Homemade Board Books

I think it is time to get back to our regularly scheduled crafting. Have you ever made your own books? I used to love to write and illustrate books when I was a kid. My mom would go get them laminated and I felt like they were being published. :)

These days, I have a crush on making personalized board books. You can buy blank board books from a number of online stores, but I prefer Blank Slate. Not only do you get four great blank books, they also send you appropriate sized labels and a cd with templates to use. Just use the template to add text and pictures to the labels, print, and stick to the page. Super easy, and it looks great.

If you don't want the labels and just want the books, you can try Romp in Brooklyn. Their books come in two sizes, but I've found they are frequently out of stock (it's a popular item) (and Romp is kind of an awesome store, by the way, very worthy of checking out).

So far I've made a birth story book for Oscar and two black and white infant books - one for us, and one for a friend. The black and white book is the only book I can get Oscar to focus on. He stares at every page.





For the Black and White book, I drew images in Microsoft Paint and used some basic shapes from Microsoft Word. If you try this out for yourself, here's a tip: to improve the look of images you draw in MS Paint, use Vector Magic. It is a free program online that converts bitmap images into vector images - in my non-techie understanding, it basically cleans up and smooths out all the nasty jagged edges that tend to show up in MS paint drawings.

Click here for a template with my black and white book images, if you want to make your own: Black and White Book Images. They are sized for labels that fit four to a page. (Thanks, LiEr, for showing me how to do this!)

34 comments:

Mary said...

Those are so cute and awesome! Maybe I'm totally spacing it here, but how did you put the pictures on the board books? Do you do it all online and then order the books? Or do you get them blank and then somehow attach the designs to the books?

Beth said...

Very cute books. Do you have PDF Maker? If so you should just be able to save a pdf out of Paint. I'm on a Mac which makes is super easy. If you would like to email me the file I will save it as a pdf for you and email it back.

LiEr said...

Hi Jill, I haven't tried this myself yet but I just only read in a forum discussion that you can do it on
www.scribd.com

Usually I just scan my docs, save them as .img files and upload them as a picture. They appear tiny on your blog but readers can click on them and they become large. When printed out, they are 8.5 x 11, the original scanned size. For an example, see my "shorts" tutorial on my blog. Hope this helps.

Ashlee said...

Hey Jill! What a cute idea. Thanks for sharing. I was wondering, do you have to have a special printer to print them on the labels? And are the labels waterproof..or wipeable if they got spilled on? I am excited to try this! And I loved romp.com!

Jill said...

Mary - the images are printed on labels and stuck to the pages.

ashlee - no special printer required, although if you are printing photos, I'm sure a printer with photo capabilities would work best. I am assuming these labels are not waterproof. You could always cover the pages with clear contact paper if you want to protect them.

Warren and Sharleen said...

For anyone who lives in Utah, you can buy blank board books at the BYU bookstore. A few shapes and sizes available. They even have blank hardcover books with normal pages on the inside. All of them are inexpensive and you won't have to pay shipping. Oh, and they have blank puzzles. So many fun possibilities . . .

Laurel MacD said...

Thanks for sharing - my daughter would love to make these!

stephanie said...

Cute, cute Jill! What a great idea to make a black/white book ... I've only seen photo books, so this is a cool variation. I'm excited you're back to crafting!

shawna said...

Thank you for sharing- such a neat idea! It would be a great way to introduce a baby to family members using their photos, and I love the black and white book you did.
~Shawna

20-Something Superhero said...

What a great idea - making your own books. I can't get over how awesome these are. Great job Jill!

Ashley said...

These are great! Again - I state what I think I've said over and over again - he is so lucky to have such a great mom!

Karyn said...

Darling books! You can also buy board books at your local thrift store and re-cover them. Sometimes you have to lightly sand the surface so your adhesive/paper/paint will stick well.

Heidi said...

Great idea! And thanks for posting the link to Vector Magic. I have run into that pixel-y jagged edge problem many times but have never figured out how to fix it!

Oh2122 said...

So cool! Thanks for sharing!

Arya said...

Very cute!! I love making books - I will have to look into those cute board books.

Sants said...

