I wanted to show you how I created a really unique scrapbook for all the photos we took in Rome. I don't know what it is, but I can't ever seem to just accept things as they are (such as using an ordinary scrapbook) without adding my own twist to it. And this project was no exception! Besides, this allowed me to use up some items I already had, so it was also economic and eco friendly! At least that sounds good, doesn't it?
First I wanted to show you what I already had on hand. It was two of these large retail furniture books (shown below) which my mother-in-law Valerie gave to me from her shop. She told me she just knew I'd "make something spectacular out of them". And I think I did! Thanks Valerie!!
It measures about 12" x 12", and it was about 1 1/2" thick. In addition to a book of any size you prefer to use (I'm thinking of old text books from thrift shops), you'll need the following supplies:
- Mod Podge (AKA: white goo)
- Sand paper, fine grit
- Small paint brush (a disposable 1" brush is what I use; they're cheap ($1 at Home Depot) and I usually get several painting sessions out of them before throwing them away)
- Wax paper
- Double-sided sticky tape (or other sticky medium of your choice)
- Paper towels
- Craft knife
- Small self-healing mat
- Scrapbook paper of your choice (I used a pattern called "Old World", which I thought was particularly appropriate!)
- Decorative paper (I used tissue paper, only because I already had this beautiful tissue paper on hand and I was determined to see if I could get it to work. But when I make another one, I'll probably use wrapping paper because it's MUCH easier to work with.)
- Patience!! (This was the only thing I ran short of! I already had everything else!!)
1. Using your craft knife, with the self-healing mat underneath to keep you from cutting too many pages, go through your entire book and slice away pages. You want to cut as close to the binding as you can get, until you get an equal amount of pages removed to balance out the book. This sounds weird even to me, but what you're actually doing is removing enough papers evenly throughout the book to make room for scrapbook papers. Depending on how many pages you want left to scrapbook on will determine how many pages to remove. For my book, I removed about 4-5 pages, left 2 in, removed another 4-5 pages, left 2 in, and so on until I got through the whole book. Don't worry if the book looks a bit skimpy after all the cutting. Remember, scrapbook paper is usually thicker and it will also have photos and memorabilia attached, so you want to make sure you have plenty of room for everything.
Hint: You can always cut fewer pages out at this point, then if you find you need more room later on, cut out more pages.
2. Next, measure the size of one of the pages left inside the book. Then cut out scrapbook papers in these same dimensions.
3. Using double-sided tape (or any sticky medium of your choice), adhere the scrapbook papers onto the front and back pages of all the remaining pages in the book. Make sure your corners are adhered well together, as they will take the most abuse while you're looking at the scrapbook in its finished state. As for me, I get a little tape happy, so I taped all my pages together around the three outside edges. Now you can see how fast your book is beginning to fill up!
4. With your sand-paper, lightly sand the front and back covers of the book. This will help your decorative paper adhere better. Wipe away all grit and dust with a damp cloth.
5. Insert wax paper sheets underneath the covers of the book to protect the inside pages.
6. Start with the back cover of the book first. This gives you a little "OJT" before you go to the front and most important part of the scrapbook. Measure the size of the cover, minus the binding. Now add 1/4 of an inch on the top, bottom and outside edge measurements.
7. Using these dimensions, cut out decorative paper in the same size.
8. With your paint brush, liberally coat the cover of the book with Mod Podge. It doesn't matter if you get some goo on the binding. This will be covered up later. This is what mine looked like:
9. Carefully place the cut decorative paper, centered, on top of the wet cover. Working from the middle of the book to the outside edges, smooth out the paper and remove any air bubbles or creases. You should have 1/4 inch of extra paper on the top, bottom and outside edges. Fold this extra paper over the edges and glue or tape to the inside of the cover.
