Thursday, May 19, 2011

How To Make: Disney Autograph Book

My birthday is coming up.  My 40th birthday.  A lot of folks are shy about this number.  Not me!  I love my birthdays, and I especially love my decade birthdays.  I'm celebrating my 40th at Disney and I am SO excited!  We will also be unofficially celebrating my daughter's birthday who will turn 4 ten days after I turn 40, but everyone in the travel party is clear on the fact that it's my birthday first.  Yes - I'm that girl...I get obnoxious.  :)

Anyway, we are bringing 3 girls, and while this trip has been something we've been planning on for quite some time, I still want to find ways to cut costs where possible.  I decided to make autograph books for the girls instead of buying them at the park.  Considering I had most of the supplies on hand, I was able to make 3 books for about $8, and my guess is that is probably the cost of 1 in the park.

Autograph Book Supplies:
Cardstock for cover
Cardstock or drawing paper for inside pages
adhesive/glue stick
hole punch
scissors/paper trimmer
brads/yarn/page rings/some type of closure for the binding

 Step 1:  Decide the page size since it will determine the size of the cover.  I decided to go with a finished 4" x 6" page, but to allow room for the binding, my inside pages were 4" x 7".  I added an inch to those measurements to allow for the cover.  Once determined the size, I cut my chipboard to size.  For this project, I actually did two layers of chipboard just because I wanted extra sturdiness.
Step 2:  Create the bind edge.  Once I had my chipboard cut to the 4" x 7" size, I cut an inch off.  I did this so that the cover had more give in order to allow for the book to open flat but still maintain sturdiness.  I was making 3 books, so I took an assembly line approach and cut everything all at once.
Step 3.  Cut your cover cardstock.  For the cover, I added 2 inches to the size of the chipboard, so I cut 7" x 9". This is going to be an example of an imperfect project.  The sad part is, I realized my mistake on the first book, but repeated the same stinkin' mistake on my second book.  You'll see it at the end if you haven't noticed already.
Step 4.  Center your chipboard on the back side of your cover paper.  If you have been hanging around the blog for awhile, you've probably already guessed that I just eyeballed this.  If you are new, I'm not all into perfect measurements.  Just get it close enough and move on to the next step.
Step 5.  Time for the glue or adhesive.  Little tip, keep once piece in place while getting the other down, that way you don't lose your centering.  You will want to leave a little spacing between the two pieces of chipboard...I leave about as much space as the chipboard is deep, 1/8th-ish inch or so.
Step 5.  Once you have your chipboard secure, you'll want to cut your corners.  There are two schools of thought.  One says to just cut the corner off of your paper in a triangle that butts up right against the corner of your chipboard.  I have varying degrees of success with that, so I employ the method shown above which is cut it at an angle to right above the corner and then cut back out.  No measuring, but you can play with these two options and see what works best for you.
Next step, adhere your flaps down.  Make sure you get it tight against the edges.

Step 7.  Flip the book over and take both of your hands and grab the book so that both of your thumbs meet in the middle (I had to take a picture, so pretend my left thumb is there looking exactly the same as my right).  Then using your fingers to bend the binding up, use your thumbs to crease the paper, so that it  creases inside the fold. You'll run your thumbs down the middle of the crease to keep the paper going in the direction you want.  If you don't employ this thumb maneuver, your paper might crease/bubble on the outside of the fold.
Step 8.  Looky here - I'm measuring! Now for the pages.  So here, I measured an inch on the side of the page, and then at the 1" and 3" mark, I drew a perpendicular line.  This is all leading up to cutting some holes in the book.
Next, I found the half inch mark on each short line and marked the spot with an x.
And then I punched.  Note - if you are doing 3 of these suckers, go ahead and invest in a 3 hole punch.  I used to have one and don't know where in the world it took off to, but after this project of punching 100+ holes, I'm getting a new 3-hole punch.

