If you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember back several years ago I was selling handmade 20 Questions album in my Etsy shop. Due to high demand and low supply availability, I had to stop making them and went to Blurb to have them produce high-quality softcover books in place of the handmade albums. While the theme and content is the same in both books, the feel is quite different, and I still get a lot of requests for the scrapbook style book that I unfortunately have to turn down. As of last weekend, I now have color PDFs with numbered age pages available in my shop so you can make your own! Today, I want to share step-by-step directions on just how easy it is to put together the interior pages of these handmade books on your own. I promise, you don't have to be "crafty" to do this! My tutorial below is very basic, so once you get that down, you can decorate it (or not) to your heart's content.
**This week only, you can save 20% off your order of the 20 Questions Printable Pack with coupon code 20OFF20Q. Offer ends Friday May 8th. Coupon code must be entered at checkout and no refunds will be given.
Supplies needed :
- scrapbook album or binder of your choice
- additional page protectors
- 20 Questions Birthday Interview for Kids Printable Pack in red, pink, green, blue or gray
- white cardstock - this Neenah White is my current favorite.
- paper trimmer - I'm using this one in the tutorial
- patterned paper or colored cardstock - quantity varies depending on the size of your album and number of pages
- adhesive - I prefer a glue or tape runner style like this
1. Choose an album size. The original album I made for my daughter is an 8x8 SEI Preservation album (above right). They are available in several colors, but they can be hard to find these days. I've included some links at the end of this post where you can find them right now. A regular D-ring binder or scrapbook album (above left) would be really nice too. They make so many cute binders these days! Just walk through the aisles of Target or any big box office supply store and you'll see what I mean. I think this is a great way to go, especially if you want to add more pages to the book. I'm thinking a few pieces of artwork or something with the child's handwriting on it, certificates from school or extra curricular activities - I hope to share my ideas on that soon. Keep in mind, the PDF that I've created is designed to be cut down to 8" x 8", so I wouldn't go smaller than that.
For this tutorial, I'll be using the 8x8 album, but I'll also show you how to alter the pages for an 8.5 x 11 binder or album.
2. Most albums only come with 5-10 page protectors (the plastic sleeves that your paper will slid inside), so figure out how many pages/years you will have because you may need more page protectors. For example, if you want to document 10 years of questionnaires, you'll need 11 page protectors to create 10 double page layouts. If you go the binder route, you will need a pack of regular sheet protectors like these.
3. Purchase, download and print the 20 Questions PDF in the color of your choice (shop for those here) on smooth white letter-sized (8.5" x 11") cardstock. Use a color printer and print at 100% (do not scale). If you are conserving ink and paper, feel free to print only the pages you will be using.
4. As indicated in the instructions in the printable pack, trim 1/2" off the left side,
5. and 3" off the top of all of the numbered questionnaire pages with a paper trimmer. This will give you an 8" wide by 8" high page. Don't have a paper trimmer and don't want to invest in one? Check with the printer at your local office supply store or Kinko's. They often have large paper trimmers out for customers to use after printing their projects.
6. Repeat with all of the numbered age pages you plan to use. You can prepare as many pages as you like, but I highly recommend setting up the entire book at once. Then it will be ready for you each year, requiring very little work to complete each page.
7. Slip the questionnaire pages into the right side of each page protector. The left side of each spread will be reserved for a photo of your birthday boy or girl.
I love the impact of the large 8x8 photo with the interview page, but you could also print a standard 4x6 photo instead and mat it to a piece of cardstock. I'll talk a bit more about that below. My favorite site to have photos printed online is Persnickety Prints.
If you've chosen to use an album or binder larger than 8x8, you will need to mat, or attach, your photos and questionnaires to another piece of cardstock or patterned paper to fit in the appropriate page protector. Above you can see a couple of examples in an 8.5 x 11 album using an 8x8 and a 4x6 photo.
I would recommend not adhering the interview page down until after you have filled it out each year. Just leave it loose inside the page protector for now, so if you make a mistake filling it out, you can simply reprint the questionnaire without tearing it off the back piece of cardstock or patterned paper. For adhering the questionnaires and photos to cardstock, I like to use a tape runner, but you could also use photo squares or any other dry adhesive.
8. You'll notice that the very front page of your album is blank. You can do whatever you would like here, but I've included a fill-in style note card in the PDF that you can trim down, write on, and add as an introduction or title page. Adhere it to a piece of paper (colored cardstock or patterned paper) that matches the size of your album, just as you have done with previous pages.
One extra tip! If you are like me (likely to make a mistake, or mis-spell something while writing), keep a few interview sheets printed on regular paper inside your album to record the actual interview. Or write the answers on another piece of paper. Then you can re-write them on the cardstock copy and slip it in the page protector after it's filled out.
Remember, this week only you can save 20% off your order of the 20 Questions Printable Pack with coupon code 20OFF20Q. Offer ends May 8th.
It's that easy! Here is a little size comparison of your album options along with the printed photo books from Blurb. You can get more details on those, including size, colors available and price, here.
With your album completely set up, this is what your annual routine will look like for keeping up with this tradition :
- On or around your child's birthday, ask them the 20 Questions from the interview page. Also take a photo of the child, or find a recent photo to use instead.
- Transfer the answers to the cardstock copy in your album.
- Print the photo or add it to your next set of prints through an online service. Again, I love Persnickety Prints, especially if you are looking for something outside the typical 4x6 size. Their quality and customer service is amazing!
- Depending on the size of your album and/or the photo you printed, you may need to mat it to colored cardstock or patterned paper as shown above. Repeat with the questionnaire page if necessary.
And last but not least, here are some links to help in your search for the perfect 8x8 album :
- Amazon : pink / green / black / red / blue / page protectors
- Scrapbook.com : pink / green / black / red / page protectors
Any questions? Leave me a comment below and I'll respond here for all to see. Or you can always email me here.
DIY's not your thing? You can get info on the professionally printed soft-cover 20 Questions books here.