Experimenting with New Designs

Many avid scrapbook fans also dabble in book-binding.  Newbies may be intimidated by the prospect of making their own scrapbook covers, but once you start experimenting with new techniques, the idea of designing a memory album from cover to cover is not as challenging as you may think.

There are many advantages to crafting your own covers.  For starters, you get full reign over creative control.  You can design a cover of any shape or size.  In addition, you can use a variety of your favorite materials to embellish your cover.  For example, one of the first covers I attempted to make on my own included decoupage using a potpourri of printed paper that had special meaning to me.

If you are interested in employing this technique to make your own album cover, it’s imperative that you first determine the correct size of your scrapbook.  Measure carefully, because having to go back and fix your mistakes due to poor calculations is a real pain.  Next, cut your paper to fit that dimensions of your album.  You will also need to punch a row of holes along the spine of the paper for binding.  Once that is done, stack the sheets together.  Make sure you measure the length and width of the sheets, as well as the thickness of the stack of paper and note the sizes.  Again, it’s very important to measure accurately.  From there you will use a ruler to mark your binder’s board according to the measurements you’ve made.  Be sure to incorporate a front, back, and spine for the cover, and then use the ruler to draw the location of the spine.

Next, you need to use a craft knife to cut out the album cover according to your measurements.  It helps to place the ruler in the spot where you want the spine to bend. Hold the ruler tightly in place, and then crease the binder’s board in the exact spot.  To make this easier you could lightly score the board with a craft knife. Keep in mind that you will need to make two creases for the spine, as well as two creases on either side of the spine to allow the album to open.

The next step is to apply spray adhesive to the wrong side of the scrapbook paper, and use it to decorate the album cover. If your measurements were not precise, this is the time to trim the paper to get it to fit.  When the adhesive is dry, insert the pages, and then mark the spots where the holes are punched in the pages.  Next, use an awl to make holes in the album cover to match the page holes.

Finally, secure the cover and pages together with twine; inserting it at one end of your album and hand sewing the spine of the book tightly closed. I usually do this twice to make it as sturdy as possible, and finish off by tying the twine and trimming off any loose ends.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.