A Custom ABC Board Book

by | DIY, Paper

We’ve been reading to J at bedtime since he was about 2 months old in an attempt to establish a solid bedtime routine, since in my new mom naivete, I thought that a solid bedtime routine = more sleep for mommy.  Well, that didn’t really work out, but we HAVE established a love of reading and associating of objects in the house.

For example:
kindle = Bob the Builder
laptop = Grandma on Skype
Daddy sitting down = Skyrim
book = crawl onto Mommy’s lap for a bit of a cuddle.

We have recently moved beyond Pajama Time and Moo Baa LaLaLa to an old alphabet book that I must have picked up at some yard sale somewhere.  I thought it would be a great way start teaching J the letters that go with the things he points to and blabbers about.  Once through the book, however, I knew it was not to be.  Seriously?  D for daddy and “do-it-yourselfer”?  R for rat?  Um….no.  So, I made my own alphabet book, complete with pictures of objects J is familiar with, like his own shoes, toys, and his own face!

DIY, Make your own ABC board book using family photos

 

I wanted a board book, since the little man still has a tendency to want to destroy paper.  I looked for options online, but most publishers don’t offer board books, and the ones that do, don’t offer board books with 13 full spreads in it.  After rooting around in his board book collection, I found a book that I bought for almost nothing at a yard sale that he never seemed to have an interest in, and Voila! – it had EXACTLY 13 full spreads, just enough for an alphabet with one letter on each page.

Then, I spent WAY TOO MUCH time going through old photos, taking new photos, and designing each page, but it’s what I like to do, and I’m particularly particular about it.  Each image is the size of the page on the board book.  I printed it out in a full spread, on 11×17 paper since the full image was legal size and I did not want the printer to resize the images.

I cut out the first page, held it up to the board book and realize the book wasn’t square.  Fine.  I cut the image down to each individual page and trimmed the edges to match the non-square-ness of the book, and then realized that if I glued the page all the way to the far inside fold, the paper will interfere with the fold and make a bloody mess.  So, the paper is only glued to the edge of where the inside fold begins, which leaves for some trimming on the outer edge.  So much for my anal retentive measuring of each page.

The pages were glued onto the board book using an acid-free glue stick, and it worked really well.  There was no warping or bumps in the paper.  I did have a damp rag nearby to clean my hands after every page because I felt like the kindergartener who has glue all over her fingers and smearing it everywhere she didn’t want glue.

The cover is two separate pages plus a spine, which I had cut to be about an inch larger than the actual spine, in order to create a bit of overlap when gluing everything in place.

Once all the pages and cover was glued on, I stacked some cookbooks on top to set the glue.  Then I walked away, because ENOUGH already with the glue.

Then, I trimmed the edges and the rounded corners with an exacto knife.  The edges aren’t perfect, and you can see the book underneath at the inside folds, and I think Josh might destroy my efforts in a couple of days, but for now, it looks pretty nice.  I hope to spray on a clear gloss seal, and maybe cover the outside in contact paper, just to protect my investment a bit.

Here are some shots from the inside:

We’re hopefully going to take this book for its debut sometime this week, so hopefully the little man likes it!

56 Comments

  1. Colleen Panzer

    This is beautiful! I’ve been wanting to make a board book for my boys, but I never thought to do it this way! I was always just bummed that I couldn’t order one online somewhere. The internet is failing us! I ended up making our alphabet book at Shutterfly, and it is currently in rough shape, with lots of tape, haha. A board book would have held up much better!

    Reply
    • ChiWei

      I was so afraid of using a real paper book – those things get DESTROYED in our house. Board books are definitely tougher 🙂

      Reply
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  3. Lucy

    I think that is great! I love the idea and I would love to make it for my granddaughter – born two months ago 🙂
    Please share more!

    Thank you,
    Lucy aka ..Gami

    Reply
  4. laurie

    Hi, does Gimp give you the letter where it looks like it is on a notebook? Thanks, this is adorable!

    Reply
    • laurie

      Never mind,I realized the penmanship print you mentioned does that. By any chance, do you know of an app that has the font? Thanks again!

      Reply
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  7. Vandana

    Can you please show all the pages of your board book
    So that it will me more clear to make one book for my ten month old baby ..
    very hard work you did in this and different from all the other board book idea
    It’s an obvious to love your idea
    Hats off dear

    Reply
  8. Emma

    My grandmother made my cousins and I our own little alphabet books when we were little, too. She printed on cardstock and spiral bound them herself, and being the careful child I was, mine are in nearly perfect condition 20-some years later. Mine had things like “V for van” (our minivan) and I, M, and S for our pets (Isis, Mocha, and Samson). I’ve never seen anyone else do a personalized ABC book other than in our family, so I’m so thrilled to have run across yours! Repurposing an old board book is genius, although I’m not sure I could bring myself to do so.

    Reply

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