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Scrapbooking 101: A Booty-ful Photo Album

Lori has more than thirty years of crafting practice! She enjoys a variety of arts and crafts—but decorative painting is her first love.

One of my many toilet paper tube projects.

One of my many toilet paper tube projects.

Start Saving Those Toilet Paper Tubes

"One man's trash is another man's treasure" is certainly true . . . at least it is in this situation . . . empty toilet paper tubes. While surfing, I found a YouTube video by Ginger, My Sister's Scrapper. Her finished book was so cute. I didn't have the same scrapbook paper in my stash, but I was sure I could create something similar; I just wanted to know how she made it.

The project was entitled Vertical TP Mini Album Tutorial; I was confused by the term "TP" and what it represented but was confident the tutorial video would explain, and it did—it's toilet paper.

Get your family and friends to start saving their empty toilet paper tubes for you; you're going to make more than one TP album!

Supplies Needed

  • Pattern paper
  • Paper trimmer, scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue; liquid, ScorTape, tape gun
  • Toilet paper tubes (I recommend 4 or 6; you want an even number)
  • Chipboard
  • Embellishments, i.e., stickers, ribbon, buttons, etc.

Once you gather a few supplies, put on your creative cap, and you'll be on your way to making a "booty-ful" photo album.

Four page horizontal album.

Four page horizontal album.


Now that you have your supplies together, you need to make a few decisions.

First, decide whether you want your book to open vertically or horizontally. This is important because you want to make sure your paper is going in the right direction once you begin covering your pages.

Next, put aside the paper you want to use for your inside and outside cover. This paper can be all the same pattern or paper that coordinates; it's up to you. Just make sure you put enough aside and in a safe place so you don't use it by accident. It can be frustrating when you go to cover your book and you discover you used up all your paper.

The last decision to make before starting this project is to determine how many pages you want in your album. I recommend four or six pages—you can do more; personally, I think more than six pages would detract from the charm of this booty-ful book. Just remember you will need an even number of pages.

Get your toilet paper tubes as flat as possible.

Get your toilet paper tubes as flat as possible.

Flattened Toilet Paper Tubes

I think the success of this project is how well you flatten the toilet paper tubes; it's maybe the most difficult part, too. Pressing them flat doesn't seem to be enough; you really have to crease the edges and spend some time getting them flat.

If you have a die-cutting machine like a BigKick or BigShot, you can run the tubes through a few times, and this will flatten them nicely. If not, put a stack of books or something heavy on top of them, or maybe even a pasta maker would work. Ideally, you want them to be flat and to stay flat; if they don't, you might have difficulty securely attaching the tubes to the hinge system of your album.

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Covering the Toilet Paper Tubes

Since not all toilet paper tubes are created equal (height and width vary per manufacturer), make sure you measure the tubes you are using. This is important because you don't want the pages of your album to be uneven, i.e., different sizes.

Once you know the size of your tubes (you want them all the same size), you will cut your patterned paper according to your measurements. My experience has been most toilet tubes measure 4" to 4.25" from top to bottom. Again, you want all your tubes to be the same size because the tubes will become the pages of your album. I generally trim mine to measure 4"; however, if all your tubes measure 4.25", you don't need to trim them.

Next, cut enough paper to cover each of your tubes; a four-page book will need four; a six-page book will need six, and so on. Cut your paper 4" x 6". Be aware of your paper design. For instance, if you are making a horizontal book and using a flower patterned paper, you don't want your flowers laying on their side; you want them standing up—so make sure you cut your paper that way.

Once you have your paper cut, you will need to score each sheet at .5" and again at 3.25" from the 4" side. Use your scoreboard to make your score lines and your bone folder to crease the folds, then using your glue tape or liquid glue, wrap your pattern paper around your toilet paper tube and glue it down.

I like to cover the inside of my tube as well; this will give your page a nice finished look. To further enhance your page, you may want to use your one-inch circle punch and punch a half-circle shape on one side of the tube, then ink your edges. Repeat this process for each of your pages.

Now, you are ready to make the hinge to hold the pages in your book.

Album Hinge System Tutorial

You will need an even number of "pages" or toilet paper tubes for your album; my album has four. To make the right size hinge, you need to measure the width and length of your toilet paper tube. The tube for my project measures 2.5" x 4".

Next, take a piece of cardstock, use a coordinating color, and cut one piece that measures 1.5" x 2.5", then score this at .5" on each 2.5" side. Your second piece of card stock needs to measure 2.5" x 2.5"; this piece will also be scored at .5" on each 2.5" side. Fold and crease these pieces of cardstock well.

Put Scor-Tape on both sides of the .5" portion on both pieces of card stock. Then secure the 1.5" piece on top of the 2.5" piece. You now should have one unit with four fins; this is your hinge.

If you are making a six-page album, you'll need a third piece of card stock that measures 3.5" x 2.5", again score this .5" from both 2.5" edge; tape both sides of the two .5" section. Then secure sections one and two to this third section. You will have six fins which will accommodate six pages.

Once you have your hinge system put together, remove the tape from the first fin (only remove tape from one side of one fin at a time) and slip your toilet paper tube "page" in place—press that down, then remove the second piece of tape and permanently secure the page. Continue this process until all your pages are in place.

Caution: Make sure your tubes are in the right order and facing the right direction before you secure them onto your hinge.

Album Cover Tutorial

The Album Cover

Building the cover for your album seems more intimidating than it is—you just need to cut your chipboard evenly and tape it onto your paper straight—if you take your time, you'll be fine.

Chipboard, basically a finer grade of cardboard, if you will, is thicker than paper. So the trick to getting a nice straight cut is to hold the chipboard firmly on your paper trimmer, have a sharp blade, press firmly on the blade while cutting, and make several passes with the blade to ensure you cut all the way through the chipboard.

