Living on a rather tight budget, last Christmas I was wondering what I could make my small nieces and nephews, and remain within my budget. Since I have about five small children to buy for, I had to keep my costs low. I came up with an idea to make them each an ABC book that would help them recognize their letters. This is also a great way to recycle magazines and catalogs that you have finished reading.
Using a printing program on my computer I made a page for each letter of the alphabet, showing both the capital and small letters. I also used different fonts and colors for each page, just to make my book more colorful. (If you do not have access to a computer, do this by hand using crayons, colored pencils, magic markers, or even ink.)
Next, go through your books and magazines to see what pictures you can find to go with the various letters of the alphabet. Believe me, for some letters this can be harder than you think. I even had to resort to using fliers out newspapers for grocery and department stores to even get a few pictures for several letters. For example; a skein of yarn, a container of yogurt, and a package of yeast for the letter Y, zucchini, and the ziplock guy for the letter Z. I also went online and printed out several pictures such as a zebra, a rainbow, and a parking meter. Cut these out with scissors, and you do not need to be exact. Glue your pictures to the coordinating pages. (Glue sticks work great for this step) You can even enlist the help of older children in this project.
The next thing I did was to make a cover page, personalized for each child. “Child’s Name, A to Z Book.” I then signed and dated each book.
I purchased plastic page protectors at a local department store. These are not very expensive: look in the stationary section. I purchased top loading cover pages and in the first one, placed my cover page, in the back of that page I placed the “Aa” page. In the second page protector, I placed a second page for A with my pasted pictures on it. (When I pasted my pictures in the book, I used a permanent marking pen and labeled each picture, just in case there was any confusion) On the back on the second A page I put the B page, and so on. After all your pages are enclosed in the plastic covers it is time to make your book.
I purchased a hardcover, three-ring binder, tacky glue, and 1 yard of cute ABC fabric, per book. I had extra quilt batting, clothespins, and poster board here at home, but if you don’t happen to have any of these items on hand you may want to pick up a small amount. Of course, if you decide to go with an undecorated three-ring binder of some type you can skip this step and expense.
Open your binder and cut a piece of batting to fit the entire cover of the opened binder. Glue the batting in place, clip around the edges with the clothes pins and let your glue dry. If you are making more than one of these books, just assembly line your books.
Next cut a piece of fabric, about 2 inches larger all the way around your binder. With the batting side of your album down, center the album on your fabric. Starting with the corners, glue your fabric to the inside of the album. Fold and pleat as necessary to have your fabric smooth on the outside. Secure this with clothes pins until your glue is dry.
The next step is to finish gluing the sides of the book. Fold your fabric in and glue to the album, check often to make sure your fabric cover is smooth. Secure every few inches with clothespins until the glue is dry. When you get to the metal binder part of your book, fold the fabric in just a bit to make a “hem”. This is the only place where your edges will show.
You next need to measure the inside of your album covers. They generally measure about 12 x 14, deduct ½ to 1 inch from each measurement. In this case I will be using 11 ½ x 13 ½ inches. Cut two pieces of poster board in this measurement. Using the posterboard for a pattern, cut two pieces of fabric about 1 inch larger, all around. Using the same method as with the cover, corners first, cover your two pieces of poster board with fabric. Using clothes pins, wait for the glue to dry.
After the glue is completely dry, glue the fabric covered poster board, fabric side up into the front and back inside covers, this will cover up any rough edges. Again secure with clothes pins and wait for the glue to dry.
All you need to do now is to put your plastic enclosed pages inside your album and see how the kids like them!
These can be fairly inexpensive gifts benefitting young readers, plus a great recycling method for your old magazines, catalogs and newspapers.
These can be fairly