DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

How to Make a Fabric Case for Photo Discs

comments (5) June 7th, 2012     

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leethal Lee Meredith, contributor
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Some stenciling with fabric paint personalizes this case more than it already was.
This project is a fabulous blend of unique beauty and functionality.
I made this case for wedding photos to match the colors and look of the wedding itself!
Some stenciling with fabric paint personalizes this case more than it already was.

Some stenciling with fabric paint personalizes this case more than it already was.

Photo: Lee Meredith
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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!

You'll need:

  • 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:

My felt piece was cut about 6 inches by 12 inches.

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.

You should have three layers of felt and two rectangles of fabric a bit bigger than the felt.

Sew the two fabric pieces together, with right sides facing, along the long top and bottom but not along the short sides.

I hand-sewed everything for this case, but you can definitely use a machine.

Turn the piece right side out, and put the felt padding inside.

Adjust it until it's all smooth and flat.

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.

Make sure your two tie cords/ribbons are on opposite sides—one near the top, the other near the bottom.

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.

The case is now done except for the CD sleeves!

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.

This simple stitch will help you keep the sleeves perfectly centered.

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.

Once the tops are tied together, it will be much easier to do the same on the bottom.

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.

Securely stitch the sleeves into the case, down that center line.


Now load it up with CDs and admire your work!


And here it is all tied up.

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 put in a cover page photo with the date of the wedding and one of my favorite shots.


Then I made up a print to go with each disc, labeling what part of the wedding is on the CD.


I made up a freezer paper stencil to print on the front of the case.


And I cut the ribbon long so it can wrap around many times for a lacy case.

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.

The bridesmaids were my main inspiration for my fabric and ribbon choices.

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!

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posted in: fabric, ribbon, wedding, felt, photos, cord, case, album, celebration, CDs

Comments (5)

EchoLin writes: Love the red color and the style, good pattern.
Posted: 4:05 am on April 17th
SweetbriarStudio writes: This is such a great idea for a lot of occasions. I was just thinking it would be great to consolidate all the family photos we've scanned in (from really, really old photos) and give them to our daughter who had almost none of them. Kind of a geneology boxset :). But I also have 2 great girlfriends, college roomies, and we have spent many a rendezvous together. Maybe I'll take all my photos and put together a roomie album. Thanks so much!
Posted: 6:31 pm on June 17th
Sweet_Dee writes: Super cute albums!
Posted: 2:29 am on May 14th
ButtonsandSweetpees writes: This is a fabulous idea. I am the photograher around my house. I this would be a really good idea to make for the parents of my step-grandparents for Christmas. It could be Pictures on CD of the year and a DVD of video I've taken through out the year. Thank you so much for sharing.
Posted: 11:07 am on May 13th
JennieC writes: Very lovely. Great gift idea.
Posted: 6:30 pm on May 12th
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