I am such sucker for a handmade photo album. I understand the attraction of printed photo books but to me, there’s something so special about being able to slot in drawings, notes and things like train tickets or dinner menus alongside the photos you’ve printed. I made Clive a photo album with photos from our first year together for his birthday a few years ago and he still says it is one of his favourite gifts. We both occasionally pick it up and laugh at all the ridiculous memories and notes I left inside. I feel like that’s something that you only really do when you have an actual photo album. We would never just sit down and go through photos saved to my hard drive in the same way.

For the last few months, I’ve had photos printed from 2018 and 2019 sitting in a drawer with photo albums for them to go in but hadn’t taken the time to put them together. When Caran d’Ache sent me a little isolation package with their Museum Aquarelle Collection to have a play around with, I thought it was a nice opportunity to personalise a photo album using their watercolour crayons.

I am no pro when it comes to watercolours so I just used simple borders and patterns around the photos but I love how it turned out. It’s a really simple but effective idea to make a photo album look a little bit more special.

I used this little dried flower over my mum’s face in one of the photos below because I don’t post family photos on here, and not because I cover everyone else’s face except for mine when I make photo albums!

There are so many different sorts of patterns that you could do but I thought I’d show you the step by step process of how I used the crayons to get the look in the photos above.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own watercolour photo album:

Step 1: Prepare a little work station. You’ll need two pots of clean tap water for your watercolours and a few pieces of scrap paper to test colours on.

Step 2: Have a play around with the pencils on the watercolour palette. I started by using three blue tone crayons on the palette to get a soft blue colour.

Step 3: Use water and a brush to mix together your colours. Adjust as required using more colour and use more water for a softer colour.

Step 4: Remove a page from the back or middle of the album and test out a few patterns on the paper so see how it reacts to the water.

Step 5: When you’re ready, pick a photo. Use a pencil to lightly mark out the four corners of where you want to place your photo. This will ensure your background surrounds the photo.

Step 6: Paint a watercolour frame connecting the dots you just made. Use plenty of water for a soft look and layer the colour on to make it look a little more interesting.

Step 7: Make sure to mix in other colours and add darker spots to add depth to the frame. Once it’s dry, stick on your photo using photo stickers.

Step 8: Use a fine ink liner or brush to add an ink pattern over the top of your border. I used small blobs and dots. Don’t worry about it being too perfect.

Step 9: Cover your photo and the adjacent page with a few pieces of scrap to protect them both for the next step.

Step 10: Add small splatters of watercolour paint by gently knocking your paint brush on the back of your hand.

Leave your page to dry before moving on to the next or put a protective piece of paper in between. This is how this specific page turned out:

There are so many different ideas and techniques that you can try. I’ve added a few other photos from inside my photo album below to give you some ideas but the best things to do is to play around and see what happens. With Christmas fast approaching and photos being in demand, people have started creating DIY Photo albums to be used for the event. With this in mind, one can find so many DIY Photo albums for Christmas and other holidays.

On this page I did a simpler version of the blue frame idea I showed you above but with a mix of greens and browns to bring out the browns in a photo that I took on a trip to Brugge.

I love this page where I added an envelope with a few post-it notes in it that I once left around the flat for Clive. I used a beeswax stamp with some dried flowers on it like I did in this post.

I did the first photo in the album in a similar way to the blue frame above but with mainly greens.

And here’s a very simple dotted pattern that surrounds a photo. I love the terrazzo look.

Tips & tricks:

  • Sort your photos well beforehand and make sure to slot in any special birthday cards, notes or paper memories that you want to include in the right place. If you use the same photo albums as I use, you’ll have space for somewhere in between 120 and 180 photos.
  • Make sure to take a page out of your album to see how the paper reacts to the watercolours you’ll be using before you start.
  • Pick a colour palette for the album as a whole to make it feel a little bit more uniform. I used greens, browns and blues mainly.
  • The key to really beautiful colours is to mix your own so have a play around with all the beautiful colours in the collection.
  • Make sure to leave each page to dry before adding the ink or else it might run.
  • Don’t worry about it being too perfect. There will be pages you like more than others but that’s part of the fun.

I am so thrilled with how the album has come together. I didn’t feel hugely confident going into this one as I had no experience using watercolour crayons before but the Museum Aquarelle collection from Caran d’Ache are so accessible and easy to use. I’d recommend having a little play around with them even if you don’t have time to make a whole album. You could use the same sort of idea to make a birthday card and paint a frame around just one photo to send to a friend.

Thanks for stopping by for a read. I hope you’re all keeping well and doing lots of crafting :).

Sending lots of love. xS

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Caran d’Ache