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Custom Photo Albums

Learn how to craft a custom photo album to commemorate your trips with friends and family.

Project by Norman Dixon.

Norman Dixon loves making personalized photo albums for friends and family to commemorate trips and events that they’ve shared.

Materials and Tools:

metal ruler
decorative papers
bookbinder's adhesive
linen hinging tape
sponge brush
bone folder/smoother
rotary paper trimmer
craft knife
large banana clips
large bookbinding needle
walnut ink
rubber stamps and ink
memorabilia from trip
metal charms
glass pebble
PVA adhesive

Figure B


1. Measure and cut the chipboard pieces to size for the covers and the spine, front and back. Measure and punch the holes in the spine pieces.

2. Measure about seven inches from the right side of both the front and back covers, and use a pencil to draw a vertical line on the chipboard.

3. Lay the front cover and spine flat on your work surface, about 1/4" apart, making sure the tops and bottoms of each piece are aligned.

Figure C

4. Join them together using linen hinging tape, being careful not to cover the holes in the spine. Repeat this step for the back cover.

Figure D

5. Measure and cut the decorative papers you will use on the covers, and the paper or book cloth you will use to cover the spines.

6. Apply PVA adhesive to the front cover, being careful not to go beyond the vertical pencil line you drew.

Figure E

7. Carefully lay the paper on the chipboard and use your hand and/or a bone folder to smooth out any wrinkles. If the paper has a pattern, make sure that the pattern is going in the right direction before you glue the paper to the board. Repeat this step for the back cover.

Figure F

8. Trim the corners, leaving flaps on the top, side and bottom.

9. Apply adhesive to the flaps and carefully fold them over, using the bone folder to smooth out the paper. Once this has been done for both covers, you're ready to move on to covering the spines. Apply the adhesive to the spine, right to the edge of the cover paper.

10. Carefully lay the book cloth down on the spine, and use the bone folder to smooth it flat—especially in the hinges.

11. Trim the corners like you did for the cover papers and smooth them over the edge. Do this to the spines of both covers.

Figure G

12. Apply a decorative trim or ribbon along the seam where the cover paper and the spine paper meet.

13. Measure and trim the paper you will use to line the inside of both covers. Apply adhesive directly to the paper and carefully adhere liners to the inside of the covers, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go.

14. Measure and trim card stock for the pages of the album, and punch the holes for the spine. Use the first page as the template for punching the holes in the rest of the pages so the holes will all line up.

Figure H

15. Assemble the pieces of the album and clip them all together with large clips to hold them in place while binding the album with the ribbon. This will prevent the pieces from slipping and will make the binding much tighter and neater.

16. Use an awl to punch through the book cloth on the spine where the holes are, going all the way through to the back.

17. Using about three feet of ribbon, bind the album, being careful to keep the ribbon from twisting as you go. Keep the ribbon taut as you bind, and finish it off with a bow. Your album is now ready to fill with photos and give to its lucky recipient.

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