DIY military photo album


A few years ago now I made my man a distance-themed photo frame which he really appreciated and still has at his bedside at work. Recently, his grandfather pulled out his old photo albums of his time in the army to show us, and my man mentioned he’d like to get an album to put some of his own photos in. So I thought, why not make one just especially for him?

I thought it would be easy enough to find a burlap album and go from there but boy was I wrong! I ended up having to get a plain album, order some burlap fabric and cover it myself.

I also spent about 8 hours deliberating on the size/number of pages of the album as I wanted a square-shaped or a wide, self-adhesive (as opposed to a slip-in) album with at least 40 pages that would fit on our bookshelf. After nearly going mad I had to settle for a square-shaped self-adhesive album that has 24 sheets and is too big to fit on our bookshelf. I ordered the album, fabric, army patches, stencil and buttons all from ebay.


What You Will Need:

-glue gun
-paint (I used fabric paint)
-patches or other decoration
-2 buttons

How to:

  1. First you will need to lay your album out on the fabric (I doubled up my fabric as you could see the album through one layer). Cut it to size leaving enough material to securely fasten it to the inside of the album (1-2 inches). You may want to iron out your fabric if it is creased (as I couldn’t find our iron, I was able to do it without ironing and it looks fine).
  2. Put glue down the edge of your fabric and fold it over so that it covers about 1 cm along the edge to make a seam.


  3. Put hot glue on the inside of the album and stick down the edge with the seam. Repeat this with the other 3 sides. Do the same to the other cover.
  4. Place your stencil where you’d like it to go. Use tape to stick the top and bottom of the stencil down to keep it from moving. I used fabric paint and a paintbrush, held the stencil with two fingers (one at the top and one at the bottom of the letter I was painting) to make sure the stencil was pressed to the fabric, and dabbed with the paintbrush.
  5. Peel the stencil away and let dry.
  6. Place decorations and/or patches on the fabric and glue with hot glue gun.
  7. After the front is completely dry (I gave mine a couple of hours), arrange your decorations/patches how you would like them and glue them down.
  8. Use your stencil to stencil words on the back. Let it dry.
  9. Because the album doesn’t close fully I decided to sew a button on the front and back to make it more secure and I think it gives it a nice touch. I used a hair elastic as the clasp.
  10. Print some photos of your honey and wait for them to come home 🙂

What’s the neatest homemade gift you’ve ever made for someone?