guest blogger: notes from a very red kitchen


kathleen from notes from a very red kitchen is my guest blogger today.
i’m so excited about her tutorial because it’s just so darn cute and my kids would love this! i’m pretty sure yours will too!
take it away kathleen

Hi everybody! Today I’m going to show you how to make your very own…

Kids love books. But littler kids also have a tendency to destroy them. Making your own books using sheet protectors as page covers is a great way to create personal books that your child can enjoy for a loooong time. It’s fun to include things they see everyday and can recognize on their own, or to include new things to help them learn about the world around them.

Today I’ll be showing you how to do this with photographs, but the options for variations are really limitless here. You could easily use fabric, paper, or other mediums instead. And how fun would it be to add velcro to the top of some of the pages to make a quiet book or matching activity? It’s so easy to think of fun ways to use this simple method of book making!

Here’s what you’ll need:

-top loading sheet protectors
(I recommend using a standard weight or heavier for durability)
-cereal boxes or card stock*
-sewing machine
-paper scissors
-scotch tape

*In this tutorial I used white card stock that was left over from another project, but if I hadn’t had that on hand I would have just used cereal boxes. It’s a great way to recycle and it all gets covered up anyway!

Step 1: Preparing your photographs and card stock
Decide how big you’d like your book pages to be. Cut your photographs and card stock accordingly.

For each page you can include as much as two photographs and one piece of card stock. On some pages I only included one photograph and left the other side of the card stock visible so I could write on it.

Then decide what order you’d like all of your pictures and text to appear and arrange your photographs and card stock accordingly. The page in the picture above included two photographs (and no text) so I put one picture face up, put the card stock in between, and then put the next picture face down. All three of these layers together create one page.

Do this with all of your pages until you’ve got them arranged how you’ll want them to appear in your book. I find it helps to turn the pages as if it’s already in book form to make sure everything is facing the right way and each piece of text is next to the corresponding photograph. It’s easy to get a little confused as you’re doing this, so be sure to double check! 🙂

Step 2: Sewing your pictures inside the sheet protectors

Begin by sewing a straight line across the bottom of your sheet protector. (Don’t sew your opening closed!)

Next, take one page (photograph, card stock, and second photograph) and push it into the corner of your sheet protector so that the bottom of the photographs are up against the row of stitching you just did and the edge of your photographs are up against the folded edge of the sheet protector.

Beginning at the top right corner of your photograph (the folded edge of the sheet protector) carefully stitch around the top and side of your photograph, ending at the row of stitching you previously did along the bottom.

Your page should now look like this.

Now sew another straight line across your sheet protector, above your photograph.

Insert your next page and make sure it’s all the way down into the corner.

Stitch around the top picture just like you did with the first.

Do this until all of your pages are sewn inside your sheet protectors.

Step 3: Cutting your pages apart

Using your paper scissors, carefully cut each page apart, using the straight line sewn down the middle of your page as a guide.

I cut mine about an 1/8″ away from my stitching.

Your page should now be cut like this.

Continue to do this until you have a neat little pile of individual pages.

Step 4: Preparing your book for binding
First, double check and make sure that your pages are in the order you want them to be in the finished book.

Next, arrange your pages so that the edge all line up nicely.

Firmly grasp the extra portion of your sheet protectors about where you think your binding will need to be. Depending on the number of pages you’ve included (i.e. the thickness of your book) you may need to hold a little farther away from your photos.

Still holding firmly onto the sheet protectors, open your book to check and make sure that it will be able to open easily when sewn.

Next, use your scotch tape to tape the excess part of the sheet protector from your pages together. This part will be cut off later, so feel free to tape it liberally. 🙂

I also attempted to make things more secure by stapling through the middle of the excess sheet protectors. My book was so thick that this didn’t really work, but when I’ve made thinner books, adding a staple has helped quite a bit.

I also added some scotch tape closer to my actual pages, with the edge of the scotch tape about where I wanted my binding to be. (Just ignore the fact that it’s already sewn in this picture. We’ll do that next.)

Step 5: Sewing the binding

Using a zigzag stitch, sew your book pages together. Typically it works well to get your pages as close as you can to the presser foot of your sewing machine and just stitch your line there.

Stitch back and forth along this line several times. This will enhance the durability of your book.

Step 6: Removing the excess sheet protector

Your book should now look like this. If you still have scotch tape right up next to your row of binding stitches, take off the scotch tape. Don’t worry about removing the tape that’s farther away.

Starting farther away than you want the edge on your finished book to be, cut off the excess sheet protector. If your book is as thick as mine, your cutting line will probably look kind of funky. That’s why we cut it a little farther away. 🙂

Now carefully trim the edge next to your binding until it’s nice and tidy looking.


You’re Finished!

You can now enjoy the fruits of your labors. 🙂

Or give them to somebody else.

I made these little books as going away presents for my little niece and nephew. They lived right down stairs from us for a long time, but moved to another state a few months ago. I knew they’d miss us, but that they’d especially miss their fun little cousin Olivia (my daughter). So I made each of them a little book all about the things they used to do with her.

“I put on my shoes and I walk to her house.”

“We play with toys.”

“We learn alphabet letters.”

I gave each of them their books along with some other goodies the night before they left and they were a big hit. They loved looking at the pictures and pointing out themselves, each other, mommy, daddy, Auntie Katie and Uncle B, and especially their cousin Olivia.

I’ve also made other variations of these books in the past.

Here’s a sample page from a book I made years ago using this method.

I printed off the words of one of my favorite primary songs and did some simple paper cutting for all of the little illustrations.

The possibilities are endless! I hope you’ll enjoy making some of your own!

If you’d like to check out some of my other projects, you can find me over at my blog, Notes From A Very Red Kitchen.
Thanks so much for having me over Vanessa!

thank you kathleen! what a wonderful craft for the kids to enjoy forever!

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