How to Make a Fabric Case for Photo Discscomments (11) June 7th, 2012
When I think of a season of celebration (weddings, graduations, spring birthdays, etc.), I think of photos—partly because I take a ton of them and partly because I used to work in photo labs so I know I'm not the only one who does! These days, when digital means we can take hundreds more without paying for film or developing, it makes more sense to share our photos with friends and family in digital form rather than print them all out, so I love the idea of packaging seemingly impersonal photo discs in custom-made fabric cases. Give the newlyweds a beautiful handmade case full of thousands of photos everyone took at their wedding, or give your graduating BFF a case full of all the silly shots taken throughout the college years!
- Fabric for the outside and lining (about 7 inches x 13 inches of each)
- Felt for inner padding
- Ribbon, yarn, or cord for ties
- Thread and needle, or sewing machine
- CD sleeves
- Optional extras: fabric paint for stenciling, embroidery floss, etc.
If you are an experienced quilter, I'm sure you could make a better version of this project, and I'd love to see what you do; my methods may not be traditional, but it worked! I used three layers of cheap felt inside the fabric to make it thick and padded—you can use something else besides felt if you have something better.
Start out by cutting one piece of felt about a half inch bigger on all sides than two CD sleeves next to each other, like this:
Use this piece as a template to cut more felt pieces for your padding and your two fabric pieces—cut the two pieces about an inch taller and wider than the felt piece. I cut one more felt piece twice as tall so it folds over to be double thickness, making three felt layers total including the original felt piece.
Sew the two fabric pieces together, with right sides facing, along the long top and bottom but not along the short sides.
Turn the piece right side out, and put the felt padding inside.
You'll be sewing the sides closed, with the ties inside, so let's talk about the ties for a moment. You need to have one long tie and one shorter—the long one will come out from the front side, wrap around the whole case one or more times, and the short one will come out from the back to tie in front. For this case, I hand-knit an i-cord, making the long side about 19 inches (when slightly stretched) and the short side about 7 inches, so the long side wraps around only once. On my wedding case, however, I used lace ribbon and cut it much longer so that it can wrap around two, three, or four times. If you're using ribbon or yarn and can cut it to the length you want, you can just leave it extra long when sewing it in, then trim it the length you want once it's all done.
You need to sew the sides closed, with edges neatly folded in and ties enclosed; you can do this however you want. If you're machine sewing, you can do it all in fewer steps than I used, but I wanted my hand-sewing to be secure, so I first sewed the back side fabric over the felt, then stitched the ties securely to that layer.
Then I folded the top fabric layer under and sewed through all layers up the sides. You could do some quilting on this piece now if you want to, but as long as the felt is sewed into the sides, it should stay flat and all together.
Next, I sewed a line up the middle of the rectangle by folding it in half to find the exact center; this holds all the layers together evenly and marks where the CD sleeves should go. Sewing in the sleeves can be a bit tricky, since they are slippery, so stitching up the center first will help that step to be much easier.
Now you'll want to fasten the sleeves together themselves before stitching them into the case. I used eight sleeves, for a capacity of 16 discs in my case—a couple more would fit fine, but I wouldn't use more than 10 sleeves in one case. Divide the sleeves in half and arrange them with the hole-punched edges aligned in the middle, switching between left and right, so that the center overlap should be a left sleeve, then a right sleeve. Bring your sewing needle through the top hole of all the sleeves, then through the next hole down, repeat a few times, and tie it tight. This is easier said than done, as the sleeves will slide around, so work slowly, then repeat on the bottom holes. If you have a different kind of sleeve, fasten them together however it'll work.
Next, stitch the sleeves into the case—you can do this with a machine, but it's tricky and slippery. I stitched mine in by hand with embroidery floss, through all layers, making a neat straight stitch on the outside seam.
Back to that wedding case I made—I used a different kind of sleeve that had pages for attaching pictures so I could make the case look more like an album.
I chose my fabric colors and ribbon to match the bridesmaids' colors and lacy details of the wedding, so the CD book can be kept forever as a wedding keepsake, more than just a storage case.
If you are photographing a wedding and giving the couple your digital images instead of prints, then you can do what I did, but here are some other ideas for non-photographers:
If you are a crafty bride-to-be or in a wedding party, you could craft one of these for a wedding keepsake, and ask everyone at the wedding to make a disc of the photos they take to fill it later.
I think this would make a great wedding gift, left empty, or with blank CD-Rs, with a note saying it's meant to be filled with all the future photos of their married life. You could make one disc of all the photos you can find of them together before the wedding to get it started.
If you have a parent with a spring birthday coming up and you have kids, I'm sure any grandparent would love a case full of thousands of grandkid photos!
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery
Find ideas to create the ultimate DIY Wedding and to help plan any showers and parties this spring.