Sunday, 13 October 2013

DIY Lift the flap kids book

I was going through some of the books that i bought my daughter and noticed that one was made of thick cardboard and the spine of the book wasn't glued or sewn in any particular way it was held together because each page had another bit of cardboard that had the story on it glued from one side to the other (i know sounds confusing but you'll see in my DIY what i mean) so all i could think was that it would be crazy easy to create something like that. So off my brain went and my ideas just unfolded.

  • A book that i could make but just download some kind of story or even create my own story
  • A book that chronicled my kidlets first year of life.
  • A book that chronicled either of my pregnancies and resulting in a baby on the final page
  • A book about colours and numbers or shapes.
  • A photo album of some sort

I then realised that i really should look at more of a book like something i would give my daughter as opposed to something i would myself.
Then i realised that i could not use thick cardboard but i could use craft foam! Once i bought the craft foam i discovered that i wanted to use the full range of colours for my first book, i wanted one fun rainbow book and once i had all the colours together i realised there's too many pages to create, so of course i could glue the pages together and create a LIFT THE FLAP BOOK!!! My daughter goes crazy for lift the flap books she always chooses them and i can never find enough at book stores. Once the book  was finished she just LOVES it, i can hear her at night calling out the names of the people hiding within using the light from her night light and she refuses to sleep with anything else.

What you need

Craft foam - (colour of your choice) (10 sheets will create a book with 4 double sided pages and a front and back cover)
A hot glue gun - (regular glue gets soaked into the foam so hot glue really is the best)
photos (if you wish the flaps to hold photos)
Cardboard (paper is too flimsy)
Xacto cutting knife
Needle or pin (just something tiny to poke a hole, you could probably use an earing really)
Laminator (optional)
Laminator sheets (optional)

Step 1
Prepare all the craft foam to be the size of the book you would like, my sheets came in 6"X9" sheets so i cut them in half so my book was 4.5"X6" pages 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be cut into to create the flaps so put the rest aside. Keep in mind pages 2&3, 4&5, 6&7 and 8&9 are the ones that will be opposite one another and open together so you made need to co-ordinate the colours that way. Technically you could of used 9 sheets as sheets 1 and 2 can just be 1 sheet but i wanted every page to have a new colour.

Step 2
Now open the computer and create a text box and fill it with whatever your heart desires, i did just a simple list of things that describe that family member. Make sure the box is slightly shorter than your page (half a centimeter should do) because you want the colour of that foam page to border the cardboard. Also make sure the box is about an inch wider than your page, this box is going to get cut out and stuck from one foam sheet to the next and is essentially what holds it all together. Add some arrows if it pleases you, i did and think the effect looks good, but the arrows do not need to extend too far otherwise they'll take up too much room on the page with the flaps.  If you want two flaps like i had print off some names to go under the second flap.
I used microsoft publisher but any word processing or publishing program should work. Because my pages were an odd size and not that standard A4 or A5 i needed to customise the boxes that were being printed out to fit my pages so i needed a program where i could put the measurements of the text box needed in centimeters or inches. 

Step 3
Once they're printed and cut out place them over the foam to see where it will sit and make sure the margin on the left side of the box is the same width as the margin above and below, so the coloured border is even, the extra inch or so of cardboard can be folded back now, make sure it's folded straight. Repeat this for all of the sheets you've printed.

Step 4
Now you are going to use pages 3, 4, 7 and 9 (the lift the flap pages). First just place your inch of text box sheet that was to overlap onto the second page onto the actual page with the photo, just so you can gauge where the flap will go and if there is enough margin between the edge of the book for the flap. Once it's in the spot that you want it use a needle to put a hole into the photo where the top corner of the flap will be and push through the foam underneath as well. Repeat for all 4 corners, you may need to use a ruler to get this right. If the bottom holes are slightly out it shouldn't matter too much but you want those top holes nice and evenly measured from the top of the book. If you want two flaps like i had repeat this process to create a second box underneath and in line with the second arrow (if you added arrows). As you can see in this photo i have a needle sticking straight through the layers (it's above and to the right of my husbands head)

Step 5
Using the needle holes as guides slice 3 sides of the boxes with an  Xacto knife. In the picture i included a little semi-circle tab, don't do this, that was a terrible idea :-)

Step 6a
Now this is where you have your laminator as optional, you can just straight trim and glue the name and photo to the back of the window and leave it as that, which is much quicker but less durable and less strong. If you do this option instead of going onto 6b you can skip to step 8 now

Step 6b optional
With this step you ensure the photos and names can't get destroyed and the book should be much more durable, putting a layer of laminate between two foam pages also strengthens that page and will prevent it from getting bent.

