This post was written by Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade.
As much as I love the immediacy of sharing photos on my phone, I have a secret soft spot for those old fashioned traditional school year photos. You know the ones. The first of the school year wide-eyed wonderment? They are about as unselfie as it comes. And there is something so sweet about your kid’s face in those picture… without the eye rolling, hand in the face, tongue sticking out expressions. Tell Dad to stop searching through his phone photos to brag about your kids to his friends. Hand them the real deal, a book they can flip through.
How 20th century.
- Plastic wallet photo inserts. These can be found at drugstores and wherever wallet accessories are sold. I used 2 versions, one inserts the photos from the top (portrait style), the other from the side (landscape). Both hold 12 3 ½” and 2 ½” (wallet-sized) photos.
- Soft leather scraps, measuring at least 7” x 5”. I bought a leather mini-skirt from the thrift store for $7.99 which not only gives me plenty of leather to cut into and upcycle for this project, but for many other projects as well.
- Waxed thread. Available at good paper stores, craft stores, and anywhere leather is sold, like Tandy Leather. (In a pinch, you could even use waxed dental floss.)
- A large needle, with an eye large enough for the thread, and strong enough to push through leather and plastic layers.
- A thumbtack or awl
- Scrap cardstock for making a template
- A ruler
- Scrap piece of cardboard or cardstock.
- Binder clips
Wrap a piece of scrap leather around the photo insert at the top edge (the spine). Clip the leather firmly around the top with binder clips. Make sure that the leather completely covers the front and back of the photo insert with ¼” extra around each side and bottom.
Make a template for punching your holes into by cutting a piece of cardstock the same dimensions as the spine you created in Step 1. Using a ruler, make the 2 outer holes ½” in from each edge, then evenly space 2-3 more holes in between them. Punch through the holes with a thumbtack or awl.
Use your template and a pencil to mark holes across the spine on the leather cover and the photo insert. Punch these holes through with a thumbtack. (Note: I’m using scrap leather in the photo, not the photobook, which is why the piece looks small.)
Thread a length of thread (no longer than your forearm) to sew the spine. I did sort of a modified Japanese stab stitch, but you could also do either a running stitch or backstitch across the holes. Just make sure to pull the thread snug for a sturdy spine and knot the ends on the insides of the cover.