Make a Homemade Keepsake Book

What You Need:

  • Cardboard cut into a rectangle twice the size of the book you want to make
  • Decorative paper or fabric cut into a rectangle about 4 inches wider and longer than the size of the book
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Sheets of sturdy paper, such as poster board, card stock, photo paper, etc., cut into rectangles about 2 inches less wide and long than the size of the book
  • Strong needle
  • String or thread

What You Do:

  1. Your child will be constructing the book first. Start by finding the center of the cardboard rectangle and marking it. This will be the center; he can use anything he wishes to mark it, as it's going to be covered up. Make sure he is happy with the size of the book before moving forward.
  2. Use scissors and a straight edge to lightly score on both sides of the center mark, running from top to bottom.
  3. Have your child carefully fold along the scores; this will create the spine of the book.
  4. Ask your child to spread the book flat again. He should apply a thin layer of rubber cement over the outside of the book, and then apply fabric or decorative paper evenly on top of the cardboard. Suggest that he press down a book on top of the cardboard in order to apply even pressure.
  5. Have your child apply rubber cement around each of the inner sides and corners of the cardboard base, working on one part at a time. Advise him to apply the cement and pull the fabric into place on top of it so that it is taut. Let this dry for a bit.
  6. Once the outside structure of the book is complete, allow your child to decide how many pages he wishes his keepsake book to have. Approximately 12 pages is a good number, so that the sewing is a manageable project. Here's the adult part (unless your child has strong sewing skills): Stitch the sheaf of pages carefully up along the edge that will fit into the spine of the book. Make sure you have the paper positioned correctly so you stitch up the correct end!
  7. Once the book is sewn, have your child carefully fit the spine of the pages into the book's spine! Make sure the pages are centered. Apply rubber cement to the book's inside front cover and gently press the first of the sewn pages into the rubber cement.
  8. Have your child repeat this process with the back cover and back page, pressing it into the rubber cement.
  9. Make sure your child allows the book to dry thoroughly before engaging his amateur author skills!

Once the book is ready to go, your child is free to utilize it as he wishes! Whether he turns it into a gussied-up photo album, a collection of quotes, or a storybook for a younger sibling, it is sure to make the recipient smile.

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