Coptic bound mini photo album, craft cutter embossing

I made a tiny coptic bound book to use as a photo album only to discover that it puffed up in a not very nice way once I glued all the photos in it. After examining some photo albums and investigating techniques online, I realized that they include an extra layer in the binding to accommodate the thickness of the photos. Here are some photos and notes on the technique that ended up working for me.

final open close up

Fold cardstock in half with the grain:

fold in half

Score a line about 1/8″ from the folded edge, fold that edge over and glue it flat:

score fold over

Cut into folios the size of your book then collect into signatures. Each signature contains two folios. The outer one has the extra paper at the fold. The inner one is simply folded over.

contents of signatures

all the signatures

To make an embossed cover, I used a craft cutter to cut out adhesive backed magnet sheet and adhered the letters to the bookboard cover. Pencils lines help get it straight! Then I covered it all with decorative paper and used a bone folder to smooth the paper gently around and inside the letters.

cutting magnet sheets on silhouette zoomed out name on magnet sheet

name on cardboard

glue cover paper

cover paper inside cover

I forgot to take a picture of the cover before I put it all together so this photo skips ahead a bit but it shows the embossing. Your design or lettering could stand out a bit more on with a solid color for the paper, but I was going for subtle and textural (or at least I say that now :).

final from top blurry 2

Poke holes in each signature with an awl, using a folded template to keep them all the same.

punching holes stack of signatures with holes

Use a paired-needle coptic stitch to attach signatures and covers. I’m going to recommend this tutorial because it is super gorgeous.

adding the first signature

final spine

Here’s the finished book again, just awaiting being filled with photos:

final open close up