Introduction: Hand-sewn Storybook


The product that you’re about to make is a storybook made out of fabric. The story may vary in topic and length depending on your preferences. Now, get ready to be immersed in making happiness! :)


  • Mini LEDs
  • Colored fabrics
  • Conductive fabrics
  • Colored threads
  • Conductive threads
  • Paper towel core
  • Tape
  • Needles
  • Scissor
  • Computer
  • Patience
  • A partner whom you can discuss with and make together


  • Draw
  • Needle-threading and basic sewing
  • Write stories
  • Make or play a video

Next, we'll go into the step-by-step creation process of the storybook.

Step 1: Create the Storyline

a) Get with your partner to brainstorm for an interesting story that you want to tell

b) Prepare the scenes for the story by drawing them out on a piece of paper or on the computer. For your first story, we encourage you to make things short and simple, so you would be able to complete it within a reasonable amount of time and know what to expect for other similar projects going forward

Step 2: Color the Scenes

Color the scenes either electronically (if they were prepared on a computer or tablet) or manually by hand (if they were prepared on paper); the coloring process is important because it will guide you in the subsequent material selection process

Step 3: Select Materials to Create the Backdrops and Objects for the Scenes

a) Pick out a rectangular piece of colored fabric that measures approximately 8.5” x 11” to be the backdrop of each scene

b) Select the fabrics that best match the colors chosen for the objects on each scene and cut out the shapes of the objects; to ensure that the shapes and sizes are the same, you may consider the below steps:

i. Making a copy of your drawings of the scenes

ii. Cutting the objects out from the drawings

iii. Putting each one on the chosen piece of fabric and using a pencil or pen to make an outline

iv. Cutting them out from the fabric

c) Outlines, such as the glasses frame and the mouth in the picture below, can be sewn with colored threads

Step 4: Sew the Backdrops and Objects for the Scenes

a) When sewing, keep in mind that the audience for this storybook will likely to be young children; so multiple layers of fabric and tight sewing may be required for the scenes and objects to be reasonably durable

b) Depending on the thickness of the fabric, you may sew the stitches that you intend to hide in between the fabric layers so that they would not be exposed

Step 5: Design the Circuits

a) If drawing the storyboard on paper is the first major step, designing the circuit is the second. This step essentially creates a blueprint of how the circuit on each scene runs and which object(s) will be fixed and which will be movable. Designers should pay careful attention to the position of the objects, including the LEDs, as well as the position of the positive and negative ends of the circuit. Drawing the circuit out on paper prior to sewing the path improves the success rate of sewing a working circuit on fabric, especially for first-time sewers.

b) Remember that in order to complete the circuits, each removable object should also have conductive points on the backside. These should also be considered during the circuit design process

Step 6: Sew the Circuits

Once the circuit design has been completed, sew the circuit using conductive thread. Be careful not to tug on the thread too hard or scrape it with sharp objects as the string breaks easily and which case you may need to start all over again. Before you start panicking though, do know that these threads generally have good conductivity, so a break could potentially be fixed by tying the two segments together with a knot.

Step 7: Test the Circuits

Place the appropriate object(s) onto each scene to complete the circuit and observe whether the LED lights up as intended; if it does not, then use alligator clips or conductive threads to test where the interference/break in conductivity may have been

Step 8: Write and Record the Voiceover

This is not necessarily the seventh step; you can record the voiceover, or the narrative to the story, at any time before, during, or after the making of the storybook. Challenge yourself to integrate aspects into the story that are not only entertaining, but also correspond to meaningful objectives

Step 9: Making the Video for the Storyline

You can make any kind of videos you prefer, such as having people act out a play or creating animations. We did a stop-motion animation for our storybook, which you could try by:

i. Taking pictures of the finished scenes

ii. Ordering the pictures of the scenes in accordance with the storyline and inserting them into editing software, such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, iMovie, etc.

iii. Adding titles or subtitles as needed

iv. Inserting voiceover

v. Exporting the video to file and upload it online (i.e. Youtube)

vi. Play the toy with the video

Step 10: Test the Storybook

Run through the entire storybook along with the video and make any final fixes or changes

Step 11: You’re Done! Get Ready to Put a Smile on Your Little Ones’ Faces!

Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Make It Glow! Contest

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Make It Glow! Contest