A Handmade Fairytale




Introduction: A Handmade Fairytale

About: I just finished a graduate program in Instructional Design and Educational Technology: creating online learning. I've been using this site to test out my hopefully improving abilities.

This instructable will teach you how to write out, illustrate and bind your own fairytale book.

These make great baby shower gifts or you can start your own collection. Either way I bet very few people out there has these books.

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Step 1: Supplies

I have listed alternatives that are cheaper and easier to find but you really want to go with my recommendations.

Cardstock (or watercolor paper - something heavy)
Mist spray bottles (to age the pages)
An extra sheet of cardstock to be used as the awl hole guide
Acrylic Craft Paint
Various paint brushes
Something to mix the paint in (palette or plastic lid)
Sharpies (a heavy line permanent marker)
Book board or chip board (for the book cover and back)
Bookbinder's thread (I have used upholstery thread before and it works fine)
A bookbinder's needle (you can use embroidery needles but the thread is very heavy)
A utility knife with extra blades (don't use this with dull blades or you'll cut your finger off)
A metal ruler
A self healing mat (for cutting the book board)
An awl (to poke holes in the pages)
PVA Glue (you can cheap out and use white glue but it breaks when dry where the PVA bends)
An inch paint brush for the glue
Book press (or 2 flat pieces of board that can be clipped together with a vise clip or held together with a weight)
Binder clips
Paper towels
A large stencil (big enough to fill the card stock)
Paper for the covers and inside (scrapbook paper works well)
A bone folder
Crop-o-Dile or hole puncher strong enough to punch through bookboard
Wax paper
A pencil
A small thin tipped bottle (for skinny lines of glue)
A fairytale (www.wikipedia.com - not a long one, you are about to write it out by hand...)

AND a knowledge of coptic stitch bookbinding, though I have added links to good youtube video of it being done. The very ones I used to learn it in fact.

Step 2: Prepare the Cardstock

I use Walnut Ink but you can use water with a couple drops of acrylic craft paint, add some metallic for extra awesomeness. Lay out your sheets of paper and spray them (not on your self healing mat, you don't want paint on that), complete one side at a time. They don't need to be completely dry before using the stencil so damp is ok. Lay your stencil out centered on each page and hit it with another layer of spray. It really doesn't take a lot extra to show a decent void of design. Once you are finished with this side, turn it over and repeat. I wipe off the stencil every few pages or the liquid acrylic will build up and then run all over a page. Since it's about to be written on I'm ok with some messiness and runoff.

How many pages do you need? That's a good question, this depends on the length of your fairytale and the size of your handwriting and illustrations. I usually do a batch of 12-18 sheets of cardstock and then write out and illustrate 2 pages at a time.

Step 3: Prepare the Front and Back Covers

This depends on the overall size of your bookboard. I buy it in large sheets and cut it down to size. For 8 1/2" X 11" card stock, I make the covers 9" X 6". I place the scrapbook paper under the bookboard and cut it around giving about and inch or two margin.

Using your inch paintbrush, paint the glue into the book board and then lay it on the paper and smooth out the scrapbook side with your bone folder. Paint glue onto the corners and fold over carefully. You can clip these down if you want or are slow (ha!) but I just keep going. Corners, then sides glued and carefully folded over. I then have the inside of the cover to glue. I paint the glue onto the paper and then carefully lay it onto the book board cover.

Yay you're done (with the front cover and the back cover). The glue has warped the board though. Wrap both in wax paper and put into your book press or your Macgyver book press (two flat boards and a weight or vise clips). Let it dry completely. Don't keep checking it, leave it alone. Give it an hour or two and it's magically flat. Carefully peel off the wax paper.

Step 4: The Pages

While your covers are drying, you may continue with the pages. They need to be completely dry though.

Take your bone folder and fold the pages in half length-wise and use the bone folder to press the crease flat. Do this for all of the pages. Once done You need to make your signatures. A signature is several pages folded inside each other. Since your card stock is so heavy I recommend a signature to be 2 folded pages total but I wouldn't go more than 3. Mark about 1/4 inch line in pencil on the front and back of each signature, these will be glued together later. Don't write or draw past that line.

Go through the story and mark out where you want an illustration. When writing the story leave a space or do it then. I do the illustrations last so that I have time to think more about what I want to do. You also want to refrain from cleaning up the grammar and punctuation of the story.

