Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mini Albums Makers February 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 has changed from February to April.) 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 February 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 a fun tutorial for you this month! We are going to make a recipe journal mini album out of envelopes! I have made lots of minis with envelopes, but this is the first time I have tried a hidden spine binding. It was a learning experience! 
This sweet mini measures approximately 7 3/4" x 6 1/2" x 2". Each page of the album is an envelope, bound together by the envelope flaps. The mini has chipboard covers and a loose spine binding.
Each page is approximately 7" x 5" and can hold photos, journaling, recipe cards, and more

Every other page is an actual envelope with a pull out photo mat or journaling page.
I did not do a lot of extra embellishment to this mini so far. I really wanted it to be something that can be added to and embellished as it is used, like a recipe journal. This would also make a wonderful new bride gist as it is also great for sharing photos of family dinners or favorite family dishes.

To see a video presentation of the inside pages, click the video below.

Let's get started with the tutorial. You will need some heavy weight (approx. 1/16" thick) chipboard, a stack of cardstock, printed paper in your theme, and ten A7 envelopes (7 1/4" x 5 1/4"). 

Make sure to use STRONG and STURDY envelopes for this type of binding.

I chose Authentique Saucy and Fabulous paper collections for my project.

Please read all the directions BEFORE you begin the project.

Cut two pieces of chipboard to 7 3/4" x 5 3/4".  

Cut two pieces of kraft cardstock to 8 3/4" x 6 3/4" and attach the chipboard to the center of the cardstock. Angle the corners and add strong adhesive to the tabs. 

Note: For this step, choose the same color cardstock as the color of your envelopes. I used kraft envelopes, so chose kraft cardstock. 

Wrap the pieces of chipboard. I used a pencil to label my chipboard so that I knew which was the inside front and back cover. I also labeled the outside so that I knew which was the front cover and which the back. 

Cut dark brown cardstock to 7 5/8" x 5 5/8" and attach to the inside front and back covers. Trim printed paper to 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" and attach to the cardstock. Set the covers aside.

Cut the envelope flap from ONE of your envelopes. This will adhere to your front cover. Set it aside. 
For the remaining nine (9) envelopes, place the original envelope flap score line at 5 1/2" on you score board. Score at 5 3/4" to create a 1/4" gutter.

Note: I really wish I had created a 1/8" gutter instead for my project. If you plan to add a lot of lumpy embellishment to each page, keep the 1/4" gutter. However, if you plan to add fewer items per page, then 1/8" will work better. 
For each of the nine envelopes, place strong adhesive in the area near to top of the flap, where the envelope may already have adhesive.  
Place the envelope with the flap removed onto your work surface with the opening face up and to the right, as shown. Place one of your scored envelopes face down, with the flap folded back. The second envelope opening should be facing the work surface. 
Remove the adhesive liner from your envelope flap. Unfold the flap and insert it into the first envelope, making sure the the score line you made lines up with the edge of the first envelope. The adhesive will adhere to the interior of the first envelope.

You will have an open envelope, a 1/4" gutter and the "front" of the second envelope. 
Fold the second envelope over on top of the first envelop. You will then see the envelop opening. Attach your third envelope in the same manner.
This is how the 1/4" gutters will begin to look.  
Continue to add envelopes until you have added all the rest of the envelopes. You will have ten (10) envelopes total.
This is after adding eight envelopes. This becomes the spine of your mini album. 
Place the front cover face DOWN on your work surface. Attach strong adhesive to the top-most envelop in your stack. Attach the envelop to the inside of the front cover, making sure to line the envelope up with the edge of the cover. 
Repeat the process to attach the inside of the back cover to the last envelope. 

I began to realize at this point that the envelopes I chose were not quite sturdy enough for this project. Since the envelopes act as the spine, they take a lot of pressure from the covers and need to be quite sturdy envelopes. 
To create the spine cover, trim kraft cardstock to 7 3/4" x 5 5/8". Measure 1 1/4" in from each long edge and draw lines with a pencil to mark off those areas. Place strong adhesive to the outside of the drawn lines, as shown. 
Place adhesive areas of the spine piece at 1 1/4" from the edges of the chipboard covers. 
This will hide the envelope spine and give reinforcement to the covers. My spine cover is a tad too large, which caused me some issues. 

Measure your spine CAREFULLY before attaching your spine cover. You want enough "give" in the spine cover to allow the book to open fully, but not too much, nor too little or it will pull and stretch the envelopes, perhaps tearing them. You need about 1" of space between your envelope spine and your spine cover. I have more like 1 1/2", which is a bit too much space. I recommend that you attach the spine cover with removable adhesive first, to check that it's the right dimension. 

Cover the spine piece by cutting dark brown cardstock to 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" and attaching it to the spine piece. Trim decorative paper to 7 3/8" x 5 3/8" and attach to the spine. Gently bend the papers to form the hidden spine cover.  

Cut dark brown cardstock to 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" and attach it to the front cover. Trim decorative paper to 7 3/8" x 5 3/8" and attach it to the front cover.

Decorate your cover as desired. I kept mine plain because I chose this fun image for my cover. 

Cut dark brown cardstock to 7 1/2" x 5 1/2" and attach it to the back cover. Trim decorative paper to 7 3/8" x 5 3/8" and attach it to the back cover.

Now, you are ready to decorate the inside.
For each page, trim dark brown cardstock to 7 1/8" x 5 1/8". For each page trim decorative paper to 7" x 5".  
Mat each printed panel with a dark brown cardstock panel. For each of the envelope pocket page, use a circle punch to cut a notch in the upper right corner. You will make nine (9) notched pages.
You will also need nine (9) envelope pocket inserts. Cut dark brown cardstock to 6 7/8" x 4 7/8". Cut printed paper to 6 3/4" x 4 3/4". 
Each double-page spread will have a pocket page on the left and a regular page on the right. 
Each pocket will have an insert. I attached decorative paper to BOTH sides of my inserts.

