Make your own picture albums

Transform workshop scraps into treasured keepsakes

By Paul Lewis

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Assemble the albums
Cut the pages for the albums from good-quality paper stock. Visit your local art-supply store and look for acid-free paper in a weight heavy enough to support photographs. My albums use 80-lb. cover stock in either ivory or black, depending on the wood used for the covers. Cut the pages to size with a fresh blade in a utility knife, then punch holes that correspond to the cover holes. Finally, sandwich everything together and thread elasticized cord through the holes. Secure the cord with the cord lock, write the name of the wood on the first page with pencil, then you’re done. If you’re giving the album as a gift, include a package of self-adhesive photo corners, which are available at any photography store.

Marks of distinction
All treasured family photos have one thing in common: they’re personal. And the more you enhance the tie between your wooden album covers and the people you give them to, the more appreciated your work becomes. Personal initials, significant dates and unique markings can all conjure up enormous emotional impact, and shop-made burning brands are an easy way to add these significant details to your work.

You can make excellent brands using piano wire-a rigid, springy material available from model boat and aircraft supply outlets. It comes in various diameters, including the 1/16″ stock that I favour for making small initials in my work.

Begin by donning a pair of safety glasses and sparking up your propane torch. It doesn’t take long for the wire to glow red in the flame, ready for shaping with two pairs of needlenose pliers. As you work, leave a six-inch length of straight, unheated wire on one end for a main handle, and a short one-inch tail on the other, to grab with some pliers during use.

As you bring the completed, hot brand to your wood surface, push the brand evenly using both handles. Pull the metal away from the wood after two or three seconds of contact and you’ll be amazed by the results.

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