For those of you who are taking the single hole route, you only need to draw/mark one page.  From there, just stack 2-3 (whatever is not too stressful to cut through) pages behind the already cut page, and line your punch up to cut within the holes you have already cut.  Repeat this process until you have all of your pages cut.  For each new batch, I used a different template to work from.  I did this to lessen my chances of cutting the holes too big on one page which inevitably happens when using the same template over and over.  For each book, I did about 20 pages.
Step 11.  Back to the cover.  Ok, so in the first picture did you notice that little Sharpie marker?  Well, I thought it would be a good idea to fasten the pens to the books.  So here's how I did it.  Take the big glue dots and run a line of them down your back cover.  I chose to place mine right by the binding, but you can choose another area - whatever is most comfortable for you.
Step 12.  Cut a long piece of ribbon.  I cut about a foot and a half of thin red ribbon.  I placed it on top of the glue dots like you see above.

Step 13 (picture not available), cover both of your inside covers with cardstock.  For my inside cover, I chose a paper that complimented my covers.  Since the total size of the cover was 4" x 7", I subtracted about 1/4" of an inch total - 1/8" on each side.  Put a lot of adhesive on this paper, making sure that you have it running up against the edges of the paper.
Step 14.  Take one of your inside pages and line it up along the spine of the back cover.  Mark another x, and punch holes.
Step 15.  Take your back cover, and place it right side out on top of your front cover which should be right side out as well.  Once they are aligned, mark an x or trace the hole circles on the inside front cover so you know where to punch.
Step 16.  Assuming you have cut all of your pages, you are ready to assemble the whole thing.  I used brads to keep my pages in place.  I did this for 2 reasons. First, I'm anticipating that I might need more signature pages, so I want an easy way to get back in the book.  Second, my goal is to add pictures to this when all is said and done and I don't know if I will need more pages or not, so again - I want access to get back in.  You could use yarn or ribbon and just do a loop and cut into it later if you want.  You can also use binder rings.

To keep small fingers from opening the brads, I covered each one with stickers.
Step 17.  Attach the Sharpie.  These were perfect since they had the little hook on the cap.  I simply tied a double knot and trimmed the edge a bit.
Step 18.  Decorate the cover.  I picked up some cute glitter mickey stickers, so I used some of the extra card stock to create a background and then I placed my stickers and added each girl's name to the cover.
Obviously, this is Emily's finished book. Did you notice what is "wrong" about these?  Take a good look at the paper.  The words are upside down.  The second book is just a page filled with the outline of Mickey's head so it's a LOT more noticable noticeable but such is life.  I didn't have the character paper to start over with, and the girls didn't even notice until I pointed it out.  Not all projects turn out perfect.  What's more important to me is that it's done, and in this case cute and functional.

I'm thrilled with how these came out and the girls seem excited to use them.  Here's hoping we'll have enough room for all of the signatures we collect!


  1. New follower from the Finding New Friends blog hop, would love it if you'd swing by my blog when you get a chance! :)

  2. Hi there! This is SUCH a cute idea! Thanks for sharing your craftyness with non talented folk like me!

    Following from the Finding New Friends hop! Hope you can stop by and follow back!

    Amy @ Render Me Mama

  3. Newest fan:) I'm loving all the cool projects. check me out at whenver you can

  4. I am your newest GFC follower from the hop, would love it if you dropped by my blog at WV Stitcher . Have a fantastic weekend!

  5. I love this project! We are huge Disney Fans and have always bought the cheap (i.e. boring) autograph books. Next year I'll be making one (or 3) of these before we go!

  6. I love your ideas sooooo much! I'm really creative, all my friends and family say so! But not as creative as you! So, if you have any new, awesome ideas, please email me at! Ps. You can tell by the Email that I was born in 2002 so I'm 10! <3 :)

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. I am currently in the process of making our scrapbooks for the trip. Problem I am running into is finding brads that are long enough to hold it all together. Was wondering if you were able to find longer ones or if you took out pages with autographs at night and put in blank ones for the next day during your trip.


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