Tutorial of the Week: Mini Album Bindings I

Good morning, everyone!  Is it just me or does time speed up exponentially with age?  Regardless, it’s time for another tutorial, and this week I’ve decided to go over several different methods of binding your mini albums 🙂  Like with the mini album closures, I will be spreading this one over 2 blog posts.  I know!  I was totally surprised that I found that many binding methods myself.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

Tim Holtz Ring Binder

I think everyone is pretty familiar with the Tim Holtz ring binders.  These guys are great to use when creating journals or mini albums that don’t have an insane amount of dimension.  I say this because the large rings are only 1″ in diameter.


These rings are best used on a chipboard spine, and come complete with brads for attaching them to the spine of your book.  Although I can’t say that I’ve used them myself, I’m always a little leery of using brads on a part of the album that will see alot of tugging and pulling.  Lucky for you, I’ve seen them installed two other different ways.

The first includes using 3/16″ eyelets instead of the accompanying brads.  Steph at TaesTatters on YouTube has a great video tutorial showing you exactly how to secure these rings to your binding using eyelets:

Another alternative method of adding these rings to your mini album spine is simply by using ribbon or seam binding:

  1. First, punch 2 holes in the center of the spine that align with the holes on the ends of the ring binder.
  2. String some ribbon through the holes on each end of the ring binder.
  3. Feed the ribbon through the holes you punched in the spine.
  4. Tie the ribbon ends together on the outside of the spine.

You can find a great tutorial and pictures to go along with it over on the Tim Holtz blog right HERE (of course!).

Tim Holtz Ruler Binding

Another nifty way of binding a mini album is the Ruler Binding…another great invention by Tim Holtz.


This binding is best used for making small books that really have no dimension at all since the rulers clamp the ends of your pages together.  It is extremely easy to use, too:

  1. Punch 2 holes in the ends of your pages spaced to suit the rulers.
  2. Thread the supplied bolts through one of the rulers.
  3. Add your pages onto the bolts, starting from the back of your book.
  4. Add the second ruler.
  5. Tighten the nuts onto the bolts.

You can see a superb little mini bound using this method by Annette Green over on her blog right HERE.

Cinch or Zutter O-Wires

Unless you are really new to paper crafting, I’m pretty sure you have heard of the Cinch and Zutter.  Now, I could go into a debate as to which is better and why, but I won’t.  In fact, I actually own both ;P  There’s actually alot to be said on how to use these machines, so I thought it best to share’s very well done tutorial on the Cinch…just in case you’ve never used one, or just need a bit of a refresher:

Now, before I move along to the next binding method, I really wanted to share with you a little twist on this binding method that I found on YouTube.  Loretta H has a way of binding her mini albums using the cinch in a way that she calls the “hidden” Cinch binding method.  In her method, the binding wires go through a flexible spine instead of the covers of her mini album.  Here’s a screenshot from her tutorial video to show you what I mean:


I  strongly suggest you check it out!

Binder Rings or Ribbon

The last binding method I will be reviewing today has got to be one of the simplest.  All you need to do to create this binding is:

  1. Leave a small margin on the left hand side of all your pages.
  2. Punch 2 or 3 evenly spaced holes through the edge of the pages.
  3. Thread a standard binder ring through each hole.
  4. Add some fibers or charms to the rings to pretty them up 🙂

Here’s a look at what this binding method looks like:


If you’re not keen on the binder rings, you can always substitute ribbon and just tie the two ends together after all of your pages are threaded onto the ribbon.   If you don’t like leaving a margin on the edge of your pages, you can also opt to add tabs to the edge of your pages to punch the holes into.

One downfall of using this binding method is that the binding rings can twist up or down a bit, causing the pages of your mini album to become misaligned.  Laura Denison from FollowThePaperTrail on YouTube has the perfect solution for this…she uses a solid chipboard spine and punches holes through the spine for the binder rings.  Here’s a look at her tutorial video:

Another advantage of using Laura’s method is that you can use rings that are much larger in diameter than the Tim Holtz Ring Binder, allowing you to create a much thicker album…and you can still tie fibers to the rings on the outside of the binding 😉


Well, that concludes this week’s tutorial.  I hope you liked these 4 mini album binding methods, and hope you stay tuned for the next tutorial where I will complete this series with 5 more mini album binding methods 🙂  Cheers and thanks for popping by!

Reader Interactions


  1. T. Bettencourt says

    This was such a useful article and the videos allowed me to understand the techniques.

    I have seen the Tim Holz binding systems in the craft store, but never bought them because I had no idea how to use them.

    Thanks again for the article.

    Oh and a little off topic…. I have a mini album to which I would like to add a corset spine. I have searched everywhere and can’t locate a tutorial. Would you be able to direct me?

    • Monique says

      I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by a corset spine…are you just wanting the spine to look like a corset, is it a type of stitch, or ??? Sorry, I’m of no help on this one 🙁

  2. Martie Rollin says

    I have always enjoyed watching tutorials by Laura Denison…easy to follow and always well narrated. I really like this binding method…easy and functional. I’m heading out to buy some rings! Thanks!