Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mini Album Makers January Challenge

The Mini Album Makers Challenge will feature a monthly challenge, with each Design Team Member posting a link to a mini album tutorial, tip, or trick on the 1st of each month.  Then, one team member will post a full tutorial on the 14th of each month! (My BIG tutorial month is in February, so get ready for the next month!) In addition, there will be guest makers each month! The team will pick our FAVORITE project to be the next GUEST MAKER!

Click HERE for the January Challenge! You will have all month to make a NEW project and enter the challenge for a chance to win a prize. (See prize details at the end of the post.) Winners will be posted on the 7th of each month on the Mini Album Makers Blog.

I have gone very far outside my comfort zone again this month! I have been wanting to create something that has a hidden wire-coil binding. I have collected ideas for a while, trying to learn how this binding style is accomplished. It really seemed to "work-y" for me. 
Since I hoard everything...I found a book in my stash that had a hidden coil binding! However, the book was very skinny, with a tiny coil. I wanted to make a journal that was a bit thicker. So, I did some trail and error and came up with this version!
This is a true journal, with lots of blank pages and very little embellishment. My daughter always tells me that my journals are very pretty, but not practical to use, especially when I glue tons of embellishments to the front cover. {an artist is never appreciated in her own home! giggle giggle}
The cover of this journal is plain, with just the beautiful paper as embellishment. (This paper is the Graphic 45 By the Sea Collection.)
The journal is 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 1". There are four divider pages, plus lots of blank pages, lined pages, and a few kraft pages, plus some watercolor papers in each section.
The back cover contains a large pocket, filled with tags.

Here are the directions for making this journal. I had some issues in a few areas, so I will point those out to you. Hopefully, you can manage to make your journal without falling into these traps. {smile}
Cut two chipboard covers to 8 1/2" x 8 1/2". Cut one chipboard spine to 8 1/2" x 1". 

You may have to adjust your spine width, depending on the width of your coil binding. I thought my coil was a 1-inch coil, but it was really a 3/4-inch coil, therefore my binding was a tad too wide. I compensated for this in the design, but it is not ideal to have your spine piece too wide (or too narrow).  
Select your coil and cut it to the proper length. I wanted my inside pages to be 8" x 8", so I punched a test sheet of paper with the Cinch binding machine to see how long to make my coil. 

Cut two pieces of chipboard to 8 1/2" x 1/2" to act as spacers. 
We will wrap our cover with white cardstock. However, since cardstock comes in 12" x 12" pieces we will need to splice two pieces together. Cut one piece to 11 1/2" tall by 12" wide. Draw a guideline at 1" from the right edge. Add double-sided tape to the right of the guideline. 
Cut a second sheet of white cardstock to 11 1/2" x 11". Place the second sheet over the taped area for sheet one, just to the guideline. You will now have a section of white cardstock that is 11 1/2" x 22". 

Lightly draw a 1 1/2" margin around the top, left, and right edges of the cardstock.  
Attach one chipboard cover piece to the left side of the cardstock, using the guidelines for placement. Use removable adhesive to add one of the spacer chipboard pieces.

Add the spine and the second spacer, and then the second cover piece. 
Remove the spacer pieces. Angle the corners and add double-sided adhesive to the cardstock edges.

The 1/2" spacers have created 1/2" gutters, which are needed to allow the coil binding to be tucked away, but also allow for the covers to open smoothly. You may need to adjust this gutter spacing, depending upon the width of your wire coil.
Wrap the cardstock around the covers and spine and secure. This is the INSIDE view of the journal. 
Flip the journal over to the front side. To reinforce the spine, add a 10 1/2" x 6" piece of self-adhesive canvas. 

You may choose to use printed paper, fabric, washi tape, or another medium for this step. I felt that this journal may get a lot of use, so wanted to make sure the spine did not tear. I chose canvas because it is very sturdy, and since I was making the album in a beach theme, canvas was the perfect choice! 
Wrap the canvas around the inside edges and burnish. Trim a piece of decorative paper to 8 1/2" x 1" to cover the spine (not shown here).

