Often when I order something from Amazon, it arrives in a much-too-big box which is filled with brown paper or those little air pillow thingies. It feels crazy to me to take a perfectly good piece of brown paper and just throw it out. (Well, recycle it actually, but still.) Sometimes I save the paper for the kiddos to simply use for colouring, or I use it to draft sewing patterns. This time though, I used it to create DIY sticker books for the boys!
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My boys have an on-again off-again relationship with stickers. It’s either a sticker mania phase or a total loss of interest in all things sticky. Are kids incapable of a happy middle ground?! With anything in life? Who knows.
At any rate, in an effort to reuse items before they hit the trash AND in an effort to not spend more money, I created these upcycled DIY sticker books. Now when the sticker mania strikes, about once a month when their sticker subscription arrives, the boys have books with their names on them to use as they please!
This was a good mail day! Our Pipsticks orange envelope of joy arrived! My oldest is in charge of checking the mail every day and needless to say, he was quite pleased when he pulled out the big orange envelope. 😀
Pipsticks is a monthly subscription with a variety of options. You can get a kid themed subscription or one more for adults who still love stickering! *cough* me *cough*. Each month you get a selection of stickers plus colouring postcards, activity booklets and other fun paper goodies.
So let’s get crafting!
DIY Sticker Books
At first my plan was to find some cute scrapbook paper to use as cover pages for the books. But it turns out that the pretty paper is $1/sheet and I would need 2 sheets per book. For $4 I could have just gone to the dollar store and bought sticker books. Which defeated the point of this project being upcycled. lol
So I decided to create a personalized design for each book and print them off on some cardstock that I already had. Yay for free ideas!
Designing the Cover
Creating the personalized covers was actually super simple. I started with free graphic patterns that I got on Creative Market. (They aren’t currently available as freebies anymore, but check back each week for new free graphics that could work too!)
I opened up Picmonkey and selected to design a custom sized canvas. To make it fit an 11″ x 8.5″ sheet of cardstock, it needs to be 3300 x 2550 pixels.
I turned on the alignment grid (by clicking that little box icon second from the left in the menu below your design) and set it to 2 rows x 2 columns so I could easily find the middle of the page.
Then I uploaded a graphic from my computer, by clicking the butterfly icon in the left side menu, and resized it till it filled half the width of the page and about 3/5 of the height. Height doesn’t matter as long as the graphic fills at least half of it.
To duplicate the graphic, right click on it and select ‘duplicate graphic’. This will give you an exact copy of the resized graphic that you can drag into place.
Duplicate the graphic 3 times and drag them each to line up with the center.
At this point I turned off the alignment grid and zoomed in a bit so I could precisely line up the designs. Use the arrow keys rather than dragging the mouse in order to move your graphic a tiny bit at a time. Now it’s seamless!
Turn the grid back on but change the column and row numbers to 4.
Add a rectangle graphic and make it white. Increase the size so it takes up about half of the upper right quadrant. Line it up using the grid as a guide.
(I only left the rectangle purple in this picture just so you could see what I’m talking about. The white on white was too hard to see.)
All that’s left is to add the text. I chose the Nexa Rust font, which is a Picmonkey font. (You can also get loads of free fonts every week on Creative Market!) Line it up inside the white rectangle and you’re done! I printed my designs off on coloured cardstock because that’s what I had.
A quick note about Picmonkey: It’s a fantastic photo editing and design program. I literally use it every single day for both personal and business projects. All graphics that you see on my site have been designed using Picmonkey, I recommend it 1000%. 🙂
Next we assemble the books!
Gather up the cover pages, the brown paper and some baker’s twine or ribbon or thick thread.
You’ll also need your iron, a pencil, ruler, straight pin, glue stick and large sewing needle.
Did you know you can iron paper? Well you can! I set my iron to a medium-high heat and put the steam to it’s lowest setting, but not off. Then I ironed all the brown paper as flat as it would go.
Cut out a backing for the front cover, about 10.5″ x 8″ and glue it in place.
Cut out the rest of the brown paper sheets about 10.25″ x 7.75″. You may end up trimming these even more at the end. But this isn’t a precise project, it’s art not science after all! 😛
Group together about 12 sheets, line them all up and fold them in half to make a centre crease.
Fold your front cover in half and place a mark at 4.25″ down, inside the crease. Place a mark at 3/4″ intervals along the entire crease. Your top and bottom marks will be about 1/2″ from the edge of the paper. Poke through all the marks using a straight pin.
You’ll probably want to enlarge the pin holes using an awl or the tip of a mechanical pencil.
Repeat this process with the brown paper sheets. Mark your centre at 3 3/8″ down the crease, then add marks spaced 3/4″ starting at centre. I was able to go through all the layers at once using the straight pin followed by the awl.
Now all that’s left is to stitch it all together!
I started at the first mark at the top, went down to the bottom then came back up. To create a solid line of stitches front and back. Then I just tied a bow with the loose ends. Done!
Once you fold the book shut you may notice that some of the brown paper needs to be trimmed back so it’s not sticking out past the cover page.
Then I let the kids do their thing. 🙂
They loved opening up their Pipsticks subscription to discover what was inside, Ezra went straight for the puffy tiger stickers!
The great thing about these DIY sticker books is that the paper can be drawn on. Traditional sticker books are super glossy, so you can’t use markers with them. With these, the kiddos can create scenes with their stickers, or have mommy draw them their own bank statement to decorate. True story.
William absolutely loves doing mazes!
There you have it! I had fun creating these DIY sticker books, and the boys had fun filling them up with their Pipsticks goodies. It was a good day!
Tell me, are your kiddos nuts for stickers too?