Hey friends! I recently started to create more and more 5×7 pages to document my everyday life and many of you asked me questions about it. That’s why I decided to write this post: to give you some useful pieces of information so you can try it out if you want. In this post, I’ll first explain to you the “why” behind my album, then I will show you “how” I create my pages and lastly, I’ll share the supplies I’m using for the album.
The WHY behind my 5×7 album
My 5×7 album at the beginning
At the beginning of a new year, I always think about the format I want to document my life in. In January 2020 I had big plans to have several albums about different subjects: Project Life for everyday life, One Little Word, a personnal album, etc. It’s because there are many things I want to remember about this season of my life: my kids & husband, my family & friends, my personnal interests & progress in different aerias of my life… I also like experimenting: new size, new design, new brand… I wanted to be very clear about my projects to know where I was going with my memory keeping. I chose what I wanted to do but I forgot one very important thing: we only have a certain number of hours per day, and with kids + covid/quarantine + just life, my plans were a little bit too much. Plus I was very indecisive about the formats because I like different things, so I changed my mind a couple of times along the way, during the first months of this year.
In the meantime, for quite some time now, I’ve been on a journey towards minimalism and I felt inside that something was wrong with all of these different albums. By trying to clarify what I wanted to do, I put things into separate boxes and I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t work for me. To see what I had originally planned for my memory keeping at the beginning of this year, click here. (the post is only in French but you can see the different projects with some pictures to get an idea).
How this 5×7 album became my main album for this year?
When I decided to start a 5×7 album, my main PL album was an A4 album (similar to 9×12). Seeing many people use the 9×12 size made me want to try it for myself (A4 is almost the same but more convinient to print my pictures at home). It was really easy to keep up with because I chose the monthly approach. Only downside: I felt like I wasn’t scrapbooking anymore because I used only a few pictures for the month and the pages were done really quickly. ;( If you want a project that is quick and easy to do, I encourage you to try that option. But if you have many many pictures you want to document, maybe try something else.
Since I felt that way, I decided to have a little album on the side to play, aka my 5×7 album. There were no rules, no frequency for the documentation, it was just for fun and to be able to document the pictures that didn’t make it into my A4 PL album. Also, I’d been wanting for a long time to try and not use page protectors anymore because they had become a source of stress for me. That’s why I decided to use the same binding as The Happy Planner with white cardstock and a punch. So much simpler, in my opinion.
I started to really enjoy creating these “mini pages” as I like to call them. I think the fun part, the part where you really enjoy creating is key in memory keeping. So, I started to enjoy creating pages in my 5×7 album more than in any of my other albums. What really had an impact on me was when I created the pages for my 2020 July Scrap Challenge: I documented one picture per day using the lens of gratitude (“I’m thankful for…”), and created a grid with squares, with one week on one page. I really enjoyed that project because it made me slow down and gave me the opportunity to be more PRESENT (my OLW for 2020) and the size felt great since I’m on a minimalist journey and trying to downsize what I’m surounding myself with. It made me understand two important things: I really need/want to be more conscious about the space I dedicate to my things (here the space of my album(s) ) and I enjoy several approaches: the monthly approach; the weekly approach; and I also like being able to created multiple spreads for one particuliar event if I think it’s important enough for me. More on those things now.
Being conscious of the space things are going to take / The journey where I learned to know myself better
Before I was introduced to the concept of minimalism, it’s like I was living in the fog. I made decisions, sure, but now that I have had time to reflect on things, I realize I had’nt any criterias to base my decisions on. I just did something because I felt like it, not thinking about the consequences it would have after doing this specific thing. Now I ask myself questions about the space I’ll need to store an item, the time I want to dedicate to an activity, the real reasons why I’m choosing to invest time and energy (and money) in something, and I try to be aware of what the benefits are for me right now, in the PRESENT moment.
For my 5×7 album, here are some of my thoughts. I know creating pages for this 5×7 album gives me joy right now (regardless of what happens to the album afterwards). I’m really enjoying the creative process.