Create your journal by following the directions of your binding machine. I used the We R Memory Keepers Cinch, so I followed the directions to punch all my pages.
Cut your inside pages and punch those according to the binding machine directions. My inside pages are 8" x 8". I have a mix of plain paper, lined paper, kraft cardstock, and watercolor cardstock. I used approximately 100 pages for the journal. 
Cut your divider pages to 8 1/4" x 8 1/4". I cut four pieces of decorative cardstock for my dividers. Punch the holes so that they line up with your inside pages. (You will want to cut FIVE divider sheets and add one as the last page of your journal, just before the second liner page.) 
Cut two liner pages to 8 3/8" x 9 3/8" (the orange check shown). Please note, I cut these too small and had to improvise when I assembled the journal. Use these measurements, and (hopefully) you won't have the same issue I had! 

Bind your journal with your coil binding. You will have a standard, wire-bound journal, with your liner pages acting as front and back covers. Now, let's assemble the journal with the chipboard covers.
Place your bound journal onto your covers, making sure that the coil will line up with the spine. Place strong, double-sided adhesive onto the liner and press it to the chipboard cover. Make sure that you don't add adhesive to the 1/2" gutter.

It takes some finesse (and maybe an extra pair of hands) to hold the coil in place while you attach the liner page. 
This is where I made my mistake. My liner page was too narrow, so I had to add the strip of postage images to cover the space.
Repeat with the back cover. (Again, my liner page is not wide enough.) I also realized that my spine was a bit too wide for the coil, which just means that I have extra space between the journal and the back cover, which I "filled" by adding a pocket to the back cover. 
This is the journal open. You can see I added the "By the Sea" border to the back cover to make up for the too short liner page. 
Here you can see that the liner pages are NOT attached to the spine. They sort of "float" where the 1/2" gutters are, and they also "float" over the spine.  

This shows my third mistake. There is a lot of pressure on the liner pages, so they need to be VERY STURDY. I wish I had added cardstock or reinforced the holes in some way, because they are already starting to tear.
Here is another view of how the coil is hidden inside the chipboard covers. Imagine, once you hide the coil, taking a photo of it is very difficult! {groan}
Let's make a pocket for the back cover. Cut white cardstock to 8" x 8" and trim in half on the diagonal. Score 1/2" from the right angle edges. Add double sided tape, fold and burnish. 
Attach the pocket to the back cover, as shown. 

Note, I also covered the back page of the journal with decorative paper. Mistake number four - I should have added a fifth divider sheet as my last page. I did not think of that until too late, so I cut an 8" x 8" piece of paper and glued it to the last blank page of the journal. I simply punched the holes, then snipped them to fit around the coil, rather than tear the whole thing apart to add a page.   
Cut decorative paper to 7 3/8" x 7 3/8" and cut on the diagonal. Add the paper to the pocket.
Add a journal block cut from the decorative paper to the last page of the journal. Mount a second journal block onto chipboard and attach to the pocket as shown. 

Trim a border strip from the paper and add to the top edge of the pocket. 

Decorate tags to add to the pocket. You could also add a small notebook to this pocket. 
I used Graphic 45 tags. I cut 1" from the bottom of one large craft tag. I also used a regular ivory tag and a square kraft tag. I then cut 2" from the bottom of a regular ivory tag to make the smallest tag. 

Add paper to both sides of the tags. 
Now, lets focus on the outside covers. I save these for last because I don't want to wreck them while I am fooling around with the inside. 
I kept the cover very simple. I cut the beautiful By the Sea paper to 8 1/8" x 7 1/2" and then matted it with white cardstock. I then attached the panel to the front cover. I wanted a bit of the canvas to show on the front cover. 
For the back cover, I cut the check paper to 8 1/4" x 8 1/4". 
I threaded a bit of ivory twine through the spine and tied a knot on the top. I added a chipboard tag and a twine bow. The tag gives space to write a title or a date for the journal.

