I didn't think I was going to blog this little project but as I got ready to start it I suddenly thought I should - just in case it helps someone else brainstorm a quick, easy and frugal 'gift' either for someone else or themselves. I've been making these for years (seriously, I think I made my first around 16 years ago when I needed some affordable Christmas gifts for extended family members). This makes a nice gift - especially if you include some much-loved recipes to pass along as well. But to that end, you don't have to use it for recipes. It's actually a photo album that holds regular 4X6" pictures so you can use it for that purpose as well!
All you need is:
1 (cheap) photo album that holds 4X6" photos
1 fat quarter cut of fabric of your choice
Adhesive spray (if you don't have this and can't buy it, just use white glue watered down, and a paint brush)
Optional: piece of heavy, pretty paper or cardboard to line if you choose
The cost of photo albums has gone through the roof in the past 10 years so I like to pick up these at Walmart or even Dollar General if you can find them there. The fabric is also available at Walmart - usually even if they don't have a fabric department, they sell these little squares of 'fat quarters' in the craft department (Fat quarters are approximately 18" x 22" or 46cm x 56cm). This is the perfect size for most photo albums of this style and you won't have to cut the pieces. If you use your own random fabric or other style photo album, just lay your open photo album on the fabric and cut around it leaving about 3-4" fabric on the top and at least 8" on each side for folding over.
A photo album, fat quarter of fabric, scissors and some spray adhesive.
This isn't an 'exact' craft - which is why it goes so quickly. You just want the fabric to be larger than your album so you have enough fabric around it to fold over the books cover.
Spray adhesive on the outside of the album - and I also like to spray more on the wrong side of the fabric - very lightly in the center, where the album will lay. This is very sticky so it would be prudent to cover the area you are working in with cardboard to block excess spray, paper or an open flat box, an old sheet, etc. (something) so you don't get sticky spray anywhere you don't want it.
Carefully lay your album down and pull the fabric over the front, smoothing it as you go. Now 'close' the album and carefully smooth the fabric over the back, getting out any folds or creases. The spray allows you to pull off and re-position the fabric if you need to for a minute or so after applying it, before it dries. Make sure you 'close' the album to make sure you have allowed enough fabric to cover and stretch lightly over the album in closed position. Now, open it back up and lay it flat in front of you.
You can do the seams of the spine next OR the sides - it doesn't matter in what order you do.
For the seam lines of the spine: On the top and bottom of the album there are two seams at the spine of the album. Use scissors to cut two slices on the 'seam' lines up to the album. You can trim the fabric off a little bit and then use adhesive on the fabric to secure and 'fold' it up right to the plastic 'pockets' inside the album. This gives a nice finished look to this area of the recipe album. Repeat on top and bottom of spine.
You can use any brand adhesive although this is the brand I typically have on hand at our house. Use what you have. If you don't have any and are on a super frugal budget for this, you can use white glue thinned with a bit of water and brush it on the photo album to secure the fabric. You'll have to allow time to dry for this since there liquid involved.
For the sides, you are going to treat the album as if it were a gift you were wrapping. Spray the adhesive on the fabric and fold it over the back cover; folding to the inside as if you were covering a school book or wrapping a present.
I like to fold down the corners as well but you don't have to.
Here you can see I've folded the fabric in on the sides, then folded in the corner and proceeded to fold down the top and fold up the bottom. Secure with more glue or adhesive.
IF you don't like the look of the fabric folded in, you can take a piece of cardboard or heavy (pretty) stock paper and spray it and pop it right over the inside of the back and front of the album - covering the edges of the fabric and giving it a finished look if that is what you prefer.
You can now include a few hand written recipes on 4X6" standard lined index cards (about a dollar a pack at Walmart!) or just fill the slots with empty index cards for them to be filled in later with favorites of whomever you are giving it to. I like to include 5-10 recipes to 'get them started' and fill the rest with blank cards they can use themselves.
Simple - quick and pretty
You can tie a ribbon around it for gift giving!!
Related products available through Amazon if you can't find them locally;
RayLineDo® 5X Different Pattern Paisley Style 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric Fat Quarter Bundle 46 x 56cm ( Appox 18" x 22") Patchwork Quilting Fabric
Pioneer Ledger Le Memo Album 4x6 (Colors May Vary) - Two Pack
3M Super 77 Multi-Purpose Adhesive, 4.37-Ounce