Now, this is the fun part. I take one signature at a time and number the pages. The beginning of the story doesn't need to start at the beginning of the signature, so give yourself a couple of blank pages to add the title, illustrations, etc. I started the Frog Prince in the middle of the first signature and then numbered the rest. After this I then doodled with my sharpie around the pages. This part you have to figure out for yourself. I drew flowers and leaves and vines and lots of other things. If you want you can draw these out with a pencil first but I change my mind a lot when drawing sometimes so to make sure I finish a page I use the sharpie, there's no hesitation allowed.

Depending on the length of your story, do a couple of signatures this way. If you want to be cautious complete one at a time and then write out the story up to the end of the signature. This way you won't have extra leftover.

Start on the story. When I first did this I wrote it out in pencil and then wrote over it with the sharpie. My arms were killing me from all the erasing and I found myself messing up about as much as without the pencil lines to guide me. It's really up to you, but it does help to have nice handwriting. This is something you can practice and develop on your own. Once your pages are filled you want to erase the pencil lines you drew on the front and back of each signature.

I will be painting the illustrations so if I mess those up I can cover them with paint. If you mess up the story you can either redo the whole entire page or fix it. This depends on your mistake. I have a few examples of mistakes. On one, I misnumbered the page. I carefully covered the number with paint, let it dry and then wrote in the correct number. Another page while writing it out I skipped a whole paragraph. Doh! I can't paint over that, I get to redo the whole page, making sure to match the beginning and ending together so that it flows with the other pages. I find it easier to not mess up in the first place.

Step 5: Paint the Illustrations

For the random doodles I did I start with one color and paint something with it for each page. Then I let it dry and do the other side. Then I move onto another color. When that's finished you want to outline them with the sharpie again. So why draw it with a sharpie in the first place? I am going to outline it again after painting and I want to know if I have the design large enough for the heavy lines. I've tried pencil first but I always seem to make everything so small. I do use a pencil first when doing actual illustrations from the story though. I can't just draw a frog right off the bat the first time, that's too much pressure.

The images attached to this step are from several different stories. You can also see pages drying on my kitchen floor.

Feel free to use my doodles for your own projects. I think I got some of them from Victorian tiles that I mostly forgot.

Step 6: Prepare the Cover and Pages

Now making the guide it fairly simple. Using a page of cardstock, fold it in half just as you did with the pages. You want the holes to be symmetrical so mark one side with 3 or 4 holes and then fold in half again and copy the marks on the other half.

With your pencil, mark a small dot on the cover where each hole will go, you will also be adding eyelets after punching out the holes. Punch out the holes using a crop-o-dile or other large hole puncher and add the eyelets.

You are going to use your guide and punch holes into one signature at a time using your awl. Be careful and don't poke your eye out. Once you have punched out the holes for the signature, use your binder clips to clip the pages together so they don't loose the hole alignment.

Step 7: Binding Your Book

We are going to use a coptic stitch for this one, you can find other decorative (or not) binding options aplenty on youtube, this is really a personal choice but my Instructable will show a coptic stitch.

Pay attention to your order of signatures and don't bind the wrong ones together. Don't yank or pull on the thread too tightly or you will rip through the paper. Take your time and don't poke yourself with the needle. When you do poke yourself, wait until the bleeding stops to continue. Use a long piece of thread so that you won't have to tie 2 pieces together when you run out. This can be annoying but it doesn't look as good splicing.

This is a good video on the binding: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fotqlCgAbDM and a pdf: http://www.booklyn.org/education/iscoptic.pdf

After the binding is finished, glue the signatures together where they meet with the small tipped container of glue. Place your book in the book press or in between your two boards and weight it for about 30 minutes, or until the glue is dry.

Step 8: Glue the Title

I took a piece of the aged cardstock, ripped it into a square and wrote the title on it. Then I took some paint and put it around the edges. No one would mistake it for old using purple paint but it adds a nice contrast.

Then glue it to the cover and press it again, make sure you cover it in wax paper first or it will stick to your boards.

Once dry you are now finished. Congrats and show it off.

Let me know if you need more information or details and I will edit this.

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    8 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! This looks amazing. This will be my immediate project!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    My boyfriend and I are going to do a few of these, but we chose to cut our own stencil which is proving to take a long time! I'll be sure to post pictures when we finish them!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yes good, if anyone tries this I demand pictures. Good luck!


    10 years ago on Step 5

    I love this project. It's so fun and beautiful.