Thursday, 6 October 2011

Paper Bag Albums: To Infinity and Beyond

So it turns out that Paper Bag albums are having a bit of a moment. I'm not quite as behind as I thought. Which is very handy because I decided to make another one. Several of you asked for some instructions, so I too a few photos along the way.


1. Of course bags are right at the top of the list of things you need. Mine are gussetted lunch sacks bought in the U.S. The gusset gives you the little extra smaller pages, but if you can only get plain "shop" bags, don't let that stop you. Try Homebase in the UK or keep reading


2. Decide how many pages you want. I used three bags . The gussets do make them bulky, so don't get too ambitious. You can always make Volume Two!. Fold each gusset up towards the top of the bag, then take two bags and glue their gussets back to back. repeat until you have a stack of pages. My pages measure 6 1/4 x 6 inches, but I trimmed them slightly so that I could use 6x6 patterned papers, for economy. You can cover four sides with one 12x12 sheet - and if you use double sided paper you'll get to use two different patterns with that.


3. This is a great excuse to use up a paper collection you love! Yes, you could spend a happy couple of hours working through your stash and choosing coordinating items, but this album will go together really quickly if you use one line or a kit already matched. A few sheets pf paper and a sheet of label stickers is enough. The secret to making it look good is to be prepared to use the whole sheet.


4. Trim your sheets to fit and adhere. Choose an especially nice square for the front. If you'd like to punch along the edge, punch the bag first, then the paper. It's too thick to do it all at once. You'll see at this point that the paper bags are open. I like them like that because I love to stuff extra bits inside, but glue them together of you'd rather. It's easier to do now than after you have embellished.

5.Then, decorate away! Layer up your embellishments, but remember you need room to bind it at the side so keep it clear. I work in stages - all the blank pages, then all the stickers, then all the stamps instead of on each page individually.

6. I chose book rings to bind and I made a quick template with a hole punch to help me place my crop-a-dile holes


And that's it! There are other way to do this (and there are lots of Youtube videos if you are interested), but don't forget you can make a joliprint pdf of this one if you want to keep hold of it.  Now, here's my plan. I know bags are hard to get hold of, and I have quite a lot going spare. So I'm happy to give some away. Leave me a comment saying you are interested and I'll send you enough for an album. BUT you must make it! I want to see it when it's finished! Mine is going to Little E, that rascal nephew of mine. He is just about getting big enough now to think about a bit of Space exploration. Just the other day he was wondering why the sky was broken..

38 comments:

Cheryl said...

Looking Good! Love the way you've decorated it.

scrappysue said...

So cute and they look like a ton of fun to play with, lol! Thanks for sharing your bags!!! x

angelfish said...

Your paperbag book looks fab. I'm not sure which I love most, the papers you've used to make it or the little space props to stage it.
Bless little E and his 'broken' sky xx

Heather said...

fabulous little project Sian & Im sure your nephew is going to be so excited with it! thanks for sharing & for explaining so clearly how the bags get put together :)

Sandra said...

Don't worry about putting me in the draw for the bags, but I so want to tell you how much I love this. I don't think good ideas, like paper bag books, ever really go out of fashion

Lynn said...

Love this and so will little E I'm sure.

Ladkyis said...

Never done this and even after peering closely at the pictures and reading the structions I am stiil no wiser. I will therefore assume that 'You have to be there'. I will search youtube tonight and see if I can see someone's hands moving while they talk LOL. I love how it looks when completed.

Annie xx TheFeltFairy said...

A great tute! And the finished article is gorgeous! x

scrappyjacky said...

This looks great,Sian....and what perfect papers for Little E.Please don't put me in the draw....I have some paper bags....which you may have inspired me to start using.

Melissa said...

Great tutorial Sian. I like the papers you used on this album, so cute!

I already have a stash of bags - brown, red & some really cute red & white striped ones. It's been a while since I made a paper bag album, but your post is inspiring me to pull those bags out.

Sian said...

Just wanted to clarify - it's not a draw! believe I have enough bags for anyone who would like some

laurie said...

what a fun book! i love the space theme and i'm sure little e will as well. kids ask the best questions - if only we had some answers for them!

Alison said...

Thanks for the tutorial Sian..though I'm obviously a bit like Ladykis-I definately learn better by watching or doing! I am going to have a look for some bags here, but if I can't get any I may get back to you and take you up on your kind offer, if that's OK?
Alison xx

a said...

