Mini-albums have become a favorite thing to give to friends this year. I can do the fun work of decorating the album, and they can do the hard work of inserting the photos. Okay, that sounds selfish, but I think it's a win-win situation in the end.
I made this mini-album below for the birthday of a friend who went and fell in love this past year. It got me thinking that I should make an album of my favorite pictures of Matt. This album would actually work well for a baby boy or girl too.
So, my creative process on this one -- I started out with the idea of "the boy", which I thought of around midnight the night before her birthday party. Too late to execute, so she got it later in the week when we went out for dinner.
Then, I grabbed a tabbed chipboard album, painted it in white gesso for a base coat, then sloppily painted the inside pages alternately grey-ish blue and brown. Standing the album up on its end and splaying out the pages while painting helps with this so you don't have to wait for the paint to dry each time you paint a page. I started with the brown pages. And once those dried, I painted the blue pages the next day. The only problem with this technique is that the paint can be a little sticky even when dry, and the pages, especially the bindings can tear a bit when you open the pages. You have to be okay with imperfection.
The last step was pasting the patterned paper on. I pasted one side of the album down to the whole sheet of paper, then cut around the edge with an exacto knife. The next step was the fold to apply paste to the other side of the album and fold the paper around. Then I cut around the edge again. I applied the label and it was done.
Since I'm in graduate school and have way too much on my plate, I'm finding that projects I can work on over the course of several days work best for me. I seriously picked out the paper and stickers one day, painted the gesso one day, then the blue pages another, then the brown, then pasted on the cover. It was a 5-day project, about 15-20 minutes a day.
Turns out her boyfriend made her a scrapbook album on Shutterfly, full of pictures of them over their first year of dating. No wonder she fell in love. :)