Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chipboard Flower Book - made a bit easier....

The burn on my hand is somewhat better but it was slow going today - sorry it took so long but here is "part one" of the project I have been working on.

These chipboard albums have shown up recently in the dollar bins at Michael's - they may be available in other stores too. They are made by Colorbok. I have a hard time resisting items in dollar bins, so of course I picked some up.

I got them home and thought - now how do I cover these with pretty paper? I think sometimes people adhere paper that is close to the correct size and then trim at the edges - but that sounded like a lot of work to do for every album.

I decided to invest some time and effort in making a cut file to fit these particular albums - it did take a long time to do, but now I can quickly and easily cut nearly perfectly sized patterned and cardstock papers to cover the books.

First, I needed some pretty paper - something young and happy! I just picked up this 8 x 8 stack on sale this weekend for $2.99 and thought the papers would work nicely.

Above is the selection of papers I chose - I had some DCWV textured cardstock on hand in colors that coordinated so I decided to make the book with one side patterned and one side solid.

Here you can see another colorway from the same stack - I may try this next.

I measured carefully and started arranging the small circles around a larger circle. I did this using individual elements and placing them in fixed positions. It took several test cuts on "ugly" paper, but finally I got a result I was happy with.

I set up the file to cut the shape in the center of an 8 x 8 paper on the Expression. The flower is a bit too large to fit on the baby bug mat - the design would extend into the "uncuttable" area.

I thought the offcuts could be used for page frames or layouts on larger 12 x 12 pages.

Here are my ten cuts ready to adhere to the chipboard (this was the sneak preview photo yesterday).

I figured out a order for the patterned papers on the fronts...

and the solid colors on the backs,

I used binder clips to temporarily keep the correct pairs together.

I had read about "Zip Dry" glue and that it was recommended for adhering paper to chipboard books by others who make these regularly. I bought some a while ago (when I had a 50% coupon and everything else was on sale!) and found it in my stash so I was ready to assemble the book.

The directions said to apply the adhesive in a thin bead along the edges - here you can see my first attempt. The glue dries quickly so you need to work fast. I aligned the cut paper on the shape - you have a bit of time to slide it into position if you are a slightly off center with your placement. Remember - the books could have a bit of variation in size and the calibration of your machine may also make slight differences in the exact fit.

I wanted to be sure the paper was well adhered so I also used my brayer to help stick the paper down smoothly.

Once the paper is adhered to one side you need to remember to punch the hole before the second side totally covers it.

I used my Crop-a-dile - the 3/16th size seems perfect for this particular book (you can use a regular hand held office hole puncher - just try to find the matching size).

When you cover the opposite side of the book you will be able to see the hole and punch again to get the hole smooth on each side.

Below are the completed pages of the album - front....

...and back.

The edges of the pages show the chipboard and the layers of paper on either side. You could leave these like this but I wanted to try for a more "finished" look.

To smooth the edges and apply ink I used some tools from the beauty supply store - a sanding block (I assume it is meant to be used for nails) and some makeup sponges.

Below you can see the plain edge...

and the edge after inking. It is tricky to get into the deep indents between petals.

I wasn't sure about the inking - I haven't done much of this - and I decided to experiment with different colors.

Here are the five inks I tried - I kept a sponge for each color so I can use these again for another project.

The first color I tried was a dark brown - it is tricky to get the controlled smudgy look for the edges but I thought this wasn't too bad for a first try.

Here you can see the patterned paper on the opposite side after inking.

I tried different colors on the various pages - I think the darker colors work better for the edges but I need to be more careful so the pages look a bit neater.

Above you can see the five solid pages after inking and below are the patterned pages after inking.

These albums are held together with a plain office supply ring - rather boring....

So I looked through my ribbons for colors that would coordinate with the papers.

I tried to find a variety of styles and colors.

I tied the ribbons around the ring in a random order. Above you can see the back side of the album pages and below is a photo of the front side.

The albums are fairly uniform but you may find that a page is slightly "off" - minor adjustments can be made after adhering the paper by using the sanding block on the edges before inking.

