Paper Bag Gelli Print Book – construction

This is going to be HUGE.  I will try to use a combination of actual photos and diagrams to try to explain it fully and will hope that gets the steps across clearly.  Any questions, comment and I’ll reply.  I would suggest that you SUBSCRIBE to the COMMENTS so any replies I make come to you via email, or check back if you ask a question.  Emails to commenters can bounce back as undelivered and I don’t want you thinking I am ignoring you {wink}

Folding the bags

My book uses 4 standard lunch bags.  That’s not to say that you can’t use the smaller nice ones (I think they are called Celebration bags, from Michaels in the USA) but that is not what I used.  The standard bags can be ever so slightly wonky, but that is part of their charm for me.

All the bags get opened and folded the same way, it’s the snip to release the gusset that changes position from bag to bag, so start by folding them all like this:

Slip your hand inside the bag.  Tease out the side folds all the way, and re-crease them along the existing fold lines:


Fold the bottom of the bag to the side it wants to go, in the same position it was originally


Fold the two side gussets back into position, again as they were originally, like so:


Fold the bottom flap over onto the body of the bag, over the folded in side gussets.


You might like to reinforce all the folds at this point, with a bone folder or the back of a spoon or just your thumbnail, so the creases are as crisp as you can make them.

Because I am using the Gelli prints from the 6 x 6 plate, I trimmed the bags so the area from the fold to the edge of the opening is 6 inches. If you want a bigger book, don’t cut!


OK, now we will switch to diagrams, so I can explain the cutting more easily.  You will make TWO sets of TWO bags.



At this point the long flaps, top and bottom need to be stuck together from inside the bag, making those flaps a more cohesive whole. Just open the bag and stick JUST the area from the top to the snip (the area the scissor tip is “pointing to” above) and the same area on the bottom, but to the fold, as you have not snipped it, have you?

While the bag is still open and unstuck, cut yourself a little template for the side pockets.  This is where the wonkiness comes in to play – unless you really want to cut a template for each bag pocket, the one you cut is unlikely to match perfectly for all bags.  Live with it or do each one, or make the side pocket a rectangle rather than following the lines of the folds like I did!

gellibagtemplate gellibagtemplate1 gellibagtemplate2

Now, the nice thing about this way is you can use the off-cut from the print you use to cover the pocket and either slip it inside THAT pocket (boring) or swap them around so one piece covers the pocket and another fills the pocket, then reverse that for a different pocket.  Like I did:


The spine gussets that join the bags

I used three.  This is a little flexible, but since I am using A4 cardstock, I cut it in half (that’s roughly at 5 3/4 inches) then trimmed it to 8 inches.  No real reason for that, it was kinda automatic.  In any case it just needs to be smaller than 6 inches tall and the wings need to be narrower than 4 inches (the width of the bag bottom) so don’t get too hung up on exact measurements.  If you are using a US letter piece of card  5 1/2 x 8 will be fine.

Score each of the three at 3 inches, 4 inches and 5 inches along the longer side.


Crease the score lines like so, so you get two side “wings”


To join bags One and Two, add the adhesive to the underside of the wings and stick one wing to the back of the fold-over flap (the bag “bottom” in its original state)


Can you see that the wings are attached, but the little fold in the middle is free, and extends PAST the edges of the bag?



Do exactly the same for Bags Three and Four.

Now, using the last piece, join the two sets.  In this case you will be joining the BACK of the bag, rather than the bottom. When you cover these, it give you two FULL SIZE pages rather than the smaller bag-bottom pages:


Full-size pages.


Now it is up to you – a few possibilities.  I chose to stick the spine extensions together. You may not want to.  I toyed with covering the spine unit with another Gelli print, but to be honest I liked the black contrast.



I hope you can see in the shots above and more from yesterday that the spine done this way allows the book to really open up, although I’m not sure you could get loads of really thick, dimensional embellishments in there even so, but I’ve not decorated mine yet.

The rest of it is pretty much as you would expect it to be.

  • Decorate the front and back as covers
  • Stick two prints, back to back, sandwiching the flap at the top.
  • Cover the inside of the side pocket, then fold in  and use your template to cut a covering piece.  This completes the pocket.  You CAN use TWO of the template pieces, back to back, sandwiching the sides, for a more solid finish.


