In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday (which was yesterday, in case you didn't know) and March being "Reading Month" (I've also heard it's Quilting Month!), Sweet Pea and I put together a little tutorial on how to make your own folded book. I taught Sweet Pea to do it on Tuesday night, and then she proceeded to write and illustrate her book. On Wednesday night, she wanted to make three more. After making one, she was almost independent at doing it herself. She is 6 years old, so it seems appropriate for this age, though I think many older individuals will have fun with it, too. Younger kids could also do it with a little help from a caring adult or young adult.
- The thing she had the hardest time with was lining up the corners well so the folds were straight, but she got better with it over time. You might need to provide younger children with a little support on those steps.
- The other thing I found helpful was to teach her how to make a good fold. I taught her to line up the edges first, then take her pointer finger, place it on the straight edges about in the center of the paper, run it back toward the folded edge until she creased the folded edge with her finger. Then, run her finger out to one edge, creasing the whole way. Then, run her finger from the center out to the other edge, creasing the whole way. She's got that down pat and does it well after only showing her the trick a couple of times.
- If you have a bone folder, use it to really make a nice crease after you crease with your finger. (Here's a video showing how to use one if you've never seen one used. Great tool to have.) If you don't have a bone folder, you can use one of those little square, plastic things many people have to scrape their dishes with. (Here's an example of one if you don't know what I mean.) Run it along the crease after you crease with your finger to make a good sharp crease. If you don't have either of these, no matter. Just crease with your fingers. It works!
We are starting with a plain old piece of paper. Just the stuff you put in your printer. You can use any old paper...any size! Even a gum wrapper would be kind of fun, I think! (But it would make a tiny book!) Your book will just be a different size and shape, depending on what size/shape you started with. I probably wouldn't start with real heavy cardstock. It will be harder to fold. But, I'm sure it can be done!
(By the way, Sweet Pea waffled between really wanting to do this tutorial for you and being really sick of it. You may notice that in the photos as we go along!)
We begin by making a "hot dog fold." This is a fold across the longest part of the paper. When I asked Sweet Pea why she thought it was called a "hot dog fold," she said, "Because it's long and skinny like a hot dog bun!" So, she got it right away!
This time, keep it folded.
(Starting to get a little tired and silly with me, now. It was, by the way, after her bedtime, and she had had a tough day. Normally, she wouldn't be tired of it at this point.) Turn the fold so it is away from you, and lift up one edge. We're going to fold it toward the fold.
Crease it down, too. (See how she's not well aligned here? This caused problems in the end, so I helped fix it. Make sure edges are aligned before the kids make the crease. They will be frustrated and disappointed in the end, if these edges aren't well aligned.)
Take a scissors (I let Sweet Pea use pretty sharp scissors....I hate those kid scissors that don't cut...too frustrating!) and cut along the fold line that is perpendicular to the fold that is the peak of the W. Cut right on the fold line. That's important, too.
Pinch the two folds like Sweet Pea is doing here and push those two sides together so that the paper folds along that first "hot dog" fold line we made. (Sweet Pea getting annoyed that I keep making her stop for a photo.)
Once you make that fold, you'll see the book sort of fall into shape. (I had to cut Sweet Pea's face out of this one. I promised her I would because she was making such a horrible face! Bed time!) After you get it folded into the book shape, go ahead and run your fingers (or bone folder or pot scraper) along the creases again, just to set them...and VIOLA! You have a book!
She decorated each page. She wrote some and dictated the rest to me.
This was a really fun project to do together, and Sweet Pea keeps asking to do more. You might enjoy it with your young ones. Other ideas for these fun books:
- Make one out of a map when you are traveling and journal in it!
- Make a quick sketchbook!
- It would make a great spy book for someone who loves to solve mysteries, secret codes, etc. (Lynn)
- It could be a picture recipe book for how to make a little snack!
- You could glue magazine pictures and other goodies in it (e.g., from a nature walk).
- It could make a cute little note to tuck into a lunch box with your child or hubby (just to say you love them).
- It could be a little needle book in a pinch!
- You could glue swatches of fabric to it and tuck it into your purse for shopping for that fabric you need to match that quilt.
- It could be a great way to just pass time with an impatient child while waiting in line or for a meal!
Come on...what other ideas do you have? There's lots of uses for this.
I hope you found the tutorial useful and fun! Maybe we'll do other bookmaking stuff (another little side passion of mine...one I don't exercise that often but go in spurts), if you like it.
Don't forget...READ, READ, READ...for your own enjoyment and with kids. Great way to build vocabulary and just enjoy!
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
Until next time,