Photo Nostalgia Goes Modern: How to make a Polaroid Photo Album


Polaroid cameras and film inspire nostalgia in me, given that they were my family’s only photographic resources for a period of time when I was a kid.  The advantage to Polaroid pictures, back when the instantly viewable results of digital photos were just an inventor’s dream, was that your picture was printed and ready in minutes – no trip to the photo processor’s was necessary.

One of the disadvantages?  The thick white strip that ran along the bottom.

I created a project that turns that thick white strip into a definite advantage, so if you’ve still got a Polaroid camera dust it off, buy some film, and get ready to make a darling and versatile album!

What a Trip!

Back in 2006 I made a special photo album to commemorate a weekend getaway, and thought I’d share my creation with you, dear readers.  It’s an easy project, and makes a wonderful souvenir.  This versatile photo album also makes a great thank you gift for a host or hostess!



Polaroid camera & film
Single-hole punch (1/4″ diameter punch)
Cardboard or chip board
Alphabet stamps
Black ink pad
One piece of card stock
Metallic marker & metallic gel pen
Ribbon, thick yarn, or twine
Printer, paper, glassine envelope (optional bonus feature)

Planning Ahead


This project is something you’ll want to plan for before you take a single picture with your Polaroid film.  Why?  You’ll need to take your pictures differently if you want the white strip, which is where you’ll punch the holes to bind your album, on the left side of the photo. You’ll need to rotate your camera 90 degrees clockwise, so the bottom of the camera is pointing to the left side when you’re taking photos.

Really Retro?

If you’d rather work with existing Polaroid photos you certainly can – your binding will just be along the bottom of your photos instead of along the side.  Be sure to orient the wording on your album cover accordingly.



When your photos are all taken and you’re ready to assemble your album, begin by punching one of your photos as shown (above).  Use that photo to make a cardstock template for punching your other photos (below).  First trace around the photo you’ve punched, then place the photo over the cardstock and use the photo’s holes as a guide to punch the cardstock.  This template can now be used to punch holes on your remaining photos.  Once they’re all punched, place your photos in the desired order, and set all but the topmost photo aside.


To make the front and back covers, trace around a photo onto a thick material of some sort.  I used chipboard, but you can use almost anything for your covers: cardboard, fabric, leather, colored mat board, etc.  You’ll need two pieces.  Once you’ve cut out your two cover pieces, use your card stock template to punch holes in your cover pieces.

Next, embellish your cover as desired.  I stamped “Lake Arrowhead 2006” on my cover with black ink, and the added a few dots of metallic gel pen to the letters.  I created the metallic accents along the edge of the cover and around the punched holes with a thicker metallic marker.

Finally, I bound all the pieces together with thick yarn/fibers that I tied off, leaving short tails.

Bonus Feature


If you’re interested in preserving details about pictures you’ve taken, as I am, I invite you to hop on your computer and type out a list/index that includes the following:

Who, what, when, where, why? Document things like your travel destination and/or occasion, dates, and the main group of people appearing in the photos.  You can also type a brief line for each photo you’ve included, in the order they appear.

I printed my index, folded it, inserted it into a glassine envelope, and then mounted the glassine envelope on the back inside cover.  By doing that, the details of this trip won’t be lost over time.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief how-to.  Happy Polaroid picture taking and crafting!

Warm regards,

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  1. Posted January 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm by Barb L. | Permalink

    This is soooo COOL! I will have to dig out some old Polaroids and see what I can make! How fun is this???

  2. Posted January 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm by Melody | Permalink

    I’m glad you like this project! Please share what you end up making.