Keepsake Christmas Album
by Rachel Paxton
Do you hate throwing your Christmas cards away every year as much
as I do? This year I decided to try to come up with some way to
preserve our Christmas cards, as well as find a way to organize
all the Christmas letters I've been faithfully filing away for
the past six years. I decided to make an album for our Christmas
letters using decoupage to decorate the covers with this year's
I love decoupage. It's so easy to do and so versatile. It's
really hard to get it wrong. I started by finding something to
paste the Christmas cards on. I had some dark red card stock
(next to the paper at the office supply store) that seemed heavy
enough to withstand all the gluing. Next I cut our Christmas
cards into all different shapes and sizes. I cut out little
characters, scenes, holiday greetings, and even signatures of
loved ones who had sent the cards. I next arranged the cutouts,
overlapping one another, on the card stock, and started applying
them one by one with the decoupage finish.
There are several kinds of decoupage finish available. You can
find a variety at your local craft store. I have two different
kinds: Plaid Royal Coat Antique Decoupage Finish, and Mod Podge
Gloss-Lustre. The first one gives an antique-like appearance. The
paste yellows when it dries, making your collage look aged. The
more you apply, the yellower it gets. The Mod Podge dries clear.
I used the antique finish and was quite happy with the result.
You use the finish to actually glue the individual pieces on with
a paintbrush, and then when you're finished (adding scraps here
and there to fill in the blank spots), you brush a coat over the
entire page. After it dries for about 10 minutes, you can apply
another coat. I found that adding several coats made the pages
sturdier-more like a album cover, like I wanted. I had just
enough Christmas card cutouts to cover two pages, one for the
front cover, and one for the back cover.
After the pages were dry, I used a three-hole punch to punch
holes in the covers. I decided I would use wide fabric holiday
ribbon to tie the covers together. That way every year I could
untie the bows and add new letters to my album. I used 2 1/2
-inch-wide wire satin ribbon (dark red). I liked the wire ribbon.
It was easier to adjust the bows and looked really nice. It was
also leftover from my holiday gift making this year, so I didn't
have to buy any extra.
When the covers were ready, I arranged our Christmas letters from
oldest to most recent, and punched holes in all of them. I then
placed them between the covers and inserted the ribbon through
the holes and tied big red bows to hold them together. I chose
not to string ribbon through all three holes-just the top and the
I was really happy with how my keepsake Christmas album turned
out. It was easy, took only about two hours to make, and I didn't
have to buy anything extra to make it. After you buy the
decoupage finish (about $5 a bottle), the uses for it are almost
limitless. You can apply it to almost any surface, giving you the
opportunity to create timeless keepsakes in a variety of ways.
Originally published at
http://www.Suite101.com. Rachel Paxton is
a freelance writer, mom, and owner of four home and family web
sites. For scrapbooking, card making, gift-giving ideas, and more
family memory-making activities, visit