Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 21, 2009

Tuesday Tutorials : Elise Blaha : Small Blank Books

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This week Tuesday Tutorials welcomes Elise Blaha.

One of the things I admire about Elise is that she does a fantastic job bringing a bunch of random elements together and making them work in wonderful compact packages. She has a super inspiring list of all the ones she has created here. Also check out these posts: GOventure : pocket, Letterpress Printing, and Daily Card (seeing them all together in an album is so cool).

Here's Elise:

My favorite thing to make are little books. I make them for anything – days, weeks, special occasions, seasons, vacations, colors, favorite objects. I have been known to plan things just so I can make a book about it. I experiment will all sorts of ways to get pages together in book form. The type of binding shown below is one of my favorites.

Download a PDF of Elise's project here.

Step 1 :
Gather supplies. You will want two envelopes of the same size (mine are size A2 and semi transparent), approximately 6 sheets of different paper (sized 5.5×8.5 inches), ribbon or string, adhesive, a hole punch.

Step 2 :
Slide a piece of paper into one of the envelopes. It should fit snugly and stick out as shown.

Step 3 :
Stick the flap of the second envelope behind the paper already inside the first envelope.

Step 4 :
Your cover should look like the image shown with the patterned paper tucked into each envelope.

Step 5 :
Fold your cover in half. The flap that is not tucked into an envelope should stick out.

Step 6 :
Add adhesive to the envelope flap and "seal" it to the back of the other envelope. You should now have a book cover!

Next, you can add pages to your book.

Step 7 :
Gather various papers and cut down to 1/4 inch smaller than your envelope width. If you are using A2 envelopes, this would be 5.5×8.5 inches or half of an 8.5×11 piece of paper.

Step 8 :
Fold your papers in half the short way.

Step 9 :
Open up your folded papers and layer them within each other and within the envelope book cover.

Step 10 :
Flatten your book out.

Step 11 :
line up your pages and using a hold punch, punch through the book pages on the folded crease. I used a Crop-A-Dile which was strong enough to go through all the papers at once. You can also punch through each page separately and line them up so the holes are in the same place of each paper.

Step 12 :
String a piece of ribbon or string through the holes. Tie in a bow on the outside of the book.

At this point you have a unique blank book that could be used for pretty much everything – the easiest would be a journal to carry with you. I decided to use mine as a home for the many photos I took during a busy Memorial Day weekend. I had over 150 photos from the weekend and decided the best way to share a bunch would be to make them all the same size.

Step 13 :
I uploaded the photos I wanted to include to and used Big Labs mosaic maker to create 4×6 grids out of the photos. This accomplished two things at once: it cropped them into squares and got them all in one place so I could easily print at home on to photo paper.

Step 14 :
Print the photos.

Step 15 :
Crop your photos. I used a paper cutter to get straight lines.

Step 16 :
Gather simple supplies to complete the book. I used a date stamp, adhesive, blue bordered labels, scalloped scissors, my cropped photos and a black American Crafts slickwriter.

In the end, I have a small book that captures a variety of our weekend in photos and words.

Elisephoto Elise Blaha currently lives in Maryland with her fiancé, Paul. She would happily organize her paper collection and make stuff all day long, but she has to carve out time to plan her wedding & watch crazy reality television. Elise teaches online workshops, makes custom journals and has an etsy shop where she sells handmade paper books and letterpress prints. You can see more of her projects on her blog:


  • 1.
    the craftivist said…

    yay! i love elise’s mini books, and this tutorial is the perfect thing to help me get some mini albums out of my head and completed!

  • 2.
    Joey said…

    Love this!!! Definitely on my things to do list for today!

  • 3.
    Kayla said…

    I adore her blog!! Thanks so much for this tutorial!

  • 4.
    Christina said…

    love this project. Am I getting this right. You can get “big lab mosaic maker” to get a jpeg 6×4 that I can print at home. I had a quick go but …. no luck. Will try again.

  • 5.
    stephanie said…

    I love this! How easy and simple. :)

  • 6.
    Allison L. said…

    I’m totally making some of these with my kids today! Thank you for the inspiration! :)

  • 7.
    Melissa Mann said…

    THanks for the tutorial!! Elise’s mini’s are the best!

  • 8.

    very cute. I love her stuff!

  • 9.
    rebekah said…

    I love Elise.
    Question, the mosaic maker crop your photos, or scale them down?

  • 10.
    Susan said…

    Love this! Ali, thanks again for the amazing creative inspiration, not only from you, but from so many other talented artists as well!
    Elise, *love* this! The children and I will have a blast with this one!
    Thank you, thank you!

  • 11.
    Tina said…

    What an amazing artist! Thanks to this tutorial, I now have her blog on my fav’s, learned something new and have some new inspiration!

