They Got Nothin’ On You Baby

Yes, I’m aware that the above title is based on a B.o.B/Bruno Mars song. A song that I adore thank you very much. I mean, it’s got a good beat, and the lyrics are pretty sweet. What’s not to love right? Well, yeah, it also helps that they’re both cute (especially Bruno Mars – that smile of his is so darn charming)!

But figured this is an appropriate title for this entry, given that it has a little over 6 months since I married BK.  So yes, I’m pretty happy to acknowledge that.

Since BK and I were unable to do much to celebrate this landmark (we both have to work long hours for most of the month), I wanted to at least do something to commemorate this event.  Then it occurred to me — why not make a miniature photo book of the wedding? I mean, I made one for our families and key relatives. So why not make one for my (growing) brood of mini occupants?

When it comes to actually making one, I came across this particular online tutorial on making miniature books . It appears to be pretty simple in concept — you create pages using strips of paper folded accordian-style, then gluing it in turn on a precut “bookcover”.  Sounds simple enough.

What I was doing with Illustrator. Oh you magical program you -- how much I love thee!

So I started by looking at the real-scale version of the wedding photo book I made for family. To make it easy on myself, I rounded to the nearest inch – so my real wedding photo book was about 12 inches wide x 9 inches tall, and about an inch thick.  Since I’m working on 1:12 scale (1 inch = 1 foot), that meant that my miniature book needed to be about 1 inch  wide x 3/4 inch tall. In terms of thickness, figured I’ll have to wait once I finish assembling the pages.

To create the pages, I used my Adobe Illustrator CS5 program to help me organize. I created an 8.5 inch x 11 inch document, then created 4 strips that were 3/4 inch tall each.  Once the strips were created, I divided each strip to 1-inch increments to represent the individual pages. I used the Pen tool to make the guidelines visible — these are the areas where I’ll need to fold the strips to make the accordion shape.

Once the guides were installed, then began the painful task to inserting photos.  When the wedding photographer BK and I hired (the ever talented Sarah of Sarah Culver Photography) provided the photos, there were over 700 shots.  And as beautiful as they are (they still make me cry whenever I look at them), I had to limit which photos to use. The last thing I wanted was to make the photo book be so thick, it might as well be an encyclopedia. 😛

Signed, sealed, delivered. I'm yours! Oh wait....

To make sure the photos would still be clear enough to be seen in 1:12 scale, I used the original raw files the photographer provided (they were 241 dpi) and simply resized them to fit within the individual “pages”. I had to play around with various layouts and sizes for the selected photos to at least show a (condensed) story of the wedding. I even had pages where I wrote a little message of sorts — that pretty much required me to use some ridiculously small font sizes (like 2-3) and converting the text into outlines so they’ll print clear. For some weird reason, this was alot more of a challenge versus making the actual wedding photo book our families got over the holidays!

Once the photos and layout where finished (*insert fist pump moment here*), it was off to printing out the sheet. I couldn’t use cardstock because it’d be too thick once the strips were folded, and I was worried regular computer paper would be too thin. Decided to try a middle route and just use some leftover linen text paper from my wedding craft stash. It actually turned out really nice once I printed the file from Illustrator – it gave a crisp, parchment like look.

After printing it out, I used a ruler and bone folder and used the guides I created earlier to create creases. This to make sure that when I began folding the strips, they’ll fold neatly and as close to the same size as possible. After that, I cut the strips out, and started the folding process. This part is again pretty straightforward — you simply fold along the creases to create an accordion-like pattern.

My poor-ass attempt to explain how I made my strips of "pages" into a single (albeit long ass) chain.

Since I have four strips total, I had to basically string them together to form one long strip.  The following graphic hopefully makes sense (if not, I did include a rough explanation):

The way I did that was at the end of each strip, the last “page” I had left intentionally blank. Each blank was then cut down to a panel of about 1/4″ wide, and used a good glue stick to apply adhesive on both sides. Then I attached that panel to the first panel of the next strip, eventually making that 1/4″ panel be sandwiched between the two panels from that new strip.

I kept repeating this step until all the strips were folded, attached, and glued. And the pages were officially done. To make sure the pile stays tightly knit, I smeared a thin layer of Elmer’s glue to create the book’s spine before clamping the book between two small blocks of wood. I wanted the glue to dry to a gummy layer.

Tadah! A (thick) pile of pages!

I then cut a rectangular panel from a piece of index card long enough to form a stiff inner cover for the pages.  I glued the gummy end of the spine to this card, then trimmed it to match the dimensions of the pages.

As for the book’s cover, I wanted to mimic the wedding photo cover I made. So I remeasured the dimensions of my new pages: it was still 1″ wide and 3/4″ tall. But because the strips made the book thicker than anticipated….I found out that the spine was actually 1/2″ thick — the equivalent of about 6 inches in real life. (&$#%^@# — I did make a bloody encyclopedia!!!)

Screenshot from my Illustrator program. Note the dimensions used.

So back to my trusty Illustrator program, I used the new measurements to figure out how big my photo cover needed to be.  I basically created a rectangle that was 1/2″ wide and about 7/8″ tall (I added an additional 1/8″ to provide some wiggle room) to act as the cover’s spine.

Then flanking the spine, I drew a rectangle that was about 1 1/16 ” wide and 7/8″ tall to house the cover design, then a thinner rectangle (about 1/4″ wide) as the cover flaps. Hopefully this screen capture makes sense.

From here, I chose some more photos provided by my wedding photographer, then resized them to properly fit within the rectangles I created. Then I applied the titles and it was basically ready to be printed. In this case, I used some leftover photo paper from a long-ago project. I wanted the cover to have a sheen to it — plus just in case I spilled something on it, the stuff should slide off (and protect the inner pages).

After the design was printed, I cut out my cover, and used my bone folder to create the creases needed to fold it into its proper shape. Then I used a thin layer of Tacky glue to glue the cover to the card cover of my inner pages. Then it was back to getting clamped and weighed down until the glue was dry.

And there you have it — my wedding photo book.

Finally! Talk about a challenge to make!

I actually showed this to BK once everything was dried (I had to use a needle to “open the pages to make sure none of the pages got stuck together). He was pretty impressed — especially with the fact he was able to read the text I wrote in the last pages. Of course, he had to freak me out when he asked if I could make another wedding book to send to this parents. I sure hope he’s kidding about that! Plus, I hope my photographer doesn’t mind that I did this with her photos! >_<

Some sample pages (again, thank you Sarah Culver Photography for the beautiful photos!)

The front cover. Sorry for the fuzzy quality -- my desk lamp gives off pretty crappy lighting.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.


With the book now done, I was left with the kicker question: who will be the new owner of this said book?


2 thoughts on “They Got Nothin’ On You Baby

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