Tuesday, December 06, 2011

How to Upcycle Greeting Cards into Books

Hello! Here's another How-To post for your Tuesday. Since we are in the season of giving, I thought I'd stick with things that you can make and gift. This one is particularly nice, because if you still have last year's holiday cards, you can use those for the cover of your books. Best of all, this present is minimal in cost, but big on "hey, I got you something". And I DO love to give out presents, don't you?

First things first, per usual. Your supply list!
Greeting cards: old, new, vintage or blue--it doesn't matter. Still have the envelope: hang on to it!
Blank paper: I used printer paper, but you can use scrapbook paper, notebook paper, nothing too thick. About 6-10 sheets per book.
Needle and Thread: I use button thread, because it is strong and less likely to fray over time.
Compass or Awl: something with a largeish pokey end. A metal skewer from the kitchen works too.
Paper squisher: If I were Martha, I'd say you need a bone folder. What you need is something to crease your paper when you fold it in half.
Work surface: I use a cork tile, you can use a cutting board, a stack of newspapers, anything to protect your table when you are poking holes.
Ruler: There is measurement required for this one. But not too much!

Open up your greeting card on your work surface and measure the inside dimensions. Now subtract half an inch from your totals. Cut your paper to that size. Go on. I'll wait. OK, now stack up your 6-10 sheets and fold the stack in half.

Use your paper squisher to really crease the folded edge. Put some weight on it!

Now open up your stack and admire that nice clean crease. Get your ruler out and measure one inch from the top edge, and make a hole with your poker. Measure one inch from the bottom edge, and make a hole with your poker. Put your paper stack inside your opened greeting card.

Line it up so there is a bit of card poking out around the edges. (and yes, you caught me! My paper is smaller in width than what I told you) Now, poke through the holes you already made to create holes in the card.
Do you see hole A and hole B? Hole A is at the bottom and hole B is at the top. These distinctions will become important as we start to sew the whole thing together.

Prep your needle and thread: I usually make my thread the length of my arm. Tie a knot in the loose end of your thread. Pick up your paper stack and sew from the outside to the inside (this will hide the knotted tail of thread)

Sew the paper stack from hole A to hole B. DO NOT SEW THE COVER ON YET. Sew A to B on the crease, B to A on the outside.  

From A UNDER the paper stack to hole A in the cover. From cover hole A to cover hole B--BUT NOT THROUGH PAPER HOLE B.

 Bring the needle and thread over the TOP of the paper and sew into hole B. And back out through cover hole B. AT THIS POINT YOUR PAPER STACK SHOULD BE TETHERED AT BOTH HOLES A&B TO THE COVER (if not, retrace your steps). Go from cover hole B to cover hole A, all the way through to the center of your book.

Loop your thread around the inside bindings and tie a knot. YOU JUST MADE A BOOK!

Stand it up and admire your handiwork. I like to give mine a little jostle to make sure the pages are securely attached. If they aren't, go ahead and do two loops all the way through with your needle and thread.

 Still have that envelope? Slide your book inside, close it, slap a bow on it and you have one sweet little present!

You can always take the idea one step further...
Make a mini travel journal. I used 300lb press watercolor paper for the cover.

And on the inside, I made half-size sheets. This leaves me room to affix an envelope for bits of paper I pick up on my travels.

The benefit of this is that it weighs significantly less than my full size sketchbook, so carrying it around will be easier. When we travel we do a lot of walking!


Amber said...

That's awesome! Great pics, and a good guide to make a neat upcycled gift. :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea for a memory book. Always trying to figure out what to do with old cards.