  • gellisidepocket1Decorate behind the bottom flap – I cut off enough to use that strip to cover the front of the pocket on another page and along the pocket.

gellibottompocket gellibottompocket2

  • Stick the sides of the pocket along the bottom edge at the side and decorate the front of the flap
  • gellibottompocket3Decorate all the pages to cover the spine wings as already shown.
  • I chose to cover the entire area of the inside of the back cover to offer better structural integrity


Good lord that is LONG.  But I hope it explains it well enough for you to have a go!

Now, this is a total experiment.  I know some people prefer a PDF.  Once I publish the post, I am going to try to convert the post to a PDF simply by using Readability (which is a bit like the Google Reader that is disappearing later this year, but Readability works in the browser I use for READING, just not for printing).  What I HOPE will happen is it will take the post, strip out all the sidebar and blog surround rubbish, and make it a PDF in about two clicks.  I’m simply not sure if it will split photos, or split the PAGES in a way that makes it unusable.  If it looks good enough, I’ll add it as a download HERE (if it’s highlighted as a hot link, you know it worked!  If not, you know it didn’t.  I have to switch to a different browser to do it so bear with me if you are seeing this in email or come to the post in the next 3 minutes….)

Added note:  Interesting.  The Google reader version turns out at 28 pages and more or less puts one photo per page.  The Readability version is 17 pages and seems more usable so that is the one I added!

It goes without saying that you can use this basic construction for a standard (non-Gelli print) book and cover with scrapbook papers instead!

I hope you like it.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done a PBB or a mini and I really enjoyed it.  Hope you did too.


Gelli Print Paper Bag Book!

You know me – I love PBBs.  I like coming up with different constructions using them and find them so useful for mini albums.  I had some connectivity and commenting issues yesterday that kept me from my WOYWW hopping, but I am off to rectify that as soon as I post this.  Then a long-time scrapbooking mate is coming for lunch (and she quilts too, so we should have a lot to chat about!) and prep for my local Basingstoke crop to sort out for Saturday – I’ve missed it for about 3 months and I hate that!

So here it is.  I will TRY to explain the construction tomorrow as I think I need to take a few more photos to make sure it’s clear. but I am guessing if you make PBBs you will have  good idea of how this works.

This is the spine with the front cover/back cover


The front of the book


This is the first spread – the main part of the spread has a  flap, covered on both sides with Gelli prints to create a flip-up page, then a bottom flap that creates a pocket, with the bottom of the bag folded over to create another pocket to the right.



The bags are joined by a folded gusset, creating two more pages from the bottom of the bags that fold to create the side pocket (clear as mud? LOL!)



The book uses four standard lunch bag sized bags, joined in two groups, so the middle spread is the back of the first group and the front of the second group, creating a full size page.

gellipbb3 And because I didn’t want a pocket on the inside back cover, I just covered that page fully.

See what I mean?  It’s easy and complicated at the same time.


The spine gussets extend past the edge of the bags, creating the joins, allowing the pages to really open and standing up it has this almost star-book effect.


It has LOADS of space for adding …. stuff.  I grabbed a few tags from my stash of work and here you can see them in the various holding areas:


Counting up, there are:

  • 4 full size pockets where the bags usually open
  • 9 full size pages (not counting the pages under the bottom pockets)
  • 3 bottom pockets (with pages behind)
  • 4 lined side pockets
  • 4 bottom-of-the-bag pages

All in all I used 25 pulled prints, some cut in a way that allowed me to use them in more than one place.  How’s that for using up prints!?

I’ll try very hard to get organized enough to give some more guidance on how to construct it.  And then I get to fill it!  Now that is the fun part.  I have an idea……



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Sunday-someplace-else (Paper Phenomenon)

I’ve been a bit lax on my SSE posts, as the weekends have just been so busy the last few months, but I did want to share this one with you.  You probably recall how much I like paper bag books, having done a few alternative versions of the standard one myself, but this one is really clever!  I have an idea for making a version that will be more UK-friendly but need to get in to town to get a few bags, ones that are easy to get here, rather than use my stash of US bags from Target! Have a look – she has a 9-part series on this book, construction as well as decoration, and it’s well worth a look.

I like it a lot.  click the link to go to her blog as well as she has some fab stuff there.  Some stuff to buy (kits, tutorials, etc) and U-Stream classes so much to explore.  Check out the Easter Basket Exploding box!




