Wednesday, June 19, 2013

~Pamphlet Style Childrens Art Book Tutorial~ **Not a childs craft**

Hi everyone! So here is the bind tutorial I promised on my last post. This is for a cute little pamphlet style book perfect for your little budding artist. I made my boys both one and they were over the moon about them. It is so cute to see them drawing and coloring in them. K, my 4 year old, loves getting his out to write list when I am jotting down project ideas or writing out my meal plan. It really is too cute. *****Warning This is not a child craft. This tutorial is for adults to create for kids. There are sharp and pointy tools used making this that are not appropriate for children to handle. Again, this is not a craft for children to do.*****
Okay so let's get to it. I should warn you there are a ton of pictures!:) I wanted to make sure things were clear and there are a few steps to properly achieve a good little book. So please read all instructions before starting your own book. It always help to read ahead so nothing comes as a surprise mid project. Oh and I also want to try my hand at a video tutorial so I am going to attempt that tomorrow on this same book.
Let's talk tools. You can make this book with tools any crafter would have. I have photos of both bookbinding tools and everyday household items that will work just as well. In the photo below you will see the book binding tools. An awl for punching holes, a bone folder for nice clean crisp folds, a bookbinders needle, and waxed thread for sewing the book together.
The second picture shows the everyday household products that can be used in place of the above items. A ruler for making crisp folds and measuring of course, embroidery thread for sewing,  an embroidery needle for sewing the book together and for using in place of an awl.

Tools you will need: 
 *An awl or thick embroidery needle
        * Embroidery Thread or Waxed Thread
             * Scissors or cutting tool
                          * Ruler for measuring and for folding if you don't have a bone folder
             *Bone folder (can use ruler in place of)
            *Bookbinding needle or Lg embroidery needle
*Card Stock
*Construction Paper
*Bees wax (optional for waxing thread)
Below is a picture of card stock and construction paper. I like to keep it bright and cheerful but you can do any colors you would like. You can do as many or as little as you would like. I just chose one of every color in my construction paper supply. You want to use card stock or a heavier paper for the front.

Let's begin! First you want to decide how big you want the book to be. This little book is roughly      5 1/2 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide when finished. Keep in mind that is finished size. So you will need to measure out your cover. You want the length double since you will be folding it in half. So my card stock was marked at 5 1/2 inches by 9 inches. I should also mention keep you cut so that the spine of the book will be parallel to the grain of the paper. More on paper grain the second paragraph below.

Now here you could just take your scissors and cut out your cover. I on the other hand seem to have a problem cutting a straight line. Ha! I like to use this handy paper cutting tool by Fiskar. It helps me to get a straight even cut. It also has a ruler on both sides so I can make sure everything is square before cutting.

Now for the construction paper. First a little lesson in paper. When paper is made by machine the pulp is all moved in one certain direction to create the paper. This means the fibers all run along the same grain. Why is grain important you ask. Well think of the fibers in the paper as a corrugated piece of cardboard. it easily bends one way and you get a lot of resistance the other way, bending and breaking the fibers. Which ultimately weakens the board. It is the same with paper. You want the grain to run parallel to the spine for ease of folding and to protect the strength of the paper. Folding it the wrong way can result in tearing or warping over time or in the case that it should become wet. An easy test to do with thinner papers is the roll over test. take a sheet of paper and bend it one way then bend it the opposite way. Which way gave you the least resistance?  In the case of this construction paper the grain ran with the length of the paper so I will fold and cut accordingly so that the spine runs parallel. I hope that made sense. If not here are a couple articles on paper and here .


Now that your grain is determined decide how big you want the pages inside. I like to have mine a little smaller than the cover. Grab your ruler and mark your cutting line. in this photo below I have all my paper stacked and it just so happens that the width of the paper is almost exactly what I need. Also you will notice the grain in this paper ran the length so I cut accordingly. 

Sometimes cutting soft loose paper can be a task with scissors so I do it a little differently. If you try this PLEASE be careful. These blades are sharp and they will cut you! I take my straight blade or craft knife and cut along my line holding my ruler in place. Again I can not stress enough PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!

 Now you should be left with this and all ten fingers! Ha! These will be the pages inside of the book.

Now you should have a cover and the inside signature set.

Now we want to fold all of our pages. The easiest way to do this is to find the center of you paper and fold along that center, lining the two opposite edges together. I know that sounds confusing but I tried my best to get pictures that would explain it better. See them below. You will fold it over and finger press it. Once you have that folded you will press the fold again with your bone folder or the edge of your ruler to achieve a nice crisp fold. This will help lining things up and keeping the pages uniform.

After you have done the cover continue the same method with all of the papers. This is what you should end up with. You want to nestle the papers together one after another like the photo below.

Line your signature set (inside pages of your book) to the cover to make sure all your lines and folds are correct.
Next you will take your cover, ruler, and a pen and fin the center of the spine. Mark a dot right along the fold mark in the center.

