art & design

How To Make A Mini Photo Album

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A few weeks ago on my 4 Ideas For Instagram Photos post I promised to do a full tutorial for the mini photo album and here it is! One thing you should note is that I designed this book to be the right size for the photos I had (which was 2.5 inch square). If you have photos at a different size you can easily change the book to fit your photos or print your photos off in a size that will fit this book.


You will need:

  • 1 sheet of black A4 card.
  • 9 pieces of 3″ x 6″ white card.
  • Needle and thread.
  • Glue gun and glue sticks.
  • Scissors.
  • Bull clips.
  • Sandpaper (optional).

You will also need a ruler, a pencil and an x-acto knife. Somehow I managed to forget about them even thought they were literally lying right next to my other supplies. Doh!

The first thing you want to do is fold your pieces of card in half. These are called signatures and will become the main part of your text block. Smooth the crease out. You can buy bone folders for this specific task or you can use anything you have lying to hand (I used a Copic marker!).

Take one signature and mark the center point along the creased edge. Then mark a quarter inch and half inch on both sides of that center mark. You should end up with 5 marks equally spaced along the crease.

Arrange the signatures into a pile. Take some time to make sure all the edges are lined up (it doesn’t matter if they are a little out, we will fix this later). Use the bull clips to keep the pieces of card together. Now with the marked signature on the top of the pile you can run a line down the other pieces of card using a pencil. Use a needle to pierce holes through the marks.

I could write an essay on how you bind the signatures together. However as I am using the method I learned from SeaLemon’s videos and as this is a method she created after combining a number of other stitches I think it would be better if you just went and watched her video instead.

A few tips, this part is extremely frustrating, the best thing you can do is take it slowly and follow along with the video. You will need a piece of thread around 1 meter long, in the video SeaLemon states that you should double thread the needle, however whether you should do this entirely depends on what kind of thread you have.

With a thinner thread it is best to double, but if you have a thick embroidery thread (like the one I am using) there is no need to double. If you find yourself running out of thread it is extremely easy to add another and continue on sewing (you can also see how to do this in the video).

The next step is to glue the spine. Leave the bull clips on to hold the signatures in place, then using a glue gun lay down a thin layer of glue all the way along the spine. You can also do this with PVA glue however hot glue dries almost instantly and doesn’t cause the signatures to wrinkle.

Now we are going to give the pages a smooth edge. This step is entirely optional, if you like the deckled edge you can just leave the text block the way it is. Use an x-acto knife to cut away the uneven edges, you may find that if you’ve measured the card well enough you don’t need to do this. To get a perfectly smooth edge use sandpaper to smooth everything out. I did this last part on all three sides to make the text block look neater.

Now cut a piece of card to about 3 x 3 inches. It doesn’t have to be exact, I just used a piece of scrap I had leftover. We are going to glue this to the spine to give extra support. Place the text block spine down on the card, then fold the piece of card up. You should end up with a piece of folded card like I have in the picture below.

Glue the spine down onto the card first. Then lift the flaps up and one at a time glue them onto the outer pages of the text block. Make sure to press firmly down on the flap as you’re gluing it so it fully adheres. If any excess hot glue comes out the sides you can pick it off (don’t burn your fingers!) or cut it with an x-acto knife. If the glue is dry it may rip the paper as you’re removing it but don’t worry as no one will see the rips.

Now we are going to get started on the cover of your photo album. This is what the black card is for, though you can use any colour you want. The pages are 3″ square so you need to draw one 3″ box then add on the width of the spine, that should be around 1cm (you can measure the spine to get the exact width), then add another 3″ box. Then we need to add on the flaps that you will fold around and hold everything together. I made mine about 1/4 of an inch. You should end up with something like in the picture above.

Now cut that shape out. Cut the corners of the flaps at a 45 degree angle and you should end up with something like in the picture above. Now fold and crease the edges where I’ve shown in the image. You’re almost done!

Glue the spine of the text block on to the cover first. Then glue the outer pages of the text block. Hold the pages down firmly so they adhere properly. Then fold the flaps over the page and glue down.

And ta da! You’ve made a book. Once you understand the theory of book binding you can make any size you want. You’ll never need to buy photo albums ever again (I was going to say you will never need to buy books ever again but yeah… like that’s ever going to happen!).

Thanks for reading.
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