Thursday, November 3, 2011

how to make a paper-covered chipboard minibook cover

A few weeks ago I was asked how I made the cover to last year's December Daily album, so today I thought I'd show you how I did it.

First, gather a few supplies.
Next, decide on how big you want your cover to be. In this example, I made a 5x7. What's nice about this cover option is you can make it any size you want. You may consider making the cover a smidge larger than the interior pages, which is what I do. Usually I add 1/4" to the top, right side and bottom (assuming your binding will be on the left side). It's all up to you...

Next, cut your patterned paper or cardstock that you are using for the front side to size. I add 1" on all four sides. So here, I trimmed it down to 7" x 9". If your paper has a pattern and you want it to run in a certain direction (or to be centered), take that into account now.

Now you are going to trim the corners off at a 45 degree angle. I used the 45 degree line on my cutting mat + cut with an exacto knife, but you could also use a triangle or manually measure in 2" from each corner, make a line and cut it off in your paper trimmer. This step is probably the trickiest part. And it's better to cut off a little less than too much because then you'll be exposing your chipboard corners after you fold the edges in.
If you are comfortable using an exacto knife, my preferred way to cut the corners is more of a freehand diamond shape. That way you know your corners will be covered and the overlap is nice. :)
The next step is to score the paper with a bone folder along the edge of the chipboard, joining the points of the four corners of your chipboard cover. If your paper is thin enough, you probably don't need to score it at all.
Fold along the score lines.
Use a tape runner or your favorite adhesive (or even a Xyron if yours is large enough) to attach the paper to the chipboard. Apply pressure to make sure it's glued down firmly with no bubbles on the front of the cover. You could even leave it under a stack of heavy books overnight if you like.
Here's what the front looks like :
And the back :
See the gaps at the corners in the patterned paper? This is why I like the diamond shaped cut above. You really don't need to worry much about them because you are going to put another piece of cardstock / patterned paper on the back to cover it up. As long as the corners meet up nice and tight, all is good. 

The last step is to cut a piece of paper (I used a piece of solid cardstock that matched the patterned paper front) for the inside of the cover. I typically cut it 1/8" smaller than the chipboard - or here, 4 7/8" x 6 7/8". Again, bigger is better. You can always trim it down more if you want to see more of the front cover paper on the inside. Here's a closeup shot of one of the corners. See, nice and tight.
Now, make a back cover to match, punch some holes in them (I love the Cropodile for this - you can easily punch front + back at the same time) and add binder rings. And interior pages too, of course.
I hope this was helpful. I know there are a lot of people out there trying to put together their December Daily albums for next month and I think these covers are an inexpensive, sturdy and very customizable alternative to a typical binder or post-bound album. Feel free to leave questions in the comments below!

Next week I will share this years December Daily cover.


  1. Holy Cow! I have pulled my supplies together for my album this year and was going to peruse the internet for How-to's! How timely is your tutorial?? Thanks!

  2. LOVE this!! I've been painting my covers and it warps them a bit and I just don't love the look....thank you for this!