Friday, November 23, 2012

Thoughtful Gift Idea: Mini Albums!

I've never lived near my family as an adult. Sometimes, that has been hard for me. One of the challenges has always been gift ideas, especially at Christmas time. Sometimes,  I buy a little something for my sisters and mail the gifts. But often the cost of shipping outweighs the cost of the gifts! Most of the time, I try to think of something creative, lightweight, and thoughtful. None of us really need is just fun to exchange presents and send a little love their way.

Last year, I really got into making mini albums.  They are really cute! There are several styles and tutorials on the web along with TONS of ideas for how to use them. They can hold photos, thoughts, sentiments...and even include pockets and pull-outs! You can make them from toilet paper rolls, scrapbook paper, cereal boxes, the list is endless. I've made birthday booklets and included a gift card holder, blank books with journaling lines available and of course, photo albums. For my sisters last year, I made them each a little "Heritage Book".

Heritage Mini-Album

This is a photo of one I kept.  On their books, I included a metal brad on the cover that says "family". Family Tree, get it?  Inside, I included the last names of our grandparents and parents, and I adhered small wallet size photos of each couple. Towards the end are photos of each of my sisters and of course, me.

Our Mom and Dad

Rather than trying to find photos that would fit, or could easily be cropped to fit the small pages, I chose the photos I liked, and had them printed as wallet sized prints. That gave me several photographs of each. I had left over prints, but will use them in albums for my children, so it was worth the printing. (And I'm sure I used a coupon.) The books were really cute.  They don't take up a lot of room or clutter for my sisters, AND they did not cost a lot to mail.

Of course, another idea could be to make a blank book and let the receiver include their own photos. If you do that, you may want to add photo corners, or include a disposable tape runner. Anything that would make the photo inserting easier for them.  Otherwise, they may never add any. You know how it is.

I found the instructions for how to make this book here.  The MAZE BOOK
It is a great little video, easy to follow.

After learning how to make a maze book, I started exploring other sizes and ideas.  I wanted to make a book, similar to a card, to include a birthday poem and a gift card.  I found this great tutorial.  I love this book! Outstanding Mini Albums. And I really appreciate that she gives free instructions on her website. Check her out, she has lots of ideas.

All I did to include a gift card, was to make a pocket out of card stock. I used a circle punch to create the cut-out. I didn't really measure; I used a gift card and folded the paper around it for my pattern.

blank gift card holder
You can add a strip of paper or decorate the holder

Not only can these be given with photos included or personalized with a gift card, but you can give blank books as gifts. These could be used by others to give away, a ready to go present.

The best thing about these mini albums is that they can all be made with only one sheet of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper or cardstock, a few embellishments (optional), and recycled cardboard, if you want a hard cover. What a quick and easy gift idea!  I love them.

Here are a few I made last year:

A Variety of Mini Books, Albums and Themes

Happy Crafting!


  1. I love making albums, I am fortunate to live near my family... Your album made me think of an ornament if it were "mini" enough...

    I am linking over from "the Answer is Chocolate Link Party" hope to see you drop by too.

    Hugs, antonella :-)

  2. They probably would make pretty ornaments, they are not very heavy. Thanks for stopping by!