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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Unforgettable Disney Autograph Books

Unforgettable Disney Autograph Books

Autograph Pages

Have I mentioned that Honey absolutely LOVES trips to Disney?  One evening a couple of years ago, he mentioned that he thought it would be fabulous if I could make the kids autograph books for our upcoming trip that was less than a month away.  My response in my mind was "You can't be serious.  That is crazy talk!", but I sweetly responded aloud with, "Honey, that would take forever to do.  Aren't the ones we buy at Disney World just fine?"

Honey responded, "Well, I saw these amazing autograph books that a mom had made on one of the trip reports on the Dis boards." My thought was, "Oh great, another mom who has a graphic art degree, can create amazing printables, and I can barely figure out how to run iPhoto on my Mac.  There is no way I can match her designs, and even if I tried, it would take me FOREVER." My response aloud to Honey was, "Honey, I'm not sure how to even begin to make personalized autograph cards for each character." He then grinned, looked like a kid at Christmas and showed me that there were several graphic designers on the Dis Boards who had created autograph books and uploaded the jpg images to Photo Bucket.  He was so excited about how much he thought the kids would love it that there was no way I could say no.  I then set out to assemble unforgettable autograph books for our Disney trip.

As an aside for the uninitiated, (I was clueless too) the 'Dis Board' is a community website filled with all things Disney.  A small section of the board is used by Disney lovers to post 'Trip Reports' about their Disney experience which is where Honey saw the amazing autograph books.  Honey loves occasionally reading the trip reports.  I guess it's his brain candy just like US Weekly is my brain candy.

Round 1 - I was a little overzealous in my first attempt to create the autograph books.  I made several mistakes.  First, I printed off pages for every character we could possibly meet during our trip.  Next, being the extremely prepared mom that I am, I anticipated some serious wear and tear on these books and decided to laminate every single autograph page. That's right, I'm crazy.  I printed the pages onto card stock, laminated the sheets and then had the books bound.  I had anticipated one big book, however, when the sales person at the local copy store gaped at me when he saw the amount of laminated sheets I wanted bound together I thought maybe I was wrong.  He informed me that there was no way to bind all of those sheets into one coil.  Two books per child would have to do.

The good part of these books was that the Florida rain didn't mess up a single page.  The bad part was that each child had two books that I had to keep up with and the permanent marker tended to scratch off the pages.  The kids did LOVE the books and it was a lot of fun to see the interaction with the characters when the character saw that they had their own personalized page to sign.  My kids were often asked where they got the autograph books and they would sweetly respond, "My mom made them!" I would just smile on the outside and then beam like the sun on the inside.

These are Lily Brooks and Hannah's two books

The all laminated version was super thick and a big pain to lug around

Round 2 - So after my lamination crazy debacle I decided to forget the lamination all-together.  I also cut back on printing pages for the lessor known/seen characters and added cute blank pages at the very end just in case we did see a character who didn't have a personalized page.  I was pretty proud of myself because the books were much lighter and easy to carry around.  Sadly, as you can see from the ink bleeds, we, along with the books, were caught in a rain storm.  There were tears over the wet books.  It rained just a couple of hours before we were headed to the big Princess dinner at Epcot and the girls were pretty sad to hand over soggy books for signatures.  :(

The Rain-soaked versions - notice the wear on Hannah and C-man's books

More water damage, but I wanted y'all to get an idea of the cool graphics

The worst of the water damage was to C-man's book. :(

Round 3 - By George, I think I've got it! To combat the rain problem I decided to laminate the front and back covers.  I also put my email and phone number on the back cover just in case the book was lost along the way.  We did get caught in the rain and a few pages on two books were a little damaged but other than minor damage, they were a huge success.

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The great part about the homemade books is that you can feature your child's favorite character on the front cover and make sure that character's that are more important to your child are in their book.  You can either make your books with card stock and print the pages using your printer or you can print photos of the jpg file.  Yes, it took much longer, but I was happy that I went with the card stock route.  I highly suggest you invest in the extra large ink cartridges.  I run through A LOT of ink when I make the kids' books.

There are several fabulous graphic designers on the Dis Boards who have shared their work and you can find the list with their links at Dis Board - Meet the DISigners page.  Here are a few of my favorite designers and their photo bucket links - PennyEvanMarion (password to album is 'noquotes'), and Kim.  There are many more than the ones I have listed and they all have a nice niche.  They post their designs for free but you cannot sell anything they have designed.

Once you decide on your favorite designs, save the jpg. files onto your computer and print.  I printed two autograph pages per sheet so that each book is made of all 5 x 7 autograph sheets.  The binding can be easily done at your local office supply/copy store. I believe the binding for all 3 books this last trip was $10-12.

Is this project a labor of love? Yes, but all three of my children LOVE their books.  They love getting to show the characters their special books and they love that their books are individualized just for them.  C-man even put up a fight tonight when I came to retrieve his book for the pictures.  Each child has their latest autograph book beside their beds and actually do look through the books about once a week or so.  I had intentions of printing the character photos and gluing the pictures into each of the books but that hasn't happened yet, and sadly, probably won't.

Please let me know if y'all have any questions.  I am happy to help and would love to hear how your autograph book turns out.  See ya' real soon!


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