Elementary Years Mini Album

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Elementary Years Mini Album

Mini albums can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming, but the method I’ve chosen for this album is anything but. With a simple repetitive formula, you can create this album, assembly line style, and easily use two (or more) photos from each school year, preschool through 5th grade.

It includes room for all those first and last day of school photos, and even pocket pages to hold photos or scans of your child’s artwork, report cards and special awards for each of their elementary school years. It’s the perfect way to reminisce through those years and also a great conversation piece for a display table for that senior year graduation party! It doesn’t matter if your photos are landscape or portrait in orientation, as I successfully used both throughout my album.

Patterned Paper Covered Album Pages

I chose a 6" x 6" canvas covered 3-ring album with chipboard insert pages from Little Yellow Bicycle as my album base. To start, I covered the front of all of the chipboard pages with a notebook patterned paper. Then used my ¼” circle hand punch to re-punch the holes using the ones already on the chipboard insert pages as a guide.  Once you have the front panels covered, turn them all over and cover the back panels with patterned paper. Again, re-punch the holes using your ¼" circle hand punch.

Cardstock Pocket Pages

Next, cut several sheets of cardstock to 6" x 12" using your paper trimmer. Fold them in half to form a 6" x 6" square. Open it back up and place adhesive along the bottom edge and side of the right panel and fold it back together. This will leave the top portion open giving you a pocket. Line up the each pocket with an insert page and use your ¼” circle hand punch to punch the three holes. Use the Circle XX-Large Lever Punch to punch a half-circle into the top of each pocket page.

Punch Art Apple Embellishment

Apple embellishments make for a super fun addition to this type of album. I constructed one apple for each year I have represented in my album. Remember, the key to getting an album like this done quickly is the use of repetitive design. For the apple, you’ll need to punch a circle from red cardstock. Then, use your scissors to cut a sliver off the bottom and top to give it an apple shape. Next, adhere a small brown rectangle for a stem and cut off a leaf from the punch piece you get from the Branch Out XX-Large Lever Punch.

Embellished Pocket Pages

Again, I cannot repeat enough how easy this project is if you just approach it with an assembly line mindset. You can see here, that these pocket pages were all embellished in the same manner. I just grabbed old sticker sheets in a matching color and randomly placed unused stickers in the middle of the page. This is a great way to use up all those leftover stickers. The design is finished off with a ½" x 5" strip of patterned paper, an apple embellishment and a star sticker. Super quick, super easy.

Layered Star Embellishments

Another quick embellishment that I’ve used in my album is these darling layered stars. I simply layered a few sizes of the Twinkle Twinkle Squeeze Punch and then finished it off with a button that I threaded with black baker’s twine and tied into a bow. Just make one for each page. Super quick, super easy.

Easy Stamp Press

Decorate the back of each pocket page by following the repetitive design process by using a stamped journaling tag along with additional ‘school-themed’ embellishments. I found it easiest to place several stamps at a time onto the Easy Stamp Press, ink them all at once with a nice dark black ink (I prefer Jet Black Staz-On by Tsukineko) and then press onto your cardstock. Once stamped, use scissors to cut around each journaling tag approximately ¼” from the stamped image.

Peek Inside Album Pages

From this photo you can see how I embellished the back of each pocket, shown on the left-hand side.  I used the stamped journaling block and added embellishments. The embellishments on the back of each pocket changed but the journaling block is the repetitive piece that helps pull it all together. On the right-hand side, you’ll notice the chipboard panels covered with notebook paper are embellished with a single 4" x 6" photo, a 1" strip of school-themed patterned paper and a ½" strip of patterned paper, along with a border punched strip using the Up In The Clouds Interchangeable Cartridge in the Interchangeable Border Punch Starter Set. Lastly, these pages were also embellished with a single black sticker to denote what grade level pertains to the photo.

Another Peek Inside Album Pages

The backside of the chipboard insert panels that were covered in patterned paper are also all embellished in the same way from year to year. The panel includes a 4" x 6" photo, a border punched strip using the same Up In The Clouds Interchangeable Cartridge and one of the layered button stars.

Pocket Page Contents

The pocket pages are a fun way to keep track of awards, additional photos, notes from the teacher and final report cards.  I chose to use mine to also house photos of my daughter’s most cherished artwork. Instead of keeping a huge box full of artwork, I’ve taken photos of each one and tucked them into these pockets. You can also use it as a place to store a questionnaire including fun details like their teacher, favorite subject that year, favorite memory, special honors, their best friend(s), etc.

Lastly, for the canvas covers, I simply painted on them using acrylic craft paint, allowing it to dry between each color/layer and then layered on some chipboard embellishments to help support the overall school theme of my mini-album. Once it was dry, the album was put together with oversized book rings.

Supply List

Cardstock (Bazzill Basics Paper)
Patterned Paper (Echo Park, Jenni Bowlin, Little Yellow Bicycle)
School Themed Embellishments (Little Yellow Bicycle)
Jet Black Staz-On Ink (Tsukineko)
Star Stickers (Jenni Bowlin)
Buttons (Buttons Galore)
Baker’s Twine (The Twinery)
Canvas Covered Chipboard Album (Little Yellow Bicycle)
Black Alpha/Numeric Stickers (American Crafts)
Alphabet Stickers (October Afternoon, American Crafts, BasicGrey)