Over a year ago I posted about our hand-bound sticker books that I use to reward my girls for good work. I don’t want to get in the habit of giving rewards; I’d love for my girls to do their work and behave the way they should for their own sake, but I’m also a realist and see how little things like sparkly stickers can really add some extra incentive. I contemplated picking up some small plain notebooks to use but this was in the peak of my book-binding craze, so I opted instead to make our own sticker books.
They were such a big hit last year that I decided to make them again for this upcoming school year. I took photos of the process along the way since I have had a lot of interest in our book-making.
We purchased a book-binding kit from Binding Books Beautifully upon a recommendation from a friend years ago and I still consider it one of the best homeschooling/parenting purchases I’ve ever made. The instruction manual that comes with this kit is much more informative and detailed than this post will be but I’ve gotten so many emails on our book-binding that I wanted to give everyone a general picture of what the process entails.
What you’ll need, aside from the pages you want to bind together and some sort of book binding kit like the one previously mentioned, is:
- straight nails
- thick thread (I use embroidery floss)
- crafting needle
- glue (regular glue or spray adhesive, either works fine)
- masking tape
- book board or some sort of thick cardboard to use as your cover
- fabric (I let the girls come to the fabric store with me and choose what material they would like for the cover of their book) For my small book ¼ yard of material works
- construction paper or card-stock that compliments your fabric to use as
First we used our old sticker books as templates to cut new the new covers.
*Side note- after hours of reading reviews and asking for advice on forums, I finally purchased this paper cutter and love it.
Next you need to seperate the spine. I do that by cutting ¼ inch on both the left and right cover. In this picture you can see the left spine already cut off. You need to keep it spaced apart from rest of the book. I space mine by using a [highly technical] popsicle stick. I use masking tape to connect the cover to the spine while leaving the space intact. After the tape is on I carefully pull out the popsicle stick, leaving the tape in place, and use the stick to measure the spacing on the right cover as well.
Then cut the fabric so that you leave roughly ½ inch or so around the entire cardboard. *Ironically, this picture is a bad example to share with you because I didn’t leave myself enough fabric on the top of the book, and sadly, I didn’t think to take a picture of this step in the subsequent books I made. Next, either spread on your glue in a thin, even coat or spray your adhesive to secure the cardboard to the fabric. It’s important to make sure the glue is evenly applied leaving no large globs or uncovered areas. (Be sure to practice without glue first to make sure your pattern on the front appears as you like it.) Press down firmly and rub to secure the fabric evenly.
Then spread glue/adhesive on the inside cover and flip over the fabric and press firmly to secure it down all around. While the glue is still wet, center your card stock/construction paper over the top. When properly placed it should leave just a thin strip of the folded-over fabric visible on the inside.
After covering your books be sure to set them aside for a sufficient amount of time to allow the glue to dry before moving on to the next step.
After the books are completely dry it’s time to bind your book together. Insert your pages snugly into the book (for our sticker books it was just plain white paper). I use a large clip to keep them secure during the next few steps.
This is a great fine motor activity that children of all ages love to lend their assistance on and instills them with a personal satisfaction in the finished product of their book.
Next, hammer the nails into the book. If you trust your child swinging a hammer then by all means, let ‘em have at it. Adult supervision required! (Disclaimer- TeachingStars is not responsible or liable for any accidents, mishaps, or other freak natural disasters that occur once the hammer is in your child’s hand.)
After hammering the nails into place, turn the tool over and tap the nails back out the way they came. This will leave your book’s spine with evenly-spaced holes.
Using those holes, take the crafting needle and thread and sew the length of the spine. Again, this is a great activity for child participation.
Presto! A hand-bound book is now the newest member of your personal library.
Lyra was so excited to wake up from her nap and find a brand new YELLOW PUPPY book waiting for her!
When Daddy came home from work, the girls rushed to show him the fruits of their handiwork.
All told the time to make these books fluctuates. On average, you can whip out a quick book in about an hour. To complete these three stickers books took us just under three hours.
Conversely though, I have spent a LOT longer on some special books. The ones that are really meaningful I tend to work on at quarter speed and take my time being VERY meticulous. This gift for Stella’s third birthday literally took me ALL freaking night. But it was so worth it.
You can see some of our other hand-made creations under my Book-binding tab here.
And if you’re searching for an alternative to a traditional timeline you can see a sample of my friend’s awesome book-binding spin-off here.