As with most handcrafted projects, your choices are almost limitless. For this project, I am crafting an album cover that opens like a traditional book—front, back, and spine.

When deciding on the size of your album cover, you want to keep a few things in mind.

  • Do you want the cover to just come to the edge of your pages?
  • Do you need the cover length longer than the pages to accommodate for photo mat tabs?
  • Do you need to add space in the spine to accommodate embellishments?
  • Do you have enough patterned paper to appropriately cover the album?

One of the great things about scrapbooking, or any other handcraft for that matter, is that you can customize your project. So when building your cover, keep the above bullet items in mind. Generally, when making a cover for any album, I add an inch to an inch and a half to my page size measurement. If I'm planning an elaborate page embellishment that will go beyond this increase, I, of course, will make the cover larger.

For the binding piece of the cover, I usually add a half-inch just to the width, for me personally I don't like my books to be super wide, but that's just a personal preference. For example:

  • Pages measuring 5" x 7" - cut (2) chipboard cover 6" x 8"
  • Spine measures 2" x 7" - cut (1) chipboard spine 2.5" x 8"

Once I cut my chipboard, I lay it out on my patterned paper, leaving an eighth of an inch between each chipboard piece; I allow an inch border on all sides and trim off any excess. (Save these scraps of paper; they can be used to create journaling cards for your album). I do this for a few reasons: it's easier to work with and makes for a neater finished project.

Next, using Scor-Tape, I tape all four edges of each piece of chipboard, now I'm ready to attach the chipboard to my patterned paper. I like to measure and mark where I intend to place my chipboard—this is not necessary if you're confident you can line it up and adhere it to your paper correctly.

I don't leave it to chance I like to measure, so I mark off an inch from the edge (top and bottom), lay my spine piece down (I don't tape it down at this point; just checking placement of my pieces), then I place a ruler on the paper and use that as my straight edge.

I mark an eighth inch on either side of the spine and then I line up and add my front and back piece. At this point, I begin removing the taped edges (usually, I do the spine first) and begin taping down all three pieces. Be sure to use your bone folder and press down all three pieces to make sure your tape has a good seal.

Next, I tape all edges of the patterned paper and all outer edges of the chipboard—for the chipboard you want to run your tape directly across (right over the eighth-inch gap) from corner to corner. Next, miter your corners (leaving a small gap between the point and the paper, no more than an eighth-inch)—this will give you neat corners.

Here's where you rock 'n roll! Be patient, please; begin rocking your edges. This takes a little time, but it's worth it—if you slowly begin to rock and roll your edges, your paper shouldn't tear. Once you are able to easily fold/bend your paper up and over the edge, start taping it down. Do this to all edges of the cover. Lastly, you want to gently bend and rock the front and back cover so it closes like a book.

Now it's time to line the inside of your album, add your pages, and embellish—or as I like to say—coming down the home stretch!

Crossing the "Finish" Line

This last video will take you across the "finish" line, and I think you will be happy with the results. In the previous section, we built the cover, so now all that's left is lining the inside of the cover, attaching the pages to the book, making and inserting the photo mats, and finally, embellishing the pages and the front cover.

I chose a coordinating paper to line the inside front and back cover. I cut two pieces of paper 2.5" x 6" and inked the edges. Once I taped the linings in place (they overlap each other on the spine) I pulled the paper tape covering off the back hinge of the toilet tube pages and then centered it on the inside spine of the book cover. Be sure to burnish it down so you get a good stick, use your bone folder to press and burnish the pages onto the spine.

I prepared four photo mats to slip into the pocket pages of the book using 65# black card stock; I decorated those mats with coordinating paper from the paper pack called Sunshine by My Mind's Eye. My photo mats measured 2.5" x 3.5" with the coordinating piece measuring 2.25" x 3.25"—I also inked these edges. In the video, you'll see that I used my one-inch round punch to make pull tabs for the photo mats.

Page embellishment is totally up to you—for this project, I decided to keep to a gold and black color palette, so all the embellishments I used coordinate with those two colors. It is not necessary to embellish every page—leaving some of the pages plain gives you room to add additional photographs. This is where you really get to use your creativity—the sky's the limit!

Also, with the album cover, you can use simple embellishments or really go crazy. I wrapped the spine and used just a few simple embellishments. Let me know what you think.


Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on July 28, 2014:

Well, I don't have any craft space to begin with, so I'd better keep that in mind! I remember when my cats were kittens - they loved to bat them around. Now, they bat them a couple of times and walk away - beneath their dignity, don't you see. lol

Lori Delp (author) from New Jersey on July 28, 2014:

Yes, just don't ask family and friends to save them for you, before you know it they take over your craft space:) Although, most animal shelters will take them - the kittens love to play with them.

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on July 27, 2014:

Well, I've started saving toilet paper rolls - is it an omen??

Lori Delp (author) from New Jersey on July 27, 2014:

Once you actually get started you may just get hooked!

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on July 24, 2014:

Now that's a great idea! I've always wondered what to do with the scrapbooks once you've made them. Giving them as gifts is wonderful idea! Maybe I'll get into after all. Better start saving my TP rolls! lol

Lori Delp (author) from New Jersey on July 24, 2014:

I hear you - I just started scrapping, after all my years of crafting I find I like putting books and layouts together. I'm trying to build a small business, teach what I'm learning and give my books as gifts:) Thank you for your vote!

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on July 23, 2014:

Never could get into scrapbooking, but I did have one as a teenager. Now, I just don't have room for them! I've always admired people who do do scrapbooking, though and I enjoyed the hub. Voted up.