January 28, 2010

Quick and easy handmade book that you can do with your kids!

(If you are here for the One World One Heart giveaway click here or scroll WAY down)

My girls like to do what mommy does. I think it is important for them to see me making things and then not turn them away when they want to make one too!

This is a very easy little handmade book that my kids were able to make also. For the tutorial I will show you my version of the book, but below are some photos of the ones my girls ages 8,6 & 4 made (along with my thoughts about working with kids).

Step 1

Trim a piece of card stock to aprox 4x6 inches (I used heavy duty scrapbook paper). Fold in half.

Step 2

Pick a photo of yourself when you were young or a picture of your child. Print it on to Matte photo paper. Trim. Decorate the photo with pastels, blend them with your finger.

Step 3

Optional - Sew the photo onto a piece of painted or scrapbook paper. (Alternatively, you can simply glue it on)

Step 4

Lay the layered image onto the book cover. Add some collage elements. Here I added some left over scrapbook paper and rick a rack.

Step 5

If the cardstock you are using for the book cover is not double side, then you will need to cover the reverse side. Simply spread glue all over the back of the cardstock. Make sure you get glue in the very corner, there is nothing as unprofessional looking as coming apart edges.

Step 6

Lay a piece of old book page paper on the glue. Burnish with your hand.

Step 7

Trim the excess paper with a craft knife on a self healing mat.

Step 8

To make the inner pages, simply trim some cardstock or paper slight smaller than the cover of your minibook.

Step 9

Optional - Decorate your inner pages with strips of scrapbook paper.

Step 10

Stack your inner pages and punch holes (I needed 3 to fit my size book) on the left hand side.

Step 11

Use an inner page to mark on the book cover where the holes should be. Make holes through the back cover with an awl (or even a cooking skewer).

Step 12

Add brads to secure the pages to the mini book!

Step 13
Optional - To create a little closure glue a piece of embroidery thread to the inner back cover (I covered it with a strip of decorative paper). Affix a brad to the front cover. To close wrap the thread around the brad.


I know I look grumpy in this photo, but it is a photo that is dear to my heart for a lot of reasons.

Here are my girl's books.

Aren't they so playful and fun? Laura did the photoshoot set up on this! I was a bit worried about her spreading glitter all around my light box, but oh well, I do own a dust pan and brush!

Here are some thoughts about working with the little ones:

Yes it is messy, sticky and they jostle for supplies and scissors and who is going to be first. But worth it!

Picking out the photos to use:

I let my kids look over my shoulder as I scrolled through photos of them so they could choose the photo to use. I set the photos up to print in Word and let them 'catch' the paper as it comes out.

When using the paper trimmer I generally lined up the paper and then let them run the blade when they had seen me do it a few times. Annie,4 was not able to press down as she ran the blade, so I had to re-do hers.
I always do the craft knife cutting for them. As an alternative this time they used a regular scissors to trim the edges. You may note from the picture of the girls books that Laura’s book is a little wonky, well that is because she cut her own book! Annie’s trimming was mainly done by me.

Collaging the cover:
I have a basket of old papers that I no longer want that are dedicated to the girls. They first looked through that basket for collage materials and then I let them look through my stash, they cut things up into smaller pieces as they looked. I talked to them about color and picking papers as we worked. Designing the collage was the longest part of this process.

I had to really encourage them to glue the corners well, but I generally let them do their own gluing, but often had to add glue to Annie’s pieces as she just couldn’t put enough glue on. She got very frustrated with her sticky fingers.

Hole punching:
None of my girls could use the hole punch through multiple papers. Annie wandered off at this point and wanted mommy to finish her book! I did the skewering too.


It is good for their dexterity to put their own brads into the holes. This took a while to do, but they were pleased when their books were done and immediately ran off to show daddy (who works at home and gets to see their creations and accomplishments all day long :)

I have to share this:

They had so much fun they end up making a collage out of the baby!

Max is such a sweet sport!


