Check It Out: Pinhole Press

PINHOLE PRESS: CUSTOM BOARD BOOKS FOR LITTLE ONES

A few years ago, when my eldest was little and starting to show the first signs of aversion to strangers, my husband and I wanted to help her get to know her extended family members, even though she didn't see them often.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...everyone she would see at holidays and celebrations. Our hope was that she would recognize them in person and not be too afraid when they wanted to spend time with her. 

So I spent a few hours creating and ordering a small photo book with pictures of our family in it. And the book went over great. She loved it. And it did help her recognize family members, too, so definitely a win. But the problem was that the book itself did not last very long.

You see, this was before I started Shortcake. I didn't know much about photo book construction then, so I ordered an average mass-market photo book with a hard cover and assumed it would last forever. 

Can you guess what my darling baby did to that book?

Within a few weeks she had torn out every. single. page. We went from having a book on her shelf to having a pile of pages she would look through occasionally, and keep in a drawer in her room with other random toys. Eventually all the pages were ripped up or lost.

My hard work and hopes for her to have a little keepsake book of her family were dashed. "Oh well", I thought. "She's a toddler. That's what happens." Life goes on...

Now we have our second little girl. And a few weeks before her first birthday recently, I started noticing the same beginnings of aversion to strangers when we were at a family party.

I wanted to make her a book of family faces, too, but needed to find a better source than my first attempt. I wanted this one to last.

Now that I'm in the photo book business, I'm aware of many more options that are out there. Including companies that specialize in custom board books for babies. And that's where I turned.

The two main companies I looked into were Pinhole Press and Pint Size Productions. I really liked the designs and binding style of Pint Size Productions, but ultimately I chose Pinhole Press because I am a procrastinator - I only had a few days before her birthday to create and receive the book, and they would be able to get it to me the fastest.

I found Pinhole Press's site easy to use and the style of their books simple and modern. I chose their "Custom Board Book of Names & Faces" for my project, which starts at $39.99.

The Pinhole Press site.

The Pinhole Press site.

The layout of the book is straightforward. Left-side pages have bright-colored backgrounds with text for the family member's name. The right side is a full-page photo.

There are basic options to edit your photos, but customization choices are pretty much limited to (a) the order you want the photos to be in, and (b) changing the background colors of the text pages. You can also add a photo to the book's front cover and some personal text on the first page. 

Front cover of the book I made for Ginny.

Front cover of the book I made for Ginny.

Page 1 with a custom note.

Page 1 with a custom note.

You can choose to upload your photos and have them auto-populate in the book, or do it manually. I chose to do it manually, because I knew I would be particular about the order of the photos in the book, and would want to make changes to styles, etc. 

Overall, I found creating the book online to be fairly easy. The hardest part, by far, is selecting all your family photos. I spent quite a bit of time searching my phone and family member's Facebook profiles looking for photos I liked for her book. Probably over three hours. (We have a big family.)

Note: Keep in mind there may be some family politics in play when you create a book like this, as far as who makes the cut and who is left out. You may want to check with a spouse or other family member if you are not sure about some of the judgement calls to be on the safe side.

When Ginny's book arrived, I was very pleased with the physical quality. The pages are all stiff and glossy - they will not be easily damaged by little hands and mouths, and can't be pulled out. (Hooray!)

I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the spiral binding, though. I find spiral binding cumbersome in general as pages don't always rotate easily from open to shut, and sometimes you need to adjust the spiral to make the book close properly. But it serves its purpose and is durable, which is the most important part.

Ginny-Board-Book-5-min.jpg
Ginny-Board-Book-7-min.jpg

In all, I'm happy Ginny has her book and that it will last for a long time. She likes it, too. Her first word has been "hi!", and I love how she gets excited each time she turns a new page, sees a new face, and says "hi!" to the book. It's very cute. :)

If you're considering other options besides a faces book, check out the sites I mentioned as they have lots of suggestions to help you get creative. For example, you could make a counting book featuring different objects from your home, a story book about your child's day, and Pint Size Productions even has Sandra Boynton books you can insert your photos in to. 

Have you used Pinhole Press, Pint Size Productions, or another similar company to create a custom board book for your little one? What did you think? Share your tips for others in the comments below.


Helping you cut through the clutter and chaos, Check It Out is a regular feature from Shortcake Albums, where we share a new favorite app, tool, or product we love and think you will, too. We've personally used each item and receive nothing in return for sharing - we genuinely want you to know about it and hope you'll find it helpful, interesting, or fun. 

xo, Coralee & Whitney


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