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Designer: Kendra McCracken
Several years ago, I started a scrapbook of our oldest son for my mother-in-law. In the beginning I had more time to scrapbook and was able to add to her book on a regular basis and managed to expand her collection to several books. As my boys have grown and their extracurricular activities have increased, my scrapbook time has, in turn, decreased. But my mother-in-law's love of photos of the boys has not!
Since I don't have the time at this point my life to dedicate to keeping her scrapbooks updated, I decided at least providing her with photos on a regular basis was a good compromise. I purchased an inexpensive ($5) photo album from Wal Mart and dressed up the cover to make it special so still gives her that feeling of a little extra love when she sees it sitting on her shelf, yet my time invested in keeping the inside updated is minimal.
I chose this album because I liked the inside format. There are sleeves for (2) 4" x 6" horizontally formatted photos which is pretty standard.
There is also a strip between them where I can add a little bit of journaling or some embellishments. If my photos are vertically formatted, I'll just print them wallet sized and adhere them to some patterned paper.
Begin by painting the inside covers of the album with acrylic paint. Because the surface of this album has a non-porous finish and, honestly, didn't have the appearance of very good quality, I decided to make a book cover for it rather than try to alter the original surface. Book covers are remarkably easy to make, and wonderful when you consider how much they can improve the appearance of the surface you're trying to disguise.
Use the Fiskars 18 x 24 Inch Cutting mat to measure the opened album, both covers lying flat. Add 1 1/2" to the height for seam allowances and room for the album to slip comfortably into the sleeve. Add 8 inches to the width for seam allowances and to create the pockets the covers will slip into. This album had dimensions of 18" x 10 3/4". After adding the above dimensions in, my final cut size for my fabric was 26" x 12 1/4". I used the 3.5 x 18.5 Acrylic Ruler and Softgrip® 65mm Rotary Cutter to cut my fabric. This rotary cutter is one of my favorites because you can use 45mm or 65mm blades in it which comes in very handy if you are one who sometimes forgets to keep extra blades on hand! You can use whichever size you have in your stash. Center the opened album on the cut fabric and mark where the cover starts and finishes. Fold the ends of the fabric over the cover to make sure the center of these marks wraps around the ends of the album cover.
You will probably need to move about 1/4" from these points (toward the edges of the cut fabric.) Make a 1/2" vertical slit in the fabric, top and bottom at these points. Make a double-folded hem along these short sections you just cut. Make a double fold hem along each end of the cover, as well.
Make a double-fold hem along the remaining edges of the fabric so they match up to the existing hems. You should now be back to having a rectangular piece of fabric with a nice hem all the way around.
Lay the cover, right-side down, on a flat surface and fold the ends toward the center with the place where you earlier made the 1/2" vertical cuts being your fold points. You will now have a pocket on each end. Pin these in place and either use a sewing machine to stitch along the top and bottom edges of these pockets or slip stitch them closed with a needle and thread. Turn the cover right-side out, slip it onto the album cover, and you are now ready to embellish it.
I used the ScrapBoss™ 12" x 12" Dreamy Stencil to create a embroidery pattern on a piece of textured paper.
I filled in the stenciled areas with a variety of hand stitches. Next I used my acrylic ruler and rotary cutter to cut fabric strips for a border around my embroidered inset.
I finished embellishing the cover by adding in beads, buttons, punched shapes, and a walnut stained tag. I added a strip of stamped fabric to the walnut stained tag using the Harlequin – 8 inch X 8 inch stamp set and Fiskars Hig-Density Pigment ink in black, or Still of the Night. When finished with the embellishment of the textured paper, I removed centered it on the book cover, removed the cover from the album, and used my sewing machine to attach it to the cover and added some strips of vintage trim.
Now you have inexpensively made a plain photo album into a wonderful hand-made gift!
18 x 24 Inch Cutting Mat http://www.fiskarscrafts.com/tools/t_18x24mat.aspx
3.5 x 18.5 Acrylic Ruler
Softgrip® 65mm Rotary Cutter
ScrapBoss™ 12" x 12" Stencil Page Layout Dreamy
High-Density Pigment Ink : Still of the Night
Harlequin – 8 inch X 8 inch
Hand Punch - 1/8" Heart
Hand Punch - 1/4" Heart
Other supplies: Photo album; enough fabric to wrap around the album cover, plus extra for the pockets and seam allowances; fabric scraps, embroidery floss, variety of beads and buttons, needle, liquid adhesive, shipping tag; walnut stain