Sunday 9 February 2014

A Toilet Roll Steampunk Tag Album - and a DecoArt Tutorial

Hello, servus and welcome back for another tutorial for the DecoArt International Design Team Blog (featuring Andy Skinner) which I am proudly part of!

Browsing the net I recently found some wonderful mini tag albums made from toilet rolls and I felt the urge to finally do one of these myself!

And as some of you might already know Meresanth from "Meresanth Krafts" has recently opened her brand new online store "Retro Kraft Shop" where she offers the most wonderful vintage steampunk crafting goodies.

She generously sent some more of her treasures along with my order so I could have a play with them and create a project for her shop blog - and this is the result:

It was a lot of fun to play with all the watch parts and lovely embellishments, lace ribbon and designer papers! But now on to the promised tutorial:

To make your own mini tag album you will need:

- DecoArt white Acrylic Gesso
- DecoArt Americana Acrylic colours "Red Iron Oxide" and "Sea Breeze"
- DecoArt Dazzling Metallics "Bronze"
- DecoArt Decou-page matte

- some bristle brushes
- 5 toilet rolls (and your Sizzix or Cuttlebug to get them real flat)
- a tool for making eyelets
- wire and some pliers
- designer papers of your choice
- scissors, glue, eventually some sticky foam pads
- some small tags (or the Sizzix "Tag and  Tie" die, which I used for my tags)
- some stamps and stamping ink for further embellishment
- Distress ink "rusty hinge"
- various kinds of washi tape

Items used for embellishing this project that are also available on Meresanth's Retro Kraft Shop:
- Prima "Printerie" stamp set
- Vintage Neutral - K&Company Paper Pack
- Bronze Metal Branch
- Bronze Metal Key 4
- Watch Dials and other Watch Parts
- White Lace 

Step 1

Flatten your toilet rolls using a bone folder or (even better) your Sizzix or Cuttlebug.

Step 2

Give the rolls a thick coat of white DecoArt Gesso.


Take the DecoArt Dazzling Metallic "Bronze" and paint your rolls once the Gesso has dried.

To do so load your brush with some colour and stipple the colour onto the edge of your roll:

Then use the same brush (or your fingertips) to direct some of the applied colour towards the roll's center with gentle and fast strokes:

See to it that you don't work too evenly. Let Mr. Random be your guide ;)

Step 4 

Next apply some DecoArt Americana "Sea Breeze" - but this time the colour has to be stippled on and around the edges - that way it looks like spots of verdigris patina.

Step 5

Load a brush with some heavily diluted DecoArt Americana "Red Iron Oxide" and sprinkle a lot of stains on your rolls and do this from both sides. This will add a little more depth to the bronze look. 

Step 6

Punch some holes for the eyelets. You can set the eyelets right now but can also add them later.

Step 7

Cut five tags from designer papers using the Sizzix "Tag and Tie" die and your cutting machine. 

Step 8

Choose some designer papers for all sides of your painted rolls and cut them to rectangles that don't cover the eyelets and leave an edge about at least half a finger's width - so your beautifully painted edges remain visible. Leave one of your painted rolls untreated - we will later use it to create the cover.

I also distressed and then blended the edges of my cut to size paper panels with DI "rusty hinge"before I glued them in place.

Step 9

Add some pieces of washi tape here and there. Create layers and overlaps.

Step 10

To make the cover wrap some lace around the "front roll" and glue it in place. Then embellish to your liking. 

I used some watch parts, metal embellishments and some stamping on the cover. But you can do whatever you are up to.

Step 11

Cut two pieces of wire to size (depending on how many pages your album shall have). (leave a bit more on both ends to form two tiny rings at each end - but for now leave the ends straight so you can insert them through the eyelets). 
Bend your two wire pieces into circles by "wrapping" them around one of the DecoArt colour bottles' caps. They have the perfect diameter for book rings ;). Assemble the album before you finish the wire ends!

Step 12

Assemble your mini album once you have embellished all the pages. 
Insert your cut out tags. 
Curl up the wire ends at least once (see picture above) to close the rings. Then use pliers to form small rings at all ends, so no one gets hurt by any sharp and pointy wire ends. 


On the inside of my album I used some of my newly "found relatives" from my last visit at the flea market at the famous Vienna Naschmarkt. I made colour copies and blended the edges with DI "rusty hinge".

I hope you can see at least a bit of the shine of the DecoArt Dazzling Metallic "Bronze" - as it looks so very cool!

