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Making the Harry Potter albums

The iconic and amazing Bloggess asked how I made these Harry Potter albums. I figured others might also be interested so I’ve compiled notes. (These albums are a birthday gift and are in no way an endorsement for any human-rights-violating views of anyone associated with any franchise or company.)
two Harry Potter handmade albums, one with the Hogwarts Express and the other with Hogwarts on the covers

The first ever album I made (no pics or video, sorry) was a very basic Rosa Kelly album that I covered in red paper then used ocean-themed patterned paper to decorate (thus the edges of pages were red, the rest was mostly shades of blue and green). I’ve now made a few of these types of skeleton-albums (with different colors, some of which I didn’t decorate because I gave them to Wendy Orr for her Smalls [grandkids] to decorate).

Before you start: I had difficulty with Rosa’s covers

I STRUGGLED with the covers. The way Rosa does the covers (note: she uses tape while I use glue) tends to give me air bubbles when the cover is open (flat or flat-ish) or the covers don’t quite bend enough when closed. Tip: allowing ~1/8th of an inch between the spine and cover chipboard pieces helps. However, I think this youtuber has a better cover technique and this video is FREE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb8M6_6wxD4&t=2285s. The same style of cover can be used for Rosa’s album, just adjust the measurements.

Rosa’s overview of the album she made for a class

The overview video for the black covered Harry Potter album is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMirQ2l0AVY. If you want the instructions, head over to Rosa’s website to buy the class. For about $30us you can buy the instructional videos from Rosa Kelly. One purchase gets you “one class” which covers the entirety of one album.

Rosa used one of Stamperia’s Alice in Wonderland sets of paper and embellishments to decorate her album https://www.stamperia.com/new-collection. I bought different paper. BTW I think Stamperia’s Vintage Library collection would be an AWESOME addition to a Harry Potter album. I used some of the Wizard Collection for my Harry Potter albums.

I didn’t make the Hogwarts Express album the same as Rosa Kelly’s album partly because she was using different paper and partly because I was concerned that, when the photos were added, the album would be too chunky for its spine. So I left a few layers out. Plus I streamlined my use of magnets. Rosa LOVES her magnets. Note: get THIN magnets. Or you will be sorry. I bought these but from an Australian website.

I added the broom because there was a weird layering gap. The broom can be purchased here. If you want to go EXTRA or make a diorama (say, for Halloween) you can even buy cauldrons, candles and gravestones in a similar scale. Try googling “Tim Holtz Ideology” or, if you SPECIFICALLY want witchy and/or Halloween stuff, try “Tim Holtz Ideology Halloween”.

Gotta say, I adore Plays Well With Paper for dioramas. This is her Halloween playlist.

The Hogwarts album I made because I had SO MUCH paper left over. I based it on the Express album but made several changes. The end result is this album is a simpler design and there is more room for embellishments.

Embellishments

Embellishments can be anything from paper pics or bits of chipboard to layered items to “gems” and “pearls” (usually made of plastic). I want to make my own embellishments. If you look at this card  you can see the flowers are made from layered and colored pieces of paper glued together.

These journal pages are very Death in Discworld, which is closer to Harry Potter. (Please note: I’m on a journey! I do NOT claim to be an expert!) I have the materials to do similar with brooms, cauldron, hat, books, owls etc. It’s a matter of finding the time.

Glue

I tried normal PVA glue when gluing paper onto the chipboard for the cover. DON’T DO THIS. Even I, with my crappy eyesight, can see the lines where the glue has stained the paper. I think it’s a bit too liquid. Plus it takes FOREVER to dry.

Instead I used HoneyBee glue. I tend to use about one of these glue containers for an album. And I like their glue so much I bought a holder. The rainbow holder because it’s cute. There are other colours. The glue does NOT leak out of the container while in the holder.

Tip:

PUSH the container WITH THE LID ON into the holder. The holder grips the lid, then you can unscrew the container from the holder to use the glue. During a craft project, you can put the glue back in the holder, with the holder & lid conspiring to hold the container vertical without spillage. Just don’t forget to screw it back into the lid when you walk away or you’ll probably get a crust on your glue or have a solid wall of glue when you come back in a couple of days. So then stick a pin in it. If you still don’t get liquid glue coming out then the best solution is to chuck the glue while looking elsewhere and pretend you didn’t just waste all that glue. Ask me how I know. When you’ve used up the glue, screw the container back into its lid and pull the container (and, hence, the lid) out of the holder. Elegant.

Many other craft glues would be suitable. I think the biggest difference between a lot of reputable craft glues is the container and delivery system more than the glue itself. Gina K, Nuvo, Bearly Art, Simons Says Stamp… I’m not sure if I’ve used Gina K (which comes highly recommended by professional crafter Jennifer McGuire) but I have used the others and they’re all good glues IMO.

Buying all the shiny things

Brads

The brads I used to make the spinning elements are also Tim Holtz. After Rosa made a comment about brads wearing out the paper and pulling free (and breaking things) I started putting Lineco self-adhesive linen hinging tape on both the “head” and “tail” sides of the paper, with the brad poking THROUGH this tape. I found this tape in an art store and I LOVES IT, I DO, MY PRECIOUS. Pro-tip: BURNISH aka apply pressure with a rubbing motion to make it adhere properly. Strangely, I also use it to reinforce hinges. It comes in black or white. I painted mine black.

Paper

Point to note: the black paper I used, I bought from a local art store. It’s discontinued. When I run out (I bought all they had when I learnt it was both discontinued and on sale) I’ll be looking for a replacement that is similar.

The paper I used to cover the chipboard cover and to create the basic pages is heavy weight cardstock so it was good for skeleton construction. I think 100-110lb or about 200gsm would be fine but testing is the key. DO YOUR OWN TESTING. Also my paper came in A1 sheets, roughly 594 x 841 mm or, for the Imperials, 23.4 x 33.1 inches. This gave me more flexibility with size of paper, enabling me to skip some joins.

Postage

If you’re not in the USA and you’re looking to source these items, I recommend trying to get as much as possible locally and, where that fails, from a “department store” website that stocks many brands. Good websites tend to charge less for postage plus you can bundle a lot of stuff into one order, thereby saving MORE postage.

Signing off.

I just realized I’m probably doing an info dump that few will appreciate so I’ll stop here. Feel free to ask related questions and I’ll see if I can answer them.

Stay safe and have fun.

Nalini
Nalinihttps://www.darkmatterzine.com
Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.

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