Stamp albums are fairly easy to make; the real challenge and joy lies in collecting stamps to fill an album with. If you make a stamp album yourself, you can give yourself more flexibility in how you organize and present your stamps. For people who want to skip this step, a number of hobby and craft stores sell ready made stamp albums, sometimes with a pack of starter stamps to get going with. If you want to learn more about collecting stamps and less about the physical process of making an album, you may want to skip ahead to the fourth paragraph in this article.
A stamp album serves several functions. In the first sense, of course, it displays your collections of stamps so that you can show them. The album also organizes your stamps in a way which makes sense to you, and it protects them from the elements. To make a stamp album, purchase a binder of some kind, along with acid-free paper. A three ring binder is classic and simple, but there are a number of different styles available, including binders with clamps which hold the pages or binders with prongs rather than rings. You should also pick up a packet of stamp mounts, clear plastic sleeves which can be stuck to the pages in your album so that you can insert the stamps into the album without damaging their backings.
You may want to consider using software to make a stamp album. The software can help create an organizing system for you, and it will generate templates for you to print out on acid-free paper and insert into your binder. You can also keep a handwritten record of your collection and decorate the pages by hand; be careful where you ink the pages, as you do not want ink to bleed through and damage your stamps. Once you have assembled a stamp album, it's time to start filling it.
Many amateur stamp collectors rely on free sources of stamps. The best place to start is your mailbox; you can also ask friends and family to send on interesting stamps which they receive. Online bulletin boards allow stamp collectors to exchange stamps; you may be able to find a collector in another part of the world who wants stamps from your country who will trade with you. You can also make a stamp album into a group activity for a household or classroom to net a wide collection of neat stamps.
If you want to invest in stamp collecting when you make a stamp album, you can purchase mint stamps which have not been used. Stamp collectors can also purchase rare or interesting stamps at auction and in stores. In all cases, you should handle your stamps carefully; make sure to use stamp mounts to place your stamps in the stamp album, and use stamp tongs to manipulate the stamps when you need to handle them.
You can organize your stamp collection however you like. Some people enjoy created themed pages with stamps that have similar motifs or designs, for example, while others like to organize their stamps by country. If you want more information about stamps in general, your local library probably has a few books on philately, otherwise known as the study of stamps. Many of these books include a section which tells you how to identify and determine the value of stamps.