Thursday, February 2, 2012

Back to School: Fabric covered exercise book tutorial

The girls went back to school today and I have to say I'm feeling a little lost without them at home. There'll be plenty to do and talk about when they get home. There's also the school exercise books to cover and label with all their different subjects. If you are anything like me, you will hate the sticky backed plastic stuff that you buy from the shops to cover books with. It never, ever, goes on without wrinkles for me and there's a whole lot of swearing that goes on. Plus, I don't really like the high waste aspect of it. There's so much unrecyclable backing paper to pull off and the plastic coating, whilst keeping the books dry (and yes, this is a very good move for at least one of my daughters!), it just doesn't appeal to me. I should say now that I do give in to the kids and buy them one pack of the sticky backed plastic but the deal is that I then get to have my own way and create covers for the books that are far easier for me to do.

Fabric covered exercise book
If you have a sewing machine at home (you can get away without one but the cover won't stay on as well), this is an easier and much more environmentally friendly way to cover your kids' school books (and it makes sure that their books will definately stand out in the class room when they go to look for them.) Here's how to cover your books with fabric.

What you need:
Lightweight fabric (old sheets and printed cotton are great)
Glue stick
Pinking shears
normal scissors
pencil or pen
ruler (not essential but handy)
Sewing machine

  • Iron your fabric out flat and place your opened exercise book on top.

  • Lightly mark all around the book, leaving about 2.5cm all around.

  • Cut out with pinking shears.

  • Place your closed book in the centre of the fabric and cover the front cover of the book with glue and then place it face down onto the fabric. Turn the book over, being careful not to move the fabric on the front cover. Cover the back cover with glue and fold the fabric over.

  • Open the book at the front cover and using normal fabric scissors, cut a square at the top and bottom corners. Also make a small snip as far as the book at the top and bottom centre (where the binding of the book is). Glue the longer side strip and fold it towards the book. Do the same with the top and bottom. Clean off any glue that might have escaped before you turn the book over. Turn the book over and do the same for the back cover.

  • I'd recommend you leave your book to dry for a while otherwise the glue can clog up your needle so glue all your book covers on and then make yourself a well earned coffee before you start the next bit. When your books are dry, Set your machine to a zig zag stitch and stitch around the front cover and then around the back. The best needle to use is a jeans one but ordinairy needles will work pretty well. Don't forget to change it before you do anymore sewing though as the card will blunt the needle.
  • If you don't have a sewing machine, you can just leave it at the glue stage or use some wide tape to secure the inside edges.

I also stitch labels onto the front cover of the books. Just cut them out, glue them in place and stitch them on. There are some really cute ones here:
The butterfly ones are here
Good luck with back to school!

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