Easy Fabric-Covered Photo Album
by Rachel Paxton
These thoughtful, inexpensive keepsakes are easy to make and personalize for any friend or family member.
I decided to make mini cloth-covered photo albums for my mother and mother-in-law. These instructions apply to any size photo album--you just have to measure the album to get an idea how much fabric you're going to need.
- 3-ring binder/photo album (doesn't have to be new--you are going to be covering it)
- Pages for photos (add when album is finished, or you might get glue on them)
- 1 large sheet white poster board
- 1 can spray adhesive (3M works well)
- Craft glue or glue gun
- Scissors and/or rotary fabric cutter
- Fabric—1 piece long enough to cover the outside of the album, and 2 pieces to cover each of inside covers. Allow extra inch to fold over edges of album.
- Silk flowers, appliqués, beads, ribbons, lace (optional)
You will need three pieces of fabric. You want the piece on the outside of the album to be one piece that folds around the outside of the album. Leave 1 inch of material around the edges.
Use spray adhesive (available at most craft stores) to glue the fabric. Make sure to lay newspapers all around you and spray carefully or you'll end up with a big sticky mess. Also try not to let your fabric stick to the newspaper. Spray the glue directly on the outside of the album- -one side first, then the spine, then the other side. Smooth the fabric as you go, gently smoothing out any wrinkles quickly
before it dries (you have a few minutes). You should now have the outside totally covered with fabric with 1 inch extra all around the edges of the album. Glue the extra inch of material on the sides down to the inside of the album. Now fold the top and bottom edges down and glue in place. The inside of the spine will still be visible after the inside covers are in place, so fold the extra inch at the spine in half first, then again and glue in place. The remaining exposed top and bottom edges will be covered with the inside covers.
The next step is to make the inside covers. Cut 2 pieces of poster board approximately 1/8-inch smaller (on all sides) than the inside covers of the photo album. Make sure to lay them in the photo album after you cut them to make sure they're the right size. You want to make sure the album can still open and close easily when they're in place. Cut 2 pieces of fabric to be 1/2-inch bigger (on
all sides) than the pieces of poster board. Using spray adhesive, glue each piece of poster board to a square of fabric. Fold over the remaining ½ inch of fabric on the top, bottom, and sides, and glue to the back of the poster board. You should now have completed inside covers with no exposed fabric edges. Using spray adhesive, glue the inside covers into the inside front and inside back of the photo
album, again making sure the album can open and close easily. You're done! Now you can add the pages for the photos. Here are some more options:
- If the album is big enough, you can cover a photo mat with fabric and glue it in the center of the front of the album. You can purchase the mat already cut, or you can make your own out of extra poster board, making it any size you want.
- If you want to have lace around the edges, glue the lace around the edges of the album after covering the front of the album with fabric, and before gluing in the inside covers. The inside covers will hide the bottom edge of the trimming. Glue in place with craft glue or a glue gun.
- Embellish the cover with appliqués, beads, and silk flowers. Glue in place with craft glue or a glue gun.
After you practice on one of these albums, you'll see how easy it is and you'll be able to see all the millions of possibilities. These albums can as fancy or simple as you want, and can cost a lot or next to nothing. I made one for my sister as
a wedding present that cost about $50 after I bought the nice fabric, appliqués, lace, etc.
For Mother's Day, however, I found some mini photo albums on sale 2 for $3. They hold up to 4 x 6 photos. I'm going to find a photo to cut down a bit to fit on the front cover, one for my family, and one for my husband's. If I get in a bind for time I will try to find some fabric on sale (should only require approximately ½ yard each for the small albums). If I have time I'll do a little yard sale shopping and try to pick up some fabric that way. If you sew or do many crafts, you may already have some fabric on hand. It's also a good idea to stock up on different sized albums when they're on sale. Keep on the lookout for extra trimmings on sale and at yard sales. Don't forget the unconventional, like sequins and buttons. These thoughtful albums make great gifts for all occasions.
Originally published at http://www.suite101.com. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom. For scrapbooking, card making, gift-giving ideas, and more family memory-making activities, visit
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