Have you ever wanted to make a custom scrapbook album from your own favorite fabric or patterned paper? Maybe you’re using an unusual scrapbook page size that doesn’t fit in store bought albums or maybe you cannot find albums at your local craft supply store. Whatever the case is, if you’re landed here, it means you want to make your own scrapbook album with ring binders and everything!
In a previous article, Cristina shared how to make a hardcover album. She used elastic strings to attach smaller notebooks inside the album. In this article, I’ll show you a similar album but this one will use binder mechanism so that you can insert pages as you go whether these are pocket pages or traveler’s notebook spreads.
Here’s the list of supplies you’ll need
- Chipboard sheet
- A piece of fabric
- A thin cardboard for lining
- Patterned paper for decoration
- Binder mechanism
- Double sided tape
- Awl tool or one punch tool (if your punch tool can punch through a chipboard)
- Bone folder
- Pencil & ruler
How to measure the album size
Depending on the insert page size you’ll use, you need to add at least 2 inches to the width of the album cover and 1 inch to the height so that your insert pages doesn’t stick out of the album and got ruined.
In my case, I’ll use 3×8 inch traveler’s notebook size inserts with this album. So, my measures for the album cover and back are 5 inch by 9 inch. And the spine size is 2 inch by 9 inch.
Where to buy ring binders
Before going through with this tutorial, you might wonder where you can find ring binder mechanisms. I bought mine from Aliexpress. They are way cheaper than what you would’ve bought from Amazon. But there is a little catch, they might come without screws. One of mine was without it so, now it’s useless unless I order again. The shipment process from Aliexpress might take 45 days or so internationally. So, keep that in mind.
Making the album
Cut out two pieces of chipboard in the size of 5×9 inch and one piece in the size of 2×9 inch (if you want to change your album size, see above for finding the measures.)
For one of the 5×9 inch pieces, measure 1/4 (0.25) inch from the long edge, and draw across a line with pencil. Align your binder mechanism with this line and mark where the screw holes are.
With awl tool, punch through these marks. Make sure the binder mechanism’s screws are able to go through these holes.
Lay the cut pieces on the ground. From left to right, they should be aligned as, front cover, spine, back cover. And separate them from each other by 1/8 (0.125) inch. This space will allow album cover to be folded nicely.
Put your fabric on top of the chipboard pieces, and cut the fabric around the edges of album. Make sure the fabric is slightly larger than the chipboard by at least half an inch.
With awl tool, mark where the binder screw holes are on the fabric. And widen these holes with scissors just a little bit so that screws can go through.
Take out the fabric, and put some adhesive on the chipboard. And stick your fabric onto them. Make sure that the holes align. I am using a double sided tape. If you’re using a liquid adhesive, leave it to dry.
Flip the album from bottom to the top so that the order of the chipboard pieces is still as follows; front cover-spine-back cover.
Cut the corner of the fabric at an angle and fold the excess fabric in using a piece of tape or with the adhesive you have in hand.
Align a piece of thin cardboard paper with the inner side of the album. I left 1/4 (0.25) inch on each side of the corners. Therefore, my liner paper size is 8.5 inch by 11.5 inch. Once you align one side, secure it with a clip. Then start applying your adhesive under the paper. Go from one side to the other to make sure it’s aligned properly.
Once you’re done, with the help of a bone folder, score through both sides of the spine. Rather than using the tip of the bone folder, use the side of it so that you don’t tear the paper like I did here.
Fold the album back and forth to let the spine takes it shape.
Once again, with awl tool, punch through the liner paper from the back of the album.
This step is optional if you want to use a custom pattern inside the album. Cut a piece of patterned paper to the size of liner and stick it like we did with the liner paper. I printed a floral pattern from Photographer collection and used it only on back and cover sides because the photo paper I used to print cracks when folded. So I intentionally left the spine open. You might use your pattern full, covering front, back and spine, if your paper can handle folding.
Punch through the patterned paper as well so that you can see the screw holes for next step.
Place the screws from the back of the album.
Put the binder mechanism in place. And secure it with the other piece of screw.
And that sums up how you can make a custom binder ring album at home. I hope you enjoyed it!
Did you like this tutorial? If so, comment below to let me know your takeaways from this article.
As always, keep documenting because life’s worth recording.