By Christina VanGinkel
One of the best things about crafting as a hobby is that you can often make things from very little. A lunch bag sized Paper Bag Album is the epitome of this fact. With scrapbooking all the rage, the most common complaint I often hear from others who also enjoy this hobby is the cost involved. This is true in many respects. It is quite easy to spend money on everything from paper and embellishments, to tools. It is just as easy though to create a complete album for less than a couple of dollars. A Paper Bag Album is an ideal project for someone wanting to enjoy the hobby of scrapbooking, but without the full expense so often associated with it. You will still need paper and embellishments, but they can be new or recycled, found things, even printed yourself from the computer. Almost anything goes with a Paper Bag Album due to the simplicity of the album at its beginning.
Supplies you will need are simple. A half a dozen unused lunch bag sized paper sacks, in brown, white, whatever colors you happen to have. I have actually seen them in neon and patterns, so your choices are varied. You will also need a simple paper punch and several keychain like loops. Plastic or metal ones will work equally well. If you have access to a bookbinder such as the personal sized ones made specifically for constructing small books, you could also bind the pages together with that. If using a bookbinder, you will not need the keychain loops, and instead will create the binding with the plastic combs that the binder uses. You will also need an assortment of paper and embellishments pertaining to the theme you have chosen to create your album around.
If you are using a bookbinder, follow the instructions for the particular model you are using. If using a paper punch and keychain rings, proceed by folding the bags in half horizontally. This will give you one side with the bag's open end, and the other side will be the bottom of the bag. On the fold, punch three to five holes with the paper punch, depending on personal preference, and how many keychain rings you were able to come up with. You can buy these new, but recycling old key chains works just as well. Once the holes are punched, lay the bags one on top of the other, matching up the holes and fold together on the folds already created individually. Once folded together, simply slip a keychain ring through each hole. When finished, you will have created your blank album; now all you have to do is decorate it.
Choose a theme and decorate accordingly. If you are on a strict budget, be creative when coming up with paper and embellishments to decorate the albums. Because of the size of a typical lunch bag sized Paper Bag Album, pieces of scrap paper will work well. Even if you do not have sheets large enough to cover a page with, simply use whatever you do have, even strips, as the blank pages work well as backgrounds all by themselves due to their natural color. For example, one picture with a tiny scrap of paper as a border and some fiber embellishments are often more than enough to create a single page. Do another with some journaling and a tag or two. You can use the open ends of the bags that create pages to slip souvenirs' into, to tuck tiny surprises, or hidden journaling. You could also seal them up with a bit of glue or stickers if you would prefer to not have the ends open, or just ignore them. There really is no right or wrong way to decorate and create with a Paper Bag Album, and that is much of the appeal. Your imagination is really your limit after you have constructed the basic album.
After you create a single lunch bag sized Paper Bag Album, you will see the potential for making a wide variety of albums on various themes for very little cost. They can even be made into day planners or date books, but I will leave that for another blog, another day!