Arts in Education · Beads on Books · Binding Loose Papers · Japanese Binding for the Classrom · Journals · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · simple book binding

Journals All Day Long

I’ve just noticed that I am more apt to blog about a project before I do it with kids when I am very nervous about how it will turn out.

I was very nervous about most of the projects that I wrote about in my last post. 

Making beautiful drawing journals in one class period is challenging. I’m relieved to say that the day of bookmaking went really well.

This post will mostly be a photo essay of making five styles of books, with kids ages 4 though 11.

Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding
Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding


The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings,and showing their creatations to each other.
Pre-K sharing

The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings, and lost no time showing off their creations to each other.

First Graders, book on a stick
Kindergartners, book on a stick

Kindergartners did a simple rubber-band and stick binding. They all wanted to decorate their sticks.  Most of the students tended towards making animal shapes with the bling.

First Graders, envelope book
First Graders, envelope book

The big surprise of the day, for me, was both how quickly the first graders finished their project and how amazingly beautiful they turned out. These books took them only twenty minutes to make.

First graders assembling their books
First graders assembling their books

Knowing what I know now I would slow the project down and help the kids less. I was so nervous about how this project would  go.

Assembling envelopes into pages
Assembling envelopes into pages


Finished Envelope books
Finished Envelope books

 Wallpaper-sample covers were simply glued on.  These look so good to me.

Simple sewing, lots of embellishments
Simple sewing, lots of embellishments

The modified pamphlet stitch book with pocketed covers made by 2nd & 3rd graders was the only project that I’ve done so often with students that I knew it would go well.

Second and Third graders made sewn book with beads
Second & Third graders made sewn book with beads


Ribbon Journal
Ribbon Journal

The highlight of the day, for me, was making these sewn journals with 4th & 5th graders.



The book block was made from 4 pieces of 11″ x 17″ papers folding into origami pamphlets, then sewn together side-by-side. All the holes for sewing were punched by paper punches.

Wallpaper-sample covers were attached by threading ribbons through holes in the cover and endpapers.

Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders
Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders

This project ran a bit over time. We were suppose to finish in 45 minuets, but it took 50 minutes. No one complained 🙂

Aerial view of Ribbon Books
Aerial view of Ribbon Books

These books, like most of the other books made yesterday, were constructed without glue, The only exception is the envelope books.  I didn’t exclude the use of glue intentionally, but I guess I think about glueless structures more often than not.

This was the last class of this school season. Now I can get back to some housecleaning.

I am ending this season happy!


Binding Loose Papers · How-to · Making Books with children

How to make a Pipe Cleaner Bound Notebook/Scrapbook

Creating a binding for single sheets of notebook paper elevates groups of papers into something more precious.  I’ve recently written some posts on my current favorite way of binding loose papers. The printable hand-out above goes into detail with the steps of  using a pipe-cleaner binding to make a handsome folder.  When I made this with Indian Lake students we used colored papers for the covers; when the students I worked with in Saratoga Springs made it, we used black covers. Either way,  they looked great.

Click on the image on the left for a black & white version of the above hand-out.

Pipe-Cleaner Bound Notebook by Paula Krieg
Pipe-Cleaner Bound Notebook

The students have been filling these folder with their collections of pictures and facts. Good, solid, serious stuff. Personally, I have been enjoying just decorating them.

Binding Loose Papers · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students

Pipe Cleaner Bound Scrapbook For Countries

Countries Scrapbook
Countries Scrapbook

Late last school year I designed a pipe cleaner bound structure that students were to use as a scrapbook for the their Heritage Week celebration at Indian Lake School, It was a colorful book that was easy to assemble within the 75 minute time frame that I had with the students. This fall a Saratoga Springs teacher asked me about doing a similar project. Her idea is that the third graders at her school will use colorful papers to create scrapbook pages for their unit on countries.

The Two-Color Version of this Scrapbook that Indian Lake Students Made Late L
The Two-Color Version of this Scrapbook that Indian Lake Students Made Late Last School Year

Even though I loved the colorful covers of the project that I did up in Indian Lake,we decided that the covers of this project should be a heavy, dark paper, resembling a valise. Since the inside papers that the students wil be using will be bright colors a dark cover seemed like the best way to go.

countries scrapbook two page spread
The teacher's sample page

I want to say that I love the way the teachers are planning this project. Their classes are studying five countries. For the first country (which is the USA) the teacher will be reading aloud to the students about  a country. As a class, students will be taking notes, and each step of their research will be carefully guided. The plan is that as the year progresses the students become more and more independent in reading and taking notes.

