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Making Handbound Books

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Keywords: Book Making, Handbound Books, Easy Handmade Books. Japanese Stab Binding
Subject(s): Art, Health and PE, Special Needs, Home Economics, Business, Photography, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Science, Journalism, Foreign Language
Grades 3 through 12
School: Helper Junior High School, Helper, UT
Planned By: Cathy Wilson
Original Author: Cathy Wilson, Helper
These small books go together in half an hour maximum. They use inexpensive materials, most of them available from school districts. You can use them for art sketchbooks, writing projects, or books for content-area material.

You need:

• Cardstock, any color
• Decorative paper (such as scrapbooking paper). Students may decorate paper with quick sweeps of acrylic paint, or they may decorate with any personal designs or material related to subject-matter lesson)
• Glue sticks
•Plain white paper for book pages
• Needles (large plastic needles for young students, "yarn darners" (available at WalMart or sewing stores very inexpensively) for older students
•Strong thread such as embroidery thread or crochet thread. Thin yarn or colored string may also be used.

1. Cut two pieces of cardstock to the size of the book you want. Cut blank paper the exact same size. You may use whatever number of pages you wish.

2. Cut two pieces of decorative paper 1/2" bigger than the cardstock on all four sides.

3. Place the cardstock in the center of the decorative paper on the WRONG side. Fold down all four corners and glue into place. Now fold down all the flaps on all four sides and glue down. Smooth down well.

4. Mark four holes more or less equidistant about 1/4" from the left side of the covers, about 1/2" from the top of the cover. Use a pushpin to punch holes through them and use those holes to punch the same placement of holes on all the sheets of the pages. Do just a few at a time.

5. Clip everything together with a binder clip.

6. Starting with the second hole, use Japanese binding stitch to sew books. This is a very easy stitch demonstrated at http://www.sff.net/people/brook.west/bind/bindit.html. Be sure to go around the top and bottom edges.

7. Tie a square knot with the final ends of strings (tell students right over left, left over right).

Your book is done and very beautiful! Once your students know how to make these, you can get one done in just a few minutes. You might make these throughout the year for various projects or subjects. I made a beautiful video on how to do a full-size sketchbook on YouTube; see link below.

See examples at http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2287/2305874685_3586c15ce6.jpg and http://artclub.blogs.brynmawr.edu/files/2009/04/image11.jpg (this one has a little embellishment, but you will see the general idea).
We request this classroom set of digital cameras to make digital portfolios, to take pictures for image manipulation and learning image software, and for taking pictures of our old-timey interesting mining town for source materials for paintings in Art class. Digital portfolios are the cutting edge in assessment in many different subject areas.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
We have a small closeknit faculty here in our little junior high and our English, math, and science teachers have requested that they share these cameras for their projects.
We share our paintings in the local Helper Arts Festival and in businesses in town. We have permission from our district to post our digital portfolios on a secure district website.
Links: Easy Guide to digital portfolios
Extensive Explanation of digital portfolios
Camera on Amazon
Sketchbook Demo on YouTube
Demonstration of Japanese Binding Stitch
Materials: Point and Shoot
Other Items: 15 Canon PowerShot SD780IS w/ free memory card on Amazon, $169.00 each, total of $2535.00