Recycled Teeny Tiny Books

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By EcoCraft Contributor Amy from the blog The EcoCrafter

Bookbinding is a fun and functional art form that has so many variations to explore. Making a small simple book is a great way to dip your feet into the world of bookbinding in a super-easy way that even kids can enjoy.

This project teaches some of the basic skills of bookbinding and gets you familiar with the tools. You will have a completed project in less than 10 minutes. The skills learned making this book are easily transferable to bigger books allowing you to create your own journal or gifts. 

Why make a Teeny Tiny Book?

Although the small size of these books might not make them the most useful thing they do make a cute alternative to cards, are great for small notes and to-do lists, and are fun for kids.

These teeny tiny books will naturally encourage children to practice literacy skills as they excitedly use their books to create their own stories. I have made small books with lots of kids and seen the excitement of filling in the book as well as the excitement to explore bookbinding. There is something especially appealing to kids about a very very small book.

Materials:

  • Recycled paper for the cover. Any scrap paper that is close to the thickness of card stock will work well. Look for interesting designs on old book pages, magazines, or junk mail
  • Plain paper for pages
  • Bone folder*
  • Awl*
  • Waxed Thread*
  • Dull needle
  • Metal ruler
  • Craft knife
  • 2 Clothespins or paper clips

* Bookbinding Tool Alternatives You Likely Already Have

Although real bookbinding tools make the process easier there are simple alternatives that can be found around the home that work almost as well. To try out bookbinding without having to buy all the tools try an old gift card instead of a bone folder, a push pin instead of an awl, and embroidery thread instead of waxed thread.

Instructions

Find a spot on the recycled paper that has a nice design for the cover. Cut out a rectangle. I used a rectangle about 3 by 2 inches but any size will do.  

Before cutting the inside pages it is important to check which way the grain of the paper goes and cut the papers so that the fold follows the grain of the paper. This will help your book lay flat when it is finished. To check which way the grain goes lightly bend the paper in both directions. You will be able to tell that one way folds easier. With printer paper, the grain usually runs along the paper the long way.

Once you know which way the pages need to be folded you can use the cover as a guide to cut the inside pages. The book will be trimmed so it is ok if they are not perfectly cut as long as they are not too small. I used 16 papers for the pages making 32 pages in my finished book. Use any number of pages you wish but more than 20 or so (depending on the thickness of the paper you use) will lead to a book that does not fold well.

Carefully line up pages by tapping the pile on the table. Line up the corners and fold the stack of papers using the bone folder. Try to fold in a slow careful manner to avoid crunching the paper. Think about sliding the bone folder towards and over the fold instead of just squishing the fold flat.

Open the book and use clothespins or paperclips to hold pages in place. Hold pages open supporting the fold on either side of where you will be making a hole with your fingers n the outside and the thumb on the inside. Use the awl to punch three holes through all the pages and cover directly on the fold.

Make one hole in the middle and the other two symmetrical on either side.

Cut a piece of thread about 6 1/2 inches long and thread your needle. Do not tie a knot in the thread. Start inside the book and run the needle and thread through the middle hole leaving a tail about 3/4 inch long inside the book. Hold the tail with your thumb. Then insert the thread into the bottom hole and back through the middle hole.

Run the thread through the final top hole and under the loop made inside the book. Remove the needle and gently pull the threads to make sure the binding is tight and sits close to the book. Then make a knot with the two ends of the thread and cut the tails close to the knot.

Trim the pages and cover with your craft knife and a metal ruler. Be careful to make the corners at right angles. When trimming the pages use light pressure and run the knife over the book edge multiple times until all pages are trimmed. Too much pressure will tear the paper and leave you will an uneven edge. Place your finished book under a heavy book or some other weight for a day or so to help it lay flat.

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