{From plain to pretty}

Hi, it’s Jen N here with something a little different to show you this month. 
I love making layouts, but I am not so good at storing them. Albums are often at the bottom of my wish list of things to buy, so I often end up with a stack of scrapbook pages sat on the shelf, all on top of each other bending out of shape, fading in the sun, and possibly becoming the cat’s sleeping place of choice. What a shame after all the effort of making them! 
I have made a promise to myself to store my pages properly from now on. Even though I don’t scrap chronologically – I can jump from a page about my childhood, to one about our wedding, to one with photos from yesterday on – I do store my pages chronologically. I have albums for each year, and I just spill into the next album when one gets full. However, when I have an event or ocassion that I’m making lots of pages for, and those are going to fill most of an album, I’ll dedicate an album of their own. The upcoming wedding on my sister is an event that will certainly result in a good number of pages, so in anticipation I have created an album for the to go in.
My very favourite albums are ringbound albums by American  Crafts. I love their cloth albums, corduory albums and their patterned albums. I have only recently tried one of their popular modern albums – these are similar to the cloth ones, except the fabric covers only the spine of the album. So on your shelf it looks like a fully bound album, but when you take it off the shelf the majority of the cover is raw chipboard. I had previously shunned these albums as not being pretty enough, but they are a great budget buy and the quality is fantastic, so I wondered if I could pretty up the plain cover…
 Here is what I started with – an American Crafts modern 12×12 D-ring album in “Raspberry”
My first step was to mask off the fabric to protect it from the materials I was planning to use on the chipboard. I am not the neatest of painters, so for me this step was essential, and also very advisable if you are planning to use any kind of mists on your cover. 
I painted the raw chipboard (front and back covers, inside and out) with two coats of white paint. I actually used emulsion, as we have just been decorating and it happened to be out on the side, and my acrylics are packed away in a box somewhere!
When it was completely dry I chose a couple of pink mists from my collection and sprayed onto the cover. I worked in a diagonal from the top left to bottom right corners. After a light spray of each colour I added some small splatters of mist by simply unscrewing the top and tapping the end of the spray tube over the surface.
Once this was all totally dry I removed the masking tape. Patience is a virtue when it comes to these things, and I have found patience not to be my strong point when waiting for mist/paint/glue/glitter etc etc to dry! Over the years I have discovered that the best way forwards for me is to apply wet products at night, and then leave the page out overnight to come back to the next day. Only by doing this can I be sure not to meddle with it before it’s ready! 
I found a selection of patterned stamps to use and embossed a couple of the images – the chicken wire in Zing “Blush” and the sunburst design in Zing “White”. I added some dots and bunting in various shades of pink ink. 
The nice thing about pink is that it’s a very difficult colour to clash. Most pinks go well with most other pinks, which makes choosing supplies for a monochrome pink project nice and simple. I flicked through a pile of scrap papers on my desk and pulled out a few in shades of pink including one from an Amy Tan line, one from a Dear Lizzy line, a couple from My Minds Eye, a patterned vellum and an overlay from Hambly. 
I cut some pieces and aranged them over the focus area of my cover. 
One of the keys to decorating album covers is to try and keep everything fairly flat, so that when the album is pulled on and off the shelf the embellishemnts don’t get pulled off too! Great decorative elements are stickers, punched shapes, washi tape, stamping and embossing. I tried to create depth and variety of texture without actually making anything stand proud from the cover. The only things that aren’t flat are the Thickers for the album title and a few small gems. My go-to glue for a project like this is Tombo adhesive, which I have found to be superior at sticking anything and everything i
ndefinitely, and everything on this album cover is Tombo’d to within an inch of it’s life!
Here is the finshed result – far prettier than the original I hope you’ll agree!

I hope I’ve inspired you to breathe new life into your albums. I know I will be doing an album makeover again, and I will certainly be buying a few more modern albums to play with!

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