Ever since I started carrying 'the present' micro book in my purse last fall, the kids have asked to look through it when we're in the car. Something about its chunky proportions and flip format appeals to their playful sensibilities. So when Marty received a camera for his fourth birthday I knew that format would work well to collect some of his very first photos. It would also work really well to keep photos of extended family in front of your little one. Finished size is 2.5" square.
This is a 'no-excuses' type of project. One that you can accomplish start-to-finish in under an hour. Once you've collected the supplies this type of book comes together effortlessly. Here's how it's done:
Step 1) Gather all tools and materials. If you don't have to find something you can just power through these steps and get it done. You will need the following:
- a heavy-duty hole punch to go through thin cardboard (I used the industrial office-style punch upper left in photo)
- exacto or box knife
- a metal ruler
- cutting matt
- spray mount adhesive (I used 3M Super 77)
- newsprint for surface coverage
- sandpaper and a sanding block
- glue stick
- fine point sharpie
- a sheet of lightweight cardboard or a cereal box
- 1 inkjet canvas sheet (similar product here) with all 12 photos printed
- assorted patterned papers (I chose greens --Marty's favorite color-- by Scenic Route, Basic Grey, and a recycled file folder from Target )
- stamps (shown here: Karen Neuberger Tailored Tins (discontinued?) and Autumn Leaves)
- acrylic paints (I used two colors by Making Memories: meadow and manilla)
- paper labels and a key tag from the hardware store (similar product, here)
- a length of leather cord or ribbon
Step 2) Layout and print all twelve photos on single inkjet canvas sheet.
Canvas is great for durability, but if you don't have it a matt finish photo paper would certainly work. Finished size of each page is 2.5", allowing the entire 12-page project to fit on a single 8.5 x 11 sheet. I used Microsoft Publisher for the layout. InDesign, PhotoShop or Elements would work equally well. Since Marty's photos are from a 1 mega pixel toy camera these images don't enlarge well anyway. The exception being the cover shot, taken by my nephew Matt on his sweet new 60D.
Step 3) Stamp labels with acrylic paint. A thin layer applied with a foam brush creates nice effect and takes very little time to dry. Stamp a key tag with an alphabet stamp if you choose.
step 4) Adhere photo sheet to cardboard backing. Cut photos apart into smaller groups of two, then adhere the other side to a variety of patterned papers. When both sides of cardboard are covered, neatly cut each square to its finished size.
step 5) Lightly sand all edges. You now have a tidy stack of cardboard pages. Almost there ...
step 6) Apply a thin layer of paint to each edge for a finished look and to better seal all parts (photo, cardboard, patterned paper) together. I used my finger tip dipped in the smallest amount of paint. It provides better control than a foam brush. When dry you are ready to assemble the book.
Step 7) Adhere a label with glue stick to each patterned paper page. Write captions.
Step 8) Punch holes. Get a visual on where you want the hole to go. Feed each card into the hole punch in the same direction. I messed up on the second one. told myself not to worry because he is 4 and will love it anyway.
Step 9) Feed through your cord or ribbon. Add the monogram tag, tie a knot, and you're done.
Marty's pretty happy to be taking pictures and now he has a tiny portable album of some favorite people through his mind's eye. His very own visual memories! You can click on the above image to see his fine camera work.
On the back page I wrote: See it. Frame it. Snap it.
I've said it before, these tiny textural books just feel good in the hands. I do love making something that's useful. This one is already tucked into his backpack ready to pull out while waiting for sisters in the afterschool pick-up line.