It's the first of the month and that means another set of minis from the crew at
If you're reading this blog, you're probably a fan of mini-books. It's rewarding to watch a mini come to life from start to finish. But where to begin?
Here are steps I take when starting a new mini project:
- Decide on the size of your book. Sometimes, it depends on the paper I'm using. For example, if I'm using 12x12 paper and have a lot of it in a paper pad, I have enough for a larger book. If using a 6x6 paper pad, I'll create a smaller book to fit my pages. For this example, I'm making my book 5.5" wide X 7.5" tall.
- Cut chipboard for the covers and spine. I've cut my front and back covers exactly the same size I want my book to be: 5.5" X 7.5". But that also means the pages need to be slightly smaller to fit inside my book. I also like very thick books so my spine is 4" wide. A 4" wide spine will allow me plenty of room for 6 pages with 1/2" in between each page.
- Put the covers together: Lay the covers and spine in front of you on a flat surface. Make sure to leave 3/8" between the covers and spine. This will allow your book to bend without breaking or tearing the binding papers.
- Attach the front and back covers to the spine using binding tape. tyvek or reinforced packing tape. It's important to use a binding tape that won't easily tear. Tyvek is great but it's becoming more and more difficult to find - or very expensive. I've been using packing tape for years - the kraft colored type that's reinforced with threads running horizontal, vertical and cross-ways. It's relatively inexpensive and easy to use. The tape directions say water activated but I never use water. I always apply a strong wet adhesive such as Beacon to the shiny side of the tape and then place on the chipboard cover and spine - 1/2 on the cover and 1/2 on the spine - making sure to keep that 3/8" open seam between.
Make sure to also keep the top and bottoms of the covers and spine lined up evenly.
- Decorate the cover, inside and out. My TeamMate Gloria has a great how-to tutorial here: Gloria's *cover* story
Once the covers are decorated, it's time to add pages. Below is a very simple way to add pages to your book:
For these pages, I need to remember that
- I'm using a 4" spine, and I want 1/2" margin in the front and back of the spine
- My book is 7.5" tall and 5.5" wide. My pages need to be about 1/4" smaller than that. If my pages are 7.25" tall X 5.25" wide, it will give me a 1/8" allowance top to bottom and side to side.
- Cut a piece of cardstock 7.25" X 13.5". squeeall...squeeek...tire marks from putting on the brakes. We don't usually purchase cardstock that's more than 12" wide. If you have a source, great. If not, I use cheap cut up gift boxes. The ones you can find at the dollar store that come several in a pack for $1. You're going to cover them with pretty paper anyway so no need to worry about designs etc. So, let's continue . . . Make the following cuts: 1 piece cut 7.25" X 13.5"; 1 piece cut 7.25" X 12.5"; 1 piece cut 7.25" X 11.5".
- Score each piece as follows: With the widest edge up against the top of your score board, score each piece at 5.25". Give each piece a 180" turn and score again at 5.25". Fold on the score marks. This will leave you with 1 piece that is 13.5" wide with a 3" center; 1 piece that is 12.5" wide with a 2" center and 1 piece that is 11.5" wide with a 1" center.
- And now we'll Stack the Deck. This is a binding I learned from Laura Denison. Using a strong wet glue, attach the 2" center to the 3" center, matching top to bottom and centering from side to side. I use a brayer to ensure the glue is spread evenly. Next attach the 1" center to the 2" center, matching top to bottom and centering from side to side. Brayer.
Time to cover the cover. I'm using a combination of fabric and paper for the cover.
- Cover the spine in Fabric. Measure the spine top to bottom and side to side. To that measurement add about 1" to the top & bottom and about 2" to each side. For the purposes of this book, I cut a piece of fabric that was 8.5" tall and 8" wide. (You don't have to iron the fabric. I never do.)
- Add score tape to the spine of the book, making sure to cover the entire spine. Place the center of the fabric on top of the score tape and smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric.
- Add score tape to the front and back covers of the book, where the fabric will go. Smooth the fabric on top of the score tape.
- Turn the book to the inside and place score tape where the fabric will fold over at the top and bottom of the inside spine, front & back covers.
- Wrap the fabric over to the exposed score tape. Smooth out fabric.
- Cut decorative paper for the front & back covers. The paper will overlap the fabric by about 1/2", so you will need to cut the width + 3/4" for wrapping and the height by 1.5" (3/4" for top and 3/4" for bottom wrapping).
- Apply score tape to the front cover and adhere the decorative paper.
- Miter the corners.
- Wrap the top, bottom and sides to the inside covers, same as was done with the fabric.
- Now for the inside covers. Cut decorative paper a bit shorter than the cover height. I usually cut mine about 1/2" shorter. The width should be as wide as the cover + 3/4 of the spine. The decorative paper will overlap in the spine area. Apply the back piece first. Then the front inside cover paper. The front piece will overlap the back piece in the spine area.
Let the decorating begin!
Of course, you have the pages to add. Those can be decorated before you adhere to the inside spine. Once decorated, apply a heavy wet glue and adhere to the inside spine, centering from side to side.
IF the pages are very heavy, I apply the pages to the very bottom of the spine. That way, when the book is standing upright, it will give some relief to the heavy pages.
IF you're a light decorator, then center the pages from top to bottom as well.
Hope this helps you build your own mini from scratch. It's really fun and easy. If you've done these before, you know exactly what I mean. If you're new to this, congratulations on your first book.
I'm off to decorate. Please check back for photos of the inside of this mini on November 8. Thanks for visiting!
Want to see more great mini-book ideas?
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Any Handmade Book Goes. Enter any form of handmade mini albums, scrapbooks, journals, and book arts. Our focus is on completed works, so no layouts or journal spreads that are not part of a complete handmade book project. You do not have to provide a tutorial, but we wish you would. Feel free to use one of the DT tutorials to make your project and give proper credit where due. No back links allowed (this means your project must be first seen on social media between Nov. 1st and Nov. 30th, 2017). Combine with any other challenges as applicable. No limit on entries. Share the love by visiting and commenting on other entries. Please become a follower. That's it - have fun! Click HERE to enter your project!
The Team at Mini Album Makers Challenge blog
will be back on December 1
with a new challenge and lots of mini-book ideas.