There has been something of a rediscovery of that heritage paper bag book I did for SI a while back – the one with the Martha Stewart fan chart insert?

I have had comments and YouTube mail asking where the PDF is as the link no longer works – with the monthly magazine ceasing publication, even with the bookazine issues hitting the shops, I guess they have culled some of the old content.

I’ve taken a moment to redo some bits that it seems people were finding tricky to understand so I hope overall this is clearer. The PDF can be downloaded by clicking here (the download will start automatically – and it’s about 3 mb) and I’ll add it to the sidebar as well.

As ever, any questions, email me or comment here or on YouTube


Last one for a bit

You can check back if you like but I’ll be on holiday for a couple of weeks and not sure how much I can update.

But here is a little Paper bag mini I made a while ago – it’s another unusual construction. I basically sliced the paper bag down the middle ind used the surfaces then used my BIA to bind in a number of photos. It all looks a bit chaotic in the photos but I hope ou can get a sense of what it is all about!

See you soon!


Another Paper Bag Book YouTube slideshow

It seems the Audio Swap process is in progress, or the audio is messed up at the moment, but hopefully it will sort itself out soon. Until then, watch in silence LOL! It annoys me that you can’t initially set the preview frame of your video – every time it displays the most uninteresting page of the video as the thumbnail and you can change it but can only select from three YouTube offers, often none of them the one *I* would have chosen. Anyway, hopefully it makes sense – judicious use of the PAUSE button will help if the measurements go by too fast!

If you click the YouTube logo I think you can see it there instead of in the blog and that is higher quality.


Back to scrapping

A while ago I made a number of paper bag books that were different in layout and construction than the usual ones. A couple have been featured here, some I have done YouTube slide shows for detailing the construction. I’m coming down to the last few and this week I finished off one hat has been sitting in a bag with all the goodies for it for…shamefully long. I bought a very bright and colourful scrapbook kit at Costo in the USA for about $11 – it included loads of paper, stickers, punch out letters, chipboard, tags AND an album. I made the book months ago:

The BIA worked a treat – I think I would always use it on PBBs in the future! – and unlike some of the books this one makes use of the pockets (surely the single BEST reason to make a PBB as opposed to any other sort of mini-book!)

A bit more info on the construction:

And finally a glimpse of it with photos – I’m trying to find the time to do a slide show but it’s always harder once you’ve completed the book – I try to take photos as I go but then I get into a frenzy of crafting and forget LOL!

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Yet another PBB

LOL! I am still testing the limits of the paper bag book. This one was made ages ago (which you can probably tell from the papers – not the newest collection but I think perhaps still available) and was hidden from public view because I thought it might end up in Scrapbook Inspirations. HA! Fat chance of that now (ok, I really shouldn’t scoff as I did just get back a really offbeat PBB that was meant to be in the January of February issue but has been photographed and will appear in one of the “bookazines” in the future – no pun intended!)

But I digress…..

Irritatingly in cases where my subtitle was too long and I edited it in a particular way it seems to have cut off those words. I noticed a few cases where the sentence is clearly incomplete, and maybe a step that is slightly out of place. Overall I am really happy with the quality of the video (slideshow, really) compared to the older version of iMove I was using. I am tempted to re-do the Heritage paper bag book and incorporate the “helper” video as well so there is one, higher quality, complete entry. I wish I could annotate so I could place a pointer to the newer one, if I do it. I may fiddle with that next week as I think I have all the stills – it’s just a matter of doing the subtitles. We’ll see. I cannot believe that has been viewed over 4500 times, nor that I have over 60 subscribers. I wish YouTube allowed you to update a video and replace just the video without losing all the comments and not represent it as a “new” video rather than a replacement one.

Also irritatingly I note that although I changed the image that should be the “cover” and the thumbnail does appear in the YouTube listings, the first frame of the video is the one THEY selected originally. It annoys me that you can’t pick your own from the get go, and also that they limit the HQ/HD option for videos uploaded from the USA only. Sometimes just after I upload I see the HD/HQ option but it soon disappears. (rant, rant, rant LOL!)

Anywho – busy day today as DD was off sick the entire week prior to 1/2 term, then I was away at Scrapfever, then she had a couple more inset days off school so I am playing catch up big time before the weekend hits. I’ll be running from now till she comes home on the bus! Ready…steady….I’m OFF!!