Although there are many lovely scrapbooks available for purchase, the covers of these albums don't necessarily reflect the creative nature of the pages within. For a truly custom album, you can make your own beautiful cover. All you need are a few supplies and an hour or two of free time.
Fabric-Covered Album Cover
If you have a favorite fabric, you can add personality to your scrapbook by covering the album with your material. This is a quick and inexpensive project that yields beautiful results. For an extra meaningful cover, choose a special fabric like a wedding dress, a baby blanket, or a graduation gown.
Things You'll Need
- Scrapbook album
- One yard of fabric
- Two sheets of pretty scrapbook paper to match fabric
- Acid-free spray adhesive like Elmer's Craft Bond
- Pinking shears
- Iron and ironing board
- Fabric pencil
- Ruler and tape measure
- Flat work surface
What to Do
- Begin by measuring your existing album. First, remove all the pages from the album and spread it out open on your work surface. Note the height of the album and the total length including both the front and back covers. Add about two inches to each measurement.
- Iron your fabric to make sure it is perfectly flat. Then spread out the fabric and use the fabric pencil to mark the measurements on the fabric. Use the ruler to draw straight lines for cutting. You should be marking a long rectangle.
- Using the pinking shears, cut out the fabric rectangle. Pink any straight edges to give the fabric a neat appearance and prevent it from unraveling.
- Spread the fabric out with the right side down in a well-ventilated area. Spray the fabric with spray adhesive according to the directions on the can.
- Starting at the spine, apply the fabric carefully to your album. Press firmly to makes sure you eliminate any bubbles.
- When you get to the edges of the cover, turn the album over. Fold each corner in and press firmly to make the fabric adhere. Then fold in the sides, neatly creasing the excess fabric in the corners.
- Use the pinking shears to trim the scrapbook paper so that it overlaps the raw edges of the fabric on the inside covers of the scrapbook.
- Spray the scrapbook paper on the wrong side with the spray adhesive and apply it to the inside covers.
- Allow your album to dry thoroughly and then replace the album pages.
Decoupaged Scrapbook Cover
If you love working with beautiful papers, then decoupage is the perfect way for you to make a gorgeous cover for your scrapbook. This is also a good way to incorporate lots of meaningful ephemera and other mementos into your album. The items you choose can offer a clue about the contents of your scrapbook.
Things You'll Need
- Newspaper clippings, book pages, ticket stubs, and other paper items
- Fabric scraps, especially those that are meaningful to you
- Letters or magazine words that spell out the title of your album
- Mod Podge or other acid-free decoupage medium
- Existing scrapbook album
What to Do
- Trim the pieces of paper, fabric, and photos to sizes and shapes you want. Sort the pieces according to color or the order in which you'd like to put them on the album cover.
- Remove the pages from your scrapbook and set them aside. Open the scrapbook flat on the desk so the whole cover is facing up.
- Dip your paintbrush in the Mod Podge and spread a generous layer over part of the album cover. Work in small sections so you can apply the items before the Mod Podge completely dries.
- Place a few items on the scrapbook cover, careful not to allow your images to overlap. You'll get a collage-style look in the end, but you need a layer of Mod Podge between each item.
- When you've placed your first layer of items, apply another generous coat of Mod Podge. Continue add items and applying Mod Podge until the scrapbook cover looks the way you want it to.
- Apply another layer of Mod Podge and then allow the album to dry.
- When it's dry, apply one to three more layers of Mod Podge to help protect it.
- Allow the album to dry thoroughly and then replace the pages.
Hand-Bound Scrapbook Album Cover
Book-binding is a fun art, perfect for making scrapbook covers as well as handmade journals. The advantage of making your own scrapbook cover using this method is that you can create an album of any shape or size. The design is entirely up to you.
Things You'll Need
- Archival-quality binder's board or cardboard, available from book-binding suppliers like Hollander's
- Archival-quality blank paper, as many sheets as you want album pages
- Decorative scrapbook paper
- Craft knife
- Acid-free spray adhesive
- Awl and needle
- Hole punch
- Acid-free twine
What to Do
- Determine the desired size of your album and then cut your blank paper to fit that size. Punch a row of holes along the spine of the sheets for binding. Stack the sheets together.
- Measure the length and width of the sheets, as well as the thickness of the stack of paper. Note these measurements.
- Use a ruler to mark your binder's board according to the measurements you made, incorporating a front, back, and spine for the cover. Draw the location of the spine, using a ruler.
- Use the craft knife to cut out the album cover according to your measurements.
- Place the ruler in the spot where you want the spine to bend. Holding the ruler tightly in place, crease the binder's board in this location. You may need to score the board lightly with a craft knife. You'll need to make two creases for the spine, as well as two creases on either side of the spine to allow the album to open.
- Apply spray adhesive to the wrong side of the scrapbook paper and use it to decorate the album cover. Trim to fit.
- After the cover is dry, insert the pages. Mark the spots where the holes are punched in the pages and use an awl to make holes in the album cover in those locations.
- Securely tie the twine at one end of your album and hand sew the spine of the book tightly closed. After you've gone over it once, go back again to make it even sturdier.
- Tie off your thread and trim any loose ends.
Judge Your Book by Its Cover
No matter which method you choose to make your own scrapbook cover, you'll be proud of the results. Your scrapbook will feature more than just personalized layouts and fine papers; it will have a beautiful cover that offers a clue to its contents.