Sample page done by the teacher
Detail of Sample Page done by the Classroom Teacher

The hope is that by showing the students, explicitly, what is considered important and how to reasearch and write about it, that the students will form a template in their minds, and, if not, they can refer to the previous pages in their book. of the previous countries that they studied, when deciding on what is important to research.

My part of this project, then, was to help students make a folder that they could feel proud of even before they designed the inside pages. I use sparkly pipe cleaners, and provided a world map sized perfectly for this structure. My hope is that the students will label and (beautifully) color in the compass rose, and that they will color in and identify the countries that they are studying, using bright labels. This map is actually on the second layer of the cover, and is positioned so that the compass rose sort of peaks out from behind the top layer.

Here’s the top layer, predicatably labeled “Countries”, with a line underneath for the students to write their names. The  label that I gave them showed the outline of the word “Countries,” so that students can playfully color in the letters.

Since the students will be using squares of paper and cut out images on their pages, it seemed like a good idea to provide an inside pocket for the students to use, in case they needed to store a bit of this and that before gluing. We made origami pockets for the inside cover, though a properly sized, pre-made envelope would work well, too.

These third grades (about 25 students per class) had no trouble making this structure in the 75 – 80 minutes that I had with them. I will be visiting these same students later on in the year to work with them on a different project. I have to say that I am looking forward to see how their pages develop.

I am nearly done with writing up a set of directions for this Pipe Cleaner Bound Scrapbook. Stay tuned.

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Artful Recycling · Binding Loose Papers · How-to · Journals · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · Non-adhesive Book · simple book binding

Making Books while the Snow Falls

Working as a visiting artist in Upstate New York requires good snow tires. Since where I live is centrally located int he middle of nowhere, I generally drive about an hour no matter where I am heading. If we’re expecting sleet and ice I stay home. With snow, I drive slowly and pray.  Yesterday, the temperature was generously below freezing so I was confident that the snow would not turn to ice, and I headed out for a day in with students.

It was worth the trip. I helped about 60 fifth graders in three different classes make journals.

One of the students, James, said that this was an awesome project. He felt that the hardest part of the project was folding the papers . This didn’t surprise me. I’ve noticed that by the fifth grade most students have accepted the fact that papers don’t fold in half evenly. High on my agenda is to take the time to offer explicit instructions on how to successfully outwit the uncooperative nature of paper. To really get students on board with this I bring in bone folders for them to use. Students seem to genuinely appreciate learning how to fold paper well.

The teacher that invited me to come to these classes had this to say: “Paula’s workshops with all of the 5th grade classes were fantastic today. All of the students were very excited about the journals they created, and I’m sure it will motivate even our most reluctant writers.”

We made the covers of the books according to the directions below. The wallpaper covers were made from samples that were cut down to 17″ x 11 1/2″.   I’ve also have B&W directions for the Pocketed Book Cover.

Directions for Pocketed Book Cover by Paula Krieg

One of the students, Emily, seemed concerned that there might not be enough pages for the content. My impression is that she had big plans for this book. To accommodate the most prolific writers I left behind materials to create a few more books, as well as the suggestion to considering just attaching in a second set of folded pages into the cover, next to (not into) the original set of pages.

Close up of journals made by fifth grades

We attached the pages, five sheets of folded paper, with the modified pamphlet stitch (using 2mm satin rattail cord), hence the notches at the head and tail of the spine. The pages are the size of regular copy paper. The  school’s (absolutely amazing and fabulous) reading specialist ran these papers through the copy machine so that lines are printed on the papers.  After the pages were attached to the covers I gave students 2 sheets of cover weight paper which were cut to fit into the pockets of the book cover. The students slipped these heavy papers into the pockets then glued the upper corners to the book cover: this gives the book a bit more of a sturdy, weighty feel and keeps the wallpaper covers from looking dog-eared.

snow on my car

I didn’t take many photos. I wanted to leave before much more snow fell. In the picture above, the white mound on the left, that’s my car.