Posts Tagged ‘Crafts’

A while back I bought a couple of hard-cover books at the Goodwill to make into hollow book boxes. More details on the books I picked out can be found here. Though I think my efforts started off as a perfect “what not to do when making a hollow book” tutorial, I eventually figured it out, and the books turned out great.

What I started doing first was gluing pages together one at a time, starting at the back of the book. After about 25 pages or so, I decided that was going to take waaaaaaay too long, so I just started painting with Elmers glue along the outside of the pages of the closed book. But when you do it, you should make sure to put a piece of plastic between the cover and the rest of the pages so as not to glue your book shut. I actually caught this one before the glue dried, so it was ok, but using a bit of plastic would prove to be a well-thought-out “I’m being proactive” step. Also, if you’re thinking about lining your book with something or putting some kind of clasp on it to keep it closed, don’t glue the last page to the back cover just yet; slide a piece of plastic between the last page and the back cover. And if you want to line the bottom of the box with the title page or something, this is also a good thing to pull that page out before you glue all the pages on the outside. I did ok salvaging the title page, but again, it might have looked a bit nicer if I had thought it all the way through before gluing. I made two books: the first one using basic Elmers glue, and the second one using mod podge, and they both came out fine. You’ll eventually need the mod podge to finish the inside though, so you’ll need to have some on hand for later steps anyway.

So after you glue or mod podge the heck out of the outside (with the plastic in place first, of course), then comes the waiting part. Put something really heavy on top of it and leave it until it’s dry. Overnight would definitely do it, but if you’re impatient like me, a few hours might be ok.

Then comes the fun part: the cutting. You’ll need a small exacto knife and maybe a box cutter too. I used both, but you could get it all done with just the exacto. Use a ruler and mark about 3/4 inches from the outside of the book on all sides. Take your exacto knife and start cutting into the pages and removing them a few at a time. It will take a long time to do this, so be patient. Keep going until you get all the way through to the last page, but be careful not to cut through into the back cover.

Once you cut all the pages out, slide your title page under the cut pages but on top of the back cover and glue it down. Glue the cut pages onto your title page and let it dry. Then, you can mod podge the inside of the box with a thick layer. Leave it open to let it dry completely on the inside, and you’re done!

Here’s how mine turned out. Not too bad, I think!

The glued edges of my books, and one with a ribbon closure

The inside of my dictionary, with the title page in the bottom

A close-up of the inside

The inside of my other book (soon-to-be pencil case). The book title page says "Better Than Life," and I had husband add above it "Art Is"

Anyone else ever attempted making a hollow book have any other tips to share?


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Firstly, I know that posting twice in one day is overkill. But I have to tell you about my day!

I finally broke down and did it. I gave in. I surrendered. I BOUGHT SOMETHING to give as a gift. I know it’s not really that big of a deal, that I bought ONE thing, but for me, it was the idea of making handmade gifts for everyone and not giving in on the commercialism, and buying something means I’m cheating. But today, I made an exception. Just a tiny one. See, my nephews LOVE trucks. And trains. And planes. And cars. And generally any type of toy mode of transportation. Well today, I came across a toy recycling truck. I’ve never seen a toy recycling truck before, and I thought it was the coolest thing. I’m sure they don’t have a recycling truck. There’s also little slots so you can sort all of your toy recyclables: cans, paper, and plastic. And to top it off, it’s made out of 100% recycled #2 milk jugs, free of BPAs, packaged in recycled cardboard, and printed with soy ink. Totally earth-friendly through and through. And, the place I got it from was having a major moving sale, so it was super discounted. I couldn’t resist.

But now this means I’ve got two gifts for 3 kids (they’re also getting the Chaos game), so now I’ve got to figure something else out. My little niece will be getting one of those towel cats, I think…..

On to the Goodwill. I know you’re thinking it: “Who shops for Christmas gifts at the goodwill?!?” I wasn’t shopping for gifts. Just browsing. This is one of my all-time favorite places to browse. Among other things, I got a couple of old tattered hard-cover books, because I want to experiment with making a hollow book to use as a pencil case for my drawing pencils. And you won’t believe one of the books I picked up. It was titled “Better than Life.” What’s better than life? Making art, of course! 🙂 I have no idea what the book’s about….the paper jacket was missing, but I think it’s the perfect book title to hold all my artsy drawing stuff. I’m sort of intrigued to read it before cutting it up, but I’m also really chomping at the bit to get started with this project, and I don’t want to end up liking the book, because then I won’t want to cut it up. I also picked up an old dictionary too (for a prototype), just so I can get all the mistakes out the first time around. Expect an additional posting about this, and pictures too. Better than life, I’m still laughing about that one. Maybe I will read it….

