Simple Handmade Photo Books

There’s something about flipping through an old photo album that transforms pictures into stories waiting to be told. Holding an actual printed photo has the ability, if you’re lucky, to momentarily bring you back to that moment in time and all that went with it.

There’s something to be said about photo albums, with all their crazy quirks, like how the plastic cellophane pages always stick together, or when a whole bunch of pages fall out  and you find some ambiguous little notes written on the backs of the fallen photos, or when there are three copies of the same photo, because, remember how we used get doubles of the whole roll of film? And half of them came out black or fuzzy? What were we supposed to do with that second set of prints, anyway?

add one of these little “branch” pencils and tie with some ribbon for a nice hostess or teacher gift.

So here is my semi-annual-photo-album-making-project to ensure that when I am at a ripe age of 87 or so and I want to look back on my life, I am sure as hell not going to bother with turning on a computer. I am going to have a shoe box of photos under my bed, and I am going to sit in my chair by a warm sunny window and remember all the great people and all the great memories that I hold in my hands and not on my hard drive.

Here’s how to make some really nice keepsake photo books to share your memories, or give some to your friends and family.

What you’ll need:

2 pieces of 5” x 7” Mat board (you could also use a cereal box or something similar)

Sheet of scrapbook paper or other decorative paper (to be used for the cover) cut 12” X 8.5”

8-10 sheets of cardstock, cut 9.75” x 6.5”, folded in half lengthways

Glue stick

Box cutter

Embroidery floss

Tapestry needle

1. Making the cover. First lay out the decorative sheet of paper face down. Align the two pieces of mat board on top so that there is about 1/2″ between the two cards, and about 3/4″ around all sides. Glue them in place with a glue stick.

Next, fold the corners over so you have little triangles, like the photo above. After folding, cut the triangles off!

Now that the corners are gone, fold and glue down the edges. Let cover dry, and grab your cardstock pages.

Your pages should be folded in half, and in the center seam, draw three tiny equally spaces dots, as shown above.

To bind the pages: Using your embroidery floss and needle, start threading through the center dot. Bring it back through the back of the next hole. Thread it back through the center again. Next, thread it through the third dot. It should end up in the front of the seam. Tie the loose ends together.

It should look something like this… trim the ends and secure with a small dab of glue.

Optional step: If the ends of the pages are uneven and ragged, trim them using a straight edge and a box cutter.

To complete the book and connect the pages and cover, glue the first and last pages to the cover. Line it up so that there is an even amount of space all around. This is the tricky part and takes a bit of practice. Just make sure to really smooth out the page after it is glued down, using a bonefolder or  a credit card. As it is drying, weight it down with a large book or rock.