Valentine’s Day can be a beautiful day; a day when two people in love put aside their differences, forget about the mundane everyday chores and put each other first again. A day brand new couples get the opportunity to really show off their new found love and make an impression.
That is, unless you’re out of ideas to impress your sweetie.
This edition of How-To is going to be the perfect inspiration for you! This handmade book is sure to bring a smile and is filled with sweet memories and cherished sentiments. It’s simple and very customizable. Its the perfect gift. Just don’t forget the chocolates, nothing can replace chocolate. And wine. And cookies. And I’m giving hints to a certain someone right now. Moving on.
Here’s my work space set up to make the book. It’s so nice to have a project to do on a dreary day.
-Cover Boards (2): Book board if you have it, cardboard works or any re-purposed thick board including cereal boxes, old book covers, etc. These can really be any size, mine measure 4 ¾” x 6 ¾”.
-Cover Paper (2): Anything decorative or meaningful. Fabric scraps work too. Size should leave about a 1″ edge around each side of the cover board, so mine measure 6 ¼” x 8 ¼”.
-Accordion Paper: This can be as long as you like and include as many pages or panels as you like. When folded, dimensions should be approximately ½” shorter than the length of the book and ¼” shorter than the width. If you don’t have a really long sheet of paper, you can easily use 8 ½” x 11″ (printer size) sheets of paper. Trim them to the correct length of your book and glue them end-to-end. Measure the panels to ¼” less than the width of your book, then fold back and forth as many times as you can. If that last panel is short, just trim it off. To do this for the size of book I made, trim to 6 ½” x 11″, with each folded panel measuring 4 ½”. I show this process in the photos below.
-Glue: I use PVA but Elmer’s works too
-Scissors or Craft Blade (am I allowed to say X-Acto?)
-Scrap paper and paper towel to wipe off gluey-hands
-Ruler and pencil
-Lovey-Dovey Stuff: Photos, poems, drawings, doilies, relationship paraphernalia such as: concert tickets, hand-written notes, used napkins, whatever it is the two of you are in to. I’ve included some vintage French vocabulary cards in words that describe our relationship. Anything thoughtful works!
I always have a couple sheets of scrap paper on my work table. You’ll see me using them a lot as I make this book. Here I’m using them to create a clean glue line.
So! Now you have all the parts to make the basic accordion book. Now it’s time to put it all together!
Use a paintbrush to apply a nice layer of glue to your cover board, then center it over your cover paper and press down. If you’re not comfortable with the eyeball method, go ahead and trace your board onto your cover paper before gluing so you have a clear guideline. Flip it over and smooth it down, being sure to press along all of the edges. If it looks like it might need it (thicker cover boards and thicker paper will) press it down while you continue on to the next steps. Use some heavy books or a press if you have one.
Next trim the corners. You can eyeball with a pair of scissors, or use a ruler, but leave about ¼” of paper to work with.
Starting with the long edges, glue up and fold over. You’ll see my technique here where I use the table to be sure I have a nice even pressure as I do this.
Now you’re going to insure each corner is nice and crisp by pre-folding before glueing these down. Fold over and down.
Glue and fold over again. Push down night and hard with your fingers to make sure its secure.
Ta-da! Now its time to glue in the pages.
Center the folded accordion paper over one of the covers. Use a scrap piece of paper underneath the top fold and cover with glue. Carefully place the other cover on time, lining it up with the other cover underneath. Press down to secure, then open it up and burnish with your fingers to make sure the paper is pressed down nice and tight. Then flip it over and do the same thing for the other cover.
Now it’s time to make your book unique. My first step will be to add a label to the cover. Planning out what the design would be had me doodling like I’m in Jr. High writing a love note again!
I found a great poem, and used some odds and ends to do a couple more pages. If you have kids, this is a great time to get them involved to create their own pages for mom or dad.
I hope you find the perfect thing for the one you love this year. Thanks for reading and tag us on social media @homespunindy with your creations!