Guide to creating mini albums you’ll marvel at!
Getting started is the hardest part of any project. Making a mini album can leave you spinning in indecision. Where do I start? What do I add? How do I embellish it? How do I make the flip ups? Other projects are so creative and I don’t know where to start!
I’m here for you. Here is a simple process with a few tricks that I used to make this mini album. It can work for you on your next project. But if you want to skip this process (no judgements here!), you can download the complete instructions with photos of each page from the Resource Library. It is Tutorial 3B. The library is password protected. To get the password, simply sign up for the email list by clicking the image below.
- Mini Album Kit – For this project, PhotoPlay’s Maker’s Series Brag Book kit and Accessories Pack was used. The kit makes one 5.5″ x 5″ Brag Book with 3 pocket pages and is available in white or black. The Accessories Pack is optional, but allows more flexibility. This pack coordinates with PhotoPlay’s 5.5″ x 5″ Brag Book and includes an interactive pocket, waterfall pieces and tags. However, these pieces can be adapted to most mini albums.
- Collection Paper Pack – Echo Park’s New Day collection is featured on this project. However, any collection pack with 12 papers and 1 sticker sheet will work. Starting with a coordinated set of papers makes mixing and matching patterns much easier.
- Adhesive – Both a tape runner for papers and a strong adhesive such as Scor Tape or Scrapbook Adhesive’s Ultra for assembling the album.
- Paper Trimmer
- Powder Tool – This makes it easy to apply powder to the back of stickers. Use this on stickers that extend above the pocket or paper and makes it easier to slide papers and photos behind it. It is also great for stickers you want to pop up with foam dots.
- Foam Tape or Dots – For adding dimension to pieces.
- Score Board and Bone Folder – Makes clean, crip folds.
- Ribbon or Twine
- Cardstock – an additional piece or two to use for photo mats.
If the mini album is already assembled, then you can move on to the next step. If it is a kit, take the time now to assemble it. Add the pages and any page fold outs per the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a bone folder to reinforce any folds.
However, do not add any pockets, waterfalls or any other pieces until you are working on the album and know where you want them. Plus, you will want to add the background paper first before you add some of the extra pieces.
Step 1 – Cut the Background Papers
Start with the cover. Pick and cut the papers for your cover, but don’t adhere them. Use your favorite paper for the cover. This tip is probably more for me than you. Have you ever used a paper pack, but not used your favorite pattern or only used it as an accent on your layout? I have, becuase I’m too afraid to mess it up! It’s time to get over it and use it prominently on the cover. Yes, I love the plaid stripes, but there were several other papers in this pack that came in a close second!
Next, go through the album and cut all of the background papers for the pages and fold out pages. You’ll want to cut the biggest pieces first so you’re not disappointed when you get to the end and have run out paper or don’t like the way the patterns match up. Do not adhere anything at this point, just cut.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
When following provided directions, double check the dimensions and adjust to your preferences. You may want a larger or smaller border around the papers, for instance.
When matching patterns, think in terms of opposites. Large and small patterns. Bold patterns and subtle patterns. Loose patterns and tight knit patterns. White backgrounds and colored backgrounds. On this set of pages, the left page has a loose floral pattern with a white background while the right page has a solid green background with a tight knit floral pattern.
Open up the album so you see all pages that are next to each other. This will help with pattern matching and making sure the patterns are in harmony and flow. When you open the book like this, you get a better idea of how all of the papers will look together. It’s ok to re-use papers, but this will prevent you from using them too often and next to each other.
Keep all of the scraps. ALL OF THEM until the project is finished. You never know when a scrap piece you cut off will work on another piece.
Keep your cover and background pieces organized and in piles. Use post it notes on each pile to indicate the page that pile goes on.
Step 2 – Decide on Placement of the Accessories
Once you’ve got all of the background papers selected, the next big decision is where to place the pockets, flip ups, waterfalls and tags. Use the manufacturer’s suggestions as a starting point for where these should go, but the final decision is yours. Spread them out throughout the book so there is a nice mix of interactive elements, pockets and page with photo mats. Just as you need breathing space on layouts, the same holds true for mini albums. Also, if you think the pages aren’t strong enough, they do get thicker and stronger as the background papers and elements are added.