10. With wax paper in place to protect your inside pages, liberally coat the top of the decorative paper with Mod Podge, then allow this to dry at least 24 hours (this is where the patience comes in). This is what mine looked like using tissue paper:
This is the front cover. As you can see, I also cut out the word "ROMA" (how the Italians refer to Rome) in contrasting paper, then added it to the top of the cover. I have to admit though - I was a little apprehensive at this point because it wasn't looking all that grand!! I also made the mistake of doing my front cover first (DUH!), so I had no "OJT". But I decided to just forge ahead and see what turned out. BTW - doesn't this tissue paper look awesome? Very "Romanesque" I thought!
This is the back cover, with one layer of tissue paper that's been Mod Podged one time.
11. After the cover is completely dry (but not before 24 hours), once again liberally coat the top of the decorative paper with Mod Podge. And, once again, allow this to dry at least 24 hours. More patience required! Aaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!
12. Repeat this entire process for the front cover of the book. And even more patience is required! It could be worse though....because I was using thin tissue paper, I had to use two layers, Mod Podged one at a time, so the design would be sharp enough. The fun part was getting the two papers to line up so the picture would be clear! Okay, so I'm nuts!! What else is new?
13. When the front and back covers are completely dry, measure the binding of the book, adding one or two inches. This allows the paper that goes on the binding to overlap the paper on the front and back covers of the book by one half to one inch on either side (whichever you prefer). You can use the same paper as you used for the front and back covers, or you can use contrasting paper. Since I was using thin tissue paper, I just let my front and back covers overlap, which worked out fine for this particular design.
14. With your paint brush, liberally coat the outside of the binding with Mod Podge. Now place the paper, centered, on top of the Mod Podged binding and smooth the paper out like you did before.
15. Let this dry at least 24 hours. Then.......yes, you guessed it......repeat the process once more.
Once everything is completely dry, you can now add photos and memorabilia to your inside pages!
Following are some of the completed pages, to give you an idea of the types of paper I used, the way I laid out photos and memorabilia, etc.
This inside cover included a watercolor I did of a small koi pond, located at the back of our hotel. I had grand intentions of doing several watercolors, but this is the only one that actually made it out of my head and onto paper! I also like rough looking edges, so I rubbed them with distress ink.
I LOVE these scrapbook papers! I've used them on several projects.
I don't think I've showed these coins anywhere else, so I wanted to make sure I included them in this posting. They're replicas of coins that were used in Rome's heyday!
Amazing ceilings inside the Vatican!
More photos of my camera shy granddaughter!
This life-sized marble status of horses pulling a chariot was FABULOUS!!
Postcards from the Keats-Shelley House Memorial. I taped them down individually, on their left side, in graduating positions, so they open up like a booklet.
I have many GREAT postcards, and I especially like these over sized ones!
At the top left, you can see rose petals I saved from the bouquet my sweet husband gave me upon our arrival at the airport! He also had two bouquets, of paler pink roses, for Laura and Isabel. Now is that sweet or not!?!
This is a little notebook I carried everywhere with me, to jot down information as we went on various tours and sites. Laura said I looked like "a nerdy tourist", walking around and taking notes. But by doing it this way, I was able to remember a lot more than I otherwise would have. The old memory isn't as good as it used to be!
The inside back cover. I loved this photo I took of a marble statue of a man holding a tablet in his arms. He seemed so earnest about what he was pointing to, so I gave him the map of the city to talk about. I found the little golden glass pebble (at the top right) at the train station that ran beside the Colosseum. So it HAD to come along and get into this scrapbook.
Well, that's it. I have to admit that now I've gone through all these instructions, I realize I went to an awful lot of trouble, when a simple purchased scrapbook would have worked just fine. HOWEVER, that being said, I'm extremely pleased with the outcome and I know my scrapbook is truly one of a kind. So when all is said and done, I've decided it was well worth the time I invested in it.
Hmmmm.......maybe I should put this last paragraph up at the top of the post, to warn people ahead of time? Ha Ha Too late now!!