I'm all about sweet and simple gifts. For our recent graduation from college, I wanted to commemorate some of the wonderful times I have had with my girlfriends. Of course, with a baby, finals and a husband also trying to graduate, I didn't have much time for an elaborate gift nor did I have a lot of money for something expensive. My solution: Handmade Photo Books (x3). I loved them so much I made one for myself after graduation.My idea evolved as I worked: I started out with a stack of 4.5 x 6.5 inch photo frame cardstock from Michael's. I knew I wanted to have them bound together in some form, so I cut 4.5 x 7 inch white card stock to mount my frames and pictures on. The extra .5 inch in length was for the binding in the end.After mounting each photo and frame on either sides of the white cardstock, I made little, handwritten labels. Normally, I am far to obsessive to write my own labels in my scrapbooking attempts, but I did for this because I wanted it to be as reminiscent and hand-made as possible.
When that was all said and done and I headed to our school's graphics lab to employ cheap production while I still could. However, this would not be expensive to do anywhere (another thing that makes this gift so great!)I used a cold laminating machine to laminate the cover and back page in order to protect the book. (A hot laminating machine did not work because of the multiple layers of the sheets). Beware the cold lamination - at least the stuff I used -has only one transparent side, so you can't have a picture on the backside of your lamination.)
After the lamination, I took the cover, back and all the inside pages to have them bound in a print shop. It cost me about $3 to have all four photo books bound. Be sure to specify that you want a loose comb binding - don't let them bind it too tight or it will be difficult to use and won't lay flat when you're finished.
This project is so simple! You could easily whip one together for a friend's birthday or to commemorate an event or vacation. I love that it doesn't require the same level of commitment as a scrapbook can: it only has to be as big as you want it to be and it is much less expensive to put together.
And the finished product looks great in any living room!