Some of the best and easiest accessories to create are right next to each other! Look on the 3×4, 4×4 and 4×6 element sheets and cut two that are next to each other as one piece. Score and fold where the two meet and you have a mini booklet.
Flip Ups and Flip Outs
These are really the same thing, just depends if you place it on the top of the page or the side. This one was created using one of the waterfall pieces from the Accessories Pack. The piece is pre-scored 1/2″ from the top. Fold this piece towards the back. Determine placement on the page. Add adhesive only to the flap and adhere.
To give it a finished look and to hide the flap, cut a piece of paper the same size as the front side of the flip up and adhere to the background paper, flush with the fold. Add a sticker for a surprise element when you lift the flap.
Note – these can also be placed on the side of the page.
Create a Waterfall
While I did not create a waterfall for this album, they are fun elements to add. To create a waterfall, use multiple of the flip up pieces. Keep in mind that each one will add 1/2″ to the length, so place the first one to accomodate the extra length. Just like the flip up, fold the flap to the backside, position on your page and adhere the flap to the page. Take the next flip up piece and do the same thing. Fold the flap to the back, position it directly below the flap of the first one and adhere the flap. These do get bulky as you end up with several pieces, papers and photos on top of each other. It is important to use a bone folder to burnish the fold so it lays as flat as possible.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can cut these pieces down in size. You don’t have to use them as is. You can also tear the bottom edge of the flip up pieces for extra texture on your page. They can also be placed sideways on the page and move across the page from the left to the right or from the right to the left.
Turn a 4×6 Element into a Flip Book
To create this one, I used a large tag from the Accessories Pack for the background. However, any cardstock or patterned paper would be fine for this. The large tag measures 5″ x 4 1/4″. I chose the Flower Market 4×6 element. This needed to be cut down in order to fit on the background. I trimmed 3/4″ off of the right side. The left side is scored at 1/2″ to create the flap. The flap is folded to the back. Center the piece on the tag and adhere the flap.
Putting it All Together
For a quick recap – the album is assembled. The cover papers and all of the background papers are cut and in organized piles. Placement of the pockets, flip ups, waterfalls and tags has been determined and they are spread throughout the album and organized with the background paper corresponding to the page they go on. Next up, putting it all together!
This is the exciting part where you finally get to see all of your hard work and creative efforts come together!
Again, start with the cover. It’s the first thing people see (no pressure!). For this album, the strap that keeps it together is adhered to the back cover and wraps around to the front. Prefold the scored pieces that will be on the side and add the patterned paper to the top of it. You can also add it to the backside. Adhere the strap to the back cover. Then adhere all of the background and spine papers. The back cover’s paper will cover the strap.
For the front, I took a 3″x4″ element and trimmed it down to 3″x3″ and matted it on a patterned paper cut to 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. This was adhered to the front cover using a thin foam tape that was across the top and bottom edges of the card. This allows the strap to slide underneath it. The thinner foam tape doesn’t allow too much extra space for the strap to easily slide out.
Note: it is suggested to use magnets for holding this in place. I struggled to find magnets that were both thin and strong enough to work properly. I used them on one mini album, but I’m much happier with this method.
Now, work through each page of the book. If adding a pocket, those usually get adhered first. Then the background paper. But the background paper may need to be trimmed slightly or notched so it slides into the pocket.
Play around with the scraps and left over pieces. Turn them into tags, border strips for the bottom or sides. When doing this, only add adhesive to the ends so tags and other elements can easily slide behind it.
Finally, add the stickers and embellishments. When adding stickers that extend beyond the page, add powder to the part that sticks up. It will reduce the stickiness, making it easy to slide pieces behind it. This was also true for the rainbow border sticker I used on the yellow flip up. Now, a photo can easily be slid behind the photo.
So how did it go? I told you I wouldn’t leave you to make a mini album on your own. I hope you found my process an easy one to follow that worked well for your project.
To download the printout with photos of each page of this mini album and directions, go to the Resource Library and download file . The Resource Library is free for personal use and has printables, svg patterns and more available for your use. To get the password, simply use the form below to sign up for the email list.