EDIT: The book was really completely lame. It was all motivational-speaker-ish and preachy about why reading books is important. You’re preaching to the choir, Mr. author. Anyone who’s dedicated enough to pick up your book doesn’t need to be told that reading is important. I definitely don’t feel so bad cutting it up.

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Games are really expensive. But they can sometimes be easy to make. I just made one that came out really cool, and since I’m pretty sure my little nephews and niece don’t read this, I can share with you their Christmas gift. When my sisters and I were kids, digging around at grandmas house, we came across an old game called Chaos. I’ve searched for it lots of times, and I’m pretty sure it’s not available or not made anymore. It was a lot of fun, though, and since it was a pretty simple gameboard with simple pieces, I decided to try to make a version of it.

The idea of the game is to be the first one to get all of your pieces from one side of the board to the other. BUT, all the pieces look the same on one side, and you’re not allowed to flip any pieces over to make sure they’re yours until you’ve reached the other side of the board, your “home.” So, it’s sort of a memory game, as well as a strategy -type game.

We buy a lot of Juicy Juice here, and so we started saving the caps, because, since they’re all identical, they would make great game pieces.  Colored permanent markers worked well to mark the inside for each player’s set.

Then, I got to work making a checker-type board, but with all the squares the same color. I used old scraps of orange and yellow, with some 1/4 inch batting for the middle. For the yellow squares, I used double-sided iron-on inner facing (the kind with the paper that peels off the back) and then top stitched them all on.

Here’s what the game board looks like set up for four players, and with one piece turned over to show the colored mark inside:

With four players, the game can get pretty crazy!

And here is what it looks like when all the pieces make it home. I just used colored Sharpies, but stickers or paint might work too. Red, yellow, green, and blue, one set for each player.

I also made a pouch to keep the directions in, the pieces, and the game board. Here’s a close-up of the bag.

And the full directions I typed up and laminated for the bag, if you’re interested:

Chaos Directions

General Rules: Chaos is a unique game of mental skill that calls upon its players to recall previous moves and positions of playing pieces that all look identical. The skill of the game lies in remembering which piece belongs to whom as you attempt to move your entire set from one side of the board to the other.

Equipment: The equipment consists of one playing board and 24 playing pieces. The playing pieces, when placed face down, are identical, but when turned over (face up) reveal color.

Preparation: Each player takes 6 playing pieces of the same color and shows the other players. These pieces become the player’s set. The set is The set is placed face down on the first row of the board nearest that player. The player who has the green set moves first with play rotating to the left thereafter.

Object: The object of Chaos is to be the first player to move your entire set across the board to the opposite side.

Moves: During a turn, a player can move a piece in either one or two ways, but always forward, sideways, or diagonally. The player can move it along the board one circle per turn, or jump any piece directly next to it, as long as there is an empty circle to land on after the jump. Player 1 can continue to jump as long as there is a piece directly next to theirs and a circle to land on. Before any player can move any playing piece across the center of the board (which is indicated by a black line) their entire set must be moved out of their original positions, either forward or diagonally.


  • When a player reaches the opposite side of the playing board, the piece is turned over (face up) to reveal its color. If the color is correct, the piece remains there and may not be moved for the remainder of the game. If, however, the color belongs to another player, the playing piece is turned back over and the player to whom the piece belonged must move it from that position in the following turn. The game then continues with the next player’s turn.
  • If player 1 suspects that player 2 is moving a piece that is not hers, player 1 may challenge player 2 as soon as the piece is moved. The piece is then turned over revealing its color. If the challenged player has moved the wrong piece, the piece must be moved back to where it was before the turn, and the player forfeits that turn. If the move was correct and the challenger was wrong, the challenger forfeits his next turn.

Winner: The first player to get their entire set on the last row of the opposite side of the board wins the game.


Two-Player Game: Beginner’s Game:
To make a two-player game more interesting, each player should play 2 colors (12 playing pieces each). The playing board should be placed kitty-corner on the table, each player using two adjoining sides as his base rows. Each player makes 2 consecutive moves, moving one playing piece of each of the two colors.  All other rules for a four-player game apply. Play according to the above rules, but with each player using only 3 pieces. As skill increases, add more pieces until you are able to keep track of all 6.



And there you have it. A new game for free! Hopefully my nephews and niece will enjoy it.

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Ok, I think I’ve got my little towel cat finished. I re-did the bad stitching that connected the head and body, added button eyes, and stitched the nose, mouth, and whiskers. I also readjusted one of Sootie’s old collars I had made so it fits. Now it looks more like a stuffed animal than a chunk of towel shaped kind of like a cat.


My finished Sootie tribute


Looks much better, I might say.

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