This week, I worked at a local art camp teaching a writing class and helping with the crafts. Because we were working on stories in the writing class, the children spent time making books during art. These were conventional-looking books — with very unconventional covers.
The books themselves were small, about 4″ x 5″, though you could make them any size. The covers were made out of pieces of mat board, and for this project, a light color would work best — either white or cream. After cutting the paper to size, the art teacher then place a cover on either end of the paper stack and drilled two holes all the way through using a small bit. String was then threaded through the holes to hold the pieces together.
What made the covers so pretty, however, was the way in which the kids decorated them using tissue paper. We did this before putting the books together.
First, we mixed up a small amount of white glue with water. Each child then took a paintbrush and “painted” the mat board cover of their book with the mixture. Next, they chose from the colorful scraps of tissue paper we had on hand and placed them on the now sticky surface of their covers. They went over the tissue paper again with a little more of the glue/water mixture, making sure the tissue paper was lying flat. Overlapping the paper was fine — it created even more colors.
The mat board worked really well with this technique, as it was strong enough not to bend or warp when the glue mixture was applied. If you don’t have a drill, however, you can still use this technique to make an accordion-style book that you just put together with glue instead of string. To do this, have your child fold the paper like a fan, then glue each end to a rectangular piece of mat board that the child has decorated.
Whatever method you use, try making one of these beautiful books this summer. It will be a keepsake to last a lifetime!