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Bridesmaid Booklets DIY Tutorial

Some of you may remember these booklets I shared earlier in the year that I created for all the bridesmaids in my friend’s upcoming wedding.  All of the girls loved them and thanks to all your sweet comments, they were a big hit on the blog as well.  Since that post, I have been meaning to write up a tutorial, sharing the process I took to put these together. 

Just recently I was contacted by a bride who loved the idea of the booklets and wanted some advice so she could make them for her DIY wedding.  Instead of writing everything out in an email just for her, I decided to post a tutorial and share it with everyone.  So here is my tutorial for the bridesmaid booklets (long post to follow).  Not interested in making bridesmaid booklets?  Use this same process to make programs, cards, or little notebooks…anything that you want to bind paper together.  For this example, I sized it 4"x5" but follow the same steps for any sized booklet.  My original booklets were about 5 ½” x 8 ½”.  

What you’ll need:

◦ posterboard

◦ metal-edge ruler & x-acto knife

◦ bookcloth – I got mine from Paper Source, they have many different color options

◦ pencil

PVA glue

◦ sponge brush

◦ bone folder

◦ decorative paper, for example Paper Source’s Japanese Yuzen paper

◦ cardstock to print the booklet pages out on

◦ heavy duty thread – I used button & carpet thread

◦ needle

◦ scissors

Cut down two pieces of posterboard to the desired size of your booklet, my two pieces are 4” x 5”.

I used white bookcloth that I found from Paper Source.  Cut the bookcloth down to size.  I left a ½” border around the posterboard pieces.  I also left an ⅛” gap in the middle of the posterboard (to provide space for the pages you’ll insert later).  So my bookcloth was cut down to about 9 ⅛” x 6”.  Use pencil to mark where the posterboard will be placed (I showed these guidelines in blue).

I bought this special bookbinding glue from Paper Source.  Apply it with a sponge brush.  If you keep this glue in a dark place it should keep for months and you can use it for all kinds of paper projects later.  

Crop the corners of the bookcloth at a 45 degree angle.  Using the pencil marks as a guideline, fold over the flaps on all four sides.  Use a bone folder to create crisp edges.

Dab PVA glue onto one of the posterboard pieces.  Place the posterboard onto the bookcloth.  Apply pressure with your hands.  Glue the other posterboard piece and place on the bookcloth as well.

Run your bone folder over the bookcloth to help bind the posterboard and bookcloth together and to smooth out the surface.  Place this underneath a few heavy books for awhile to let dry.

Apply glue to the flaps.  Fold the flaps over and hold in place, applying even pressure with your hands.  Also use the bone folder to smooth out the surface.  

Find some kind of decorative paper to use as an inner liner for the booklets.  Paper Source has a huge selection of Yuzen fine papers that work perfectly for this.  The paper I used was the White Swirls on Blue Paper.

Cut the decorative paper down to size.  It will need to be slightly smaller than the bookcloth/posterboard cover.  For example, mine was about 7 ⅞” x 4 ¾”.  Dab the back of the paper with glue.  Dab it carefully because the paper is delicate.  Apply it to the back of the booklet cover (covering up the posterboard).  Smooth it out with the bone folder.  Run the bone folder in the center (between the posterboard pieces) to create the crease.

Print out your pages onto cardstock (my cardstock was left white for this example).  Cut them down to size if need be and fold them in half.  Place them inside of each other.

For sewing the cardstock into the cover, I used heavy-duty thread that I got at a local fabric store.  I used Coats & Clark Button and Carpet thread.

Place your pages inside of the cover.  Cut a long length of thread and thread it through a needle.  Do not tie a knot at the end of the thread.

On the front of the bookcloth cover, at the seam, mark three dots with pencil.  One mark should lie in the center and the other two should be ½” away from the edges (shown in blue).  

From the outside, insert the needle at the center dot.  The paper is thick but you should be able to push it through with your fingers.  Pull the needle up from the inside but don’t pull the thread all the way through.  Leave a tail of it for tying off later.  

Bring the needle down through the top dot (shown as #1).  Then bring the needle back up through the middle dot again (#2).  Then bring the needle down through the bottom dot (#3).  

Once again you’ll want to insert the needle back through that center dot from the outside.  I did these steps twice so that the binding would hold the book together.

Come up through the middle (#1) and back down at the bottom dot (#2).  Come straight up the middle again (#3) and then thread through at the top dot (#4).

You’ll come up through the middle one more time.  Thread the needle underneath the binding and push the needle back out the center dot.

Tie the two thread ends into a double knot and then tie into a bow.  Fold the booklet up.  It may be a little stiff and want to stay open but leave it under some books overnight to keep it closed.

And there you have it!  You can make your own little booklets now, whether it is for your bridesmaids, your wedding, or just for yourself.  Did all of that make sense?  The threading the needle part may have been a bit confusing.  Feel free to ask me about any parts that were unclear.  

I know this was a long post but hopefully this will help some of you in crafting booklets in the future.  The process really isn’t too difficult and if you are making multiples, you will get in a rhythm after one or two.  Good luck and feel free to share your results with me if you make your own booklets!  Happy Thursday!                 


Crafted Bridesmaid Booklets

I am so excited to share a special project with you all today! 

Some of you may know that I am the maid of honor in my best friend's upcoming fall wedding.  I have known and been friends with Ashley since kindergarten so it is very special to be by her side for her big day.  But I was even more honored when she asked me to help design some elements for her wedding.  I designed and packaged her save the dates which turned out spectacular!  I plan on sharing pictures of those later this week so check back for that.  Today I want to share her bridesmaid's booklets.  Early on, Ashley and I started brainstorming about all the bridesmaid details: which girls Ashley wanted by her side (other than me!), what dress the girls would wear, what were the wedding colors, and where we wanted to party for the bachelorette weekend.  Even early on, we agreed on compiling a booklet to send to each girl.  Although emailing is easy, we wanted something a little more concrete and special.  I designed the booklet with pictures and Ashley wrote a personal message about each of her bridesmaids.  I think the girls will all really enjoy receiving this handmade gift in the mail and start to get excited about the upcoming festivities!

