5 Tips for making a Great Mini-Album

It was my daughter’s 30th birthday yesterday.

Naturally I required some intensive therapy to come to terms with this. But once I had gotten over my “where did the last 30 years go” shock I decided that I had to make something a bit special for her in the way of a card. Last year I made a pretty spiffy concertina card which she loved and said “Oooh, my first ‘book’ card!” That made me realise that I had never made an album just for her to keep before.

So I decided to make a mini album covering her last 30 years.

Now when I make a mini-album I like to do it from the ground up; making the pages and cover rather than buying a pre-made chipboard album. I gave myself plenty of time, as I usually do. And I managed to blow most of it away leaving me with a last minute rush, as I usually do. But I was quite pleased with the finished result.



Hybrid Scrapbooking mini album

Click on image to see the pages inside

Making a mini album is a really fun thing to do. It’s great to create a whole album in one project and the smaller size helps to make the project less daunting.  If you have never made one why not give it a go? You don’t have to make the whole thing from scratch like me. You can buy premade chipboard albums that you can cover and embellish to make a fabulous album.  They make wonderful and really appreciated gifts for the special people in your life. Here are a few tips to get you started.

5 tips for making great mini-albums

1.  Find a theme to link your pages together. This can be a color scheme, a scrapbooking style, a specific topic or anything that gives a sense of continuity through the pages and helps the album to tell a story. Using a combination of theme ideas will also help to reinforce the continuity. In this album I used papers from the Papermania Chatsworth Collection to maintain a color scheme. I used the same font and style for the titles on all the pages and I themed all the titles by making them follow a similar pattern for my Seona Days album: Early Days, Dress-up Days, School Days, BirthDays, HoliDays.

2.  Choose smaller, simple patterns or plains for your background papers. Now I have to admit that I didn’t strictly follow this rule. Several of the patterns in the paper pack I had chosen were a bit on the largish side. So I chose mainly simple pastels with dots for my pages and interspersed them with a few patterned papers in muted tones so they don’t overpower the photos.

3.  Add texture and dimension. Following on from the last tip you can make up for the lack of pattern in your papers by adding texture. The papers I chose for Seona’s album had a sort of a linen texture that I really loved. But you can add your own texture by putting your papers through an embossing machine such as a CuttleBug. And a bit of lumpy bumpy doesn’t hurt either. Generally your mini-album will only have a small number of pages. So you can probably afford to add a bit of height to your embellishing. Foam tape is my best friend. If you’re doing a digital album then try out some interesting drop shadows and bevels.

4.  Go easy on the embellishments. Because your mini–album pages are so much smaller than your regular scrapbook pages you need to be careful that you don’t over clutter them with embellishments. Try to pick smaller embellishments that won’t overpower the page. And I also like to reinforce the continuity by repeating the same embellishments throughout the album if possible.

5.  And most of all, put your love into it. Mini-albums (especially ones you do for other people) are usually a sort of capsule for an idea or an event or, like Seona’s album, a life story. That makes them a bit extra special. Let that feeling shine through in the journaling you write and the themes you choose.

As usual for me, this album was a hybrid scrapbooking project where I combined digital scrapbooking techniques with paper scrapbooking elements. One of the great benefits of this approach is that I can manipulate my photos and digital embellishments to perfectly fit my smaller pages and coordinate with my color scheme. I couldn’t decide on just 3 or 4 photos for the BirthDays page so I created the photo collage digitally, scanned in a background  from my paper pack and mounted the collage on it so I could keep all the fuzzy edges and just cut around the paper matt.

And yes, Seona loved it.

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8 Responses to 5 Tips for making a Great Mini-Album

  1. Accounting Courses Calgary August 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    I like the design and the thought of why it was made. I checked out what’s inside the mini album and it was impressive. I can see the you actually put your love into it. Out of being thoughtful, you were able to make a fabulous mini album. Your daughter would certainly love what you made for her.

  2. Antoinette August 8, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Happy 30th to Seona! (Was she happy? Or did she also needed ‘some intensive therapy to come to terms with this’ – I know I did when I turned 30, lol what I’d give now to be that young again :p)
    I absolutely love the mini-album and I’m sure Seona was over the moon. It’s a book full of love and memories. Great job, Karen!

  3. karooch August 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Thanks Antoinette. No I think she handled it better than I did (both now and when I was 30). And she was very happy with it. Especially with the last page (which is not shown here) where I made a classified ad in a newspaper advertising a position vacant for a travel companion for next year. Depending on how the planning works out, we may be able to catch up around May.

  4. Virginia Criminal Attorney August 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    I like the way you introduce your art of design. I also make scrapbooks and many albums out of my old office supply. This is a very easy way to make a one of a kind project for someone, or to highlight the past holiday in an easy and darling way! This is only one style of mini albums, we will be highlighting more as time goes by.

  5. Simone August 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Oh this is so cool. I never thought of mixing digital and paper scrapbooking before. That opens up a whole new line of thinking for me.


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