I just love making these photo brooches! They’re quick, easy, and inexpensive to make and they even make use of some recycled materials. They make lovely gifts and one advantage of them is that they are small and fairly flat, so it’s easy to tuck one into a greeting card and mail it off to someone.
To get started, you’ll need:
1) some cardboard (I use old cereal boxes for this), a thinner cardboard (I recycle index cards or business cards for this)
2)paper (I’m using origami paper here but you can use scrapbooking or other paper that you have on hand. Magazine pages or book pages work well too. Newspaper does too but you may want to seal it so the ink doesn’t rub off onto clothing.)
3) a paper cutter or a pair of scissors (and a ruler if using scissors)
4) a punch to cut out the openings for the photos (I used a 1 inch circle punch here but you can use other sizes or shapes. No punch? You can also cut out the openings with a craft knife.)
5) glue (I like Aleene’s Tacky Glue Stick for gluing the paper to the cardboard and Aleene’s Tacky Glue in liquid form for the final assembly and gluing on the pinback and any embellishments) NOTE: depending on the magnets you use, you may want some E6000 or similar heavy duty glue on hand for those. See notes in the instructions below.
6) a pinback
7) a small piece of magnetic tape
8) any embellishment(s) desired. Also, you may want to tie a little string or ribbon through the binding – for this, you’ll need some embroidery floss, ribbon, or similar product and a hole punch that punches small holes to put the string through.
9) some gel medium or Mod Podge or something similar if you would like to seal your finished project. I don’t always seal mine and they hold up well but I also don’t wear mine more than just on an occasional basis. If wearing more often, I would seal it.
To begin, I always cut out all the pieces I need. The finished brooch that I am showing here and that I shared on Cool2Craft Live , is 1 3/4” by 2”. You can certainly make bigger or smaller brooches but here I am sharing with you the dimensions needed to make one the same size as mine.
Cut out: 1) 2 pieces from the cardboard (cereal box etc.) that are 1 1/2” by 2” each. These will form the front and back covers of the book. 2) A piece of paper that is 2 1/2” by 4”. This will cover the front and back covers of the book and be folded in to form a border around the inside ‘pages’. 3) 2 pieces from the thin cardboard that are 1 3/4” by 1 1/4” each. These will form the “pockets” for the photos. 4) A piece of coordinating paper that is 1 3/4” by 3”. This will cover the photo pockets. Note: on one sample, I placed a third photo pocket on the front cover of the book. If you would like to do the same, you need a third piece of thin cardboard that is 1 3/4” by 1 1/4” and another piece of coordinating paper that is the same size (1 3/4” by 1 1/4”).
We’re going to work with the cover pieces first. These are the thicker cardboard pieces and the 2 1/2” by 4” piece of paper. Glue the two pieces of cardboard on the wrong side of the paper making sure to leave an even border around the pieces so that you have enough to fold in and a gap between the two pieces of cardboard (about 1/4 inch) so that you have a space that will become the binding of the book.
Fold in the edges of the paper around the cardboard. I start with the top and bottom edges, securing them with glue. Then, I fold in the side pieces gift wrap style and secure those with glue (I use the glue stick here).
Next, glue (glue stick) the thin cardboard onto the wrong side of the coordinating paper that’s 1 3/4” by 3”. You won’t have edges to fold in this time so you need to place the cardboard evenly along the outside edges of the paper – this will still leave a gap of about 1/4” between the two pieces of cardboard.
Now, you need to create the openings for the photos to show through either with a punch or by using a craft knife.
Glue (I use liquid glue for this) the paper covered thin cardboard onto the thicker cardboard covers of the book. You can put the pictures in here now before gluing it and then glue along all 4 edges so that the pictures are in there permanently OR you can glue along the bottom and side edges only so that you’ll now have an opening at the top to slide the photos down into. This makes the photos interchangeable and you can pull them out and put new ones in at anytime!
Glue (liquid glue) on tiny pieces of magnetic tape inside the book to hold the book closed when wearing the brooch. I left the magnets bare so you can see them well but you can certainly disguise them. You can paint them with a few coats of a good acrylic paint (you want something that’s not going to scrape off so anything but acrylic and the lower quality acrylics won’t work) or you can cover them with tiny pieces of coordinating paper. Someone in Cool2Craft suggested a button and loop or a snap in place of the magnetic tape and I think that’s a great idea. Velcro would also work (but would be more difficult to disguise) as would a couple of ribbon ties. Note: I’ve found the liquid tacky glue sufficient most of the time but I bought some magnets once that were different than any I had used before. I think these were more powerful than my usual ones and they wanted to come loose with frequent opening and closing so I used some E6000 glue to hold those in place.
In the picture above, you can see where I’ve glued on the pieces of magnetic strip and where I’ve punched two little holes to run a bit of embroidery floss through.
If you want, you can punch a couple of tiny holes into the binding area, and run a string (twine, embroidery floss, ribbon or something similar) through it to create a little tie detail.
In the picture above, I’ve put a third photo pocket on the front cover as part of my embellishments.
Add your third photo pocket and/or embellishment to the front cover of the book. I use liquid glue for these as well. Finally, using liquid glue, glue the pinback onto the back cover of the book.