Homemade Photo Albums

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In highschool, my drawing teacher did a lot of unique projects with us. One of which was making our own sketch books, paper and all. It involved shredding paper, blending it with water, and letting it set in a mold, wrapping cardboard in colored paper, duct tape two wrapped pieces of cardboard and then put them all together. It was an extraordinary assignment, and I’ve done a lot of different things with the basic outline we were given. Instead of making sketchbooks, I make photo albums, recipe books, and several other fun books.

At the end of September I’m photographing a wedding for a friend, and I’m making her a homemade photo album. I’d like to share with you the steps to make one of these.

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First: You’ll need supplies.

Scissors, cardboard, scrapbook paper (or you can use pictures and make a collage on a piece of paper), Duct tape (there are a lot of colors, get creative!), photo album sleeves, string/ribbon, spray glue, mod podge, a paintbrush, and stickers or decorations (optional).

Find some good cardboard, or something similar; it’s ultimately up to you. My first album has lasted me 3 1/2 years and looks exactly like it did the day I made it, and I just cut up a moving box for it.

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Second: Cut two pieces of cardboard, make them the same size. If you’re doing a photo album, make the pieces about two inches wider, and 2 inches longer than the photo sleaves. Then cut a small strip of cardboard that is the same length as your first two pieces, but only about an inch wide. Set the strip aside for now.

Third: Pick out your scrap-book pages, or make a collage. The paper needs to be about 4-6 inches wider and longer than the cardboard pieces. Fold it around the cardboard so that you get the outline of it on the paper. (The paper doesn’t have to be quite as big as mine)

Make sure you do this for both pieces of cardboard!

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Then cut the corners off, but try not to get too close to the corner fold.

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Fourth: Take your folded pieces of paper outside, or somewhere that it’s safe to use spray glue. Spray a good, even coat onto the paper without soaking it. Then place your pieces of cardboard back onto the folded papers, staying within the fold lines as best as possible. This part can be a little tricky.

Then fold the edges over the cardboard and tuck whatever extra corner you may have ended up with.

Fifth: Measure a piece of paper to fit over the folded edges of paper on the other side of the cardboard. There needs to be about 1/4 inch to 1 inch between the edge of the cardboard and the paper. Like this:

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Spray glue it and stick it on there!

Sixth: Once both pieces of cardboard have been covered with your paper, they can be turned into the covers of your album. This is where the duct tape comes in! I tend to pick a nice designed duct tape, something fun.

You’ll need to use a strip of tape that is about twice the length of your album, and lay it sticky side up on a table. Next you need to find your cardboard strip from earlier. Center it the best you can onto the tape.

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Then place your wrapped pieces of cardboard on either side, leaving as much space as possible.

(I used unwrapped cardboard to show this step because I forgot to photograph it :)

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The fold the tape over, and press the tape together through the gaps. It should look something like this:

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Seventh: Now to add some fun stuff to it! You can add some simple stickers, writing, or other fun things now. I added a small writing section, and some “happily ever after” stickers on the front.

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Eight: Once all of your decorations are placed where you’d like them, it’s time to seal it all in. Put down some news paper, and cover the entire front and back cover with mod podge. Let the front and back dry, and then the do the same to the inside, avoiding any areas that are left blank for writing.

This will make it a bit glossy.

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Nine: After the covers are dry, you can start to add the photo pages!

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Line up the holes where you want them. Then, using scissors, stab holes into the gap between cardboard.

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Once you’ve got the holes you can secure the pages in with simple yarn. Most pages have three holes, like this one. Start by putting the yarn through the edge holes and up through the holes in the page.

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Then you stick the ends of the yarn through the center hole, together.

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Pull the strings tight, and then close the book. You’ll need to put the line of string already on the outside of the book between both end pieces of the string, then tie it into a bow.

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Tenth: Now you have a finished album for at home, or possibly a nice gift to a friend!

Give it a home!

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~ ♥ ~

Thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on “Homemade Photo Albums

  1. This is really very beautiful and something I will try. Have you written or are you planning on writing an entry/tutorial on the sketchbook you mentioned in the introduction? It would be fantastic to see how to complete the whole paper-shredding-blending stage and how to actually make a sketch book! :)

    • I’m glad you like it! I think I could totally show how I made the sketchbook. I’ll have to mess around with it, it’s been a few years since I made it. But, the homemade paper didn’t entirely work well for a sketchbook, it’s hard to get it to stay in the book. I’ll play with it to find a better way to get it to stay, and then I’ll post how to make it! :)

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