As promised, here are pictures of our book binding project. The purpose for this project is to make something unique and meaningful to give to the moms for Mothers Day. The inspiration came from these instructions at a website I found when I was designing my “Little House in the Big Woods” Unit.
I’m so thankful to have an amazing instructional aide who loves to craft and help little students create. I have to say that I really challenged her this time. Each time I bring a craft idea to her, she makes it even better. She really made this journal special by adding the embroidered lettering and fabric cover. The moms are going to LOVE them!
First the students folded 4 sheets of paper in half to make a signature. I learned a new vocabulary word from this. I had no idea that a batch of pages to be bound in a book was called a signature. After the pages were creased, the students punctured holes an inch apart down the inside of the fold by pressing tacks through the papers. We put cardboard underneath to help the tacks go through.
Next, they sewed the pages together using the puncture holes. We used wax covered beading thread because we thought it would prevent tearing. We’ll see if our theory is correct, but we think that the wax coating will help the thread to slide better and keep the pages from ripping with repeated use. Sewing the signatures took several sessions. Some students really took off, while others needed one-on-one help. I worked it into our center schedule throughout the week.
Each student chose some fabric and embroidery thread for their front cover. Embroidery was one of the highlights from Pioneer Day; it helped that many of my students already had some practice embroidering from the week before.Once the front covers were finished, they were stitched onto the felt front covers.
Finally, the front cover and signatures were all hand-stitched together to create the binding. Before we began this project, I shared an old primer that I have from 1928. They were able to see the stitched binding. A piece of fabric was glued over the binding to hide the stitching, but it’s coming off a little from wear. We decided not to cover our journal bindings with fabric because the moms would enjoy seeing the hand sewn edges. (Also, we were running out of time!)
Making these handmade journals for our Mothers Day gifts was really challenging. Still I think it was worth it. In the future, I think I’ll start earlier. Also, I think it would be nice to completely cover the journals with felt next time. They would have a more “finished” look that way. But I think the moms are going to love the exposed stitching on the bound edge.