ABC Book - Using Blurb

UPDATE (7/13): I have created another ABC Book! If you'd like to see my newest one, click here! It also includes a free template to make your own!

So I'm afraid my current yearbook has been sadly neglected this month. But I'm only two months behind so it can't be that bad, right? I've been working on a different project.

I usually get a wild hair to do a new project in the shower or in a dream. I'm not kidding. I'm that weird. One time I had an inspiration for a new project for my 7th graders in the shower--it resulted in scratching another project I'd been doing for 5 years and starting all over--I'm STILL working on that project getting it fine-tuned. When I get an idea in my head, I know it's time to act!

So, I decided to make and ABC book for my little girl. Not super original I know--I made one a few years ago for my mom that was a sort of "brag book" she could carry around. That one was very small, I printed it myelf, and had it bound with a spiral binder. It was also when I was a total beginner in Photoshop.

I headed into this project like I do so many others--I work on all the "fun" parts before I actually figure out the mechanics of how I'm going to actually do it. I decided to make each letter a two-page spread, and have each page a 5x7 or 4x6, and then I'd print them like photos at Wal-Mart, and insert them in a plastic pocket album. Then we could take it to church and keep Afton entertained by pointing at it and saying, "See? C! C is for your Aunt Cindy!"

I went straight to work, creating cute little 5x7 pages like this:

It was really fun. I got pretty addicted. I finished almost the entire book. Well, except those annoying letters like X and V. No idea what I'm doing for X.

Anyway, I'm going merrily on my way, and then I think, "oh! I should find an album for this!"

Yeah. Good luck. I was stunned that I couldn't find anywhere on the internet what I wanted. Just a cheap 5x7 or 4x6 plastic album. They had them, but not with the 52 pages I needed! Of COURSE none of them were 52 pages!

And suddenly I realize--Where am I gonna print this thing?

I tried my faithful Cherishbound. But I found the cost was too high for such a simple book. I didn't want to spend a lot on this--it's just a little easy book for church. Not my yearbook that needs to look really nice and professional.

And then I remember. BLURB. A friend of mine told me about Blurb before. I checked it out, and was shocked at how low the prices are. I downloaded the editor that is free off their website. It's very, very easy to use and I like it a lot! I just needed to adjust my pages from a 5x7 to an 8x8, since that's the closest size Blurb does.

And I came across another stumbling block. This one I did not expect. THERE WAS SO MUCH SPACE!! I haven't scrapped a 12x12 page in years. I've NEVER scrapped a 12x12 digitally. I switched to 8 1/2 x11 right off the bat. And as I tried to "adjust" my pages, I came to a sudden understanding:

All those impractical pages I've whined about--the ones with ONE picture and lots of froo-froo elements? They can do that--because they have ROOM!! Man, what a difference a few more inches makes! I have no intention of switching to 12x12, and I STILL think one picture per page is impractical. But I can see why they leave so much space--they can.  I find myself VERY uncomfortable with blank spaces. I must commend those scrappers out there who can leave a whole side of paper totally blank. How do they do this? I do not have that kind of control!

So anyway, I uploaded my book last night. It cost me $25.00 with shipping. I thought of waiting to post about this until after the book arrived, so I could tell you all if the quality is good. But...I can't wait. I'll add an update later. It was so exciting to submit my book! And one thing I LOVE about Blurb is that you can have other people preview your book!

Here are a few pages from the book, in case you just don't want to go look at it. But if you'd like to see the book, click here: Afton's ABC Book on Blurb.

As for instructions on making this book, it was really quite simple. The techniques I used are ALL explained in this blog.

  1. I started with an 8x8 page. 
  2. Drew a square shape. Then CTRL+Clicked on it's layer. Created a new layer by clickingn on the new layer icon (or Layer>New>Layer)
  3. Went to Edit, Stroke, and choose a black stroke, about 40 pixles, inside.
  4. Deleted the original square and kept just the stroke, which was now my border. Whenever I started a new page, I picked a new kit and chose a paper from that kit. Then I did the whole copy and paste thing that I describe in Lesson 16 and Lesson 14. I just drag the border on the paper I want, CTRL+Click on the border, then highlight the paper I want and copy then paste. TheN i drag the new colored border back to my original page.
  5. Used this as my template--I pulled in a large letter B and typed "Is for..." and saved it as my template. Whenever I started a new letter, I made sure the new letter was roughly the same size as the one on my template.
  6. Came up with words for each letter. I just did a bulleted list in Word. I searched the internet for ideas by typing "ABC Book." This was useful in coming up with words for X and V and stuff. 
  7. Found pictures that fit with each letter. I used the same stroke on each picture that wasn't silhoetted, just changed the color. I'd just right click on the layer and copy the layer style, then paste it on another picture.
  8. Made sure to be consistant with my font--chose the same font and font size for each thing I typed.
  9. For the letters, I used letters from kits I already had on file. I only made a few of the letters myself, like the E and the I. But most came from kits so they were already done. The Atomic Cupcake kits have some really great alphas.
  10. I found pictures from the last 18 months of my baby that could be silhoetted. This was the most work--silhoetting a picture can be time consuming if you want to do it right. (You can read how in Lesson 13.)
  11. After completing each page, I uploaded it to, after I had downloaded theer free editor.
  12. Uploaded it to blurb and paid! That simple! Gosh, I hope it turns out cute.
I sat in church with my little girl today and she was looking at her books. She LOVES to turn pages and look at books. I can't wait to show her this one and point out all her relatives--she's getting to that age where she's learning their names and occasionally says them. Yay! Ok. I'm done now.

*** UPDATE***


Got my book from Blurb today! IT IS GORGEOUS! Exactly what I hoped for! The quality isn't as good as Cherishbound, but only if you really look for it. I'll continue to do my major books at Cherishbound, of course, but Blurb is so awesome for any other projects! I love my book! And so does Afton!


  1. the ABC book. I wanted to make one for MY lil Megan (now almost 4), buter NeVeR too late right? Thanks for the idea and inspiration! Love the website. I've been stalking and shared it with my SIL. Your tutorials are great.

    Let's have a digi-scrappin' party. I'll bring the treats!

  2. It looks like it's going to be awesome! I've done a book on blurb before and was SUPER IMPRESSED with the quality! You won't regret going with them :)

    I'm sure your little girl will love it!

  3. Great job, Megan! It's nice to see these pages close up, your designs & photos are just perfect! What a great idea to add all of the cousins & aunts & uncles too, it makes everything so personal!

  4. I want to print my blog into a blurb book. Might have to have you walk me through that process. VERY cool!

  5. HEY! stumbled to ur blog searching for scrapbooking for BLURB. LOVE this idea!!! I will have to steal it for future projects! Question: HOW did u upload ur work to blurb?! I just downloaded it and wanted to use smilebox for the actual scrapbook part and blurb for printing?