Our family recently took a trip that meant we were in a plane for several hours. I wanted to have plenty to keep our three-year-old busy.
It started out because I wanted her to have a little booklet to color in and stick stickers…a store-bought notebook would have been sufficient! But as I thought about it, the idea expanded (of course!)! I was out doing some errands and saw some items that were branded with some of V’s favorite characters. It popped into my mind to include some coloring pages, and then my mind was off and running.
I decided to share a little tutorial for making one of these booklets. It is designed to hold 8.5″ x 11″ sheets folded in half.
You will need:
- Your 8.5″ x 11″ inserts: two “pages” on each side of a landscape-oriented sheet
- Sturdy cardstock cut to 12″x9″ for inner cover
- Patterned paper cut to 11.5″x8.5″ for outer cover
- Strong adhesive
- Sewing machine
- Ruler and pencil
- Additional cardstock/patterned paper for pocket (optional)
- Corner rounder (optional)
- Embellishments (optional)
(I was making this book late at night and decided at the last minute to record the steps for a tutorial, so please excuse the poorly white-balanced photos. I did my best to correct the color, but I think they convey the steps nonetheless.)
1. Gather the pages into sections.
My booklet includes five sections: two sections of coloring pages: the .pdf file with the princesses is found HERE, and I found the character coloring sheets by doing an image search on “[character] free coloring pages.” To get these .jpg images two to a page, I imported the single images into Lightroom, ran them through a printing preset I created and printed them to (.jpg) files. Then in Windows Explorer, I selected all of the resulting files and printed them together, selecting duplex printing with the “stapling on the short side.” Hopefully that makes sense if you want to attempt something similar. (I include it here mostly for my own future reference).
I also made two sections of plain paper and one section of lined paper so my girl can practice writing letters.
Fold the 8.5″x11″ pages in half, short sides together. I have heard this called a “hamburger” style fold.
2. Round the corners of the cover pieces (optional).
I decided that the booklet might stay tidier-looking if there weren’t pointy corners to smoosh.
3. Mark lines for stitching sections on the sturdy cardstock inner cover.
First, mark the center line on the inner cover. I also marked lines with 1/8″ spacing on either side of this line for the other four sections. The extra lines aren’t strictly necessary, but I found that stitching the book was a bit easier and tidier when they were marked.
4. Stitch the page sections onto the sturdy cardstock.
Starting with the middle section, line up the fold and the line on the cardstock. Using a basting stitch length and an old needle (paper dulls a good needle!), start and end just inside the edges of the pages. This way the stitching will be entirely hidden by the outer cover. Stitch the other sections by aligning them with the other lines. Pull the thread ends toward the outside of the cover. They will be covered in the next step.
5. Adhere the outer cover to the inner cover.
Add your strong adhesive across the thread ends (to make sure they don’t come undone) and to the FRONT cover only.
Smooth the outer cover onto the inner cover, then fold the book closed, add adhesive to the back and wrap the outer cover to the back.
6. Add pocket(s). (This idea was sparked by THIS post on the Gossamer Blue blog)
To make two pockets, I cut a 6″x7.5″ rectangle and cut it on the diagonal. I scored and folded the 90* sides at 0.5″ and trimmed out the excess in the corners. Add strong adhesive along the folded edges to adhere it inside one of the covers. I found that it was tricky to slide extra paper into these pockets because it was catching on these edges, so I added a panel of paper to smooth out the back of the pocket.
7. Embellish the front of the book (optional).
Here are some shots of the insides of the finished activity books.