Personalised Photo Albums in the Digital Age

Are you looking for that extra special gift that you can’t just buy in a shop or download from an app?

Personalised photo albums are a perfect way to make your present stand out. Why settle for a mass-produced, factory manufactured photo book? All of our Japan-inspired photo albums at Kitaken are handmade to order from the best quality materials. Your desired personalisation can be printed directly onto natural linen and you can choose from a huge variety of our own designs or a gorgeous, traditional Japanese pattern. We can even print your own designs on linen! (see pic).

Haptics is something that is quite underestimated in this day and age of electronic devices and digital media. Sure, we have the “touch” screens of electronic and mobile devices but there is nothing quite like sitting next to your loved ones and turning the page of an actual photo book; swiping just doesn’t compare.

The weight and feel of our premium Italian paper is a quality that can’t be replicated in the digital world. Brush your fingers over the lovely textures and strands from the mulberry pulp of our Japanese chiyogami covers.

This year, give the gift of something that lasts. Forget gifting a Spotify subscription. Buy a couple of vinyl LPs instead; support the artists making the music you love. Forget gifting a factory manufactured photo album made by a robot. Instead, gift a personalised photo album, lovingly handmade to order by Kitaken.

Personalised guest book with company logo printed onto natural ivory linen.

Personalised guest book with company logo printed onto natural ivory linen.

Wheat Paste Instead of PVC Glue

handmade photo albums glue.JPG

Wheat Paste Instead of PVC Glue

Make Your Own Glue

To contribute to a healthier environment, Kitaken is constantly striving to use less plastic materials during the production of handmade photo albums. I bring my own cloth bags when grocery shopping, try to buy less bottled beverages, recycle the Japanese paper that I use, etc. Recently, I’ve taken a further step and decided to make my own wheat paste for adhering paper and for the production of my albums. My own glue making significantly reduces the use of plastics, is non-toxic and it enables me to recycle containers continuously.

I went back to my old bookbinding notes from university and found a great recipe for making glue. This particular glue recipe makes the adhesive flexible and is very forgiving when glueing paper to board. And the best thing is that it’s archival and will not yellow paper over time!

Wheat paste is a great way to contribute to a healthier environment. Wheatpasting is also used to hang up posters for concerts, for collages, papier-mâché, addressing political messages, public murals, etc., etc. Upon further research, I found this great article called A Field Guide to Wheatpasting that delves deeper into the process and they use a similar recipe to mine. Check it out here!


100g wheat starch (approx. four tablespoons)
1 dl cold water

Stir until all clumps are dissolved
Add 1/2 litres of boiling water
Stir vigorously until smooth

The paste should neither be too milky nor glassy
Cover with wet newspaper to avoid skin layer forming

Spring Has Finally Arrived

Spring has finally arrived and in Japan the very brief hanami period is already over. The trees blossomed in one big swoop and the cold wind swept them away within just a week. I just spoke to a friend today in Tokyo and she said that it’s snowing in some parts of the city. Climate change is indeed a scary thing!

Hanami is the tradition of cherry blossom viewing, where everyone welcomes the spring season. Small to large gatherings are held in parks under “sakura” cherry trees. Companies actually reserve spots in parks and spread down Ikea blue tarps for their employees to enjoy food and drink.

Cherry blossoms are a big deal in Japan and also here at Kitaken. The hanami season may have gone too quickly this year but Kitaken has blossom patterns all year round! Many of Kitaken’s handmade photo albums have cherry blossom motifs like this classic chiyogami pattern. This wonderful cherry blossom pattern comes in a variety of different colours and can be ordered with a book cloth colour of your choice.

Personalised photo albums / guestbooks are the perfect present for weddings of all kinds. All of the hanami patterned albums can be personalised with a linen name plate for an extra £13.

You don’t have to wait until next year to witness the beauty of hanami in Japan. You can have your very own personalised photo book made with a gorgeous cherry blossom pattern to view all year round!

While you choose your perfect photo album, here’s a photo I took of maiko during hanami season one year in Kyoto.

cherry blossoms

Mounting photos to your personalised photo album by Kitaken

Many people ask: What is the best way to mount my photos into my personalised photo album? There are several options on the market to adhere your photos in your new Kitaken photo album but we recommend using traditional photo corners to keep with the aesthetic of the album.

How Kitaken Came To Be...

I was born and raised in California by first generation Japanese parents. Growing up in a Japanese-speaking household, my parents always stressed the importance of keeping in touch with my roots and striving to learn more about Japanese traditions.

As a child, I spent every summer in the Kansai region of Japan, where all of my extended family lives. I was very fortunate to attend Japanese language school and participate in courses such as shodo/shuji (Japanese calligraphy) and tea ceremony (sado or chado) to broaden my knowledge of Japanese culture.