I could have left well enough alone with the fixed file since the album comes in just the one size - but I got to thinking.... wouldn't it be nice to use the the same shape to decorate the book. Also, it would be nice to be able to copy and paste the design and to move it around on the mat to cut the most shapes with the least waste.

So, I spent some time reworking the file to make it adjustable (keeping all of the elements in the same selection box). It is frustrating to do this - the process of nudging all of the pieces into place takes quite a while and you lose the ability to place elements in precise, mathematically determined positions by entering values in the Shape Properties box.

I have done several tutorials about how to make adjustable designs and they can be found by checking the labels in the side column. In the file I went ahead and added a page for each inch increment to save you a bit of time. You may notice that the values in the Shape Properties box are not exact inch sizes. I kept the various cuts in the exact proportion of the original six inch one that fits the album.

Here is my test cut of the concentric shapes still on the mat.

Above, you can see the cuts after the outer offcut was removed and below with some of the individual shapes removed..

These can be used to frame the pages or a smaller photo or sentiment on one of the pages.

You can even use these shapes for some other project.

If you are cutting just the full pages to cover the book you will probably want to copy and paste the shape from the first page of the file and place it on the 12 x 12 paper in a position which enables you to add a second cut on the same 12 x 12 page. Unfortunately, you will only be able to cut two per sheet of paper but you will be able to use the coordinating offcuts to decorate the book.

Tomorrow I will post some more photos and a surprising idea for some additional cuts to use in this book as you embellish it.

Template for Chipboard Flower (A)


  1. Thank you so much for this file. Yesterday I went to Michael's and picked up a couple of these thinking I could make a little brag book of my grandkids. You just made my project so much easier.
    I am not an artist, so I appreciate the talent you have and the willingness with which you share your art.
    Thanks again

  2. AWESOME-AWESOME-AWESOME!!!!!! You rock girlie!!!

    You know this weekend I did a project with a chipboard album with scallop edges and I did use my crafters knife to cut around all the scallops of the first page or so, but for the other pages, I used acrylic paint to distress the edges and then I just cut the pattern paper with straight edges. You can also do that.

    I really LOVE your ideas!!! Great job. (I downloaded the file - thanks!!!!)

    Hugs, T

  3. How impressive! I usually avoid these little books because I don't want to kill my hand doing all the cuts. I've thought that there must be a way to use the Cricut, but haven't taken the time to figure out a way to do so. Thank you!

  4. Cap, I just love your blog and your descriptive photos of your latest projects...keep up the great work, CDS friend!

    Steph Stimson
    Davison, Michigan
    Fellow CM consultant

  5. I love this idea! If I can find the chipboard books, I plan to look at ways to use the offcuts to decorate it since I have a baby bug. l love the papers and ribbon you used! What a pretty gift idea!

  6. Cap:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
    I found this one, a butterfly book, and a house book - AND I found the matching papers for the scalloped flower and the butterfly! When I opened the papers I found that they fit on the "front" of the shape but were just a little off on the "back" - with your cut file I can just flip the paper before I cut it and it should be just fine! So thanks again! BTW, could I ink the edges BEFORE gluing the paper on? That way the paper won't be inked!

  7. Kraftychick,

    I had the exact same thought about inking before adding the paper this morning! I think it should work fine and then only the tiny white edge from the paper (if it is white core) would show.

    Stay tuned for part two - I have some other ideas to try!

  8. you are amazing thanks so much I saw these yesterday and thought what a pain to cover and here you are with a post on just that Your the best

  9. Thank you for this file. I had picked up several of these last month to do some gifts for my nieces at next year's Winter Solstice. I had thought about a file, but didn't know where to begin when it came to trying to make one match up. You've just saved me I don't know how many hours of time with cutting and sanding all of these for the different girls. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


  10. Great Idea!! I hadn't thought of making my own file to cur the paper on. Thanks Diane, You Rock!!

  11. OMG!! Thank you so much that is awesome! Cricut really should be paying you!! LOL!! I have a couple of those books and was not happy with their paper choices! Thanks for all of the hard work, tutorial and sharing! Kathi

  12. thanks so much for the file i have done a few of these book all ready. It would be neat to see files for the other books like the butterfly, star and the car. thanks so much for all your work.

