Recommended Tools for Beginners – Part 1

Mom2Create, a subscriber to my YouTube channel, asked in a comment what tools I would recommend to beginners?  Thank you, Janette (Mom2Create) for this great question.

When I started making scrapbook layouts, way back in 2003, I watched every video I could find on the subject.  I read hundreds of internet articles on the subject.  Blog posts, HGTV’s website that offered paper crafting information, anything I could find.  I bought books and magazines dedicated to scrapbook layouts.  The magazines and videos were largely based around Sizzix die cutting machines and the various dies available.

I had a problem.  Everything I read or video I watched was geared to the crafters that had ready supplies and tools on hand.  I, basically, had nothing.

I had a grid ruler that I bought in 1993 or 1994 which I used in my sewing.  I tried my hand at quilting…..and found that to be something I did NOT enjoy one little bit.  I had fabric scissors.  That was the extent of my paper crafting hand tools.

In a state of frustration one day in 2004 I did the worst thing I could have done.  I went to my local craft/hobby store and began loading my cart with all kinds of stuff.

For one minute imagine if you will, or even remember, going into a grocery store really hungry.  You start off with good intentions to purchase the necessary food items for meals and replenish any pantry or condiment items you are out of.  PLUS you go into the grocery store without a LIST!

Everything looks good to eat.  Stomach grumbling.  Brain telling you it is time to eat.  The food items you originally went in to purchase for dinner are no longer in your memory.  In fact, you can’t remember what you went to the grocery store for in the first place.  Maybe  you’ll remember what it was as you wander the aisles.

When I got home from my shopping at the craft/hobby store I had paper.  Slabs, pads, packs, and bundles of paper.  I had rubber stamps that looked interesting.  What I didn’t have was a paper trimmer, nor did I have an ink pad to use with the rubber stamps.  I didn’t even get a pair of paper scissors.

In essence I went down the cookie aisle and loaded up with every kind of cookie I saw that looked good.

In this series of videos and blog posts I am going to start with the rudimentary tools a person needs to begin paper crafting.  The items I have chosen to start this series are essentials that will be your foundation.  With these few tools….scissors, rulers, bone folders, and craft knife……you can create anything with these simple tools.

Foundation hand tools for your paper crafting

Foundation hand tools for your paper crafting

I have a YouTube video demonstrating these tools.  What to look for, which tool to choose for your needs.  I tell you why you need two pairs of scissors.  One for paper and one for fabric (ribbons, lace) and what to look for when buying a pair of scissors.

I have a pair of kitchen shears that I use frequently.  These are really OLD and at one time they were top of the line in the scissor world.  Wiss brand.  Over the years they have been used by others that have put them to work in situations and places that I will never visit.  The blades are separated and cause problems from time to time.

When purchasing scissors look closely at them closed.  There should NOT be a gap between the closed blades.

There should be NO gap between the closed blades

There should be NO gap between the closed blades

Here is the first video in the series.  Maybe I will remind a long time crafter of what they did in the early days of their creating. Or maybe give you a tip that makes placing letter stickers in position easily.

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How to make chipboard mini album pages.

About two years ago I read a comment on a YouTube video, don’t remember which one it was though.   The viewer asked if there was anywhere to find out how to make a mini album from start to finish.  At first the question seemed strange.  Then I remembered how I felt when I first heard about mini albums and watched one video after another of finished products.  The same question banged about in my head.  How does one go about starting the whole process?

That viewer is probably now making some of those fantastic mini albums after having gone through the learning curve all by themselves.  I am going to create a series of blog posts all about creating a mini album.  From start to finish.  Since I am making one for my granddaughter’s birthday I figure now would be a good time to document the process.

There are many phases to creating a mini album.  There are many types of mini albums as well.  Paper bag minis which make use of the brown paper lunch bag.  Card stock mini albums that are made entirely of card stock and patterned papers.  The sizes range from 3 inches to 9 inches.  The “standard” seem to be having 6 to 8 pages in the album with a ton of pockets.  I deal with that feature in a later post.  Right now I want to just focus on how to begin.

This mini album will be for an 8 inch by 9 inch, three ring binder.  It will also feature chipboard as the page bases throughout.

STEP ONE:  You have to decide on the size of your mini album.  Then you have to decide what you will use as the base pages for the actual function of the mini album.

STEP TWO:  You  have to think about the “Sections” of your mini album. Are they all going to be the same?  A wedding theme?  A new baby?  A birthday?  A family reunion?  This type of mini album will not need to have dividers, or sections.