I made books for my kiddos, too. But I didn't know about these! I made them on recipe cards, laminated them, and had them wire bound. They were fabulous and still my kid's favorites for church - like Who Loves Me? Daddy loves me - picture of Daddy and kiddo, etc.

This brought back fond memories of when my babies were little. Great job!

Tiffany said...

So cute! Your baby is darling. Did you know that you look identical to the girl in Twilight? Just a little fact.

Tiffany said...

Hey Jill, I want to make a quiet book for my son for Christmas. Have you seen any cute patterns? I've googled them, but haven't seen anything too great, but I know you have ins that I do not! :)

afonit said...

I know paint is easy to draw with and use, though if you ever want to get to more sophisticated drawing you can use www.inkscape.org

The program is free to download and use (it is opensource)

Here is a book I did with it:
http://afonit.blogspot.com/2008/11/giraffe-and-hippopotamus-go-to.html

Thanks for the links to Romp and Blank Slade and thanks for your post.

perilloparodies said...

Yay for board books!!! you did such a great job!!! love this, thank you for passing along the info. I linked you...

Valerie said...

I love your books. I was a K/1 teacher before staying home with my now 20 month old, and some of our favorite books are homemade ones. I love Oscar's birth book - I can't wait to work on one for my little one. I just finished making a few for her for Christmas- one with her current friends, her favorite toys, our around the house color book, and all the things she loves to do with one of her best little friends. They are so fun to make and something they'll treasure for years to come!

Catalina said...

hi jill, i have been admiring your blog quietly from afar but i can no longer stay silent. i have been longing to make board books for my daughter, who loves to look at books but is still at the age where she wants to tear the paper. this is sooo fabulous! thank you:)

Sarah from Create said...

I had no idea you could do this! Thanks for the idea Jill!

Jenny said...

Love this idea!

gena broadus said...

Hello Jill, I just stumbled across your blog by accident while searching for easy to do Christmas craft ideas, and OMGosh! I love all your craft ideas and recipes. I have bookmarked your page on my comp and will definitely be checking in on a regular basis. The holiday's put me in such a crafty mood and you have so inspired me to get with it. I also just gave birth in August to my first and am too excited to make some of the baby crafts you have posted. Thank you so much for the inspiration! And keep up the beautiful work! Gena

mau said...

So how are you doing and your family. How is Oscar? Is he running yet LOL. Just wanted to stop by and say Hi and Happy Holidays to you and yours. Really miss your blog. God Bless you.

annie said...

I ordered some of these and made one last night. One thing I did was run the sticker pages through a laminator before I put them on the board book. I carefully cut out the labels and just peeled off the back and now my pages are more protected. It was a bit more work, but it'll have keep them from smearing. Just a thought for you. :o)

Jill said...

great idea, Annie! thanks :)

Average Girl In Average World said...

Hi Jill!!! I have not visited in a while and i have to say I missed alot!

The baby is adorable! CONGRATS!!!!!

Also, he was born on my hubby's b-day!

CONGRATS again

Amber said...

I finally got around to making a homemade board book! We have some friends who recently had a premie baby so I thought a black and white book would be great. I used some of your ideas for pictures and others I had to find elsewhere (my toddler INSISTED there had to be a picture of an umbrella and a flower). Thanks for the great idea and link to Blank Slate. Here are the pictures I ended up with if you're interested: http://followthisumbrella.wordpress.com/2009/10/14/homemade-board-books/

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much! I love the idea of making my own board books. I teach in a toddler classroom and the thought of making board books with their pictures in is totally awesome!!!

Saba

Amber said...

Hee hee - I'm on a roll now. I finished my second board book, and I actually wrote words for this one! Check it out if you like - and thanks again for the idea!

http://followthisumbrella.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/i-wrote-a-childrens-book/

Anonymous said...

Some may feel squeamish about eating it, but rabbit has a fan base that grows as cooks discover how easy they are to raise — and how good the meat tastes.

Mandy and Chris said...

Hi Jill! Thanks so much for posting this - I just made one using your document and linked to you from my blog: www.cmfigueroafamily.blogspot.com Thanks for all your great ideas and tutorials!