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Tool Review: PhotoBook Creator by Unibind

{Reported by Susan Keuter}

Ladies - I have to confess something to all of you {It's what good Catholic girls are best at!}. So please forgive me ahead of time!

I am totally throwing this review together at the last minute. Absolutely, positively at the last minute. I'm not sure if it's Scorpion Flu or not {my family has been forbidden to say Swine Flu because my daughter is involved in FFA and she finds it rude!} but something hit me this morning and it hit me with a thud!

My procrastination has gotten the better of me, and now I'm struggling to get this finished. I usually do really well under pressure. When I'm healthy! Sick - it's an entirely different matter. So this is going to be short and sweet, totally opinionated and completely honest. Because that's just how I am when I'm feverish!

With that out of the way now {crossing myself} let's move along!

I am 100% IN LOVE WITH the PhotoBook Creator from Unibind. I was introduced to this product right before CHA in June and immediately saw 1,001 uses for the system.

In a nutshell - it's a desktop book binding system that produces professional results in a matter of minutes.

Ever ordered a photo book from iPhoto, CVS or Walgreens? Maybe uploaded an album project to SnapFish or Costco? These are those! Same technology, same basic supplies.

And it's so stinkin' easy that it's addicting! Sit back for 64 seconds and see for yourself...

Ease of Use: You tell me - - - open the box, plug in the machine, load your pages into the included book cover, place the cover onto the heating element, watch for the light to turn from red to green and wait about 2 minutes. That's IT! Easy-peasie!

Usefulness: The ideas that are still in my head are unending. So many ways to use these books. Since the book covers come in so many different sizes, they are suitable for all kinds of different situations. From casual school projects to professional portrait reviews - these would work for any of them.

The books come in the following sizes: 4"x 6", 5"x 7", 8"x 8", 8.5"x 11" horizontal, and 12"x 12". Available colors include: white, black, blue, wine, silver steel, blue steel, pink steel and white pearl. Not all colors are available in all sizes. But as you can see - lots to choose from.

What I liked:

- Easy to understand directions. I don't think it could have been any easier.

- Lots of color choices gave me a lot of flexibility.

- Different sized spines - 3mm, 5mm, 7mm and 9mm means you can choose the right book for your project and not feel like your cover was overkill.

- These covers are just screaming to be embellished - and everything I tried on them worked perfectly.

- I love that the product packaging for the PhotoBook Creator is kept to a minimum. Just a cardboard box. No fillers, no stuffers, no corrugated interior...just a box. {Our landfills thank you Unibind!}

What I disliked: Not much that I didn't like - but I do what I'm told, so here are a few teeny-weensy items.

- The outside of the box shows a picture of a CD. I assumed that is where I would find the mentioned "photo layout" software. No CD was included. After I called the company I learned that the software needed to be downloaded from their website. No biggie - but seeing the picture on the box was confusing.

- Refill book covers are tricky to find. I'm going to have to order them online, and that doesn't always work well with my spur-of-the-moment creative urges. {However Ken, National Accounts Manager, assures me that is changing very soon!}

- I would love some plain chipboard book covers. I almost felt guilty painting over a nice white cover!

What I made:

Supplies: 5"x 7" horizontal PhotoBook, QuicKutz Vinyl in teal, cut with my Silhouette
This book I filled with 15 pages of printed photo paper.

Supplies: 4"x 6" PhotoBook, covered with orange acrylic paint, Crop-A-Dile, QuicKutz Print & Cut Halloween images, fabric

This book I filled with 12 pieces of white cardstock, to use as a Halloween party guest-book this weekend!

Supplies: 4"x 6" PhotoBook, cardstock letters cut from QuicKutz font Chicken Noodle, Crop-A-Dile, a variety of silk flowers and ribbon.

I made this up as just a fun little note book to have in my car. I filled it with 15 sheets of patterned paper scraps. The backs are all solid white, so I can leave fun notes for my kids or friends, with colorful flip-sides! A great way to use up scraps and make something fun and handy for your car.

Supplies: 12"x 12" PhotoBook, layered cardstock title run through my Xyron machine

This book I jammed full. It contains eight pieces of patterned cardstock weight paper, 3 manila folders, 3 business sized envelopes and 4 baseball card holders. It is going to house my daughter's semester project for FFA. A great spot, I thought, for receipts, notes, progress data, business cards, reminder lists, etc. I put it together in under 30 minutes, and that included cutting the title on my digital cutter.

Here is one final picture. When you place the book cover on the metal plate, it switches on automatically. The light will turn red for 90-seconds. That means the glue is melting, the pages are being fastened into the binding and you shouldn't touch it.