  13. Diane,

    Thanks so much for making it easier to make my flower album. I too when to Michales some time ago, but did not have the patience to cut out the flowers. I also picked up a $1 album in the shape of a house, a start, and a heart. There was paper available already cut out, but didn't like the pattern.


  14. Diane, you did a great job on inking the edges. I prefer the smudging inking over the edge of the paper. That allows you to see more color and enhances what embellishments you decide to put on.

    I wish I had found the flower. I did find the butterfly and picked it up. Can't wait to see what else you have in store. Thanks for sharing the cut file.

  15. THANK YOU!! The cut file will definately make decorating these easier. Yours looks great. Love the inking idea with the cosmetic sponges.

  16. Thank you so much for this and all the lovely other projects you do.
    When I was at M's I bought the stars and hearts because I thought I could easily cut them. I didn't buy this shape because I didn't realize I could have done it on my cricut. Now I'm mad I didn't get some of those. They'll probably be all gone when I go back this weekend!

  17. Thanks for sharing your templates!!
    What a fun book!!

  18. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  19. What a neat album you made. I love the papers, inks and ribbons that you used. Now, if I can get to Michael's befoe they are all gone!!!!

  20. Thanks for sharing your .cut file and your instructions. Your album came out so cute!!

  21. Thanks so much for your ideas and generosity in sharing the cut files. I'm new to all this and finding your blog a big help and incredibly informative. I do have a question, does it matter which cartridge you use to cut the flower? I read thru the blog quickly and may have missed it but...


  22. Hi Jessica,

    I am glad you find my blog helpful. The file is made using Plantin Schoolbook since you need to cut it on the Expression and that is the "native" cartridge for the Expression.

    I usually mention the cartridges I use somewhere in the post but I may not have this time - I'll go back to the post and edit. The files I share always have the names of the cartridges needed right in the file title so you will know as soon as you download the file even if I haven't mentioned the cartridges in the blog post.

  23. Thanks Diana for your response, I'm grateful for all that you do and share!


  24. Oh, so cute. What a great little gift to make for friends, friends of dd and co-workers! Now I just have to hope M's still has some! :) Thanks so much for your work!


  25. How timely ! I just ran across this album yesterday while roaming in Michaels, can't wait to try it.
    Thanks for sharing

    Diane, This is wonderful. Picked some of the books the other day. Your flower turned out great. Love the colors. Will have to look into that stack. TFS and thanks for all the work you do.

  27. I tried downloading the cut file and it keeps saying it can't read the file because it may be corrupt or damaged. Did anyone else have this problem. Can you suggest any solution.

  28. Hi Jean,

    No one else has let me know about a problem and I just tried downloading the file and it worked fine. Maybe there is a security setting on your computer that is interfering with the download?

    If you have successfully downloaded the file and are having a problem opening it perhaps you should delete that download and try again. Let me know if you are still having problems.


  29. Thanks so much for sharing your work. I just got this album from my NSSS and this gives me an idea of what to do with it! You are so talented!

  30. Diane,
    I will probably be downloading several of your adjustable files tonite...in search of your tutorials on making adjustable files..haven't quite got it down yet. I won't be leaving msgs. on each one, but thank you for all you do.BTW, I couldn't get the one for the chipboard book to download.

  31. You are incredibly generous and I appreciate how kind you are in sharing your talent with those of us "less creative". Thank you so much...

  32. you do a great job, you make eveything look so easy. awhile ago i saw file for all michael's chipboard books. are they from you? i was looking for the star. i bought all of the shapes now i can't find the files to cut.

  33. Hi Cheri,

    I only have the two sizes of scalloped circle books from Michaels and those are the files that I have shared.

    I wonder if you are looking for something that was done with SCAL - it would probably be easy to scan the shapes and trace them to create a file. It was very time consuming to create these in Design Studio. If I see the file with all the shapes that you are talking about I'll let you know.

  34. Thanks for sharing-inspring the amount of time you put into this file. Such a great idea - I can see using this over and over - thank you!

  35. Thank you so much for the great instructions and the cut file. I really appreciate the time you take to assist others.


  36. Thank you for sharing this.. you just made my day..


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