Sunday, November 16, 2008

Idea #3 Felt Covered Book

Back again with Handmade Holiday gift idea #3 for you. Here's one that's quick and easy and cute too....I think. I used to have tonnes of these free 4X6 picture albums. The kind the developing shops used to give away free with each roll of film developing. (Remember film developing???) They are usually quite junky looking so I didn't mind covering them up. What I found was that you can make a quick cover for one with felt quite easily. Felt is fun to work with because you can leave the edges unfinished as it will not fray and it is really very inexpensive. If you can find wool felt, that is even better. It will cost a little more, but your project will be more sturdy. You could also do this project with ultra suede if you are lucky enough to be able to get some and this would be the most sturdy option but also a little more expensive. I just happen to have a pile of acrylic felt that needs to be used up, so that's what I'm using today. I also happened to find a stash of these photo albums for 19 cent each at my local liquidation world, so I stocked up on them. Once you are finished with this project, you can use it as a photo album if you like, but I've found that I like to fill them with 4X6 recipe cards and give them away as little recipe books. It works out pretty well as each recipe is inside the little plastic sleeve and is protected from spills and splashes etc. You could also use them like a mini scrap album too.

So to start'll need a cheapy little photo album like this one, two sheets of felt for the cover, some felt scraps, some embroidery floss for embellishment and a needle.......You could try your local dollar store, Walmart or Michaels for all of these supplies.

Then, open it up and take it's measurement. Mine measured 9 1/2 inches by 6 3/8 inches when open. The fabric needed to cover this book will have to be slightly larger to allow for seam allowances. So...... add 1 inch to the shorter side, and 1 1/4 inches to the longer side. I added a little extra ease (1/4 inch extra) to the longer side since this side will need to bend around the spine of the book and you don't want it to be tight. This means in my case I needed to cut my felt out to be 10 3/4 inches by 7 3/8 inches. You will also need to cut two pieces of matching felt for the inside flaps. Cut these to be the same width as your cover piece, and tall enough to cover a good way up the page. In my case this was 2 pieces cut out 3 1/2 inches by 7 3/8 inches. You can decorate the front of your book in any way you see fit. Keep in mind where the cover will be folded, and arrange your design accordingly. I have chosen to embellish the book front with blanket stitched shapes and some embroidery like this.......I did all my embroidery with 3 strands of embroidery floss.

Once you are satisfied with your cover design, then you can machine sew the inside flap pieces to the ends of your cover piece using a 3/8 inch seam allowance along the three outside edges of each flap, wrong sides together like this.......

To finish, if you'd like, clip along the edges with pinking shears and you are done! If you are opposed to machine sewing, you could sew the flaps on using a blanket stitch with a coordinating embroidery thread. This would have a more country look which is cute too, and would look very similar to the wool felt needle books I made here. Now you have a felt covered book ready to fill with photos, recipes or what ever you might like to gift. My project cost for materials was under $1 and it took a little bit of time depending on how much you wanted to embellish the cover. I spent about an hour watching TV and embellishing this cover. This makes a nice little gift filled will family recipes for those kids leaving the house or newlyweds starting out or anyone who just likes to cook. Of course you could use it as a photo album or fill it with craft pattern instructions written on 4X6 cards, or instead of starting with a photo album, you could start out with a blank see.......lots of possibilities:)

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