  • 12.
    Sarah Martina said…

    LOVING that you shared this with us! Going to “Big Labs” now! Just what I needed!

  • 13.
    Denise Laborde said…

    Love the BigLabs mosaic idea. *mental note*

  • 14.
    Juju said…

    Wow! I’ve made a few books of my own, but there are some fun new things going on here: using envelopes as a cover; the Mosaic Maker–thanks SO much for sharing that! Now gotta get my chores done so I can play.

  • 15.
    Tori said…

    This is ahh- mazing. I’ve actually used the mosiac maaker before for a mini book. I never cut them out though, love that idea.

  • 16.
    Kathy said…

    Loving these Tuesday Tutorials! :) This is so easy and fun for anyone thank you I may get some memories scrapped this week!!

  • 17.
    Amy Tangerine said…

    LOVE elise, thanks for sharing this awesome technique!

  • 18.
    Linda said…

    Love this idea–need a journal to keep all the notes from my daughters upcoming wedding–this will be perfect!!

  • 19.
    Olivia said…

    Thanks Elise! Can’t wait to try this! Just one question, can we please have this in a PDF so I can save it to my computer for in the future? That’d be awesome. :)

  • 20.
    Elise Blaha said…

    Hi Christina,
    Big labs will make mosaics in a variety of sizes. It just depends on the number of square photos and how large you set it to print. For this project, I formatted mosaics to print on 8.5×11 paper. I would try doing a mosaic of 2 columns and 3 rows if you want to print 4×6.
    Hope that helps!

  • 21.
    Lisa Russell said…

    I love all of Elise’s designs! Just got a couple of her journals in the mail this past week, and am thrilled to fill it up. I really enjoyed this tutorial and Jamaica’s tutorial. Thanks so much Ali! These are all so fun!

  • 22.
    Elise Blaha said…

    Hi Rebekah,
    The mosaic maker crops your photos into a square. It will go right for the middle. If you want your photos to be cropped a certain way, simply upload already cropped squares to flickr and use the mosaic maker on them.
    Hope that helps!

  • 23.
    Elise Blaha said…

    Good question. I will work on getting a PDF together :)

  • 24.
    Joscie said…

    I love these Tuesday Tutorials! I also love Elise’s style and her minis! YAY!

  • 25.

    I love it !
    Thanks !

  • 26.

    Thanks Olivia ! This is a great idea !

  • 27.
    Michelle Martinez said…

    This is an AWESOME tutorial. Thanks so much. I love making little books and I am always looking for new ways to bind them. I love the envelopes.
    Thanks again!

  • 28.
    jmbmommy said…

    This is one of the coolest things I have seen in an age! I love the use of envelopes…you are a creative GENIUS!! ThankS!

  • 29.
    Tanya Gilmartin said…

    thanks for this, Ali! i got lost on Elise’s blog today- i have added her to my “favorites”

  • 30.
    Elizabeth said…

    Love it! I just made one in less than 10 minutes. Great idea and tutorial, Elise!

  • 31.
    Jana said…

    very very cool! I’m so going to make one of these… to add to my ever growing collection of sketch books, journals, etc.! Thanks Elise & Ali!

  • 32.
    Theresa said…

    Ali you have done it again! Your Tuesday Tutorials get me through the day!! I have loved Elise’s work for a while and am so happy to learn more of her mini book making tips!

  • 33.
    Ambyr Amoureuse said…

    wow I love your job Elise:) you have a talent for this I respect people like you, who feel something inside and they try to create and show it to other people :)

  • 34.
    Bluebelle said…

    Ali – thank you for sharing this! I found you through Elise but I’m definitely coming back. I even made my own mini book after seeing this – I just posted about it here –

  • 35.
    Rachel said…

    This is darling! I’ll be linking to this.

  • 36.
    Brianna said…

    I never thought to use Big Huge Labs to make pictures a smaller size. That’s brilliant!

  • 37.
    christen said…

    i love this! thanks for sharing it.

  • 38.
    Diana said…

    I also made my own mini-book after seeing this tutorial linked through Elise’s site. So much fun to make…I am already completely addicted and thinking about what my next mini-book will be about. Crafty girls rock!

  • 39.
    maridette cachola said…

    having trouble uploading pix on big huge labs. Not sure if I’m doing it right. First you choose the layout then I wanted to upload pix from my computer. I would pick them individually which only allows you one at a time. But I don’t know what happened only one pix showed up. what am I doing wrong?

  • 40.
    Jana D said…

    Elise is a very talented young artist. I took her June class and loved it. She is fresh and great.

  • 41.
    Hagit said…

    Thanks, Elise! I made one too! Had to come back and show off ;-) Here it is:

  • 42.
    anat s said…

    thanks for great tutorial

  • 43.
    small envelopes said…

    This was an excellent tutorial!
    Thanks for sharing!

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