23 September, 2013


This is the second part of the minibook how-to series.  If you've missed the first post please read it here: MINIBOOK HOW-TO {part1}

In the first part I discussed 3 elements that help you to get started: an idea for the mini, choosing dimensions and binding for your book, and the selection of paper.  Today I want to talk about 3 other important aspects: style of your minibook, materials and embellishments for the project, and the photos.

The style of your mini will be often dictated by the overall idea of the project.  While I had to put my 100-day minibook project on hold, I am currently working on 2 albums for one of my customers.  There were almost no restrictions for the project and while it's tempting to go "crazy" and creative I have to keep in mind the overall style: the albums are for 2 young girls and their mother, a talented photographer, asked me for a vintage-y style.  I know that she is a big fan of the 50's and 60's so I am trying to keep this feel throughout the albums.  You can see how the paper selected for one of these albums is dramatically different from the materials for my 100-day mini and the Europe minibook.

Before selecting your paper and embellishments, before making the first page of your mini, think about the style.  Here are some of the possibilities:
vintage, modern, artsy, clean-and-simple, messy, elegant, romantic, childish, exotic, folk
If you are struggling with finding the style think about the main idea for your minibook (see part 1):
If you are making an album for your child it might be bright and childish.
If you are working on a travelling book you might lean towards romantic and messy feel, or maybe a completely opposite: clean, structured, and modern.
Finally, if you can not pinpoint your specific style, or if you need more ideas do the following exercise:
write down the theme of your minibook.  Let your mind wonder to come up with as many associations (words) for this idea as possible.  Write all of them down.  Use this list to help you select paper, embellishments, and other materials for your project.

The theme of the project will serve as a destination.  Once you know where you will be going it's time to pack!  Time to select the paper (see part 1) and decide on other materials.  You can choose to be minimalistic and use only paper for your mini.  Or you can choose to incorporate ribbons, buttons, paperclips, and other ephemera.  In fact, you can make your whole mini with materials other than paper: fabric, cork sheets, wood veneer .... 

Material itself can serve as an inspiration for your project.  I like to collect some (all if possible) of the materials beforehand.  This selection is not final and it gets revised during the creative process but having it ready from the beginning helps me to work on the page layouts and it reminds me of the theme I've picked for my project.  
If you are like me, seeing a new collection of embellishments or finding a forgotten set of die cuts can easily tempt you to rethink the whole project in order to incorporate these new element.  With the pre-made selection at hand this temptation is somewhat easier to manage.  It's also faster to find the necessity brad in the pile of selected material rather than to dig for it through the whole stash.
Using similar materials throughout the minibook unifies your project.  I've wrote about this last year in the post about my August minibook.

There is more to photos than the 6x4 format.  Even if you don't have a photo printer at home (I don't yet) you can experiment with different photo sizes.  Here are some of the possibilities:

Combine small and large
I love small photo formats so instead of printing all my shots 6x4 I minimise some of them and get four on the 6x4 canvas.  These little 3x2 images are super cute and I get four of them printed at once.  Sometime I used them on their own, other times I combine them with regular-sized photos.

Square images are extremely popular, mostly because of Instragram.  But even if you do not take your pictures with a phone or do not bother having an Instagram account it is easy to crop any of your existing photos to make a square. And you can have so much fun with the square format: alternate between big and small images, combine big rectangular (6x4) photos with small square ones, or use a mosaic of small square shots for a fun collage.

Fake Polaroids
I've shown fake Polaroids I used for my August mini before.  It's a bit of work but the result is extremely cute!  Follow my POLAROID DIY tutorial and add some vintage style to your next mini.

No matter what photo style/size you choose try to stick to one or two per project.  Having too many different images sizes can end up looking messy ... and not in the fun artsy messy way.

Hope these suggestions will help you with your next minibook project.  And I would love to see what you are crafting, feel free to share in the comments.


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