Melody Miller has been designing the Ruby Star fabric lines for Kokka since 2010. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her amazing photographer hubby, two charmingly quirky children, and a very silly Bichon Frise. She loves vintage design, flea markets, her Converse sneaks and margaritas. Most times, in moderation.
This tutorial is a variation on the Recycled Reader project from Ruby Star Wrapping: Creating Packaging to Reuse, Regive & Relove. It’s the perfect way to dress up the gift of photos, event tickets, or a gift card (think Etsy!), and can be used afterward to save and protect ephemera.
We haunt thrift stores; they’re full of wonderful books with gorgeous covers. (Vintage children’s books are perfect when the pages have been chewed and scribbled.) This project creates an adorable folder of sorts that holds great little (and thin) gifts and is reusable as a wonderful mini-scrapbook.
You can choose whatever size book you want for the gift you are giving. Depending on that size, the number and dimensions of the pockets are up to you. Stick stickers, glue down trims, and add all the Japanese tape that makes you happy. The final product will hold photos, vintage ephemera, a collection of concert ticket stubs, an array of stickers, or pretty craft papers.
You will need:
A great old book that no one is reading
Scrap papers (heavier stock works best)
Craft glue or spray adhesive
Wide tape (at least 1″, preferably wider)
Decorative tape (optional)
Stamps, stickers, decorative paper, ephemera (optional)
Fabric trims (optional)
To make the outside cover:
1. Use a straight edge and a craft knife to neatly cut the front and back covers off of the book.
2. Place each cover face up and side by side, leaving a 1/4″ gap between them. The back cover should be on left, and the front cover on right, so the book closes correctly in the end.
3. Use a wide piece of decorative tape (no less than 1″) to cover the gap, leaving an extra 3″ hanging off the top and bottom.
Tip: It helps to run tape down one of covers first, and then carefully smooth it over to the other cover. It can be hard to do both at same time without one cover slipping. Be sure to carefully align the top and bottom edges of the covers while affixing the tape.
4. Flip over the taped-together covers, and wrap the overhanging tape pieces around the edges and onto the inside of these covers. Add another piece of tape in between the inside covers to reinforce the tape and cover any exposed sticky parts.
5. Open and close the covers several times to be sure they line up nicely. We will refer to this piece as your outside cover.
To make the endpaper:
1. With the two covers lying open, measure the width and height of both covers together.
2. Subtract 1/4″ from each of those measurements, and make note of this final figure. For example, if the overall measurement was 11″ x 8″, then jot down 10 3/4 ” x 7 3/4″.
3. Cut a piece of paper (heavier paper or card stock works best) to this measurement.
4. Lay this paper face down horizontally. Using a ruler, find the center of the paper, and lightly draw a vertical line down the center where the paper will fold once it is affixed to the book covers. Using a craft knife and a straight edge, lightly score this line. This light cut will help the page to fold in half neatly.
5. Cover this scored line with a piece of masking tape or clear tape to keep the paper from tearing with extended use.
6. Go ahead and fold the paper to form a sharp crease. We will refer to this piece as your endpaper.
To make the pocket(s):
1. Decide how many pockets you want and how big they will be. For each measurement, add 1 1/2″ to the width and 3/4″ to the height.
2. Using the measurement you just came up with, cut a piece of cardstock or heavy paper to this size. If you think the top edge of your pocket needs extra reinforcing (will the paper tear with extended use?), run a piece of decorative (or clear) tape across the top edge horizontally and fold it over to the back.
3. Fold the two sides and bottom edges under by 3/4″.
Tip: If the paper is heavy, you can lightly score the fold lines on the front of the paper. This will help it to fold neatly. Also, it may be helpful to clip the bottom two corners off (where the fold lines overlap) before folding.
4. Apply either double-sided tape or a thin line of glue to the 3/4″ flaps. (Be sure you apply this glue to the outside of the folded flaps. You want to glue the flaps to the endpaper, not to the back of the pocket!) Then secure the pocket to the endpaper you just made, placing it where you like.
5. Make and add other pockets as necessary.
1. The endpaper you made now needs to be affixed to the outside cover. We coated the back of the endpaper with spray adhesive, but you could also use craft glue.
Tip: If you are using spray adhesive, do one very light mist on the outside cover itself (where the endpaper will be affixed), and another light mist on the endpaper. Spray adhesive sticks to itself extremely well. If you are using liquid glue, use a small piece of scrap cardboard or an index card to evenly spread glue all over the endpaper, coating it from edge to edge.
2. Open the outside cover on your work surface, with the unfinished inside facing up (make sure it is not upside down).
Optional: If you like, secure a piece of ribbon to the left and right edge of the unfinished inside of the outside cover before you glue on the endpapers. When the covers close, you can tie the ribbon to hold the book shut (see figure G1).
3. The endpaper is just a bit smaller than the outside cover and should stick down about 1/8″ from all the outer edges. Begin by carefully floating the top edge of the endpapers just below the top edge of the outside cover. Make sure everything looks evenly aligned.
4. Very carefully lower the endpaper, being sure that it stays straight. Does it look good? Smooth it down securely.
To finish, add the gifts and go!
Interested in Melody’s approach to reuse and sustainability? Be sure to check out our interview with her and co-collaborator Allison Tannery.