An artist friend of mine makes something each year for the children who come to the food bank in her community. Last weekend she came over and we worked out how to make a box that would contain items for the kids. After she left I started thinking about making little books to donate towards her efforts. It took awhile for me to come up with what kind of book I could make that was just the right balance of being not incredibly work intensive, while still being something that I am proud to offer.
These books began with some medium weight papers strips, cut 3″ x 11″. I used something kind of fancy because I have it around, but any kind of colored copy paper would have been fine to use.
I’m using regular copy paper for the book block. This shows the paper separated into grouping of 12 papers, so the books will have 48 pages.
These papers for the inside of the book are cut to be 3″ x 6″. (Question for the grammar police: does the period go inside the inch symbol?)
I have a little guillotine cutter in my house that cuts piles of paper nicely. I paid $800 for it at a time when I barely had two nickels to rub together. It was so worth it. I see similar ones on the market now for $99.00.
Next, each cover got folded in half, then I lined the center up with the number 7 on my little paper-cutter.
These covers need to be just a bit longer than 6 inches so I made the folds at about 3 1/8″ away from the center, using the markings on my paper-cutter to show me where to fold.
I decided to use a needle with a modified pamphlet stitch to for the binding so that I’d have to make only one hole in the spine (with my very sharp bookbinders awl). (I love my tools)
For years, until she retired, I worked with an enthusiastic classroom teacher named Anna who loved seeing her students make books. Instead of teaching bookmaking skills she created a bookmaking corner in her classroom that included a little display of books that I had taught her how to make. These books were accompanied by written directions and a stack of paper. Anna’s third grade students had a great time making books independently.
I started a personal history project with my kids today, with the big idea that our histories are different but we learn about each other because we are a community. Students start with creating a personal history of 5-10 important events in their lives. What if I open it a bit and let kids work with paper in 3 dimensions? Someone wants a line, someone else a book, a spiral, a tree, a flexagon?
I was wondering if there are some formats that you could recommend that don’t require too much pre-teaching. Ideally kids can follow template/video.
Thinking about Anna’s bookmaking corner, I want to suggest a few books to Lana.
I decided to take this opportunity to finally get around to creating the StarBook/Cascading Book tutorial (at the top of this post) with video accompaniment:
This modular origami book can be tricky, but it is totally doable, The folding needs to be done precisely, folds need to be sharp, and it’s important to pay attention to the orientation of the modules as they get glued together.
Fact is though, that it looks tricker than it is. It’s a structure I highly recommend because it’s so dynamic.
The biggest problem with the origami pamphlet is that if you’re using regular copy paper, the book will be rather small, If this bothersome there are two good variations that result in a larger book (other than just finding a larger sheet of paper):
A way make a larger origami pamphlet is to use two sheets of paper to make two halves, then attach them together (use glue, tape, paper clips, staples? whatever ) like in the photo above. I call this half-or-an-origami pamphlet a book base.
An advantage of making a book this way is that, if composition paper is used, the lines will be going in the correct direction for writing on.
There are so many fabulous inventive book structures students can make, but sometimes it’s great to just fold a bunch of papers in half, secure them together, and be done with it. The problem here is that it is not obvious how to secure the pages together. A doable no-needle way to sew pages together in a classroom setting is to use a bit of string or yarn to do a modified pamphlet stitch.
There you have it, four books:
the Star Book,
the Cascading Book,
the Origami Pamphlet (with two variations) and
the Modified Pamphlet Stitch book
Lana’s note mentions a spiral. I’ve been playing with some spiraling pages lately, and I have something wonderful that I want to share, but the spiral deserves its own post: which will hopefully show up here in the near future.
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.
This project ran a bit over time. We were suppose to finish in 45 minuets, but it took 50 minutes. No one complained 🙂
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 will be heading up to the Adirondacks in the morning to work with students, helping them make drawing journals. I get thirty to forty-five minutes with each class. On Tuesday the students spend time with the talented, stupendous, creative scientist/artist Sheri Amsel, who will work with these same students, teaching them to draw nature.
I am so jealous these kids get to spend time with Sheri. Her drawings look like this:
I am creating this post as I pack for tomorrow. I’ve designed these projects one right after another, and we will be making the books in such a compressed amount of time tomorrow, that I might forget to take photos, and I might forget what we did…I like these projects so much that I don’t want to forget them.
The photo above and the one at the top is the project for the first graders. (I am packing the projects in the reverse order that I am seeing the classes -which is how I hope to stay organized.) This is a thick little book whose pages are made by sliding the flap of an envelope into another envelope, them repeating until the desired number of pages are achieved. The whole book block gets wrapped in a long piece of decorative paper.
Second and third graders will sew pages together, attaching beads on the spine, and using specialty papers for the book cover, and paper punched winged things as embellishments.
The inside cover of the book has pockets, and more embellishments. The theme of this week at the school is roots and wings.
Kindergartners will be making a book on a stick. These are long half-sheets of paper, folded in half (closed, the book block measures 5.5″ x 4.25″), bound with a #33 rubber band. The sticks are like the stir-sticks that Starbucks has out on creamer counter. If we can find sticks from outside to use, I’d like that. A big part of my thinking in putting together these projects is trying to get students to see that they can make a book anytime they want, using available materials.
Front is decorated with bling. Maybe I will get students to make a design like mine, which references the Fibonacci sequence… no reason not to! (hmm, one of my blings fell off, see it there in the background…messed up my numbers. Oh well.)
The pre-k crowd will be making these stab “sewn” books with this fun sky paper on the cover. Instead of threading anything, they will use craft pipe-cleaners for the binding. Decorate with stick-on clouds, a few simple birds in flight?, and a one and three-quarter inch radiant sun.
Finally, now packing my first project of the day. This is for the fourth and fifth graders. It’s a four-signature book (each signature is an origami pamphlet folded from 11″ x 17″ paper) sewn together with shoelace tipped yarn. The holes will be punched with a regular punch, as are holes in the cover that the ribbons are threaded through.
It’s the ribbons that hold the cover to the book block. The covers are wallpaper samples pieces. I have a pile that the kids can choose from.
Okay, now to remember to pack glue sticks, scissors, and then pack up the car and g o t o s l e e p .