How to Make a Custom Photo Album

comments (5) October 16th, 2008     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
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A plain 4x6 photo album becomes something really special with some simple sewing and creative embellishment.
Abstract appliqué with scraps of recycled T-shirt fabric can make a really cool look.
If you find a T-shirt with graphics or text that match the subject of the album, you dont even need to worry about embellishment!
A plain 4x6 photo album becomes something really special with some simple sewing and creative embellishment.

A plain 4x6 photo album becomes something really special with some simple sewing and creative embellishment.

Photo: Lee Meredith
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Being a life-long photographer, I have a special love for photos and the bookshelves full of albums to prove it! I think a photo album (or scrapbook) filled with memories is a fantastic gift, but you can't just put them into a boring store-bought album, oh no! If the album itself is a beautiful, handmade, personalized part of the gift, the whole book will be so much more special. So, in continuing with my recycled-crafting theme I just can't seem to break away from, I'm here to show you how to use old or thrifted T-shirts to make a custom album cover.

You'll need:

  • Photo album of your choice with a hard cover (I recommend no larger than two photos per page)
  • Multiple T-shirts of different colors or one T-shirt with a graphic that will become the album cover
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Optional embroidery floss or other embellishment materials of your choice
  • Photos to fill the album
  • Optional nonphoto items for inside the album (ticket stubs, postcards, etc.)

Open up the album, and cut T-shirt pieces so that when placed together the fabric height is about an inch more than the album and the width is a little less than twice the album. Imagine that this strip of T-shirt pieces is divided into four equal segments. The two end segments will be on the inside covers of the album, while the third segment over from the left will be the cover. So, if you are using a T-shirt with a graphic that you want on the cover, the graphic should be positioned in that third segment over. This will all make more sense as you scroll down to the next steps . . .


I like to use hemmed edges of T-shirts for the two sides for a clean look on the inside covers.

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posted in: embroidery, recycle, scrapbook, t-shirt, embellish, photos, album

Comments (5)

packrat1 writes: My brother gave me a t-shirt from when he was a child and I promised to one day do something crafty with it.

This is going to the top of my list of ideas. Thanks!
Posted: 1:31 pm on July 28th
KelleyHighway writes: This isn incredibly meaningful project to give as a gift... OR KEEP! My husband and I live overseas and will enjoy two family reunions when we're home next month. I'm already wrapping my brain around projects like this. I take tons of photos, too, plus I blog, so something tangible like this would be fun!

Life is short, and it's words and memories that keep love alive. This is one way to accomplish that.

Good job! Thanks for the inspiration.
Posted: 7:13 pm on July 27th
Eternal_Clouds writes: thats cool love the idea
Posted: 10:24 am on March 8th
granitatogo writes: you are a woman after my heart! I can't wait to start! I have big manila envelopes with stuff from my vacations, just waiting for such a good idea!
And I know how I'm going to decorate the photo album for the photos I'll give my mom for Christmas this year! Your directions are very easy to follow.
Posted: 8:10 am on October 31st
pinsandneedles writes: That is very clever! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 8:59 am on October 16th
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