I love the colour contrast of the "verdigris" and the shiny bronze! It is what keeps the album's design together.

I had to fix the spring to the cover with a brad. All the other embellishments were glued on using DecoArt Decou-page matte and/or sticky foam pads.

The tiny metal branch was fixed to the clock face using a small piece of thin wire.

And don't these calendar rings look just great? The bell jar image is a stamp from the Prima "Printerie" stamp set (as are the stamped words and the "Welcome" at the back cover).

I hope you will be making your own toilet roll steampunk albums soon! Thank you ever so much for stopping by and the encouraging comments! (Ssssst...he's my personal favourite: ;)

Hugs and happy crafting,
Claudia x


  1. Beautiful, I love the colours and images x

  2. Umwerfend schön Claudia und eine geniale Idee.

  3. What a brilliant tag book! You would never know it came from such humble beginnings.

  4. Now even toilet rolls won't make it to my recycling bin! LOVE this idea Claudia and as ever you've executed the finished project to perfection. Jenny x

  5. Fab tag book Claudia, I have made these before and they are so much fun. Yours looks fantastic, beautifully put together and oh how I love your "found relatives" !!

  6. I'd completely forgotten that toilet roll albums were one of the very first things I made craft-wise!! They were nowhere near as amazing as this one... wonderful paint effects and the images work beautifully - fantastic.
    Alison x

  7. Fabulous project and what brilliant finishes to each page xx

  8. Wow! I have never seen anything like this before! Bravo!!!

  9. Oh wow - das ist ja einfach nur genial und so traumhaft gestaltet!!!! Ein Traum zum schauen, fühlen und freuen!!!!! Ganz liebe Grüße, Dagmar

  10. Thisis gorgeous! What a great idea and love how you have created, embellished and filled this ! Fab x

  11. Fantastic project, totally love it !!!!

  12. Thank you for the tutorial. What a great mini album!

  13. wieder mal ein spitzen werk, liebe Claudia!
    alles liebe und hab eine schöne Woche

  14. Beautiful album Claudia and thank you for sharing the How To x so many wonderful details and the relatives look wonderful too

    Hugs Annie x

  15. What a great idea. I shall have to negotiate with my son for some toilet rolls, he's always making things with them. I love the steampunk look of this, another inspiring project, thank you.

  16. OOO yeah Claudia...I love it! Really amazing what did you do with those rolls! I still love your colour palette and all those bits and pieces you added, vinatge photos...just gorgeous!

  17. What a fabulous idea! I've never seen an album like this. It's wonderful!

  18. Your tutorial is fantastic Claudia and the resulting album is brilliant! I had forgotten using these rolls to make albums, great idea, thanks for the inspiration. Those embellishments are stunning. Anne xx

  19. Spitzenidee mit einem wunderschönen Ergebnis, prima Farbgestaltung! übrigens vielen Dank für den Tipp, hat funktioniert, wenn auch sicher noch nicht optimal.
    Lieben Dank, Kerstin

  20. Ganz große Klasse, ich bin überwältigt von dem schönen Werk, liebe Claudia

  21. what a great idea, and I love the finished album :)

  22. Fab use of disposal materials are such an inspiration hun xx

  23. Przepiękny album! I świetny pomysł na wykorzystanie rolek :)

  24. Diese Farben mag ich sehr, vor allem mit den türkisen Sprenkeln dazu! Und dann diese gebogenen Drähte um alles zusammenzuhalten - das ist nur genial und muß ich mir unbedingt merken!
    Ein ähnliches Album (nicht annähernd so atemberaubend wie Deines) habe ich nur aus Scrapbookpapier gemacht, ohne die Toilettenpapierrollen. Wobei das wirklich eine gute Idee für's Recycling ist.
    Alles Liebe, Manuela

  25. I love this technique and the finish of your album is perfection, Angela x

  26. Ach was hab ich denn da wieder für einen tollen Blog gefunden!!! :-)
    Super, super schön ist dein Minialbum geworden!!!
    Vor 2 Jahren hatte ich auch mal eins gewerkelt für meinen kleinen Enkel.
    Diese Mixed Media Technik hat es mir seit kurzem auch angetan - aber mir mangelt es leider an der Zeit um mich mal richtig da hinein zu knien.

  27. This is BRILLIANT! Love it!!! Karen.x

  28. Some great ideas! Thanks for the inspiration.


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