The finished article looks lovely, and will be interested to see what goes inside. :)

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Hi Sian ~ That book is just so cute and your tutorial is great too. And, I always love the way you photograph your projects with little odds and ends included (the little astronaut etc...).

I have plenty of paper bags in my collection so no need to send any my way. In fact, your postman should be making a little delivery to you any day now... ;o) xo

Maria Ontiveros said...

Really cute! I love that paper line and wish I had someone young enough to share it with!
No need to send bags here - as they are readily available here.
Rinda

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful album and a terrific tutorial!! Thanks for all the great info! I am fine for bags as we have lots here in Canada. How awesome that you are sharing with those who can't find them! :)

Louise said...

Well Sian you have me tempted - always wanted to make one, but have never had any bags! Are you giving us a deadline? lol! I mean Stanley is still sitting on the side, stuffed and waiting to have his bits sown on!! how long has that been!! xx

Bubbles said...

OR... you could make the paper bags yourself from copypaper - I do this. I also think that ozegran on youtube has a tutorial if anyone wants to go have a quick search.
I've just bought a couple of packs of the Papermania Bare Gift Bags in a small/medium size (PMA 176201), and I'll be making an album with these too - after I remove the handles :)

LOVE your PBalbum... it's adorabe! Love the paperline you've chosen!

Ruth said...

What a great project for Little E to have! No need to send me any bags ~ I have enough projects on-going for now, thanks!

jennifer said...

Your album looks fantastic! Great space papers. I'm quite looking forward to when baby boy grows up a little bit and I will start buying cute boy papers like this! Not that I couldn't use them for baby photos, or for photos of girls, but you know. Just so perfect for little boys!

I'd love some bags if you can send me some to try and make my own album. Though I'm afraid I'm not quite sure about how do do it still from you instructions - I might have to look up a video like Ladkyis! Or perhaps, with the bags in front of me, it would suddenly all become clear in my mind!

I know just what I'd use the album for - to document my daughter's imaginative play. At the moment she keeps making maps, which we could tuck inside the paper bags. x

Miriam said...

Your bag book looks lovely Sian such lovely papers, Little E will be delighted with it.

dogmatix said...

I love the album. Would love to have a go if you have a few spare. I like the fact that it can be pockets or flat pages :)

Ginger said...

thanks for the tutorial Sian, these look like fun to make :) I have access to brown bags here, and will need to give this a whirl!

humel said...

Your book looks amazing, I'd love to give this a go please :) I have a set of papers that I've been saving for something special, and an idea of the very occasion that I'd like to document, so I'm nearly set! Thanks ever so much xx

Carmen said...

This is gorgeous Sian :) I'd love to take you up on your offer and have a play if you still have some. I'll definitely show and tell. Thank you!

Jimjams said...

What a great project and a generous offer too. I have some bags here, bought in a moment of madness ... maybe they'll get used sometime soon having seen this!

Beverly said...

Your album is adorable! I made these a few years back and love that they are popping back up :) Don't include me in the draw, we have them easily obtainable here.

Sandie said...

Thanks for the tutorial, Sian, and offer of bags. A lovely gesture. I too have bags, but may be prompted to blow the dust off and use them now that you have inspired me!
I LOVE the papers you used. Little E will love it!!

Lisa-Jane said...

I love the look of this album! Its a great line, I wish my boy was into space just so I could use it. Must give this paper bag business a try.

Lizzie said...

Little E is Ace! He will certainly love this little album - it's a grand project and I love it too!
Haven't made a paper bag album yet. I did make a couple of books with the brown paper packing that certain online shops use for their packaging - it comes in long lengths, about 12" wide, but perforated at 6" intervals along its length. You can tear it up into individual sheets - then fold them and bind them - or you can fold in a concertina until it's as thick as you want and make a very interesting book with that. Good fun project. But not as good as yours!

Karen said...

I made a paper bag album for my daughter while she was in seminary. I wonder if she still has it, or if I even took photos of it.

Louisa-Jane said...

I would love to give this a try if you still have bags on offer? Looks fun!

Sian said...

Louisa-Jane, I'd be happy to send you some bags, would you please email me with your address? Thanks

Wanda said...

What a great project and with such detailed instructions too! I especially like the part about leaving the bag ends open so little "tidbits and treasures" can be tucked inside.

jo said...

This looks fab - sure I have some bags - somewhere...........

Dawn said...

Great tutorial, would love some bags if you've still got some left!

Missus Wookie said...

Adorable papers - love that robot :)

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