My granddaughter’s mini album will feature sections for friends, family, sports, and her precious self.  I want to take a “moment”, if you will, of her life and hold it for safe keeping for her.  Over the coming years she can look back and remember the fun she had with her friends, the soccer (football) games she played in, her quirky little brother, and what her life was like as a 15 year old young woman.

STEP THREE:  Choose the photos you want to use in the mini album.  You can check out my previous post about how I chose the photos.

STEP FOUR:  Gather your supplies.  I purchased some of the components for this mini album from a local scrapbook store.  Not from one of the major chains of crafting stores.

My supplies

My supplies

This mini album will be a notebook type.  I purchased a Bo Bunny 8 inch by 9 inch chipboard bound three ring binder that was empty.  Had no papers or plastic holders inside.  There was an assortment of books available that included the papers, plastic photo sleeves, and other decorative items.  I did not like what I saw for the paper choices and chose to make my own.

 

Bo Bunny 8 x 9 binder

Bo Bunny 8 x 9 binder

Now the process begins.  Get a scrap piece of paper that is long enough to fit the length of the binder you have chosen.

Scrap paper to make the ring  holes

Scrap paper to make the ring holes

As even as you can possibly get it, place the scrap piece of paper between the ring jaws and close them on the paper.  You will make an indentation on the scrap paper where the rings close.

Close the rings on the scrap paper

Close the rings on the scrap paper

Measure and draw a pencil line 1/2 inch from the edge of the scrap paper.  Find the ring binder indentations on the paper and mark their placement on this scrap.

Draw a line 1/2 inch from the paper edge

Draw a line 1/2 inch from the paper edge

Make a circle on the line where the binding closed

Make a circle on the line where the binding closed

Check to make sure these marked areas line up with the binder jaws.

Make sure the circles match the rings

Make sure the circles match the rings

Make any adjustments now.  It is necessary if you want the pages to fit properly.  When everything lines up punch the holes in the scrap paper guide.  Test your “guide” for fit and make any adjustments now.

Punch holes in the scrap paper guide

Punch holes in the scrap paper guide

For the chipboard pages of this album I will be using four (4) sheets of 8-1/2 by 11.  You can use cereal boxes cut to the size you need.  Have some lined paper pads?  Take the backer board from the paper pad and use it.

8-1/2 x 11 chipboard sheet

8-1/2 x 11 chipboard sheet

I am cutting the chipboard at 7-1/2 inches along the 11 inch length.

 

Measure 7-1/2 inches

Measure 7-1/2 inches

Using a craft knife cut the chipboard

Using a craft knife cut the chipboard

I will be using the “off cuts” in this mini album as pages, too.  I won’t be discarding the short pieces.

I want to have tabbed dividers in this album.  If you would like to as well, find something with a tab on it.  Notebook plastic tabbed dividers, chipboard dividers, recipe card dividers.  Whatever you wish to use as a template.

Find a template

Find a template

Line up your template to the starting tab placement you want to establish as the start.  Trace around your template with a pencil.  Take the next page and move the template over for the placement of the next tab.  Continue drawing and marking your template piece on your base pieces until you have completed this step.

Align the template to the first sheet

Align the template to the first sheet

Draw around the template

Draw around the template

Line up the second sheet and mark the placement

Line up the second sheet and mark the placemen

Do the same for the third

Do the same for the third

Continue until you have them all marked

Continue until you have them all marked

Using the craft knife and a metal edged ruler cut along your pencil marks on each of the tabbed divider sheets.

Using a craft knife cut along the pencil line

Using a craft knife cut along the pencil line

At the tabbed area cut on an angle

At the tabbed area cut on an angle

Your first tab is created

Your first tab is created

Continue the process until you have finished

Continue the process until you have finished

Using your “hole guide” line up the scrap piece with the bottom edge of your chipboard where you will make the holes.  Make sure the template is even along the bottom and one of the outer edges.  Mark the hole alignment with a pencil.  Cut out the holes and then test fit these pages in your binder.

Bring your hole template to the pages

Bring your hole template to the pages

Line the template along the bottom and one side

Line the template along the bottom and one side

Mark the hole placement

Mark the hole placement

Punch the holes

Punch the holes

Test fit the pages in your binder

Test fit the pages in your binder

That’s enough for today.  Tomorrow we will tackle the project of covering your chipboard with papers.

The easy part has just been finished.  I hope you will stick with me as I go along this journey into enlightenment 😀

 

Leslie