As a newlywed trying to survive on scholarships and one income, I have become quite the coupon clipper! I'm still new to the whole thing, so to help I constructed a coupon book from scraps and other materials to keep them all more organized and easily accessible while shopping. The finished project ended up being about 8 inches by 4 inches, but I'm sure you could easily make it whatever dimensions you wanted to accommodate a variety of items.
Here are the "ingredients" I used to make my very girly coupon book:
- Thick Cardboard (I used a corrugated cardboard from a packing box)
- Fabric Scrap (You just need enough to cover the cardboard, probably about a half yard square)
- Seed Beads (I used the larger 3 mm ones)
- Large Clasp Bead (I used a shell bead to fit my Hawaiian theme)
- Card stock (I used a maroon-ish red to coordinate)
- Small amount of batting
- Paper Bags or a Thick Paper (Thicker than typing paper, but not card stock)
- Hot Glue
- Tacky Glue
- Needle, Thread
Step 1: Prep Your Materials
You will need to cut several pieces of cardboard, fabric, and paper to construct the coupon book. The list below will summarize what you need before continuing to the next step:
- 2 rectangular pieces cut 4 inches by 8 inches.
- 1 triangular piece of cardboard. The piece still needs to be 8 inches wide, with a triangular slant somewhere in the body of it. I made the two sides of my triangular piece 1 inch from the top, and the center point 2 inches from the top.
- Just trace each cardboard piece, adding about an inch to each side to allow for gluing,
- You may need to iron your paper bag pieces flat in order to ensure you can use all parts of the bag (folded sides, bottom, etc)
- Trace the cardboard and trim about 1/4 of an inch from each side. To give my paper bag more depth I crinkled the paper, ironed it flat, and then treated one side with a light watercolor wash in a dark brown. Allow this to dry before building the wallet.
- You will also need 11 pieces of paper bag measuring 7 inches by 3 inches.
- Fan fold four of these pieces with each fold measuring about 1 cm across. I marked my pieces to assist with consistent folds.
- Cut the fan folded pieces along the folds every two peaks. The pieces of fan fold should make a "W" shape. Or, an "M" shape... Or a summation sign... : )
- 2 pieces measuring 1.5 inches by 7.5 inches
- Fold one piece into a symmetric "W" shape. You can easily achieve this by folding the piece of card stock in half, and then folding each side up to the fold.
- Fold the two sides of the other piece of card stock in one quarter inch.
Step 2: Make the Insert
Now it's time to make the phone accordion like insert!
1. With the peaks outward, use tacky glue along one side of a W shaped piece. Attach this to the short end of one of the 7 X 3 pieces. Make sure the edges line up. You will also want to wipe excess glue as you go to ensure your folds, well, fold. : ) Attach another W shaped piece to the other side of the 7 X 3 piece.
2. Turn the piece over, attach two more W shaped pieces, and then glue another 7 X 3 piece to the other side of the W pieces. After you are done connecting all 7 pieces, attach two more W pieces to the top of the last piece. You should have used 16 W pieces in all, and your finished insert should look just like the first image.
3. Put small beads of glue in every fold in one corner of the insert. Squeeze the corner and wipe away any excess glue. Allow the folds to dry a little before releasing. Repeat on the other bottom corner.
Step 3: Cover the Cardboard Pieces
Now it's time to cover the cardboard pieces with your pretty scrap fabric!
1. Spread out about 2 cotton ball sized piece of batting over one side of the cardboard. Then flip the whole cardboard piece with the batting over so that the batting rests against the wrong side of the fabric.
2. Spread a thin row of hot glue across one of the long edges of the cardboard. Quickly fold the fabric over the cardboard and hold in place until set. Spread glue along the opposite side, and pull the fabric gently before folding onto glue.
3. Tack the corners of the excess fabric on the small edges up using tack glue. See the image below for an example. After tack has dried, use hot glue to fold up small sides. If the corners aren't as clean as you would like them to be, use hot glue to tuck where necessary. You may also use hot glue to hold excess fabric from fold if necessary.
4. Repeat treatment on other two pieces, using about half the amount of batting for the triangular piece.
Step 4: Add the Clasp
Time to make your beaded clasp!
1. Measure about an inch and a half up from the bottom of one of the rectangular cardboard pieces, making sure you are centered on the length. Thread a needle with a double thickness of thread tied with an extremely thick knot. From the back of the rectangular piece, pierce through the cardboard and fabric layer. String 15 seed beads, and then pierce through the fabric and cardboard layers near (but not exactly at) the entry location. Pull on the knot of the thread, and tie a double knot with it and the thread remaining on the needle. Trim edges.
2. Thread a needle with a double thickness of thread tied with an extremely thick knot. From the back of the triangular piece, pierce through the cardboard and fabric layer right above the point of the triangle. Thread the needle with five seed beads, followed by the clasp bead and one more seed bead. Back track through the beads, being sure to skip the last bead strung (single seed bead). Pierce through the fabric and cardboard in a location near but not exactly the same as the first entry point. Pull on the knot of the thread, and tie a double knot with it and the thread remaining on the needle. Trim edges.
Step 5: Back the Cardboard/Fabric Pieces
You're almost there!! Just a little backing, and then some construction and you will be on your way to coupon-clipping, super-bargain-hunting greatness. : )
1. Put tack glue on the back side of the backing (read: The side you don't want to see... That was some weird wording). Carefully center the backing on the cardboard piece. Use your hand to apply pressure to the backing and spread the glue. If any leaks out, use an unsharpened pencil or come kind of stick to remove the excess glue. If any backing looks like it might be coming up, use a little more tack glue to strengthen it.
2. Rinse (not really! : ) ), and repeat on the remaining two pieces.
Step 6: Construction (The Finish Line!)
1. Center the W shaped card stock on the bottom of the rectangular piece without the clasp. Use hot glue to attach the two pieces. Make sure you are gluing the card stock to the paper backing, and not to the fabric itself.
2. Attach the folded edge of the other piece of card stock to the top of the same rectangular piece, again making sure that you are gluing paper to paper. The first image showcases this... You will note that one of my pieces is not shaped like a W... That's because I was silly and can't follow my own directions. : )
3. Attach the triangular piece to the other end of the non W piece of card stock. Attach the last rectangular piece to the other side of the W piece, ensuring that you glue the side closest to the clasp loop to the card stock.
4. If any of your edges start to come up, use thin beads of hot glue to secure them into place. You want to make sure your wallet stays sturdy for all of your future years of saving! : )
5. Use tack glue on the top most folds of the insert and attach to the back piece of cardboard, ensuring the insert is centered on the piece of cardboard. Also, make sure the opening of the insert faces the triangular piece. Apply glue to the other exposed W fold flaps and fold the coupon book casing over the insert, ensuring to the best of your abilities that the piece is centered. If you were silly like me and didn't fold your bottom card stock flap into a W, apply pressure with your finger on one side and push both cardboard pieces together to force it into one now. Leave the wallet open, and place weight on the rectangular pieces until dry.
Now bust open your sunday newspaper and start clipping those coupons!!
Other sources for some good ones:
-Free Stuff Times
And of course the manufacturers websites!