Monday, July 14, 2008

Paper Bag Albums

I made these albums for a Christmas Farmer's Market last year and they sold REALLY quickly. I thought I would make some more to sell at the regular Farmer's Markets. They are unique and make neat gifts - all they have to do is add their own photos, journalling and mementos inside the pockets!! This first one is a "cat" album - all the pages are decorated with cat items. The main colours are orange and yellow to try to keep it neutral for boy and girl cats!! LOL Here is the front cover and 2 pages inside the "dog" album. This album is my favourite! Next, I made 2 travel albums, here they are & a couple of pages inside: And last but not least, a "love" album.

The directions are really simple:

Supplies and Tools you will need to complete the paper bag album:

* 4 paper bags, brown or white (lunch bag size)
* scissors
* adhesive (tape runner, glue, pop-dots, glue dots,
foam tape, etc.)
* paper trimmer
* ribbon, brads, eyelets, staples, etc. for binding your album
* patterned paper (of choice)
* cardstock (of choice)
* embellishments (of choice) (this where you will want to decide on a theme ahead of time so you can take in consideration what you might want to add to the cover and pages)
NOTE: There will be 14 pages inside the album when finished, so make sure you choose enough cardstock or patterned paper to do the pages. There will also be 4 pockets that you can slip yet another page in or use for mementos.


1. After gathering your supplies together, stack all four bags together alternating open (top of bag) end, closed (bottom of bag) end.

Fold bags in half.

  1. Bind bags together at seam however you like…. brads, eyelets, ribbon (punch holes then thread ribbon through), staples, and sewing a seam with your sewing machine. I went in ¼” from the edge to give myself maximum room on the pages when the book is open.

3. punching holes to bind with ribbon (you can just use a simple hole punch, an eyelet setter or a Crop-o-dile)

4. Measure front & back cover and cut 2 pieces of cardstock ¼” smaller on all sides. Adhere one square to the front of the book and the other to the back of the book. These will be your book covers and make the covers sturdier than just using patterned paper on top of the paper bag. You can cover these with patterned paper or use as the base of your cover design.

5. Now you are ready to cover the front and back of your album. Cut two pieces of patterned paper ¼” smaller than the cardstock on both covers and adhere to the front and back of your album.

6. Go ahead and decorate the front cover of your album with whatever themed items you have chosen. I got a lot of my things from dollar stores.

7. You can now decorate the inside covers the same way. Adding cardstock first then patterned paper will help make your book a bit sturdier, but is certainly not necessary!

8. You will also have four pockets that you can make pull out pages for. Insert tags or additional cardstock "pages" into the open end of each bag. You can even create unique pull tabs with ribbons or cardstock tabs. I used the Round Tab Punch from SU!

You will need to cut the page for the pockets at about 4-1/4" x 5" (this measurement will depend on how far in your binding goes, so measure first!!) I suggest using cardstock as a base if you wish to use patterned paper. Cut 4 pages for the pockets. Decorate however you like.

Suggestions for the pockets: Journaling, additional photos, memorabilia (ticket stubs, tags, notes, receipts, etc.), photo CD’s (they fit perfectly in the pockets!), etc. The options are limitless!!


Ideas for album themes: Gardening, Baby’s first Christmas, animals/pets, trips, All about ME, Grandma’s/Grandpa’s brag book, I love you (mine was Love you to pieces, and I used puzzle pieces to decorate the pages!), summer camp, holidays, vacations, special visits, etc. The options are really as open as you want them to be….. think of this as a mini-scrapbook & make it your own!!! Add as much or as little as you want!!

I would LOVE to see any creations you make so post with a link to your paper bag album!! ENJOY!!!


Marcia said...

Awesomw. Thank you for sharing everything, instructions, the works. You are a gem

Deb said...

Wow, Chris, I absolutely love these, no wonder they sold well! I so have to try them, thanks so much for the fab tutorial. where did you get your tab punch?

Claudia Rosa said...

wonderful cris.. thanks for all the work adding instructions.. i know how much work and time this is.
lovely work

Littlekel90 said...

These look great, Chris!! I made a couple one for mom and one for dad 2 years ago at Mother's and Father's Day.

Thanks for the awesome instructions, too! Before my computer crashed, I had a recipe for treating the paperbags so they were acid free. I know you can buy washes at the craft stores to protect them if you want, but somewhere on the Net is a recipe using Milk of Magnesia watered down, too. You have to dip the album into it and then let it dry. . . then it is said to be acid-free to protect your photos. :) Kel

Seleise said...

fabulous paper bag books! Hope they sell well for you because they're adorable!

deb said...

This is wonderful!! I'm going to give this a try!!

Julia said...

These are so Fun!! Great instructions!

Suzanne said...

These books are all so cute! Thanks for sharing the directions.

Anonymous said...

Very cute. I bet these sold like crazy. I haven't ventured out into selling anything I make yet but maybe someday.


candy said...

how cute! beautiful!!


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