Toilet Paper Mini Album
By Jocelyn Cazier - Federal Way, Washington
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share this little toilet paper mini album book with you. I came across this clever design while searching the web for mini book ideas. I noticed after making my first toilet paper mini album that I could have used a hint or 2 that would have eliminated a couple of snags and/or imperfections, so look for the “*hints” along the way. Throughout the tutorial the tissue tube will be referred to as “tube”, “pocket” or both. Directions will be for the way this particular toilet paper mini album book featured in the photos was made.
Prepare toilet tissue tubes.
Roughly scrape off as much of the tissue as you can by hand. It’s okay if there is a little residue as it will be covered. Flatten by hand and use a burnisher or bone folder to flatten edges. I hot iron mine, using steam for crisp, flat edges. *hint: Slightly hand flatten first with your palm then look inside your tube to check and see if you have any paper separation (see photo example). Use a q-tip and some white glue to glue that down, and make sure completely dry before you do anything else with it. If you do not do this, you take the chance of your tags getting caught and ruined every time they are pulled out and in. Some crafters used the tubes for their cover and pages, some used chipboard covers. I use 4 tubes for pages and chipboard for covers. Also note that tubes from different brands could be different heights and lengths after flattening so try to choose tubes that are the same size once flattened especially on the short height.
Assemble the supplies you will need for your toilet paper mini album:
Get that ruler out, as dimensions will be vague and dependent on the tube size as they can vary. How to figure your cutting dimensions will be explained when we come to that part.
- 4 flattened toilet tissue tubes
- 2 pieces of chipboard cut ¼ inch larger than tube size (*hint: wait to cut until after tubes are covered and trimmed)
- 4 pieces of matching or coordinating paper to cover both sides of chipboard covers.
- 4 pieces of background paper cut 6-1/4” x width (this width is the widest measurement of tube after you have flattened it. It will be approx 4-1/4 wide.)
- 2 one inch loose notebook rings for binding. (Or your favorite binding method.)
- 1/4” hole punch for ring holes
- 1” hole punch for pocket openings (*hint: I have seen some books decorated with fold over tabs, staggered (like used on file cabinet folders. If you choose that look you do not need this punch).
- Cardstock for tags, measurements will be known after your pockets are completed.
- Use your favorite glue. It’s your favorite for a reason.
- Embellishments and coordinating paper scraps (ribbons, stickers, buttons, brads, flowers etc.).
- Scissors and/or exacto knife.
Assembling the toilet paper mini album: Use the photos to help you along. Some have multiple steps in them.
Take the 4 sheets of paper that are 6-1/4”x 4-1/4 and lay them face down on the table. If you are using double sided print paper like I did, put the side you want to show face down.
Glue a tube pocket to the center as shown in photo. At this point do not worry if the paper at edge of pocket is not even as we will be trimming the pocket after it is covered. Score along the long edge of pocket and fold the bottom flap up and glue down. Fold the top flap down and glue down. (*hint: In the photo you will notice there is a completed piece that has a dark line on it. This is just a pencil mark along the top flap edge to remind me how to hold it in the next step. (If you use the lines, only draw them a couple inches long in the center, they will be covered and won’t show.) Once the pockets are covered it’s time to even up the edges and length. For uniformity I trim all my tube pockets to 4 inches. I slightly trim one edge to be a straight and neat edge. Then I will turn it around and trim to the 4” measurement. You will need to do this by hand if you do not have a heavy duty paper cutter. (*hint: You can also paint your tube pockets a neutral or matching color a 1/2” in from the edge along all four edges and both sides. Then just attach printed paper like you would do any layering project. Or leave the tube unpainted and antique the edges with a color that will show against the tube color.
You are now ready to cut out the half circle on the pocket. Skip this if you plan a different edge finish. (*hint: When I need my punches to be accurate I draw a little black mark (permanent ink) at the center point of circle on both sides – see photo.) With the tube’s back side (pencil marked side) facing you and the top flap to the right, squeeze the sides of your pocket so you can get your upside down punch head in there. Line the edge of the pocket with the black marks (or you can eyeball it) and center the punch left and right within the pocket and apply the pressure to punch the half circle out.
In this next step you will be gluing in the pocket liners and doing an optional antiquing of the tube pocket edges. Cut 1”x 2” wide strips of matching scrap paper. You may need to trim the 2” length slightly depending on the fit into the end of the pocket. (*hint: I prefer to use a wet glue (glue stick or glue pen) to do this as it allows me a few seconds of movability to get it in place against the edge of the pocket.) Use fingertip, burnisher or bone folder to secure it to the tube.
Now that your pockets are covered and trimmed to size you can cut your chipboard covers. You can cut them to the exact dimensions of the pocket OR my preference is to add a 1/4” to the measurements for a 1/8” border all around. Decorate you chipboard covers. Glue a slightly larger piece of paper to one side then trim with scissors or exacto knife. Then repeat on the backside. If you’ve used a wet glue that goes right to the edge of the board let it dry before trimming. You can also skip the following sanding technique if that look does not appeal to you. I like to finish the edges off by sanding them so that the paper blends into the chipboard . I hold the covered board in my hand and using a piece of fine sandpaper or a craft sanding block (fine side), I sand down and off the paper. This leaves a little distressed white edge around the 4 sides. I brush off any dust and ink up the edges to antique.
Punching the holes for ring binding: On the pockets punch the holes 1/4“ in from the shorter edge and a 1/2” inch in from the longer edge as shown in the photograph. Do the same if you cut your chipboard to the same size. If your chipboard is 1/4” larger than the pockets, punch in from the short edge at 3 /8” and punch in 5/8” from longer edge. Do not insert onto rings yet.
(*hint: If using your
you will need to think it out and use test punches. The pocket pages will punch at 5 holes neatly, but if you used the larger chipboard cover you will have to think it out differently so that you don’t get half of a 6th hole. Please e-mail me privately for a better explanation on how I tricked the process to make it work. Punch your holes, but do not insert wire yet.)
Now you are ready to decorate the pages the way you would decorate any mini book page. Mine tend to be scrapbook looking. You will need a ruler on hand to measure your spaces for sizes that are visually appealing to you. Decorate your covers. I normally decorate the front cover and maybe some simple saying or something on the back cover. Since these are such small projects I prefer my layering to be in 1/8” increments. From clear transparency sheets you can cut-to-size templates for photos. Place template over the part of the photo you want to feature on the page, trace with pencil. When cutting out photo cut just inside the pencil line.
Making your tags: Measure the distance from the inner edge of hole on the left to the pocket edge on the right and the top to bottom measurement of the short edge. On my toilet paper mini album it’s about 3-3/8” by 2-1/4” The shorter edge may need to be adjusted so the tag slides in and out of the pocket without a problem. Decorate your tags as you wish as well. You can decorate one or both sides. (*hint: if you cut one tag 5-3/8” by 2-1/4” you can fold up the extra 2 inches to help hold a traditional credit card sized gift card in the last pocket, which makes this an awesome way to give a gift card.)
Now you are ready to assemble your toilet paper mini album onto the rings or spiral binding. I love to add ribbons to the binding rings or spirals, especially for girly looking books. But they can be left off if desired. (*hint: I listed the directions with a 1” sized ring. They are available in just about any office supply or variety store around. Technically, with the four tube pages and 2 chipboard covers they are still a little looser than I would prefer. So I used 3/4” ones that I purchased at a scrapbook convention. But you can certainly find them for purchase online.
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