Paper Bag Brag Book: The Sequel(s)

I love variety and personalization, so of course my versions of the paper bag brag book are all just slightly varied. And there are so many different ways to personalize and change-up these little books -- I can't even imagine what all the more creative people in the world could come up with! I have about four different ideas swirling around in my head right now, but here are the details about some of the most common and successful variations I've tried:

If you have no idea what I'm talking about... you should definitely go check out the tutorial for the basic model of the book.  :)

If you need more than 10 pages, just add more paper bags. I've bound up to 9 paper bags together (for a total of 34 pages), with no adjustment other than to lessen the needle tension a bit on my sewing machine. You'll want to be sure to alternate the folded bag end (the bottom of the bag) to even out the bulk, and then instead of pages 5-6 being the center spread with one continuous piece of paper, whatever pages end up on the middle bag will be the center spread (not that you couldn't have figured that out on your own...).

If you'd like to add photo sleeves to allow for changeable photos like a traditional photo album, cut pieces of plastic sheet protector to 5x4.5 inch rectangles. Sew one of these rectangles to each of your 5x5 squares (along the sides only, since you'll stitch the bottom later) to make a clear photo pocket before gluing and sewing the paper squares into the book. Be sure that the plastic piece is lined up with the bottom of the paper so that you'll close the bottom when you sew your paper squares to the paper bag and leave the top open to slide pictures in to.

Inmy first attempt a changeable photo album, I used double-sided tape to hold the plastic sheet in place. It didn't work that well: the tape gummed up my sewing machine, and you can easily see the tape and the dust it collects. My second attempt was more successful: I hand-stitched an X in each of the bottom corners to hold the plastic sheet in place and then sewed along the left and right edges, from the X up to the edge of the plastic, before gluing the papers in the book and sewing the papers in.

If you'd like to have a wrap-around closure tie, just use a single piece of ribbon or twill tape that is at least 20 inches long. Instead of securing the tie when you are attaching the book cover, you'll secure it when you bind the book.

If you'd like a fabric cover (embellished or not), you'll  need a piece of fabric at least 2 inches larger in length and width than your paper bag -- about 7"x13" or larger. If you're embellishing, embroider/applique/add your fanciness on the right half of the fabric, keeping your design at least 1.5" from the edge of the fabric (unless you'd like your design to fold over the edge).

To attach your fabric cover, lay your fabric face-down on your ironing board. Place your paper bag on top of it. Gently fold the excess fabric around the edges of the paper bag and press it (no steam). Tuck the corners in like you would when your wrap a gift. Then lay your paper squares for your first and last pages on top of the folded-in edges. Tuck one end of either of your ties in between the fabric and the paper. Carefully stitch around all the edges of the paper bag to secure your fabric cover to your bag, your first and last pages, and your ties.  

If you have Wonder-Under (double-sided interfacing) around... use it here. I made my fabric cover before I had discovered the magic of Wonder-Under and I nearly drove myself insane trying to keep the fabric in place as I sewed it to the book.

If you'd like to add pull-out tabs to include more pictures, journaling, or whatever else, you can print my template here. You may need to trim the top or bottom of the template to fit your book since your sewn lines might be different than mine or your paper bags a slightly different size.

You can also scrap together tabs by using a 4.5" square of cardstock (trimmed as needed to fit in your book pockets) with a tab attached. Make a paper tab by folding a 2"x1.5" piece of paper in half (hot dog style) and attaching it to the cardstock square. Or create a tab 1-3 pieces of ribbon, 2-3 inches long, folded in half and either stapled or tied to the cardstock square, like Katie does for her mini book/card.

Each pull-out tab will slide in the pocket created by the open end of your paper bag pages. Only one end of the bag is open (duh!) so...

If you want to have more pockets for pull-out tabs, carefully cut off the bottom of the bag (a rectangle) before assembling the book. Begin by trimming the two long edges (so you can slide your hand through like in the photo) and then the two short edges. At this point, your bag will look like the bottom of the three pictures to the right. To finish your alterations, just fold the former bottom flap back out straight (to the right in the image), so that the paper bag is just a flattened tube of paper, and trim any excess paper. Then stack, fold, and assemble your book.

Also, please note that the paper bags aren't acid free. As long as you have your acid-free scrapbook paper between the bag and your photo, your photos will be protected, though. The only photos that will be at risk from the acidic paper of the bags are the photos on your tabbed pull-outs in the pockets -- and even then, they'll be safe for at least 5 years. Just be sure you're not putting a one-of-a-kind heirloom print in there. 


Nick and Keira said...

Okay, gotta admit: this one blew over my head. But it's late. Also, I think I've ventured enough making my first book as it is. :)
Great post, though!

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

These are SOOOOOOOOO awesome!!! I love how many you've made! And they're such cute coffee table books, love them!

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