Monday, July 15, 2013

How To Build A Paper Bag Album

OK, using a laptop at the cabin to write this.  I hate laptops.  They don't make craft blogging so easy to do but I will try my best :0P  

I have had a couple people email me this last week and ask that I get these instructions on the blog, so here you all go.  Start with about 8 bags.  If you are making the camp book, you can get away with 6, but I used 8 bags.  I used my fabulous ATG tape gun to put these together, but any glue will do, even just a good old bottle of white school glue.

I like to start with the back page.  Grab your first paper bag and lay it down so the flappy bottom part flaps up. 

Take the second bag, fold up the flappy, and glue the flappy part to the back page like shown in the picture above.  I line the folded edge of the two bags up and glue it down.

To glue it down, I just run adhesive along the four sides of the flap, then press it into place.

 Press everything down and you are ready to make the bulk of the album.

 Take two paper bags.  Lay them down so the flaps meet in the middle.

 Hold one side down and apply your adhesive to the four edges of the flap.

 Press the two flaps together to make one set of pages.

 Fold the two bags together so that the corners meet and then crease the folded flappy area flat.  That is to keep the pages all uniform in the book.

I made three sets of those pages for this album.  Now, with all your inner pages made, you are ready to put it all together.  Grab the back set of two again.

Lay the three sets of double pages on top of the back piece.

Notice that the pages are kinda fluffy.  We will be folding the flap of the bottom piece to be the binding of the album.  Run adhesive along the four sides of the flap as well as down the center of the flap.  

I figure out about how much extra room I want to leave for the binding by holding it up like this and marking where the pages come when they are not compressed.

Fold the flap along that line and press the flap down so that the crease on that bottom page's flap lines up with the top page's edge.  When in doubt, look at the pictures.  This can be a little tricky to try and express with words...especially with as much bug spray as I have been inhaling.  Did I mention that the mosquitoes are like birds up there, swarming the Alfred Hitchcock way!

Now the top page should look something like this, with a flap across the top.  The open end of the album will naturally open wider when just sitting there.

Now, all of those lunch bags will have a flappy part like this that is now secured down.

Be sure and glue those down as well.

You may have noticed that two sets of those inside page sets are not secured to the album.  Rather than gluing those to the next set and losing page space I chose to use hemp rope to bind the whole thing together.  I took these pictures in the middle of our encampment, so I didn't have my hemp, but this ribbon is probably easier to see anyway.  In fact, I kinda like the ribbon!

Open the book up to the middle set of pages, and run the ribbon across one side of the flappy part.

Make sure you have a bit of a tail so you can tie the whole thing together in the end.  Now, just pull the ribbon across the spine, then wrap it around the other side of the flappy thing belonging to the middle page set.

The binding will look something like this.

 The top starts to look loopy.

 Keep wrapping the pages together around the binding until you have wrapped around both sides of all the flaps.  

Leave a 8-10" tail so you can wrap the spine of ribbons.

It is nothing too gorgeous, but it works great.  

There you have it, my way of making a paper bag album.

  I hope this helps all of you making the Camp Smashbook.  If you have any questions, please comment below or email me at :0)


  1. Thank-you Vanessa. I will get to work on the 22 I'm making.

  2. Thank you for answering my question. So prompt :)

  3. I am making these for my Tiger Scouts thank you for the tutorial.

  4. love it thank you i have been looking for this everywhere!

  5. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for this tutorial. I made it this afternoon and it went together so easily and looks fabulous! I thought the pages would bind when turning them but they turn so nicely and flat. LOVE it!!

    1. Yay! Sylvia, I am so excited you found this tutorial useful AND that it worked out well for you!!! These little paper albums are just such a fun way to keep memories. May you have need to make many more happy little paper memory books ;0}

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! You made my day.

      The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker

    2. I have made these every which way but this by far the neatest result!! Instead of ribbon I used really good narrow washi tape in gold and the spine blends right in with the rest of the album, or a design would look great too. Thanks so much!!!!

  6. Will give this a try! Thank you!

  7. Hi Vanessa! Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial. After much searching on Pinterest your method appealed to me the most. I used 14 paper bags to create my album using your instructions as a guide and I know I will be making more in the future. Here's a link to my album if you want to check it out: Thanks for the inspiration! :)


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