Handmade Book Project

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Today I decided to dig up an old post for making your own books at home. They’re easy and cute, and they’re sort of addicting once you start making them!

Not only is it a project by itself, but then you get to draw and write inside of it. Double the fun…

This is a fairly easy project for kids around 9 and up, and they get to work with paper and practice a little bit of sewing.

Materials:

  • watercolor paper
  • vellum paper
  • craft or utility knife
  • something sharp and round, i.e. the pin tool in the photo below or an awl
  • embroidery needle
  • embroidery thread in a color of your choosing

 

book making supplies

 

After cutting the pages for your book, to the size you desire, cut a piece of vellum to the same size to act as the outside cover. Fold everything together. Here’s a special little tool you will want to buy if your kids really get into bookmaking- it’s called a bone folder.

bone folder

Despite its unfortunate name, it’s really very handy to help crease the spine of the book closed, or to crease paper if you like to hand-tear it instead of cutting it.

Next, place a pencil dot in the center of the inside of the book’s spine, and 2 dots equidistant away from the center dot. Eyeball where you think looks good, and dot there. You will carefully stab through these dots with your pin tool- it helps to twist it back and forth while you are pressing through the layers of paper.

measure book holes

 

Here’s a little tutorial for how you sew the spine, but if you want to try to follow my explanation, here goes:

  1. Take the needle and thread and push it down through the center hole from the outside of your book toward the inside. Leave a few inches of thread behind.
  2. Put the needle into the top inner hole and pull the thread tight.
  3. Pass the needle over the middle hole and push it back down through the bottom hole to the inside of the book.
  4. Put the needle through the center hole one more time and remove the needle. You are all done sewing.
  5. Pull both strings tight to help keep your book together.
  6. Now tie a knot (I usually make 2 or 3 knots together for security) where the two strings meet. Depending on how long you want the excess thread to be, you may need a pair of scissors to trim it down.

 

sewing the book spine

Outside of spine before thread is tied

 

tied outside of book

Tied outside of book- look how cute!

 

inside of book

Inside of book

 

finished book

This would close much better if I had used a bone folder to reinforce the crease. Yep.

 

girls with books

Here you can see how cool the vellum looks as the translucent cover.

Of course, if your kids are younger, you could always whip up a bunch of these to have for when inspiration strikes.

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9 Comments

  1. 08/29/2012 / 4:27 pm

    Those are adorb. My husband is, among other things, a book binder. It’s called a bone folder because they originally were made of bone (or ivory) and the higher quality ones still are. If your kid ever gets intense about bookbinding, I def recommend sparing the cash for an actually made of bone folder. They last longer (acrylic can succumb to pressure faster) and they won’t ‘mark’ the paper with a sheen like acrylic can.

    He’s done this with kids at his library – if you have even younger kids who aren’t necessarily ready for pointy objects, you can use a hole punch and yarn and just have them thread the yarn through.

    • 08/29/2012 / 5:02 pm

      I love the hole punch and yarn idea! Your husband must make some awesome books- it’s so cool to see how many different types of binding techniques are out there, and how beautifully made some books are.

  2. 08/30/2012 / 6:52 am

    Love these – great craft for birthday party and then add some crayons and you have a goodie bag!

    • 08/30/2012 / 10:01 am

      THAT is a great idea! I’m so going to steal that, thank you very much.

  3. 09/02/2012 / 10:55 pm

    I love handmade books. I just might have to whip some up for Christmas gifts.

  4. 09/03/2012 / 4:36 pm

    What fun to make a book; I didn’t realize it’s kinda easy. I guess it’s also a sewing project!

    • 09/03/2012 / 8:47 pm

      Oh yeah! Basic sewing lesson. That’s pretty much all I know how to sew.

  5. 12/05/2013 / 8:25 pm

    I love the vellum cover the the effect it adds to the girls’ cover art! Could be a nice handmade Xmas gift.

    • 12/07/2013 / 10:46 am

      Oh, that’s a great idea for a Christmas gift. Everybody loves little handmade books!

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