You can also see how the pages look inside the journal. The cover is slightly bigger so the pages are all tucked inside.
You can decorate your pages however you desire. There is enough "give" in the spine and the coil to add a bit of decor, but not too much. 
I simply added an ephemera card or a journaling block to each divider page. 
 The little card at the top is popped up with foam tape so that something can slide under it.
 This divider has a list of beach rules. 
 For this page, a post card ephemera card makes a nice journaling spot.
 I chose to put this ephemera card in the corner. You can attach it on two sides to make a pocket.
 One of the stickers from the By the Sea sticker sheet makes a great journal spot, too.
And another view of the last page and the large pocket. 
Thanks for joining me today! I hope that this journal will inspire you to try some new book-making techniques! Don't be afraid of making mistakes. It is only paper, after all. {wink}

Below is a full list of the Design Team, with links to their blogs!

Gloria Stengel (you are here)
Nancy Wethington (taking a break)

Our Prize Sponsor this month is....

One lucky maker will receive....


Our challenge follows a few simple rules:
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 January 1st and January 31st, 2018).  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!

Come back on  February 1st for a new set of tutorials from the team! I will also be back February 14th with a special tutorial for you! 

Printed paper, ephemera, stickers, decorative chipboard: Graphic 45 By the Sea (retired)

Filler paper: Staples printer paper, school supply lined paper, Neenah kraft cardstock, art supply watercolor paper
Tags: Graphic 45 Large Kraft, Regular Ivory, Square Kraft
Cardstock: WorldWin Paper ColorMates Smooth Heritage White
Twine: Really Reasonable Ribbon Ivory Hemp Cord
Canvas: Claudine Helmuth Studio stick-back natural
Wire coil: We R Memory Keepers
Binding Machine: We R Memory Keepers Cinch (original)
Corner rounder: Creative Memories
Score board: Martha Stewart
Chipboard: WorldWin Papers
Adhesive: Scor-tape, ATG tape, foam squares


  1. You make it all look so easy Gloria, what a fabulous step by step account. A magical journal which could hold sweet memories of holidays gone by. I'm wishing away the weeks to sunnier days by the sea side now. Beautiful!
    Happy New Year and creative wishes Tracey x

    1. It is easier than it looks, and I am sure gets easier with each one we make. ;)

  2. Another wonderful album and tuturial, Gloria ... I really like the way you've covered the spine to disguise the wire coil. Very very nice. And I've always liked this paper collection!
    I'm sure you daughter will enjoy it. If she doesn't like your embellishment style, she'd hate mine! I REALLY pile the stuff on! LOL
    Happy New Year! Sparkle! Shimmer! Glimmer! Gleam!

    1. My daughter is NOT getting this one. She has turned down too many of my "pile it on" journals for me to offer up any more. {humph mumble grumble murmur}

  3. Another absolutely lovely album! Such gorgeous papers! Thank you for the step by step!!

  4. Wow Gloria, what a fantastic tutorial, I love how your album turned out - covering the wire coil is so very clever. Thank you for sharing such a brilliant tutorial, I most definitely want to try this now! Anne x

  5. Oh my goodness Gloria, a super album and such an amazing detailed tutorial! Wonderful work and oh I so know what you mean about family members and their appreciation lol.

  6. Oh gosh Im excited to definately get ib on Feburary but definately appreciate this tutorial layout. I'll be stopping by to check out other peoples tutorials. Thabk you

  7. Superb use of the papers, and a brilliant tutorial. Every page is a treat! Happy New Year!
    Alison x

  8. Oh how clever you are sweet Gloria! I was making a journal for my daughter over the weekend and so wanted to fluff it up, but the truth is you really want a flat book to work in. These busy designer papers are perfect for such a situation because they do all the work of embellishment in the rich patterns. A lovely album and thanks so much for the step outs. Happy New Year! Hugs, Autumn


  9. A magical journal, Gloria! Amazing detailed tutorial!

  10. Gloria, this book is gorgeous!!! So well done!!! The papers you have chosen, are beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  11. Fabulous journal and fabulous tutorial Gloria, never would have thought in a million years to 'recyle' a coil binding like that, thanks so much for your detailed tutorial and tips! Love that paper collection as well, a very lovely journal that hopefully met with your daughters approval ;O) , thank you so much for sharing it, Deb xo