The size is pretty small but it allows me to use many pictures on one page if I want to, or a full page photo if I really love one picture. I feel really good about the physical space this album is taking because I don’t feel the weight (literally and figuratively) of these pages on me.
The pages are really quick and easy to make so it’s perfect for the time I want to dedicate to memory keeping right now. And in the same time, I get to document lots of pictures.
My reasons why for this album are: I really want/need to have a creative outlet and I want to remember the different phases of our life as a family.
So, for me right now, I think this project is perfect. It may change in the future (and knowing myself, I’m quite certain it will) but it’s what I need in this season of my life. I encourage you to think about what is the perfect fit for you right now. Not what everybody else is doing, not what I am doing but what YOU want to do NOW.
How I create my 5×7 mini pages
The loose formula I’ve established as a guide for myself
With this album, as I said before, I wanted to try and keep it “under controle”. Meaning I wanted to know, right at the beginning, the space it would take, in order to not create pages endlessly to finally realize this is way too much and to not feel good about it. So, I decided to approach this project month by month because I find it easier to deal with a month at a time, rather than with the whole year.
Now, I’ll tell you what will most likely be present for each month in this 5×7 album. And to give you concrete examples, I decided to bring you along with me as I prepare my pages for the month of April 2020 (since I didn’t do much for this particular month before starting to write this post).
A title page for the month
The first page of each month is a title page where the name of the month is present in some way. The design is the same one as in my previous A4 Project Life Album, but smaller. My favorite design for this kind of pages is the 12 squares and I’m generally placing a “title card” in the second row, second column. The other spots are filled with a majority of pictures + some filler cards. Maybe I will also use full page photos sometimes.
Here is a look at the title page for April 2020:
The inside pages or how I deal with loving several approaches and putting everything in only one album
I wanted to be aware of the (approximate) number of pages I was gonna create per month. Because, in the past, in my albums, certain months have lots of spreads and other months are empty. I like to see the evolution of our life from one month to the other so I want to have at least some stuff documented each month.
So, I prepared some blank pages in advance (I’ll explain to you how just below) and chose a formula to have a base to work with and to get an idea right now of the thickness of the album when it will be complete. Because I like the weekly approach with an overview of what happened and I also like being able to create more for a specific event if I want to, I decided to dedicate 4 spreads for weekly overviews (one week = one page or double page, depending on the design I choose for the weeks) + 2 or 3 pages for highlighting specific things/events. Of course, if I need more or less, I’ll adjust the number of pages in my album, but it gives me a better idea of where I’m going.
A closing page for the month
I like this idea of having a title page and a closing page, like the cover of a book, for each month in my album. I’m doing a collage of pictures from the month on the A side of the last page for the month and on the B side, I also decided to finish each month with a closing page featuring one of my favorite pattern paper. I think it’s nice to have a little visual break between all the pictures and I like how it closes the month. So each month is kind of like a mini album on itself and I like that idea.
About the design of my pages
If you are following me for some time, you know I love grids and pocket style pages (even though I dont use any pockets/page protectors anymore). My 2 most favorite designs to use, especially for the weekly spreads, are: the 12 squares and the pictures/cards on a two page spread glued at an angle. I also create pages with a more traditional approach, most of the time for the additional pages documenting a specific event that happened during the month I also love full page photos.
Here are two examples of my favorite designs:
The supplies I’m using for my 5×7 album
Many of you asked about the supplies I’m using for my 5×7 album. In fact, only a few things are necessary to get started: white paper (+ a trimmer), a specific punch, discs for binding and as usual, a printer + photo paper and something to glue down your pictures onto the pages.
NB: since I buy my supplies in France, the links below are the equivalent I found for you online, and not necessarily the exact same supplies as the one that I use.
White paper (+ a trimmer)
I use white paper as the base for my pages. The pages I create are 5×7 inches and I add 0.4 inch for the binding because I generally hate having holes in my pictures. The paper I use most often as a base is this one: Clairefontaine DCP A4 160g. I also tried a thicker one, Clairefontaine DCP A4 200+g, but I find it harder to use because it’s so thick: for now I use it for the opening and closing pages for each month but I will not buy it again when I run out of it.