Line up the photo and the name at the same time under the windows carefully without shifting the name or photo from one another, then just stick them together with a simple piece of sticky tape but obviously not where it would be visible through the window, trim the excess off the side and a little further in from the edge of the foam page, even if it's only a few millimeters. Then once you have done that for all pages put them all through your laminator.

Step 7
Cut the four pages apart and trim so none of the plastic would be wider than the foam page. Now use the hot glue gun to glue the photo and name to the back of the foam page and don't forget to line up the photo and name with the windows, if you're worried about gluing the window shut hold the window down like i have in the photo which will ensure you don't get any glue under there and just glue all around it. Work quick as the glue dries hard and thick and you really want the pages to be as thin and bumpy free as possible, you don't have to use tonnes of glue just a few good squiggles all around will do fine. Avoid the edges of the page with glue.

Step 8
Once the pictures are glued in place we want to put the foam back on. So page 4 goes on the back of page 3, page 6 on the back of 5 and 8 on the back of 7 and 10 (the back cover) on the back of 9. You can also glues pages 1 (front cover) and 2 together which will have nothing in between them.

Step 9
If you avoided the edges like i did, you'll see a bit of a gap between the pieces of foam, just carefully place a tiny amount of glue between this gap and squeeze together, if your glue squishes out too much just scrape it off with a bit of scrap cardboard or something, do it while it's hot so it comes off easy and doesn't create too much of a mess.

Step 10
Now we want to join our text boxes with pages 3,5,7 and 9. The really crucial idea here is to get the fold as close to the left edge of the foam as possible, even a tiny smidgen over will be fine, you just don't want the foam out further than the fold because then the book won't open properly. So i ran a line of glue on the back just beside the fold and then stuck it as close to the edge as i could then once i knew that text box was in the right spot i went about gluing the rest down. I found it easier to glue down the rectangle section and then once that was stuck just lightly pull back the arrows and add a little dab of glue under each point of the arrow Repeat for all the 4 pages.

Step 11
Now we're joining all the pages together, so the rest of the text box is going to overlay onto the plain foam pages, So you just need to line up and glue down. Unfortunately i dont' have an exact image of this step, but i would probably just show an image of the book wide open at 2 pages, which can be seen in the picture of the 4 lots of open pages at the top of the page. This is the view of the spine.

Step 12
The book is really coming together now! This step could probably be done earlier but i didn't think of it until now when i thought the foam windows looked a bit plain. So i just measured all my window flaps and created text boxes on the computer to fit them and just put a simple '?' inside each box, i added just a millimeter or two to the measurements so they would cover the flap completely!

Step 13
Add glue to the foam window and put the question mark text box straight on top, however make sure you do not put the top edge of the cardboard above the top of the fold, i actually put my about 1 millimeter below where my needle dots were, you don't want the cardboard interfering with the fold/hinge of the window. Repeat for all pages

Step 14
Measure the width of your book and the width of the spine, because you now want your cover! The width of my book was slightly over these measurements however i shrank mine to these size so i could see a bit of the foam around my cover i used 10.5cm (front) 3cm (spine) and 10.5cm (back) and the height was 14cm so i made a text box on my computer that was 24cm by 14cm. I then inserted two additional text boxes both 10.5cm by 14cm and put them in the far left and far right of my 24cm by 14cm box. These two additional boxes can be used for the front cover and the back cover, keep in mind the box on the left will be the back cover and the box on the right will be the front cover.

Step 15
Create a crease where the cover will fold over the spine and glue the front cover in place

Step 16
Fold the cover around and create a crease where the cardboard bends from the spine around to the back cover.

Step 17a
IMPORTANT - If you don't follow this step your book won't open effectively - Now we want another crease again next to that crease but about the width of the spine away, the easiest way to measure this is to fold the back of the cover back over so it lays flat against the front cover, now fold where we have already made a crease.

Step 17b
Now fold the left over back down against the spine creating another crease. This has now marked where our new crease needed to be but it needs to bend the other way so just bend it back so it's folding in the direction we want.

Step 18
If you now wrap your cover all the way around your book you'll see that there is a crease about the width of the spine out from the spine onto the back cover, we don't want any glue between that crease and the spine, so run a line of glue on the other side of the crease and press onto the back piece of foam, then you can glue the rest of the back cover down. When you open the book at the last page you'll see it has created a kind of square shape. (shown in the 3rd pic)

Step 19
Please share any recreations with me, i would love to see what you have come up with <3