DIY: Mini Photo Album

5 Ideas For Instagram Photos | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album

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!).

DIY: Mini Photo Album

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album

DIY: Mini Photo Album

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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).

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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!

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.

DIY: Mini Photo Album | bluchickenninja.com

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.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.
Support Me On Patreon

Advertisements

DIY Foam Board Storage

So it turns out when you do Graphic Design at college you need to buy lots of art supplies. I’m not even joking the list of stuff I needed to buy was the length of my arm. However this means I now have lots and lots of art supplies and no space for them.

I could quite easily make more space if I sacrificed some of my books but I’m not doing that, so instead I decided to find a way of making drawers that would find in the little space I had left under my desk. This was the result.

DIY Foam Board Storage | bluchickenninja.comDIY Foam Board Storage | bluchickenninja.com

So the first thing I learned when doing this project is that foam board is horrible to work with. Its floppy, its a nightmare cutting it to the right size and it hates being glued together. But I decided to continue with it anyway. This was purely down to a money issue. We had sheets of foam board just waiting to be thrown out while I would have had to go and buy MDF.

Using the foam board meant I managed to do this entire project with things I already had lying around. I found that layering paper mache over the entire structure really helped to strengthen everything. But yeah, if I learned anything from this it would be don’t use foam to make storage boxes (unless you’re prepared to spend weeks paper macheing everything (which I am not!)).

I also decided since I was in a DIY-ey mood to spray paint my plastic storage tower. Now everything is the same colour which makes it look so much neater. Pro tip: if you’re spray painting stuff and you wear glasses, take your glasses off before you start painting. If you manage to get spray paint on your glasses turpentine will get it off.

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

How To Make A Diary

I love the A5 fabric journals from Paperchase and this month I decided to try and make my own. This is not going to be a tutorial as I used the videos on Sea Lemon‘s channel, but instead I am going to share what changes I made. I used the DIY Tom Riddle’s Diary tutorial but you should also check out the How to Make a Text Block tutorial if you want to try making your own diary.

In the video Sea Lemon uses leather, I decided to use cotton, or at least I thought I was going to be using cotton. I wanted to use Liberty of London fabric and instead of paying the full price I bought an off cut from ebay. I saved a huge amount of money, I paid around £3 instead of over £20. But the fabric ended up being silk not cotton. This meant it was very thin and as I later found out so thin that the PVA glue soaked through the fabric.

Sea Lemon recommends that you double up on the thread. In my first attempt I doubled up the regular thread I had in my sewing kit but I felt that it still wasn’t thick enough. I bought thicker thread from Hobbycraft but I found when this was doubled up it was too thick. Really the best thing to do is play about with thread and find what works best for you.

I found the website Paper Mill Direct where I planned on buying paper. I was able to order 10 paper samples for £1 but I ended up deciding that buying 80 sheets of paper from them was too expensive. Instead I used regular printer paper.

How To Make A Diary | bluchickenninja.com

I didn’t take that many photos while making the text block but be assured that it is really quite simple. Sewing the signatures together can be a little tricky at first, I would recommend watching the How to Make a Text Block tutorial a few times till you get the hang of it. This part is also quite time consuming so I would recommend you have an audiobook or podcast ready.

Sea Lemon has a tutorial on How to Make a Book Press where she shows you how to make a book press to keep the text block in while the glue is drying. I didn’t make one of these as I didn’t want to spend any more money than I had to. Instead I used a giant pile of art books with two hand weights on top for some extra weight. This worked fine.

How To Make A Diary | bluchickenninja.com

I really enjoyed this make but I’m not quite happy with it. As you can probably see the edges are quite uneven. Take time and measure out the fabric instead of just tracing around the text block like Sea Lemon does. The ribbon isn’t quite long enough either, next time I would make it too long then cut it to size. I also forgot to trim the text block before gluing on the cover so I ended up with deckled edges.

I also found that the paper I used was quite thin and though I tested pens on it, I found that the ink bleeds through the paper. However buying better quality paper makes the journal more expensive than something you could buy in Paperchase. So unless you really want to use a specific fabric its easier to just buy a journal.

How To Make A Diary | bluchickenninja.com

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

DIY Paint Patterns

DIY Paint Patterns | bluchickenninja.com

Painting patterns has become one of my favourite things to do while watching movies. Its fun and literally the easiest thing to do. If you can hold a paintbrush you can do this.

DIY Paint Patterns | bluchickenninja.com

  1. Paper.
  2. Paintbrushes.
  3. Pencil.
  4. Set square.
  5. Paint.
  6. Ruler.

How:

  • Draw any kind of pattern you want. The one I am doing is based on a duvet cover I saw in IKEA.
  • Paint!

DIY Paint Patterns | bluchickenninja.com

And voilà. You made a pattern. Don’t worry about it being perfect. I find the imperfections make the pattern more interesting to look at. You can also use decorative paper punches to make a stencil to trace around. Just like the ones I have done below.

Example:

DIY Paint Patterns | bluchickenninja.com

DIY Paper Marbling

DIY Paper Marbling

Paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to smooth marble or other stone. This technique is normally done with kids but considering the amount of mess I managed to make I wouldn’t recommend it.

DIY Paper Marbling #2

  1. Paper.
  2. Cups for mixing paint.
  3. Turpentine.
  4. Paintbrushes.
  5. Oil paint.
  6. Large tray (I used a baking tray).

How:

  • Pour water into a large shallow tray. Fill it to about 2-3cm (approx 1 inch).

DIY Paper Marbling #3

  • Squeeze paint into a cup with a small amount of turpentine then mix together until there are no lumps.

DIY Paper Marbling #4

  • Load a paint brush then gently flick or drip paint onto the water.
  • Drag the end of a paintbrush through the water to create a marbled effect.
  • Hold the paper at both edges so it dips in the middle. Lower it onto the paint so that the center of the paper touches the paint first.

DIY Paper Marbling #5

  • Leave the paper for at least 10 seconds so it absorbs as much of the paint as possible.
  • Lift the paper out then place it face up on a towel to dry.
  • When the paper is dry, iron it on a medium heat to flatten it out.

I haven’t decided yet what to do with the final prints but this technique is loads of fun. You can spend hours just trying out different paint combinations and different types of paper.

Example:

DIY Paper Marbling #6