Introduction: Mini Photo Album Book

About: I'm self taught. I like to make things. (I'm also very thrifty and I don't care much for shopping, so I make a lot of my gifts.) I'm pretty much a do-it-yourselfer.

So many photos are just kept online these days; sometimes it's nice to have memories you can hold in your hands! Make a hard cover mini photo book!


You'll need:



Some kind of photo software, (I use Photoshop Elements)


Photo Paper






Glue Stick

Hot Glue Gun

and of course your Digital Photos.

Step 1: ​Choose Your Photos

Choose your photos. Make copies so you don't accidently ruin the originals. (You can get about 10 to 12 photos on each sheet of paper; 34 photos make a nice amount.) They will be printed on one side of 3 sheets of paper. Pick 2 photos you will use for the covers also.

Step 2: Resize and Crop All Your Photos

Resize and crop all your photos to a square shape, about 2 1/2 " x 2 1/2 ". (You don't really have to, but they look nicer when you do.)

Step 3: ​Prepare Your "Canvas"

Prepare your "canvas". This is the background in your photo software where you will be pasting your photos. Make it a regular sheet of paper size, which is 8 1/2" x 11 ", landscape. You will be dividing the page up into 12 almost equal squares, (They won't be completely equal unless you trim the paper, which I didn't want to do.) You'll have 3 rows of 4. Try to leave about 3/16" space between each photo when you put them in. I put guidelines up to easier place my photos. (Keep in mind how much of a border your printer needs around the edges, mine is about 1/4"). (Chances are you'll probably not have perfectly even margins on all 4 sides, but that's ok.)

Step 4: Photo Placement

Now next I am showing you the placement of your photos by numbering the squares. (I know it looks all mixed up, right now, but it will make sense when it comes time to cut and fold the pages.) You don't really need to put actual numbers on yours (unless you want to); but you will place your pictures in the order of the numbers. See the center row is upside down? Place the photos in that row upside down too!

I like to leave the first page (square 1) blank, so that the first photo actually starts on page 2, like a real book. (If you are only using one sheet of paper, then you can leave the number 12 spot empty like the end of a real book too.) If you are using more than one sheet, arrange your pictures like you did the first one, but you don't need to leave the blanks.

Step 5: Cutting Lines

I would suggest printing off a draft practice sheet first. You can take your ruler and pencil and lightly draw a cutting line between the 3 rows, (the red lines in the photos - don't actually draw red lines!) but stop at one square to the end leaving it connected. Turn around the paper and cut down the other part leaving the other square connected. You'll have the sheet kind of looking like a backwards Z.

Step 6: How to Fold the Pages

Now it's time to fold the pages, kind of zig zaggy like you are folding a fan. (It sounds confusing, but watch the video to get the hang of it.

Take the first square and fold it onto the second square, (try to fold as evenly as you can), then fold back the third square, then fold the fourth square (the last in that row) onto the third. Then you will take the 5th square and fold it down, (see, the photo is now right side up on the other side of page 4!) and then you continue folding zig zag with the rest of the squares, when you get to square 9 fold it up to the other side of square 8 and then zig zag the rest. If you have other pages, cut and fold them the same way. Here is a video of me folding the pages. (Sorry it looks awkward; I was trying to prop up my phone and fold at the same time.)

Step 7: Paste Pages Together

Flip through the book. Unfold your pages and take your glue stick and put a thin layer of glue on the backs of pages 2 and 3 (gluing both sides of pages make it hold better), quickly stick them together. Do this carefully, as it dries fast and you won't be able to pry them apart and reposition. Put glue stick on the backs of page 4 and 5 and stick those together, and so on. You'll have a small "booklet" with 12 pages. If you have additional pages (using maybe 3 sheets) fold up and glue those too. Then glue the last page of the first booklet and the first page of the second booklet together. Do the same if you have a 3rd booklet.

Step 8: Glue the Spine

Plug in your hot glue gun. Hold your booklet so that you see the "spine". Put hot glue all over the "spine", but don't touch it (ouch!), just make sure the spine is covered, and hold it until it is dry, (so it won't stick to anything.) It dries really quick. (I wasn't holding the booklet in the photo because I only have 2 hands and someone had to take the picture, lol.)

Step 9: Cut Cardboard for the Cover

Now to work on the covers. Get some cardboard, (I used an old Amazon box), and measure out 2 squares 3 1/4" x 3". For the book cover spine, measure across the spine that you just put hot glue on. Use that measurement (since I used 3 sheets, mine was about 1/2") x 3 1/4", to cut out the cardboard for the spine. Cut these 3 pieces out of the cardboard.

Step 10: Pictures for Cover

Choose pictures for the front and back of the cover. These will be printed on 8 1/2" x 11" shiny photo paper. Open your photo software and set the "canvas" for 8 1/2" x 11" landscape. Look at the pictures above, you can see the blue guidelines..