When the light turns green it means the process is complete. But just to be safe, you should wait another couple of minutes. That spine will still be hot. This book sat here for about 2 hours while I ran to the drug store, and it was just fine!

Where and How Much:
Product Name: PhotoBook Creator
Manufacturer: Unibind
MSRP: $99 (machine), $6.99-10.99 (book covers, but the best deal is to spring for a 10-pack from

Machine Available At:, and Unibind
Supplies Available At:, and Unibind

So that does it for me and Unibind's PhotoBook Creator. A great machine with a million possibilities. I can't wait to get healthy again so I can dive back into playing with paper and turning them into simple, one-of-a-kind books! Thank you Unibind!

What do you think? Have you seen the PhotoBook Creator before? Are you intrigued by the holiday gifts you could crank out? Do A+ grades seem doable with professional touches like this? We'd love to heard from you, and know what you think. {Unibind would too!}


MBstang said...

Love the orange painted book and using vinyl cut images---what a great custom touch! Hope you feel better soon! :)

jennie said...

OK this is really exciting for me. I scrap 8x11 horizontal and have the hardest time finding albums that I actually like. This is fabulous. And if you have ever had a book made with snapfishor shoever, they are super expensive! I may have to think about getting this one....

Heather in az said...

I think this might just be the best product ever invented. I can see with a bit of tweaking making custom story book for your kids. Could you imagine how much fun you could have making "instant" books at a wedding or party? What about gifts for Christmas you could be done in like an hour.

I seriously envy anyone who can grab one of these. I hope they take off and become more available.

Brenda said...

Would love to have one of those - what a great way make one album and share it with several families.

This would be a wonderful way for a high school or college paper to be bound with pictures, examples, or other needed materials and then turned in. Can you just see a teachers face wondering how the student did it.

I like the price as well. Not too expensive.

mom of fab five said...

Susan you crack me up! I wonder if it would work to rebind magazines or books that fall apart because they have been left in the hot cars of Az??? Wanna give it a try and let me know?

Hope you get over the scorpion flu soon--thought of you and your daughter as i was at the fair lookin at the sheep

Anonymous said...

Think this looks to be a great tool, love the items you have made. Hope you feel better soon. EJ in MA

Stephanie said...

This is really cool and could see many uses for it.

I'm laughing at how you said you just "threw this review together." It sounded well thought out and your projects are amazing! Get well soon! :)

Unknown said...

Love your straight to the point review! This looks like something that I, that I NEED! Thanks for the info...may put this on my Santa list!

Scrapamum said...

I am so putting this in my must buy list. This would end up being way cheaper than buying scrap albums. I love it!

Beth said...

You nailed this review! I was able to use this machine for doing demo's at my LSS. This was so plain & simple to use, it was scary!

It's even cheaper than the Provocraft version & so safe to use! I didn't think I needed another book binding system, but this might be in my future!

Melissa Kaye said...

This looks awesome. My only concern is how durable the books are. You know how sometimes pages start falling out of books? I'm curious to see how the books look in a year or two.

Thanks for the review! I'm SO tempted to get one, but will wait for long term feedback.

Anonymous said...

What a great tool! And such fun and creative examples too. Feel better soon Susan. :)

Vicki said...

Thanks for the great review Susan, hope you feel better real soon. I immediately thought what a great idea for books for family members. Some would like pictures but don't appreciate all the hard work put into a scrapbook, this would be perfect. Love all your projects. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! This is a great review!! I think I have seen a product similar to this, but not this one exactly. I am putting this on my birthday list RIGHT NOW!!!! I already have lots of ideas running through my head!!

GinniG said...

This looks absolutely amazing!!! My mind is swimming with possibilities! And I love that it's affordable... Definitely gonna have to check this out.... P.S. Hope you're feeling better very soon! You did a great job on the review!

Theresa said...

I saw this over the weekend at the Stamp Scrap Art Tour - I didn't know what it was, and with the place so jammed with people, didn't feel like squeezing through the crowd to see the demo. Your explanation and examples are perfect, and this is definitely something I would use.

Theresa said...

And I hope you feel much better very soon!

qkscrapper said...

Susan sounds great , how do you think it would travel? Feel better soon

Unknown said...

I have never seen this product before and after reading your review and seeing your projects it is a now "must have" on my Christmas wishlist.

Mary F said...

LOVE, this! I have to agree with everyone else on uses for this-for people that don't care about the time put into scrapbooks,a way for everyone's photo's to get put togeather from a family or class reunion and be an easy memory keepsake of the event...I think you should next test it to see how well it travels....... with some covers in hand of course! ;-)