Introduction: Handcraft Deco Book

Hi, first of all, I would like to apologize for my bad English. I'm brazilian, and we don't use duct tape here, because it's absurdly expensive. So, before I start, I'll tell you some not-fun facts about my country:

  • Most schools here in Brazil are poor, except private schools, but they are just for "high society" that can pay one and a half salary when our unemployment rates are high.
  • An usual public school has classes from 30 to 50 students in the same classroom.
  • We don't have science projects in most of our schools.
  • In my 5th "série" (not sure what it's called in English, but it's the school for 10 or 11 years old students), we received a schoolbag, notebooks (the paper ones hahaha), books, pencils, erasers, scales and pens from the government (do you know we are not allowed to make our tests using pencil?).
  • We just use tape (the paper one) to pin posters on the wall.
  • 3D printers only exists in universities and some few technical colleges, and the refill is extremely expensive. It's the same to laser cutters and CNCs.
  • Arduinos are kind of cheap, but all the other parts you'll need to do something with the processor are sometimes expensive or doesn't even exist in our stores.
  • Eight students were murdered in a shooting this week in a school in Suzano-SP, and this is bad, I know, but I will use every available moment to emphasize this: our president taught a child how to fire a gun, when we clearly need someone that teaches science, philosophy, arts and sociology.

Ok, sorry for the bad vibe, but it's our reality. Now, back to the project!

Step 1: The Book Itself

Basically, I used:

  • 25 A4 paper sheets (the printer one, we call it "sulfite")
  • A thin piece of old jeans
  • A card paper sheet (enough to cover the two sides of the book in a "U" shape)
  • White glue
  • Pencils
  • Some... uh... I guess they're not called "preachers", but it's the only translation, so I'll use "that thing you use to hold your clothes in the wires after washing your clothes". Please, if you know it's name, now I'm curious.
  • Masking tape (I'm surprised, for real, because we use it for EVERYTHING and I have never tought it was made for painting masks)
  • PVA ink (any color you choose, I used red, black and white because I think this combination is aesthetic)

And before proceeding, bend all the paper sheets in the half. All of them, individually. It takes time.

After this, arrange them as a book and make sure they're aligned. Use the masking tape to hold the pages in the right position (the masking tape can be easily removed without destroying the paper). Make sure the spine of the paper block will be clear of any tape, because you will need it soon.

Cut a piece of jeans (or any other thick fabric) that fits the spine of the paper block.

Cover the spine of the book with glue (not too much, or it will glue the inner parts too), then put the fabric over the spine. Press it against some flat surface for a few minutes, to make it more resistant. You can use the woody little things to hold it tight, as shown in the picture.

Ok, now measure the width, the height and the spine width of the jeans-paper block, and draw it in the card paper, adding some few millimeters to all dimensions (5 mm is good), to make the edges. If you don't want a spare edge, you can keep the original ones, except the spine width, because the bending will take some mm of the width. Adding 3 to 5 cm in the panel allows you to make a flap (why don't you call it "ear"?)

Alright, cut and bend the card paper. Use scales to help bending.

Put some glue over the jeans in the spine of the block, and glue it in the final card paper spine.

Again, press it agains some surface so it can fit well.

After that, put your book in a bookshelf and make sure the other books are pressing it, so it will not be opening itself when you're not holding it.

Step 2: Happy Little Painting

Ok, our next step is the painting, but first, make a really strong coffe and eat some cheese crackers that actually smells like something you should not eat.

THEN, after 12 hours or less, it doesn't matter at all, take the masking tape again, some paint brushes and the PVA ink. As I decided to make something inspired by Art Deco, I drew random diagonal lines intersecting and ending at various points. You can do whatever you want using the tapes. It's a good activity to art lessons. So, after painting, wait a few minutes and carefully remove the tape.

If you want, before the first paint is dry, you can make a second drawing and paint again.

Use your creativity with the tape, try different shapes and different collors. Use the same tape always you can, so you can reduce the waste of tape, and this is important if you want more details or layers of drawings.

After you painted the entire cover, you can do the same with the interior (I didn't, because I like it as it is).

That's it! Your book is made and decorated!

Step 3: Why Is It Important and How to Use It in Class?

As Gislene Santos de Paula e Silva says in her monography "A importância do ensino de Arte no contexto escolar em uma escola de Ensino Fundamental" (in English, "The importance of art teaching in schollar context in a Fundamental School", 2015, the practices doesn't fit the student reality. Part of this happens because the students doesn't see how the "school's art" fits in their daily lives. This "School's art" is basicaly resumed to painting and drawing, and lacks the other artistic activities.

In this activitie with the book, the student can not only learn to use the masking technique, but increase artistic skills for handcrafting and creativity, increases the possibilities for the future of the students: "if you don't have a job, you can make your art and sell it". Many traditional populations depends of handcrafting for live.

The other theme that can be discussed during this activity is the artistic movements, like Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Cubism, Bauhaus and others.

I hope you enjoy and like this project, try it, and if you're an art teacher, use it with your students. But please, whatever you do, I beg you: do not teach kids how to handle guns and do not teach them violence.

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