simple book binding

Last Minute Gift Tags, and maybe some really tiny books

Here’s a PDF of the image above. Each tile is a little less than a 2 inch square. I designed a few of these for some projects, then kept making them just because I like them so much. They are my gift to you. I recommend printing them on cover weight paper if you have some.

Please don’t be disappointed if the colors your printer gives you aren’t as luminous as what’s on the screen. That’s just a fact of life. Once you get away from comparing to the screen, these look lovely.

Here’s how I am thinking you might use them.

Gift tags

Cut out two together. Fold in half. Use as a gift tag.


…cut out singly, Use as a gift tag.

Then there’s the option of making a little library of little books.

This is easier if you know even the smallest amount about making books, but, even if you don’t, it’s absolutely possible to figure this out.

All the steps laid out to see at once

Cut a strip of four of squares. Cut off half of the first and half of the last square. Fold the strip in half. Fold in the half parts towards the center. Sew in a few pages. You can use the snipped off parts as bookmarks.

Finished little book with inside flap lightly glue to first page of book block

The folded-in parts are the inside flaps, which can hold the first page down, I generally use five folded pieces of paper in these books. That gives me enough to tuck one page under the folded in book flaps (I glue the flaps on to the first and last pages) and there’s still 16 pages to write in big thoughts.

The final suggestion I have for these is to write a little note on the back of a single one then….

…secretly hang it somewhere for someone to find.

If you absolutely positively must have many more of these, I understand completely. There’s a whole other page of designs over in my Etsy shop.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · How-to · Making books with elementary students · Rubber Band Books · simple book binding

Jelly Bean Books

I recently received this comment on one of my blog pages:

“Hi Paula
I have come across a copy of an article Jelly Bean Books by you, which looks like its been published in a magazine. Unfortunately, I only have step 1, and steps 5 and 6, so cant quite work out how you get the book folded and utilise all the lines you make in step one. Would you consider sending me a link to the instructions for these little books please? I love papercraft, specifically book binding and card making, and collect any new ideas I find.
I look forward to hearing back from you
many thanks

My Jelly Bean Book instructions were written up for a book Making Books and Journals, published by Lark Books 1999. Constance E. Richards collected projects for this book from eleven different book artists. It’s a charming book, full of fine projects, well presented. Constance had asked me to come up with some simple book making projects. Since the request came close to Easter, and since the books are meant to be small and colorful, I called them Jelly Bean Books.

Something about them being small invites playfulness. I make them using all sorts of papers, with snippets of decorations.

Decorating the inside is fun too,.

Template for Jelly Bean book
Print out this template, then copy it on your printer at 115%

Here’s template for making the cover of the Jelly Bean Books. Start with a strip of paper 2 inches x 9 1/2 inches. Score sections according to the template. Fold and glue the two shorter sections together. Fold in the corners of the end of the other side of the paper to make a point.

For the pages, fold and nest four pieces of paper that are either 4 1/4 or 4 3/4 inches. Attach them to the spine of the book (refer to pictures). Attach in with sewing, wrapping or rubberbanding. Cut a slit into into the folded pieces for the pointed end to slip into.

The Making Books and Journals, book was published over ten years ago and can bought, used, for nearly nothing . This being the case, I am going to assume that it’s okay for me to scan the pages for of the book for Bronwyn to print. Here are links to the First Page and the Second Page of the directions published by Lark. These directions are more thorough than what I have written here.

I want to mention that it looks to me, from her email address, that Bronwyn is from New Zealand,. This fact inspired me to take the time to scan in these pages as I am smitten by the fact that the internet allows people from all across the world to easily connect with each other.

And, surpirise, surprise, whilen searching for a used book supplier for Bronwyn, I found this site in New Zealand which announces that this book is going to be republished in March 2011. I couldn’t find a thing about the republishing of this book on Lark’s website, but Amazon‘s site also has the same announcement. If Amazon says it, I guess it must be true….

8 1/2" x 11" Book Making · Decoration · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · Rubber Band Books

Necklace Books and Beltloop Books

I recently found directions, MY directions, for these books on-line (more about that later), so I felt inspired to do on post of them. From the perspective of instructing, these miniature books are a big crowd pleaser. They are created out of small strips of paper, folded, then bound together with a double loop of a thin rubber band, size #16 or #19. I originally designed this project for a Girl Scout Jamboree. They wanted me to make books with 750 girl scouts in one day, in groups of 125. Because of the big numbers, I felt that it was impractical to use scissors or glue sticks. I packaged up strips of colored papers with rubber bands, stickers, yarns and beads. The girls loved making and having these little books. They wore them around their necks and used them to exchange phone numbers with the new friends they had made that day.

Why I call these “Necklace Books” or Beltloop Books”
I nearly always ask students to tie a piece of yarn, about 36″ long, around the rubber band that binds the pages together. Six wooden or plastic beads are then strung on to the yarn. Students then wear the books as necklaces or loop the yarn through their beltloops.

Students seem to delight in the novelty of using different colored and different size papers for the books. Even if all their pages start out as the same size, I encourage students to cut into the pages to create decorative effects. Students love cutting into the pages of their books. Sometimes they overdo it and their books fall apart. Since these books are made up of such small papers, I have no problem pointing out the results that come from too much cutting, then I hand them some more paper.

A number of years ago I wrote up directions for how to make necklace books and beltloop books. I submitted the directions as part of a contract for a book to be published by Scholastic. I didn’t hear anything about this book for years. I thought they had forgotten about it. Somewhat recentlyI happened upon it! If you want to look at the directions, follow this link: Scholastic has put these, and other, directions on-line in a window. There is even an option to purchase pages of directions in PDF for $1.50. What a cool idea. BTW, I am quite sure that I won’t see any of that money, but if enough people show interest in the book maybe I will get an opportunity to work on another one…..

Yes, this is playful book arts….