I think it's safe to say that I am a photo booth enthusiast. I can't resist hopping in anytime I see one and have been known to plan a weekend night or two around which bars have their own booths. I just think a little bit of magic happens in photo booths... First of all, everyone acts like a super weirdo. The modern day rules of flattering angles and selfie faces tend to go out the window after the first or second flash goes off. Everyone gets excited and small glimpses of their truly goofy and strange personalities are captured. Anticipation builds as you wait two or three minutes for the photos to be printed, rather than immediately review them on your phone screen, like we are all used to. It's just great!
I've accumulated close to fifty photo booth strips over the years (yes, I know I have a problem), and I've been needing to do something with them. I've been working on different ways to hang them all up, but I'm realizing that hanging 100+ tiny pictures of yourself in your own room is a little bit unusual, even if 99% of them are also of your best friends. . . And so, Bits and Bobs Craft Club presents to you-- MINI PHOTO ALBUMS MADE FROM A PAPER BAG!
These are the perfect size for traditional photo booth photos, but you could also use these to jot down some memories, write a very cute letter, or even write a little story. Perhaps you could make one into a nice Mother's Day gift!
The supply list is very short for this project! All you need is:
To start, you must cut your paper bag into thirds.
The easiest way to get the measurements right is to use the folded bottom of the bag as a guide.
Fold it over . . .
. . . Like so!
Cut along the edge of the fold you just made.
Open it back up and cut along the edge of the bag's bottom.
Ta- da! Don't worry about the thirds being exactly even. We can trim them down to size later.
Grab the bottom piece of the bag and fold it in half. This will be your book cover and back.
Take a moment to glue down the flaps on the inside of your book cover so that you are left with one solid, thick piece of paper.
Cut a piece of whatever it is you want to use for the faux binding and apply. I found a cute variety pack of fabric tapes at Michael's that were perfect for this! I also recommend washi tape, and if you're a little more patient, you could glue on ribbon, fabric, or simply just a snip of paper.
***Before doing this, read ahead and decide if you want to stitch the pages together or use a stapler. If you are stapling, be sure to do that BEFORE you add your faux binding.
Here's where you can decide how fancy you want to get. For one of my albums, I kept it simple and just wrote "Memories" with a felt tip pen.
The second time around, I decided to embroider a heart. If you have never done any embroidery, you should try it! It's super easy and quicker than you might imagine. I used a very simple back-stitch, which you can learn how to do with this great video!
Draw or write out whatever you want to stitch, then use your unthreaded needle to poke holes along the outline of your image. It is important to push your needle all the way through from front to back each time.
This is what the inside will look like once you've finished. I'm going to cover this up with a sheet of paper, so to make things simple, I just taped up the ends.
Now you can grab the remaining 2/3 of the bag. You'll notice the flaps on both sides of these strips. You can either glue them together or cut that piece out entirely. I prefer the latter-- that way I have more sheets to work with, and the cover/back of your album will remain noticeably thicker than the inside pages.
Glue one of the pages to the inside of your cover to hide any imperfections-- excess tape, thread, etc.
Time to stitch the pages in!
Use a running stitch along the crease of your album (I'll send you to that handy video again!).
If you want to save some time, go ahead and put a few staples on the outside corner of your album, then cover with your faux binding of choice.
To sturdy things up a bit, I recommend weaving under your stitches on both the inside and outside of your album.
When completed, it should look like this on the inside . . .
. . . and this on the outside!
If some of your pages are too big and sticking out, go ahead and trim them. Just be careful not to cut into your cover or your stitches!
Now you can add whatever messages or photos you'd like!
To be honest, I was very nervous about cutting up one of my prized photo strips. I got over it when I saw how cute each shot looked on it's own page!
I just realized this project combines three of my favorite things... cute books, photo booths and tiny versions of everyday objects. This must be why I am obsessed with these! I'm taking a class on actual bookbinding soon, and hopefully I will get skilled enough to share some instructions with all of you! Until then, pocket-sized books made of paper bags will have to do. Enjoy! :)