(If you are making more than one mini album, you can squeeze 2 of them on one photo paper sheet, so that you don't waste the paper.) Make guidelines at 4 1/4" horizontally, and 5 1/2" vertically. (This will seem confusing at first, but hopefully you'll understand when you look at the picture of the guidelines.) At the vertical line, this is where the spine will be. Measure your cardboard spine, (mine was 1/2" wide), put guidelines on both sides of the center guide, so that it makes it 1/2". Then put guidelines 2/16" away from the guidelines you just put on both sides. (You will need these for spaces.) Make another guideline 1/2" down from the top, horizontally. (You will need 1/2" around the edges for flaps that will be needed to fold around the cardboard...) Next you'll be adding another vertical guideline, this will be measured 3" from the intersection of the furthest right guideline. Then put another guideline one inch after that line. Put another horizontal guideline 3 1/4" down from the intersection of the last guideline. You should now have guidelines for a square that is 3" x 3 1/4" for the front cover. To make the back cover guidelines, measure 3" from the leftmost guide from the spine, and put a guideline there. Measure 1" to the left of the last guideline and put another vertical one there. Now you will have the 3" x 3 1/4" square for the back cover and 1/2" spaces along the top and bottom for flaps for folding, and 1" space on the sides for flaps for folding.

If you are making more than one book, go ahead and put another one on the same sheet.

Step 11: Put Photos on Cover

Now bring in your front cover photo. Resize the photo so that the main part of the picture fits into the front cover square on the right. You can extend the photo onto the flap areas, (as they will be folded over the edges of the cardboard), but be sure the most important part stays in the inner square. Line up the left edge of the front cover photo with the leftmost spine guideline, which means part of the cover photo will be on the spine too.

Bring in the back cover photo, resize it like you did the front cover photo, fit it into the back square on the left. Add a title to your front cover. Add a title to the spine. You can add some text to the back if you want. You can fit another one on the photo paper sheet if you want, like I did.

Step 12: Print, Cut and Fold Cover

Do a test print in draft on regular paper first. This is to make sure the size fits before using your good photo paper and extra ink.

Cut out your draft print. It won't have the guidelines printed on it, so you'll just have to hope you got the sizes right. Turn over sheet. Take your cardboard pieces and lay them on top of the back. You might want to hold it up to the light so you can see through it to make sure things are centered.

Put the spine in the center, leave about 2/16" space between the spine and the covers, (you'll need the space for it to be able to fold.) Trace around the cardboard pieces with a pencil. Then use a ruler and draw a 2/16" box around the traced things. These will be fold lines the width of the cardboard.

Take your scissors and clip all 4 of your corners close to the inner corner, to make the foldable flaps. For the spine, clip out a W shape leaving the triangle shape at the edges of the spine, (to fold over.)

Fold the flaps on all the fold lines. Temporarily tape the cardboard to the draft cover in the traced spots. (You can make the tape less sticky by sticking it on your jeans first to pick up a bit of lint, so you'll be able to peel the tape off without damaging the cardboard.) Fold over the flaps and temporarily tape them down. Check to see that things are centered correctly, and the flaps meet nicely in the corners. Sit your little booklet inside the cover and see how it fits.

It should be centered inside with about 1/4" space around the edges. If things fit nicely, then you're ready to print the final copy. If not, then do some adjustments before trying printing it again.

Step 13: Attaching Cover

Once you've got it all sorted and you've printed it on your good photo paper, do all the steps that you tried above with the draft with the good photo paper, except instead of using tape, you will be using your hot glue gun.

Put a line of hot glue down the center and stick the cardboard spine down quickly. Don't let the glue dry before sticking it down or it will be lumpy, and don't use too much glue or it will squish out the edges. Next draw a square around the inside with the hot glue, again quickly sticking down the cardboard cover. (The glue doesn't need to be spread over the entire cover, just along the edges.) Be sure to leave the 2/16" space between the spine and the cover. Again don't let the glue dry before sticking it down. Do the same with the other cover.

Step 14: Glue Flaps

Now you'll fold the flaps over the edges and glue them down. Put a dot of glue on the top of the spine and fold over the triangle tip. Being careful not to burn yourself. Do the same with the bottom one.

Do one flap at a time. Put a line of hot glue along the edge of the cardboard, quickly fold over the flap and smooth it down. Don't burn yourself and don't let a bunch of glue squish out and get lumpy. Do all the rest of the flaps.

Step 15: Making the End Papers

Next we'll make the end papers. (These are the papers stuck to the cardboard covers, which covers up the ugly cardboard and holds in the booklet.)

Fold a sheet of paper in half. Trace one of the covers on the fold. Trace another cover. Cut both out. You then will probably want to trim about 2/16" off the 3 edges, (you don't want these papers sticking out, so trim them if you need to.) Try fitting the end paper inside the cover. There should be at least 2/16" of the colored photo paper visible around the edge.

Use the hot glue gun and trace around the edge and quickly glue down one side of the end paper to the cover, leave the other page loose. Take the other end paper and do the same with that to the other side. You'll have the end pages glued down and 2 single pages sticking up with space in the middle for your booklet.

Step 16: Glue the Booklet Into the Cover

Now we'll be glueing the booklet into the cover. Do NOT glue down the booklet's spine! It will need space to open.

What you will be doing is glueing the first page to the first loose end paper and glueing the last page to the other loose end paper. Be careful and glue quickly around the edges. The end papers may be a bit larger than the booklet's page, you can trim those off afterward. Close the book.

Step 17: Enjoy Your Mini Photo Album!

You are done! Enjoy it!

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