Then you will find your center for the signature set and mark it. Divide the length from the center dot and the edge of your paper by two to get your measurement for the other markings. Here I like to take a scrap piece of paper and make a copy of where the holes are.

Take your scrap paper and line the two center dots so you can make marks for the other to hole markings like so.

Now you are ready to create your sewing holes. Now this is optional but I like to have something soft to punch my holes into. I bought a pack of the small foam sheets you find in the craft section and taped them all together with some pretty chevron tape. This allows me to punch the holes with ease and gives me a soft landing for my awl so there is no damage to it or the surface of my work space.

Take you cover and punch your holes with your awl right on the dotted marks.

If you do not have an awl the large embroidery needle can be used here just try to make the holes big enough for the needle to slide through with ease while sewing.

Continue this with your signature set. I do this with them all stacked and lined up to make sure that all my holes are uniform. If you do this make SURE that your papers are aligned and stay aligned while punching all the holes or your marks will be off and your sewing lines will be off. You want the holes directly on the crease.

Here is my punched cover and signature set.

Now it is time to prepare your thread. Since this book is only one signature set it won't take much thread. Measure your thread with the length of the spine. I do this twice to make sure I have enough thread. So say your book is 5 inches tall you would want 10 inches to be positive you have enough.

I use waxed linen thread when sewing my books but you can use your own waxed embroidery thread. Now this will be for one of my boys so I will go ahead and use embroidery thread. Plus, I can show you how to wax it. It is really simple. I have this nifty little wax contraption I found in the jewelry section at Joanns. Now you can use just a chunk of bees wax or in  a pinch use and unscented candle. You want to pull your thread through the wax about 5 -6 times. No more than that though because the wax will become flaky and clump on the thread. The waxing makes it easier for sewing and strengthens the thread.
Now that your thread is prepared we will start sewing. Start on the center inside hole, sewing from the inside to the outside.

Pull your thread through leaving about a 2 inch tail.

Next you will pass your needle through the top or bottom hole. It does not matter which hole.

Pulling it through the inside of the book. Make sure to keep your threads taut. To do this do not tighten it pulling the threads straight out. Instead hold the tail and pull the thread up along the spine. This way you do not tear your paper.

Next you will pass the needle over the middle hole and through the hole on the other end of the book. Again sewing from the inside to the outside.

From the outside you will pull your threads taut again remembering to hold the tail and pull it up against the spine to prevent tearing.

You will then pass the needle back though the center hole. Sewing from the outside to the inside.

Pull you thread up through the hole. Make sure all your thread is still taut.

Almost done!!! Now pull your thread so that you have a strand on either side of the center strand. Then clip the excess thread so it matches the length of your tail.

Make sure your thread it taut and tie the two pieces into a square knot twice.

Take each tail and tuck it under the center line. Leave about an inch that will be tucked under the center line and clip away the rest.

This is what your center should look like with the tails tucked under the center spine.

This will be the outside of your books. Showing off the pretty red stitching.

 Then Ta-Da!!!!! You have just completed the perfect little drawing book for a special little kiddo. My kids LOVE these!! It makes them feel special to have their own little personal creative space. And I love giving them that joy.:D

I think they are just adorable! Hey it can even be a little jotter for yourself or hubby. These little books are so versatile. Once you get the hang of the steps they come together rather quickly. The Pamphlet bind is my favorite bind because of all the different ways it can be used. It lays flat and you can add a hard back and more signatures giving you a very unique beautiful book. I have a few in my shop right now if you would like to see the many faces of the Pamphlet stitch. Check them out Here in my shop! They are labeled as Pamphlet bound and have that wonderful exposed stitching up the spine.


I hope you all found this helpful and sparked your interest in bookbinding. It is a great passion for me. I love everything about it.:)  Oh and I tried my best to get accurate photos but I had two factors toying with me the whole time. The first was scattered thunderstorms. I would have amazing light and then nothing.  The second is that I am right handed and had no photographer. You should have seen me trying to do the binding and get photos! Ha Ha! It was a site to see. Thank goodness my camera has a timer. :D  If there are any parts that you find yourself having trouble with please feel free to comment or email me with questions. This is written to best of my ability and knowledge of the pamphlet stitch. Again I would like to add that this is NOT a craft for children.

I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial!!! Please share pictures if you make your little one a book!! I would love to see them! Oh and check back tomorrow afternoon to see if I was successful with the video tutorial!!

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  1. This is awesome! Definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for the tutorial, Ashley! :D

  2. Your Welcome Sarah!!! Share pics! Thank you!

  3. Hi Ashley,

    Great tutorial! I pinned it.

    Bye for now, Darlene

    1. Thank you so very much Darlene!!!! Share pics if you guys try it out! I would love to see them!

  4. Great detailed tutorial. Thank you for showing every day tools I can use. Thanks for linking up at Inspire Us Thursday!


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