Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Folding - An Easy and Inexpensive Craft that Upcycles Books

I've just been to two classes that have taught me how to book fold and now I'm hooked! It's so easy to do (once you know how!), very relaxing and very rewarding when you have the finished product. A further advantage is that it upcycles books that would otherwise be thrown away.

Book folding allows you to transform old, unwanted books into pieces of art. You can make them into animals, such as owls, words, such as "love", "friend" or "teacher", and many other things, such as baby footprints. The folded books are ideal for giving as gifts, either for Christmas, birthdays or to mark as special occasion such as the birth of a baby or an anniversary.

You need very few materials to start book folding. The inexpensive or free materials are:

  • A hardback book that you no longer want. If you don't have any at home, look in charity/thrift stores for inexpensive books.
  • A pencil.
  • A ruler marked with centimeters (cm).
  • An eraser (not essential but might be handy if you make mistakes).
You'll also need a book folding pattern. Many are available on the Internet and cost a few dollars (although some cost more). The only free pattern I've come across so far is for a heart-shaped folded book. The website also includes a handy tutorial which is helpful if you're book folding for the first time.

To start book folding, all you do is measure down from the top of each page to the points indicated on the pattern and mark those points on the page. So, if, for example, the pattern stated 8.2 & 10.9 for the first page, you would measure 8.2cm from the top of the page and make a mark in pencil at that point. You'd then measure 10.9 cm from the top of the page (not from your previous mark) and mark it on the page.

Then fold the page over from the top down to the first mark (at 8.2cm) so that the page reaches a point at your mark. Next fold the bottom of the page up to the second point (at 10.9 cm), again ensuring that the folded page reaches a point at this mark.

You may need to make additional folds to ensure that the page doesn't overlap the spine, but don't worry, these won't be seen when you've finished folding the book.

Once you've finished, you can either display the book just as it is or add some finishing touches, such as a ribbon to hold the book open at the point where the picture is most vivid. You can leave the cover and spine just as it is or you can cover it with three pieces of thick card cut to size and affixed with strong glue.

Here is the folded book I made at the class with the word "Love".

I chose a lovely vintage bird pattern for the spine and cover.

I'm now planning to make more of these books and give them as gifts!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Selling at a Craft Fair for the First Time

My daughter and I sold some of our handmade items at a craft fair for the first time last Saturday. We had a fun time. We got there about 45 minutes before the start of the fair to set up our table.

We covered two boxes with fabric and put photo frames on top of them. We leaned handmade cards against the photo frames so that they could be seen clearly.

My daughter's good idea was to take along some hardback books with the dust jackets removed. We lined these up at the back of the table, between the two boxes, and leaned cards against them so that the cards were prominently displayed.

We then arranged the rest of our items on the table, putting larger hand-knitted items in the middle and smaller items on each side.

All-in-all, I think we created an attractive display. Once the fair began, it was nice to chat to the visitors and sell some items. It was interesting to find out which items people liked best.

I also spent about half an hour going around the fair myself while my daughter held the fort. It was great to chat with the other craftspeople and see what they'd made. I'm always inspired by other people's creativity.

At the end of the day, we made a small profit. I was happy with that. It was a good start for our first craft fair. It was quite a small fair and, although there was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day, it wasn't attended by lots and lots of people. But, that was fine for our first fair.

We're now inspired to do more fairs. I was chatting to a couple who are thinking of starting to organize local craft fairs on a regular basis, so I'm sure it won't be the only fair we'll sell at.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Preparing to Sell at a Craft Fair for the First Time

My daughter and I spent all last weekend preparing to sell some of our handmade items at a local craft fair. It's the first time we've done this so we're both excited and apprehensive.

To prepare, we:

  • collected together all the items we plan to sell,
  • added a tag or label to each item with a short description of the item, its materials and any other relevant information, such as washing instructions for hand-knitted clothing,
  • decided on a price for each item and added this to the tag or label,
  • were inspired to make a few extra items to add to those we already have!
Apart from that, I'm not sure what else we can do to prepare. On the day of the craft fair, we'll get there nice and early, so that we have plenty of time to set up our table and display everything attractively.

Is there anything else you'd do to prepare for a craft fair? Do you have any tips for selling at a craft fair?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Learning to Crochet

I've been meaning to learn to crochet for many years. I've tried to teach myself a few times but I've always given up when I got to a tricky bit that I didn't understand.

So, finally, last week, I went to a crochet class and learned how to make a granny square. After the class, I was hooked (lol) and carried on with the granny square which is now quite big!

I'm just about to go to my second crochet class and I'm really excited! I don't know why I didn't get my act together and go to a crochet class ages ago. Oh well, in the words of the Chinese proverb: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

It's funny, after enjoying knitting for many years, I knew I would enjoy crochet and I do! So, if you're thinking of learning a new craft or skill, go ahead and do it! You'll be glad you did!
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