work.

Print out the pages on a printer and mount the stamps onto the pages as you did for the handwritten pages.

Insert the pages into the binder in the proper sequence, labelling the binder on the spine and front cover.

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