It works best to lay out your papers before attaching anything, to make sure that you are happy with the patterns. For this page, I also added a paper clip and a journaling card.
For a few of the pages, I added a triangle corner pocket to hold recipe cards. For the pockets, cut dark brown cardstock to 6 7/8" x 4 7/8", then cut on the diagonal. Cut printed paper to 6 3/4" x 4 3/4", then cut on the diagonal. Decorate as desired.

Now, for the issue I had with the envelopes. I created my spine cover to be a bit too big, which resulted in a lot of "pressure" on my last envelope. Since my envelopes were not very strong, the last envelope tore!

I had to splice another envelope onto it, and create ONE accordion hinge between the last envelope and the back cover. This happens sometimes, when you are very far into a project when something goes wrong! Sometimes you need to soldier on! 
Here you can see the ninth envelop and the tenth envelop attached to the cover. I pulled the decorative paper off the last envelope, added my extra piece, then put the decorative paper back. 
Here you can see the extra bit of cardstock that I have folded into an accordion tab hinge. 
I attached dark brown cardstock to both sides of the hinge and created an extra page for my book. The biding is a bit stronger, but it's a bit wonky looking. I really wish I had just created a regular accordion fold hinge binding for the entire book. I expected entirely too much from my envelopes! So, live and learn for next time! 
I added decorative paper to the extra page (the right side page here).
Here is the other side of the extra page. I also created a corner pocket for the inside back cover.
I learned a lot about making this style of binding, and think that if I make another envelope album, I will do things a bit differently. And I will most CERTAINLY use thicker envelopes! 

Thanks for joining me today! I hope that this will inspire you to try some new book-making techniques! Don't be afraid of making mistakes. I make plenty! Sometimes, I toss the project in the trash, but sometimes I carry on, because you never know what will happen in the end...if you just persevere! 

Below is a full list of the Design Team, with links to their blogs! Make sure to visit them and give them some bloggy love!

Anne Redfern (taking a break)
Gloria Stengel (you are here)

Our Prize Sponsor this month is....

One lucky maker will receive....
For chance at another prize, please click HERE.

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 February 1st and February 28th, 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  March 1st for a new set of tutorials from the team! 

Printed paper: Authentique Saucy, Fabulous (retired)

Cardstock: American Crafts Rocky Road, WorldWin Kraft
Envelopes: Staples A7 Kraft
Chipboard: Grafix
Mini paper clip: Tim Holtz
Score board: Martha Stewart
Circle punch: Stampin' Up
Adhesive: Scor-tape, ATG tape


  1. Thanks sooo much for an amazing tutorial here again Gloria, as always it´s stunning work and a very easy to follow tut, and that´s always sooo great. Thanks sooo much for sharing this.

  2. WOWZERS!!!!!! Over the moon!!!

  3. I always love envelope minis and this one is fantastic, and wow what a super extensive tutorial, very clever binding technique indeed! A real beauty!!

  4. Beautiful and I always wondered how those envelope minis were constructed. Thanks for all the tips. What puzzles me is why you did not adhere 2x tape to affix the back of the envelope spine to the spine itself. Why leave them flopping?

    1. I did it the way I shared because, when you attach the spine directly to the envelopes, it is too tight and won't open fully. However, as you noticed, my method has some issues as well. Next time, I will create an accordion hinge and attach each envelope to a hinge. Sometimes, I just want to try other binding methods to see how they work. {smile}

    2. Also, the envelopes don't really "flop" around very much. And I get that nice curved spine I was going for. It is all personal preference, so if you like the attached spine, give it a go! ;)

    3. Thank you for clearing that up. There is always another way to try.

  5. I've had one too many projects that didn't turn out "just right" lately. It seems smart to do a 1/8" gap between pages when you aren't adding bulky embellishments (like I do!) I'm also thinking maybe the same insides with a hard spine that you adhere the envelopes to and not inside the covers. Regardless, this turned out beautifully and I'm certainly inspired by your design and gorgeous use of this paper. I've never made an envelope book! Ha! Speaking of that, I want to make my own envelopes with the envelope punch board I got on sale and think that using cardstock to make your own envelopes with your tutorial would fix all of the issues. Big hugs, Autumn

    1. Yes, in retrospect I should have used the punch board to make envies out of heavy cardstock. But, I also wanted to try something different. You cannot learn unless you do new things, and part of doing new things is making mistakes. I make lots and lots of mistakes. ha ha

  6. A fun book!!! Thanks for all the info including what you would do different next time!!!

  7. Love your album! Love it's made of envelopes, i like using office stationery to make minialbums (this is exactly what in working on now). Like the rounded spine of the book.

  8. Wow... this is great idea for an album! Thank you for tutorial - have to try it:)

  9. What a wonderful bright and breezy retro look to this - I love it! And another fabulous tutorial taking us step by step and with great tips and techniques along the way. Thanks for sharing all your know-how.
    Alison x

  10. Stunning work and tutorial! Love, love these papers; thank you so much for sharing! Hugs...

  11. Very interesting design! Gorgeous work. Hugs, Inna

  12. This book is brilliant! Shame you had those few issues Gloria but you tackled them beautifully! Your finished book is stunning!! Have bookmarked this for future reference as I definitely want to make a book like this. I may follow Autumn's suggestion though, and make my own envelopes out of cardstock. Thank you for sharing! x