Week in the Life & no sew altered page protectors

I survived my first Week in the Life project. Not just survived. I enjoyed it! And as of today, I’ve finished putting the pages together.

I’ll share more details and some of the photos I took in another post. For today I wanted to show you how I included my words as inserts between my photo pages.

words and picturesI wrote up a log of each day in a text file on my laptop, updating it a few times each day with details about what we did and when. (I tend to focus on the detailed who what when and where more than the “why is this important?” question, but I tried to include some deeper thoughts about my day where I could.) When the day was done I cut and pasted those words into a narrow text box in Photoshop Elements to create a 3×8″ insert for each day.

I wanted the 3×8″ page protectors when I saw them in Ali’s WITL kit, but I couldn’t buy them separately and I really didn’t need the kit. So I decided to figure out a way to make my own from the 6×8″ protectors I already had.

I know a lot of people alter plastic page protectors by running them through the sewing machine, but I don’t have one. I didn’t like the idea of trying to washi tape an edge – another idea I had seen that didn’t sound very durable. So I did some research about alternative methods, wondering if I could use a wood burning tool or something. And sure enough, someone had used a wood burning tool to melt little dots into the plastic to make a new pocket edge and posted pictures of how they did it online.

soldering iron set upWe didn’t have a wood burning tool, but hubby suggested I try a soldering iron, and sure enough it worked. I used the low setting and experimented with how quickly to move the tool and whether dots or dragging worked better. I tested it on part of the protector that would be cut off later. Holding down too long will burn right through. Too gentle and you won’t get the 2 pieces to fuse. If the gadget gets too hot you can turn it off to let it cool a bit. I think the high setting would have been overkill.

using the soldering iron

testingDots worked ok and looked nice, but that was slow and I’m impatient, so I ended up dragging and pressing down quickly as I worked down the metal ruler. The whole process of setting up, testing, and then altering 4 page protectors took 15 minutes.

close up

Problems: I did one a little crooked and too far from the edge of the cards so I redid it closer in – the mistake part got cut off anyway. I actually didn’t measure or mark where to melt the new pockets – I had the cards in place, so I lined up my ruler just to the right of the edge of the cards. The first one I did ended up too tight because I only had one card in place and back to back cards are thicker than I expected. No problem though – I just trimmed the daily log card down very slightly.

trimming the excess offThis worked out to be a really good method for me. I didn’t have to buy anything new and the whole process was no more inconvenient than sewing, if I’d had a sewing machine. And I was satisfied with how neat the edge looked – the one I screwed up was a little less than perfect, but the rest were clean enough that no one would notice that it was a DIY unless they looked really closely.

I could make all kinds of custom pockets this way if I ever feel the need to.

Thanks for stopping by!


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3 Responses to Week in the Life & no sew altered page protectors

  1. jelly59 says:

    This is brill.:)

    Great tips & tutorial.

    Please could you do some more on this if possible.

    Are you going to buy one of the new photo fuse tools that are out?

    By the way, I also like how you did the journaling, great idea.:)

    • Thanks :)
      I can’t find hubby’s soldering iron in his chaotic workshop right now so I’m wondering if I should buy my own one or spring for the (much cuter) Fuse tool. I think that a soldering iron would be one third of the price of the Fuse…

  2. pbarnes says:

    This is awesome. I’ve been wondering this very thing myself. I have a soldering iron and wood burner. Thanks for the tip.

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