Christmas is just around the corner. Are you racking your brain on what to buy for your kids this Christmas? Why not make something for them instead?
I have always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story when I was 8 years old, about 10 plates that ran away from the kitchen cupboard. I remember I wrote and illustrated the story on pieces of drawing papers. Though they are gone with my childhood, my dreams still remain. With the arrival of a close friend’s child and the soon arrival of my own child, I am reminded of my childhood dream once again as there are potential readers now.
So for this Christmas, I decided to handmake my very first Children’s book (since the one I wrote when I was 8) as a Christmas gift for the child of my close friend. You can do the same too, and I am going to show you that it is actually not that difficult to make a book from scratch for your kids.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
1. A story in mind
You need to have a story and its character(s) in mind before you even start with the book. You don’t have to come up with a very complicated story, trust me. Kids are simple and innocent. You can focus on one object or subject and write about it, say, an animal, a plant, a special occasion, an activity etc. For my DIY book, I wrote about a cat and the main character (my friend’s child).
2. A draft
Next, you need to write your story out. You can do this on MS word or you can just write them out using pen and paper. Assuming you are writing for kids between age 0- 6, you should use simple sentences, not too long. You should aim to have maximum 2 sentences in each page only. If you are writing for older kids, you may increase the complexity of the sentences and number of sentences in each page.
3. An idea for the layout and design of the book
Is your book going to be a simple picture book or are you going to make it more interactive? Are you going to hand write and hand draw each page or are you going to use the computer to help you with it? This will help you to decide on the next point. For my book, I decided to hand write, hand draw and make it interactive with the help of origami (another one of my hobbies) and some handicraft materials.
Some materials you may need are:
– Drawing papers
– Marker pens
– Colouring material (Crayons/ paints/ colour pencils/ water colours/ felt tip pens etc)
My personal favourite is Faber-Castell’s Watercolour Pencils. They are really easy to use and very mess-free for me. You can use it as colour pencil, and if you want to use it as water colour, simply colour the object like how you would do with colour pencils, then use a wet brush to go over the surface. You can see the difference from the pictures below:
– Origami papers (If you are interested to add in some origamis in your book)
– Cardboard for making book cover (You can buy them or go green by using cereal boxes or old cardboard boxes)
– Felt and sewing materials (For those of you who are talented in fabrics and would like to add some 3D objects or more textures into your book)
– Double sided tapes
– Scotch tapes
– Any other materials like glitter powder/ beads and sequins… basically up to your own preference and creativity!
5. The outline
Now you will either handwrite or print out the story page by page. If you have illustrations, whether handdrawn or printed, get them on the papers too.
Colour the images if you need to, otherwise, go on to the next point.
7. Book Cover
Using cardboards or recycled cereal boxes and double sided tapes/ glue, stick the cover page of the book onto the cardboard to make it harder. Remember to estimate some area for the back cover of the book too.
8. The pages inside the book
After you are done with the cover, you can use tapes or glue to stick the pages inside the book cover. There are many different ways to do this, depending on your creativity and how much time you have. If you want your book to have a fancy bind, you may use threads to hold the pages together. If you are a beginner, you can just use double sided tapes or scotch tapes. If you are a working mum, you get bring the pages to a local bookstore to have them binded together using plastic binder or you can buy a fastener from a stationery shop and fasten the pages together.
You may wrap the cover of the book with a plastic if you prefer. Here is my almost finished product. I will be adding the plastic wrap later. Add any finishing touches to your book where necessary. Inside the book cover you can write a message to your recipient.
This is how the inside of my book looks like. It is a very simple book with interaction parts where the child can touch and feel the material and move the origami cat from page to page:
If you have any questions about DIY books for your kids, please feel free to contact me. Give it a try! It is fun!
This post was originally posted at MamanDeFrenchaporean – DIY Children’s Book For Your Kids This Christmas
Submitted by Maman de Frenchaporean
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About the Writer: Mama is a Singaporean living in France with her French husband! She’s currently pregnant and sharing her experiences on being pregnant while in France.