On Tuesday I posted a review of Illustory– the kit for kids that turns their writing and illustrations into a published book. 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.
- 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
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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.
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.
Here’s a little tutorial for how you sew the spine, but if you want to try to follow my explanation, here goes:
- 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.
- Put the needle into the top inner hole and pull the thread tight.
- Pass the needle over the middle hole and push it back down through the bottom hole to the inside of the book.
- Put the needle through the center hole one more time and remove the needle. You are all done sewing.
- Pull both strings tight to help keep your book together.
- 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.
Of course, if your kids are younger, you could always whip up a bunch of these to have for when inspiration strikes.