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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No-Paper-Bag Paper Bag Brag Book

I absolutely love it when Andy comes home and says someone at work is going to have a baby! Baby brag books are one of my favorite things to make. Brag books for cats and dogs are a close second.


I've always loved the look of paper bag books. But if you've ever made one, you know that the bags can be kind of a pain to deal with. Very often they are wrinkled or have uneven folds. It's hard to decide how to use the flap, and the paper is so thin! So I thought, "Why not use the ginormous roll of brown kraft paper that I bought YEARS ago?" It's nice and heavy and I think it replenishes itself every time I cut a piece off! Turns out it works really well! 


Here's what I use:
Six pieces brown kraft paper, cut in 13 x 6 inch strips. Each strip will be one page.
Twelve 6x6 inch squares of paper, patterned or solid, it's up to you. 
Cardstock for a frame and pull-outs.
Solid cardstock for photo mats.
I used my Cuttlebug and Nestabilities to cut the frame and pull-outs, a Stampin' Up Round Tab punch, a circle punch, and a hole punch.
Cinch & binding wires or hole punch and binding rings.
Sewing machine (You don't have to sew this--I just love the way it looks)

Fold each piece of kraft paper in half and sandwich it between two of your 6 inch squares, leaving a half inch of kraft paper showing on the fold side. Use paper clips or binder clips to hold this together and stitch around the page, leaving the top open (for a pocket) and staying off of the half inch strip of kraft paper on the fold side. I like to use a simple zig-zag stitch unless the paper is really busy. Then I go with a straight stitch. I DO stitch the top of the pages I plan to use for the front and back covers. Geez! This sounds so confusing! I hope the pictures help! 




If you don't want to sew, just use adhesive to hold your papers together. First go around the open edge and the bottom of the kraft paper, adhering it to itself. You don't need to do the folded edge--the stitching there is just for looks. If you leave the top open and stay close to the edges you'll end up with a nice sized pocket. Then adhere your patterned paper to either side.

Use a circle punch to punch out a half circle in the middle of the opening of each pocket. I just know that if I didn't do that, six years from now someone would say, "Hey! There's a pocket in this page and this ribbon is attached to this card-thingy that pulls out!"

Once you've assembled all of your pages, put them all together using a binding tool or by punching a few holes and inserting binder rings. If your sewing machine is pretty heavy duty you could probably even stitch through the kraft paper. 


I like to put a frame on the front. I pick a shape I like and, if it's a Nestability, I cut several layers of heavy cardstock for stability. If it's a bigger die, like a Sizzix, I just cut a piece of chipboard and whatever paper I want to cover it. For this I cut four pieces of heavy cardstock. 


I cut a circle out of the centers of three of them and left the fourth one whole for the time being. I also cut a piece of red paper with the next smaller label die, but I used the next bigger circle die for the center, so that when they're layered, the white shows around all the edges. 


Now back to the fourth piece. I guess we could call it a spacer. Place the frame on top and trace the circle onto it.. Then just cut out a space big enough to slide a photo in.  (I will cut along the blue lines and remove the whole middle) I know my pic shows the open side at the bottom, but please don't put it on your book that way, or your picture will slide right out! This piece gets attached to the back of the frame then the whole thing goes on the cover.



I used the same label dies for the pull-outs. One of these will slide into each pocket.



I like to put mats on the pages to make it as simple as possible for the new mommy and daddy to get their pictures in the book. Sometimes I use colored paper, but usually just white with inked edges. If it's a gift for someone who does not scrapbook I'll even send adhesive. 

I punched the tabs and stamped the baby's initials on three of them and a star on the fourth, then attached them to the edges of the four inside pages with a Tiny Attacher staple. Those are SO cute! 

Here are the finished pages. I just realized I don't have a pic of the back cover and I already sent it to work with Andy. It looks just like the front, but without the frame, and with my little 'mp' stamped at the bottom. 






Hope you're able to follow that! Time for bed. But first thing in the morning I'm going to finish the sample for another birthday party invitation. Same family as the Lego party, but Joshelle is having a Candyland party! I'll show you what I've come up with after she sends them out. And when I come back on Thursday or Friday, I hope to show you a secret envelope box. Really cool! See you then! 

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