Here is what I came up with:

I'll start us off with some preliminary pictures that I took while finishing up the last little details yesterday.  I bound each book with book cloth and hand-stitched the binding.

The booklets were a little stiff at first and wanted to pop back open.  So I weighed them down with some books to keep them shut.  

My office assistant hard at work on her pillow.  The scary part about this pictures is that this is after my studio was cleaned.  Yes, this is organized or at least semi-organized for me.  You should have seen the disaster it was before.  I'm in the process of rearranging everything in my studio so right now, everything is kind of haywire.  I'm not loving it but hopefully soon everything will be fully organized and put back into place.

Ok, so back to those bridesmaid booklets...

I love button + string envelopes!  I just knew I had to use them here.  They make you feel like you're opening up something truly special and not just another regular envelope.

Each bridesmaid got her own little section in the book with a special message written by Ashley.  It was a personal touch that I loved.  Ashley wrote the nicest things about everyone.

I love maps and traveling (and Ashley is a huge traveler) so I designed this map to highlight everyone's journey to the wedding.  The red lines and dots represent Ashley and her fiancé's journey...so I marked their respective hometowns, the city where they met, where they are residing now, and where they got engaged.  The blue lines and dots represent where members of the bridal party will be traveling from to get to the wedding. 

And I used this great paper from Paper Source as the inside liner for the booklets.  It is a nice, subtle pattern and the color worked with Ashley's color scheme.  I am dreaming up ways I can use the scraps in some personal projects.  

What did you think of my booklets?  I think it was a great way to make something special for each of the girls.  I really enjoyed the bookbinding and definitely want to try more of that in the future.  Maybe try some mini books.  

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Check back in tomorrow with some big news! 


New Discoveries

I have been such a bad blogger lately.  I have been getting more hours at my job with Anthropologie which is good but definitely bad for my blogging life.  Also, the last few days I have been helping a friend out with a project that has kept me busy.  So usually when I do get a little free time at night I just want to relax and not worry about a blog post.  My mini goal is to blog today, tomorrow, and then Friday to compensate for the week of silence.  I have a few crafts and DIYs planned for the near future but at the moment I will wow you with some "new discoveries" that I have found across the interwebz (yes, with a z).  I find new and awesome things all the time and sometimes it is just fun to share them with the world.  We can always use some lovely visual stimulation.


First, I must share an Anthropologie discovery that I am kind of obsessed with lately.  

So, I love vintage typewriters (I say that like there are tons of brand new typewriters to choose from...nope, mostly just vintage ones).  My dream is to own an Olivetti one day but until then I appreciate all artistic tributes to this pre-computers machine.  Hence my love for this top from Anthro.  It has little white typewriters on it.  Adorbs!  I have been eyeing it for awhile but resisted the urge because I cannot literally spend my entire paycheck on Anthro clothes/accessories.  But the top went on sale and with my employee discount it was very reasonable and definitely worth it.  I think the graphic is really fun and I think the print would look great on coordinating stationary and paper goods.  Pictures like the one on the left are definitely something I need to add to my little art collection.  Just search typewriters in Etsy and you will find all kinds of cute things (as expected).

Photos: LolasRoom and Anthropologie     


Another discovery is of the ceramic type.

Bethan Laura Wood is a London product designer whose blog I recently stumbled upon and who designs these stained teacups (along with other things) which I definitely must own.  I do not even drink tea but after purchasing these beauties I may be convinced to take up the habit.  These teacups are designed to "improve through use" or slowly reveal the design as the cup gets stained from tea.  The project is meant to revaluate the idea that with use/time, the value of products decreases.  I love the concept (and the bird design is precious) and I think it is a great assumption to prove wrong.  Some things only get better with age - including people.  :)

Photos: Bethan Laura Wood Stain Cup and Saucer


The next great find is a blog...Darjeeling Dreams

Here are a couple of screen shots from Darjeeling Dreams and hopefully you are as hooked as I was by the first sight.  I come across a lot of different blogs each week (sometimes each day) and since we only have so much time on this planet, you need to be picky about which blogs you will actually keep up with routinely.  There is no way I can look at everything so I need to determine what blogs/websites I will appreciate the most.  This is one I will definitely revisit.  The main focus is photographers/photography and food and what a great combination.  The recipes on there look delicious and from the first page alone there are a few that I want to attempt.  The blog introduces a lot of amazing photographers that post their work on Flickr, photographers who I may not have known about otherwise.  I love the dreamy quality of all the work that is posted here.  I think I love each picture more than the last.


My final discovery is a video (so exciting)!

Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.


This video shows the bookbinding process of the Pictorial Webster's special edition book.  I have been interested in bookbinding lately (nothing like this, much more simple, handmade bookbinding for me thank you) and this video absolutely fascinates me.  Of course most book are not made this way.  All the Barnes & Noble books are made by machine I'm sure.  But I would imagine some editions are still made like this.  So much work goes into this.  Now our supply of books is endless.  I can get a book at the library, at my local Barnes & Noble, at Amazon.com, but in the past books were hard to come by and this video explains why.  The process was long and hard and it would have been impossible to produce millions.  Each book was like a little work of art.  This is clearly a dying craft but now that I am much more aware of how the process used to be, I will remember to appreciate books much more (this really wasn't a problem before...I LOVE books!). 


I hope you enjoyed my new discoveries as much as I did.  They all fascinate me in different ways and hopefully you will be equally intrigued.