Editor’s Note: This morning we have crafting goddess Vanessa Falle creating memories through the construction of an altered board book. This is one of those gorgeous keepsakes that get the whole “upcycling” theme going while creating something personal and so very pretty. Can you hear Christmas bells ringing These are perfect gifts for the kids, the grandparents, heck just about anyone on your list who loves that personal touch. Here’s how you do it:
This time of year always makes me a little nostalgic. The kids go back to school and I’m reminded that they are just a little bit older. They are growing up and all the things that make them who they are in this exact moment can disappear from my memory as quickly as dandelion fluff on the wind. Typically, we save report cards and artwork and we chart ever-increasing heights on the door jamb.
The stuff we forget to record is the stuff that surrounds us (and them) every day. This month’s project gets us to just pause a moment – long enough to record the mundane and make it special. We will upcycle a child’s board book to create a charming keepsake that your little one will want to bring to school for show and tell as soon as the glue dries!
• a ten-page 6×6 children’s board book (it doesn’t have to be fancy or new. This is a great way to upcycle that one that’s glued together with cookie guts, just pry the pages apart and get gluing!)
• 5 sheets of 12×12″ printed scrapbooking paper
• 3 sheets 12×12″ cardstock in colors that coordinate with the printed stuff
• 9-3×5″ photos of your kids’ stuff – this is a great time to use your macro settings on your camera! (you can either trim down 4×6′s or order them printed smaller – I used my inkjet printer’s software to print them all on one large sheet)
• 1-4×6″ photo of the child
• enough alphabet stickers to make all the titles on your pages & cover
• *optional* embellishment stickers that coordinate with printed papers
• glue stick & tape runner
• 9 lined index cards
• *optional* corner rounder punch
• *optional* ink to distress edges of index cards
• journaling pen
• hockey tape- 2.5-3″ wide
• Xacto knife
• *optional* Dymo label maker
-Cut three of the sheets of printed paper to measure 6×6″. You can get four out of each sheet of printed paper. Repeat for two of the sheets of cardstock. Determine the pattern for your papers to appear within the pages of your board book. I used two pieces of the same print for the front and back outside covers and then chose to alternate print paper with plain cardstock on the inside pages.
-Using your glue stick, evenly slather the front cover with glue and align the first piece of paper. Take care to ensure that the edges of at least one side line up. Your paper may be slightly larger than the pages of the book. Always trim from the outside edges of the pages rather than the spine. Most board books have rounded corners. Just use your Xacto knife on a cutting mat – to protect your table. Repeat for all the pages.
-When making my book, I adhered the front cover paper lining it up with the edge of the spine. On the back cover, I had to line up the paper with the scored edge that allows the book to open easily. Look on the back of your book. If you see a scored line where a narrow piece of the cover near the spine lifts away from the book when opened, please adhere your cover the same way.
Once you’ve done this, lay out a length of wide hockey tape starting on the back cover. Make sure the hockey tape overlaps the edge of the paper slightly and wrap carefully over the spine, ensuring that it also wraps over the front edge of paper. Hockey tape is very forgiving. Take care with this step - it’s worth it.
-Embellish the cover any way you wish. I used plain chipboard letters to spell “YOU” and I used my Dymo label maker to spell out “right now”.
Note: board books don’t really like lots of bulk near the inside folded edge of the pages so when you are adhering the papers to the pages, line them up leaving a slight gap which will allow the book to close. Mostly.
-Also, trim each sheet of paper as you adhere it otherwise you will have trouble finding the edges of the board book inside the layers. I did this by tucking my cutting mat between the pages and cutting each new page as I stuck it down.
-Once you’ve adhered all the papers to the pages, you can get your index cards and trim them down to 3×5″. I chose to use my corner rounder punch on the corners and I also used a black ink pad to darken the edges. In the scrapbooking world, they call this “distressing”. I glued these to the alternating cardstock pages of my book so that each two page spread featured a cardstock page with an index card and the opposite side featured the photo.
-I chose to feature a large 4×6 photo of my son on the inside cover page before I started with the photos of his stuff. You may or may not wish to do the same.
-Next, cut nine strips of cardstock to measure 1.5×6″ and stick to the printed pages. Adhere photos slightly overlapping (as seen in the finished images). Repeat for remaining pages. Cut eight strips of printed paper (different from the prints you’ve used so far) measuring .5×6″ and layer over the outside edge of the photo. Embellish with stickers and other scrapbooking goodies.
-On the opposite pages (the ones with the index cards) you’ll need nine strips of yet another printed paper cut to measure .5×6″ and lay them slightly over the top edge of the index cards. Using alphabet stickers, create all your titles for each of the photos.
Sometimes you have to get creative with letters (a’s and e’s tend to get used up first) so be resourceful and use upside down v’s as a’s or backwards 3′s as e’s! Complete with personalized journaling and add stickers wherever you like.
If you love this book but don’t want to make it yourself, just email me and we can work something out. If you’d like to have another item made for you, just ask! Please visit my blog and my Etsy shop.