Did you have a Jacob's ladder toy when you were a kid? If you are unfamiliar, it's a toy that when held up, makes it seem as if one block is "falling" down the other blocks. It is simple - made with wood and ribbon, and looks like this (photo from Wikipedia.com):
Apparently it is one of the oldest "folk" toys around - and I mean old. It was rumored to be found in King Tut's tomb! My sister and I each had one when we were kids. It was made from colorful wooden blocks, and it would keep us busy for a good twenty minutes at a time as we watched the "falling" block. (What precious time that must have been for my mom!)
Quite a long time ago, I saw a tutorial for making a Jacob's ladder mini-album. Thinking that I would remember where I had seen it, failed to save the link (I give my memory WAY too much credit sometimes!). Google, though helpful, has never been able to help me find that elusive tutorial - so I had to tweak a couple of other tutorials - one specifically for crafters from the Splitcoast Stampers forum, and this one from Woodcraft Arts, designed to make the actual toy. Though you do have to pay attention to the directions, it is fairly easy to make. I thought it would make a great Mother's Day gift for Grandma, AND is a great way to use those random photos I have laying around.
Here's what you'll need to make one like mine:
- 10 pieces of wood (you can use less or a few more if you'd like - however you don't want it to be too long!). My original plan was to get the hardware store to cut me some, but I ended up finding some thin pieces of pre-cut wood at the craft store - mine are sized 3.5" X 2.5". (Again, these toys are fairly forgiving - you can do squares and have them a little larger if you'd like).
- 3 pieces of ribbon (white organza is probably the best, as you can see through it) approximately 70" long. If you are using less blocks you would need less ribbon and more if you are making more blocks, more ribbon.
- Craft paint (optional)
- Mod Podge (optional)
- Glue and permanent adhesive (I used Martha Stewart gel glue and Glue Dots permanent mini dots)
- Patterned paper (I used today's CraftySteal, the KI Memoris Heirloom kit - the paper is not only pretty, but it's a great quality and thickness for this kind of project)
- Embellishments for the cover (The KI kit has some fun stickers and alpha letters)
- Photos that you'd like to include
Now stack up your pieces of wood and holding the pile in your hand, take a pencil and make three marks on each edge. The first right down the middle. The second and third should be half way between the middle mark and the edge on each side. (You could do this with a ruler, but if I can get away with it, rulers aren't usually how I roll ;) ).
Continue stacking, adding glue dots in alternating patterns on each side, making sure the ribbons don't get twisted, and that the photos are all being placed in the same orientation.
When you get to your final wooden piece, trim off any excess ribbon and then you can embellish the cover to your heart's content. Here's my final mini-album:
This is how it looks open - notice the pattern of one ribbon running down one block, two ribbons on the next.
Now you can "play" with your new mini-album. I can't wait for Mother's Day to show my mom. I was thinking this would also make a fun word "book" for little ones or an end of the year teacher gift.
Don't forget to head over to CraftySteals.com to pick up your KI Heirloom kit! Oddly enough, it's very versatile paper that works great for fall photos and this album for springtime. There are brads, flower stickers, rubber stickers and two kinds of alpha stickers, along with the great patterned paper.
Have a wonderful Sunday, and Happy Crafting!