Mini Books: Getting Started

I’ve had a little break from crafting lately due to a short 3-day trip to San Antonio a few days ago and then 4 days of work training.  San Antonio was beautiful, and I’ll be sure to share photos once I get them on some layouts.  Just to recap, my fiancé and I visited a couple of the Spanish missions, cruised and dined at the River Walk, explored the largest natural cavern in Texas, relived the Battle of the Alamo, and shopped the San Marcos outlets before heading home.  It was an eventful (and surprisingly cold!) trip.  The day after we got home, I started training for work.  I’ve haven’t worked since the beginning of October, and I have absolutely no endurance for a 9-5 schedule anymore!  I literally dropped onto bed right when I got home every day.  I definitely need to build up my stamina again…..

Anyhow, here I am back with another crafty venture.  I need to start and finish a mini book for a friend’s birthday gift.  Her birthday is next week, so I’ll need to ship it out soon!  I’ve made a couple of mini books every year since I started scrapbooking in 2012.  I don’t make any mini albums for myself because I like uniformity, so I’ve made the decision to only keep 12×12 albums in my home.  However, I love mini albums because they give me a break from the 12×12 format and they make great gifts.   I’ve only had one recipient that didn’t appreciate the book I made for them, but that story’s for another day!

My first step in making a mini book is to think of the recipient’s personality and match it with a paper line.  It could be the theme of the paper line that makes you think of the person, the colors of the collection, or simply the mood it evokes.  For this specific person, I chose the Here + There collection from Studio Calico because of its dark and bold colors and universal motifs.  The album I chose is an Amy Tangerine Daybook from her Yes, Please collection I already had on hand.

Here & There


Since the paper and album are from different companies, they are not going to match perfectly in color nor style.  However, I like the contrast of bold and bright colors to give visual interest.  Also, I can easily cover any of the Daybook pages completely with patterned paper/cardstock if needed.

After choosing the photos I want to use in the album, the first thing I do is take the album completely apart by removing the wire spiral.  There are several reasons I do this.  For one, I can now rearrange the Daybook papers in any order I like.  Second, it’s a lot easier to work on individual sheets separated from the album than those constricted by the wire spiral.  Lastly, I typically need to switch out the original wire spiral to one with a larger diameter since I tend to add bulk with embellishments.


After rearranging the papers, I use sticky notes to label each of the pages with the photo I’m planning to use on that page.  This streamlines the process down the road:  I am now certain I have enough pages dedicated to all the photos I want to use, and I know where each of the photos are going to go.

Labeled Pages

The only preparation that’s left is to choose the fun stuff (aka embellishments)!  I go through my embellishment stash and take out anything I think might go well with the theme of the album.  I also take out older embellishments I want to use up or things that remind me of the person I’m giving the album to.  By the end of the search, I typically have 20-30 embellishment packs picked out including stickers, badges, brads, etc.  I set these goodies aside in a small box I leave on my desk until the album is done.

Embellishment Box

In addition, I’ll choose one or two washi tapes that I will use in small doses throughout the album.  90% of the embellishing will come from just this box.  The only things I’ll go outside the box for are smaller embellishments I keep in a plastic container, 12×12 sticker sheets that won’t fit in this box, and stamps.  By using the same washi tapes and embellishments, the album will have a sense of cohesiveness.  This is also reinforced by sticking with one paper line throughout the album.  I might add papers from other lines onto the pages, but they will only come from my scraps and only be used to support the Here + There papers.  At the same time, though, I hope to have a lot of variety from page to page to give the album interest since I’ve set aside plenty of embellishments to choose from.

That’s all for today!  Be sure to tune in the next few days if you want to follow my progress on this mini book adventure 🙂