IMPORTANT: don’t use a paper that is too thick because you may not be able to use the punch (the one I have only takes 3 sheets at a time “in theory”; I generally put only 2 pages at once inside the punch).
The trimmer I’m currently using is the Fiskars Guillotine one. I’ve had it for years but I’m quite sur I’ll have to replace it soon because something is off with the blade… But I highly recommand it! I couldn’t scrapbook without my guillotine trimmer (I would love for it to be a little bit bigger though). The one I’m currently using is an A5. I also use this one, also a Fiskars but I prefer the cut of the guillotine one.
TIP: you can cut 2 pages (5.5×7) on one A4 sheet of paper: I’ll show you how I do it in the video at the end of this post.
I’ll show you how I prepare the blank pages that I use as a base for my album in the video below.
The punch I purchased is this one: Perforatrice Busy Days Boxclever Press (on Amazon.fr, not available anymore). You can also get the one from The Happy Planner because the holes are the same. The plus side is that you only have to make that purchase once, then you’re good to go.
TIP: if you’re not sure if you really want to invest in the punch, I advise you to do what I did when I started creating 5×7 pages: create the pages even though you don’t have the punch, leave the space for the holes, see if you like it or not. Then, when and if you really feel this approach is for you, buy the punch. You’ll already have your pages and you’ll know that you’ll use the punch. ; )
In addition to the punch, you’ll also need specific discs in order to bind your pages together. You can buy plastic ones or metal ones (plastic is cheaper). They are available in many different colors. The ones I’m using are plastic; I bought them here. What’s great with the discs is that you can choose the size you really need and you can adapt the size as you create more pages. The sizes are S, M and XL.
Photos : printers + paper
For printing pictures, since the size is pretty small, I use my Selphy printer a lot because I love the quality and I’m able to fit several pictures on one 4×6 paper. For full page photos or to print cards and embellishments, I use my Canon pixma TS8251 with some cheap photo paper from my local supermarket. The quality of this printer is really good for home printing, in my opinion.
With the Selphy : the photo paper is 4×6 ; each picture mesures 1.6×1.6 in
With the Canon TS8251 : the photo paper is A4 ; I print the size I need for the embellishments and cards, it depends on the project
A roller glue
And for gluing the pictures onto my pages, I use a roller adhesive similar to this one. I like this one because you can move the pictures pretty easily is you need to adjust the placement, but it’s still a permament glue.
Here is the video that shows you everything I talked about in this post. I hope it will give a better idea of what my 5×7 album looks like.
Here are the steps you’ll find in this video:
*how I create the structure of the album for the month: the different pages (title page, inside pages & closing page);
*the pictures printed on the Selphy printer: the photo paper is 4×6 & each picture mesure 1.6×1.6 inches;
*the pictures getting cut to the right size;
*the sheet of embellishments & cards I printed + how I cut them;
*the process video for the title page for April 2020 and how it looks in the album;
*my process for creating the closing page for the month;
*the process for creating a 5×7 full page photo;
*how I created the collage for the last page of the month, on the back of the closing page with the pattern paper;
*a quick flipthrough of all the pages I have so far.
Here are the pages I’m missing right now:
*the weekly pages (I’ll add them starting on the back of the title page);
*one page about our Easter memories;
*at least one page on the back of the full page photo.
However, I decided to stop here for now because the post contains already a lot of info. I’ll share those other pages with you here or maybe on Instagram. Tell me in the comments if you’re interested in watching process videos for these new ones.
I really hope that this post was helpful and that you now have a better idea of what it’s like to create 5×7 mini pages. Maybe it gave you some inpiration to try a different approach like this one or to take some time to think about the type of album that would be the best fit for you right now regarding the size (5×7, 6×8, 9×12…), the approach (weekly, monthly, without rules…), etc. Please let me know if you have any questions about this or if you just want to chat. I’ll be happy to discuss further more with you. ; )