  1. oh my...what a blissful household! thanks so much for sharing this most excellent technique...AND the best of all, it shows how to promote unity within! thank you much for the heartfelt giggles first thing...you are truly blessed! ;)

  2. I love these little books. This a great idea because kids love to make books. I know mine are always making little books. Now they can make them more professional and artsy looking. They will be very pleased with the end result. It will be something they can always treasure.

    Please tell Laura she did an excellent job on the photo shoot. I wouldn't have known a child did it if you had not mentioned it. She has her mama's eye for design.

    I had a good laugh when I saw that they collaged the baby. He seemed to enjoy it. He'll be into your papers before you know it.

    Excellent tute, Shona. Thank you so much. You're the best.

  3. I LOVE this!! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial, but most of all on suggesting ways the kids can take part. I always struggle with how to let them "play" while I'm creating...we've certainly had scissors cut into things they weren't supposed to!

    And oh wow - a baby collage. So creative, so adorable, so fun...I know if my 2 year old had the opportunity, she'd turn herself into one! (Hmm...an idea for the afternoon?) :)

  4. Bravo to your artists in residence ...their books are really so pretty, thank you for showing their end project...and Max ...well he is a cute collage for sure!!

  5. these are fabulous...you are very clevver!!!so are you kidlets...love the baby collage too...lol...xxx

  6. 1. I can't get over how much Max looks like Mark. SO cute!

    2. I can't get over how talented you are ... those are great books!

  7. these are great little books..my sons use the cuttlebug to cut the pages out and the covers out of old cereal boxes..they then use my bind it all to make little books for their drawings and spellings..its great to involve kids in making something even though you can never find your scissors as they have them!!

  8. Shona! I know what my daughter and I will be doing this weekend! Well... we don't have a baby to collage but we'll definitely make the book!

  9. Love the pictures of Max! I have a Max too! This is a great idea. I teach art to home school kids and plan to do some book making with them this semester. This is a great one to do!

  10. thanks for the idea and tutorial. i am sure my kids can't wait to make their own, including my son! max is such a good sport and adorable!

  11. What fantastic tutorial and such a wonderful and interesting post. thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Great book idea. I help run craft club at our elementary school and this will be a great project. I will take their pictures next club and make books at a later time.

    PS- I LOVE that last picture of Max! Such a happy guy :)

  13. Love your blog, and the "baby collage" of the little one is a hoot! your kids are so lucky to have such a creative mom!!

  14. Hi Shona... I just headed over to check out your blog & say THANK YOU for coming by my blog to enter to win one of my OWOH art-glass heart pendants. Good Luck.

    This post is wonderful... your daughters are adorable & their books are fantastic! Laura did a fantastic job setting up the photo shoot! I enjoyed doing things like this w/ my boys when they were younger. They're too cool to enjoy things like this now. If only I could convince them that playing w/ fire is macho. :o)

    What a sweet family... 4 kids...busy mom!! The baby collage was a kick.

    Off to check out your OWOH offerings!!


    Julie (OWOH #155)
    http://creditriverartglass.blogspot.com "

  15. Oh...FIVE kids....really busy mom! & I had previously signed up for your fantastic giveaways! Thanks Shona...

  16. This is such a wonderful tutorial Shona!! Your sweet Laura did a fabulous job on the photo shoot and the girls books are beautiful...love them!! I really enjoyed this post and seeing the photos of your little ones busy making their books...so sweet. And Max, well he is darling, such a happy little guy!!

  17. Hylarious! Little Max is getting so big already. I love the little Max collage. If I win some week, can I have something made with a Max collage picture? :-)

  18. Shona....great post girl!! Isn't it wonderful when our children want to follow in our footsteps. Well, let's face it..if the artistic gene is in them, they truly have no choice..LOL!

    I have an area set up for Chaz so he can design too. You should see some of the things he comes up with..LOL!!

    Until next time,


  19. lovely photos!!! you're kids are as artistic as you are!

  20. Great tute Shona! And the books your children made are wonderful! And the baby....with the books...so darling!



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