How to Make a Personalized Alphabet Book

posted by Andrea | 04/19/2013

A couple weeks ago, I shared the photo below on my Facebook wall. It’s a photo collage featuring just a few of the pages from the personalized alphabet book I made for Nora.

alphabet book

This book had been on my “To-Do Someday” list for several months, but since I didn’t know exactly how to get started, I procrastinated… and procrastinated… and procrastinated.

Can anyone relate? :)

I gave myself the self-imposed deadline of March 31 — and decided that if I didn’t finish the project by then, I would remove it from my to-do list and save it for another time.

So on March 26 I finally sat down to work on my book around 8:00pm. I was doubtful that I’d be able to finish it by the 31st, but I wanted to try. To my surprise, I almost finished the book by 1:00am (no I don’t normally stay up that late, but I found my “photo groove!”) I added a few finishing touches the following day, and sent it off to be printed — less than 24 hours after I started.

Then I silently scolded myself for letting such a quick project hang over my head for months and months! Procrastination gets the best of all of us, I suppose…

Well, the book arrived about a week later, and Nora LOVES looking at herself in all the pictures.

I’m so pleased with how the book turned out — and I’m thrilled to finally cross this project off my to-do list! It was definitely worth my efforts, and hopefully, it will be a fun educational tool for Nora as she learns her ABC’s, 123′s, colors, shapes, and more!

If you’re interested, you can view Nora’s Book of ABC’s here. (click on the cover of the book once you get to

book preview

Ever since I posted my “teaser photo” on Facebook, I’ve been receiving question after question about how I created Nora’s book. I wasn’t quite sure how to go about answering all these questions… except for writing a REALLY long blog post.

So here you go! 

It took me many, MANY hours to put this post together, but I’m hoping that the instructions, photos, and screencasts below will serve as a step-by-step tutorial for anyone else interested in creating a personalized alphabet book.

How to Make a Personalized Alphabet Book


1. Make a List

No surprise that my #1 tip is to make a list!

I started by making a list of the entire alphabet and then listing off different nouns that fit that letter.

For example

A = apples, applesauce, animals, art, alligator

D = dog, dad, doll, duck, dreams, dirt

S = scooter, soccer ball, sun, smile, sand

Y = yogurt, yawn, yellow, yak, yummy (not necessarily a noun, but it works!)

Try to think of nouns that you might already have pictures of — and if you can’t think of anything, move onto Step #2 below and start looking through pictures. You might find some pictures that remind you of other nouns.

2. Find Photos

Since all our photos are nicely organized in iPhoto, this process was pretty quick for me. I simply scrolled through our photos of Nora and looked for photos that matched some of the nouns I listed on my A-Z paper.

You might need to get creative — for example, I had 2 family pictures I really wanted to use. So I used one for F = Family, and the other for K = Kisses.

As you find pictures for each letter, circle the noun you choose on your list (from Step 1)and then save the individual pictures in a separate folder on your desktop for easy access. This way, you have all 26 pictures in one location and you won’t have to waste time scrolling through all your pictures over and over again.

I also quickly renamed each picture with the letter I was planning to use it for (mainly so I didn’t forget!)

3. Edit Your Pictures {optional}

I always edit my pictures before I import them into the the photo book program (I use This step is not entirely necessary, but it sure makes the photos look much nicer — especially once they are printed in a book.

Also, as you’ll see in step #4 below, editing the photos before importing them into your book could potentially save you LOADS of time formatting your book.

4. Create Book Pages

One of the MAIN reasons I edit my photos before importing them into my book is because I format the entire page as one picture… that way, all I have to do is import my 26 alphabet pictures into Blurb, drag and drop one picture per page, and I’m finished!


Here are the photo-editing steps I followed to go from a regular picture to a photo book page (see image above)

1. Open the photo in a photo editing program (my favorite free programs are PicMonkey and Ribbet)

2. Crop the photo to a square

3. Resize it to 1000 px wide by 1000 px tall

4. Add text (if you want)

5. Add a border (I used a 100 px. border all the way around in various colors)

6. Save the finished product (back to that folder on your desktop)

Here is a screencast of exactly how I edited each photo (you’ll have to click through to the post to see the screen cast — and you can click here to open the video in a larger screen)

How to Edit Photos for a Photo Book from Andrea Dekker on Vimeo.

5. Import Photo Pages into Photo Book

Once you have your individual photos/pages saved, all you have to do is import them to your photo book program (Blurb, Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.). Add a front and back cover and you’re finished!


As you may have noticed, I added several additional “educational” pages for shapes, numbers, colors, etc. These pages were in addition to the 26 alphabet pages, and I feel they make the book a little more personalized and special.

extra pages

And because I figure you might like to use these same pages for your book, I’m offering them FREE on my blog :)

Please only use these pages for your personal use! 


  • The photos will download as a .zip file. 
  • Drag the .zip file to your desktop and double click on it to open
  • The photos are saved as individual .jpg files inside the folder
  • You can simply upload these photos directly into whatever photo book program you’re using
  • These photos/pages are all 1200 px by 1200 px and work best if you’re making a smaller square photo book like I made


I’m so thrilled with how Nora’s book turned out — it was definitely worth one late night of photo editing!  

This would be such a fun, personalized, and affordable gift idea for a child or grandchild. You could even use the same concept to create something similar for a teacher (one photo of each student) or a grandparent (photos of all the different grandchildren).

Use your imagination, get creative, and see what you come up with! 

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Filed under: ChildrenFamilyPhotography



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