Friday, October 12, 2012

Receiving Blanket Photo Album Tutorial

Receiving blanket photo album

My baby girl turned one in August.  1. ONE!  For real.  She's been a perfect addition to our family and her big brothers adore her.  A few weeks before her birthday Leon told me that he wanted to make her a photo album with pictures of our family.  Ada loves to look at pictures of faces so I thought this was a great idea.  It's so like Leon to know exactly what a loved one would like.  He is extremely thoughtful and empathetic.

Well, I dropped the ball.  I completely forgot about his photo album idea until he asked about it the day before her birthday. It was important to him and I've been trying to instill in him the value of homemade gifts so I wanted to make it happen. (You can read about more of our homemade gifts here.)  So, while the other kids napped we got to work.  Thankfully, when he first mentioned the idea I daydreamed up some plans.  Despite my persistent baby brain, I was able to quickly recall my original thoughts and our project was on.  Now I'll share it with you.

What you'll need:
Flannel receiving blankets in fun, coordinating prints.  I used 4 different blankets, but had lots left over. (I have a ton of these saved up)
Vinyl (I used the packages that sheets and comforters come in which made it free - yay!)

Decide on a size for your album.  This will largely depend on what size photos you want to use, 3x5, 4x6, 5x7, etc. I decided on 4x6 because that's what I had the most of.  I found a book that looked good with the photo in the middle.  It had just enough fabric on all sides keeping in mind the vinyl will be cut an inch larger than the photo to allow for sewing.  So, if your photo is 4x6 you'll need to cut your vinyl to be 5x7.

I was nursing in this photo and while I think it's beautiful it's not essential to the tutorial ;)

Lay your book on your receiving blankets and use an invisible marker or chalk, to create your pattern (you can also make a pattern on paper, but this is so simple that I opted not to).  I let my son do almost everything for this project.  It's very forgiving so let them at it.

Fold the outer edge over on the fold line so that the fabric is doubled.  Make sure that the orientation of the fabric is the way you want it before you cut.  Cut on the line, but do not cut the fold line.  It should look like the picture below.

When opened it will look like this.

I let my son experiment with the rotary cutter and scissors.  We were both more comfortable with the scissors.  You know the ability of your child so you be the judge and it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, supervise your children during this project, especially when sharp objects are involved.  

Using the first one as a pattern trace and cut out three additional pieces (or however many you want).  I used 4 coordinating patterned blankets for each piece, but you can cut your pieces from the same blanket if you prefer and have enough fabric.  His edge is uneven, but because we will be creating fringe on the edges it won't be noticeable.

Using your photo as a guide, cut out your vinyl pieces.  You will want to add an inch to the length and the width to allow room for sewing and to allow the photo to slide in.  So, if your photo is 4x6 you will cut your vinyl to 5x7, which is what I did.

If you cut four pieces it will make 8 pages including the front and back covers.  We chose to leave the inside of the front cover and one other page blank so we used 6 vinyl pieces. Sew the vinyl pieces to the flannel.  You can measure the make sure you are in the middle (or wherever you want to be) but we just eyeballed it. Remember, this is a kid-friendly project that happens to turn out super cute so don't get too stuck on making it perfect.  I used a zig-zag stitch about 1/4 inch from the edge of the vinyl.  The vinyl can be tricky to sew cause it can stick.  I'm sure there's lots of tricks out there, including putting a little corn starch on it.  I chose to loosen the pressure on the sewing machine foot and then I helped my son guide it through the machine at a mostly steady, even pace.

We then chose our layout.  Which piece we wanted for the cover, the inside cover, etc.  Lay them flat and pair them up.  I apologize, but I don't seem to have pictures of this part.  If you are using 4 pieces you will have two pairs.  Place them WRONG sides together.  So you will have two double sided rectangles.  Using a 1/2" seam allowance zig-zag stitch around the rectangles. Remember, you should be sewing on the RIGHT side of the fabric.  Once both rectangles are sewn together simply fold in half, iron the fold and sew a straight line down the middle to create your book.  
Now time for the finishing touch.  On the edges of the rectables, very carefully cut in towards your stitching all around the outside approximately every 1/2" or so to create the fringe.  I did this part so that my son wouldn't accidentally cut the seam.  Wet it or throw it through the wash and then dry on low heat or air fluff to give the fringe that messy shabby chic look.  Add your favorite pictures and you're done.  Seriously, my 5-year-old handled this like a pro.  I'm new to the whole tutorial thing so if you have questions just ask. 

This is the inside of the front cover and the first page.  We used fabric markers to personalize it.

Middle pages

 We used fabric markers to draw Ada a picture and write her a little note towards the back of the book.

Does she like her new photo album that her sweet, thoughtful brother made for her?  Yes indeed.  She plays with it all the time and it has held up wonderfully so far.  Obviously you'll want to take the pictures out before you wash it.

Ok.  I got a little photo happy there, but how could you not?  The cuteness is just too much.  I hope you enjoy making this as much as we did.  And please do contact me with any questions (or better ways of doing something - I'm no expert).  If you make one leave a comment letting me know with a link to your photos!!

I'm linking up to:
 The Humble Brag Link Party See Vanessa Craft

Kammy's Korner


  1. I have been wanting to make one of these for my little guy who is turning 2 this year and for whatever reason I've been procrastinating. After reading your tutorial I'm recharged and mentally trying to figure out where I have stashed his receiving blankets. I love repurposing items I already have. Thanks for the tutorial!
    Lisa @

    1. Hi Lisa. It was a fun little project and such a great way to use all those receiving blankets. If you make one I'd love to see how it turns out. Thanks for the stopping by. I am enjoying perusing your blog.

  2. Hey Rachel,
    What a cute idea! and baby friendly too! :)
    Thanks so much for linking up last week at the Humble Brag. Make sure to check tomorrow to see if you were featured and link up some more projects. We will be giving away ad space for the week to one lucky featured blogger. That means thousands of page views a day! Hope to see you there!