Friday, 5 April 2013

My other Brother's Birthday....!

...yup, I have two of the blighters! This is baby bro Brian...well, I say BABY bro but he's actually 4.5 yrs older than me but was also much shorter/smaller for much of our childhood and I used to spank him in a norty! He probably went easy on me, being a gent..  

Anyway, he's 65 today (4th April) and I made him a card but I got to thinking how much he actually means to me and ended up making him a poem and a little album.

Being the numpty I am, I forgot to photo a stage so you'll have to imagine it and fill in the gap!


2 x pieces of heavy-ish board (I used 350gsm  illustration board) 18 x 14 cms
2 x papers to cover the outside and 2 for the linings.
6 x pieces of heavy-ish card (I used the card backs from a couple of paper 
pads) approx 13cm x 18 cm (these will be trimmed to length later)
2 x pieces of black card (to be cut and embossed to suit) for spine
1 piece of small narrow heavy card to stiffen the spine
24 beer or lemonade can 'tabs' (I'll call these 'pop-tabs' for short!)
12 assorted brads to suit
Quantity of Gesso (I made my own with PVA, white Acrylic and half a box of talc! If you have a go at making your own, please do this outside - talc is really bad for your lungs!)
Acrylic paints to suit (I used Adirondack 'Dabbers')
2 x pieces of narrow ribbon app 30cms each
1 x piece of wider ribbon app 45cms
2 large buttons and 2 smaller buttons (with holes large enough for the narrow    
   ribbon to be threaded through.

In addition to this you will need PVA or white glue and you may like to use Pinflair Gel glue or other via a syringe for some of the finer gluing detail.
Also, whatever poem, verse or other words will need to be printed on suitable paper and cut to shape for the pages (as with mine in the pic below) and whatever pics you want to use, printed off. I did mine in a uniform sepia to 'connect' them.   Clearly, pick your papers and elements to suit your photos - you might decide to make a baby album or one for your dog or something!


First of all, glue your pop-tabs onto your 'pages'.
Mark the exact place you want each to be (you can make a mark in the little aperture) and you can use two or four on each page.
I used four as it seemed more secure - two on each side back-to-back.  Glue with either the pva or, like I did, Pinflair Glue Gel from a syringe. I let mine dry overnight.

Next day, I Gessoed the pages (sadly, this is the bit I forgot to photo) and hung them on the washing line to dry (not sure what the neighbours will have made of this...! LOL!)

Whilst waiting for the pages to dry, I made the cover for the album.

This is like a mini-tut in itself!

First, take the cover boards and the papers you've chosen to cover them.

Then, cut your 'outer' papers to about 2cm larger than your boards.

Place your board in the centre and fold the 1cm border over to make a crease and trim the corners but NOT right to the board. Leave at least the thickness of the board's depth to allow for folding.

Now the fun bit! Making sure you use a work mat (mine is a teflon oven sheet from the Pound Shop!) to protect your surface, put your paper on the mat and apply a liberal serving of white glue.

Spreading/brushing from the middle outwards, make sure the glue gets all parts of the paper.

Place your board in the centre and brayer it.

Flip it over and use your brayer, from the middle,  to roll any air-bubble and bumps out of the sides.

Fold the excess over and 'persuade' it to stick snugly (don't pull hard with fingers as wet paper can tear) by kinda 'pushing' the edges of the paper towards the middle of the board.  (Do opposite sides rather than going clockwise as it makes for a better tension.)

Once you're happy with this, you need to do the corners.  As shown in the pic below, use the end of a tool to 'tuck' the first edge of the corners in before turning the third edge over. This makes for a neater corner.

Once all four edges are folded in, each cover should look similar to this...

When this is complete you can either leave these to dry (I did) for a few hours or if you're feeling confident, you could adhere your lining papers.
I used two different papers for the back and front of mine.

Whilst waiting for these to dry, you could prepare the spine by taking the black card and cutting to size. I used my BigShot and a rather nice profile die (dunno the name - it's not a Spellbinder) to cut it and then I embossed it to resemble tooled leather. You need two of these. No need to emboss one of them.

The small narrow piece of card will come into this too as it's going to stiffen and strengthen the spine.

The thickness of your album will, with six pages, be about 4cms so this is the width of your 'stiffener' card.  This can be adhered in between the two black pieces with white glue or Pinflair, but you need to measure whatever shape you choose for the black card and centre the three pieces up.   

You will have two open 'flaps' either side of the 'stiffener' card and that's fine - they're for the covers to fit into.

When the covers are dry, they can then be adhered into these flaps, remembering to bend the cover so it doesn't tear when you do so when it is dry.

You need to now make two sets of two small holes about 7.5cms apart on the spine. I used a two-hole ribbon hole punch for mine.  You are going to thread ribbon through these holes to go through the pop-tabs to hold the pages into the cover.

To stop the ribbon ripping through the card under tension, two large suitable buttons are used on the outside of the spine (as in the picture below) and two smaller ones inside.

Your pages should now be dry, so first off, use a pokey-tool to make a hole though each pop-tab aperture if you intend putting the brads in there. It's easier at this stage than after you've threaded the pages onto the ribbon!

Threading the two narrow ribbons through the pop-tabs, use a piece of thin wire to thread the ends of the ribbons though the small buttons first, the spine-holes and finally the large buttons on the outside of the spine. 

Tie in a bow for now, as you may wish to alter in some way as you work on your project and a knot may be difficult to untie or may compromise your ribbon if the fastening is moved.

Trim your pages length now to suit. The way the pop-tabs are held by the ribbon, not all pages will be the same length - the centre ones will be shorter than the outside ones.  I used a craft-knife and a steel rule.

Now it is time to embellish your album.  Do what pleases you!

I used my 'Dabbers' in Lettuce, Butterscotch and Pine Trees as well as some 'Vintage Photo' distress inks from Tim Holtz.  Also some antique lace.

I also popped the brads thought the holes in the pop-tabs to strengthen them.

For my brother, I thought a vintage feel with family photos would be appropriate as a) he's ancient...(LOL!) and b) a lot of the old family b&w pics were lost in an accident (...don't ask...!) so he might appreciate some of the ones I have left.

I could have printed fancy tags, but for something so personal, I feel that handwriting (if you can call my scrawl that!) is more appropriate and, also,  personal.  

I could have been more extravagant with my embellies - I certainly would have been for my SIL or one of my more girly mates but for a male and especially my brothers, less is most definitely more..!

Last of all, tie the wider ribbon round the book as a closure. You could, if you so wish, make a sleeve or a box in the same style for yours.

Hope you like my little project (the pop-tabs were an idea I saw somewhere else - not my idea - but I happened to have a bag of them so....!)



  1. Wonderful mini album! Bet he loved it.

  2. ...hasn't had it yet...! LOL! He's supposed to be coming to visit us but not got here yet. I've a few bits for him and they'd cost £10.00 to post so I think we'll wait...! LOL!
    Thank you for liking my pop-tab album !
    Hugs Ei x

  3. Amazing Eileen, i hope it turns up soon....was thinking of doing something similar for John's 70th in October. Well to be honest more of a scrapbook lol.....


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