Make a Book With Scraps

Transforming scraps and waste into something beautiful, useful, or delicious, is a chance to discover the satisfaction of making things by hand and finding abundance from what might seem like waste. This necessary and beautiful practice is essential to connecting with, caring about, and investing the world around us, in our every day lives and beyond.

I made this video for the Maine Conservation Voters Virtual Earth Day Fair. Please enjoy and share widely. Written instructions for making a book are below.

Make a book
You can use any paper you’d like for this book. Letter or legal size paper can be a good starting place, but as long as you can crease it somewhere near the middle, use whatever you’d like. Colored paper, brown bags, magazine pages, photos can all be incorporated. I love to make books from empty envelopes (including the ones with windows and printed patterns inside), I cut the edges off to make a folded piece of paper, stack them and sew them together on the fold. These instructions start with unfolded paper, but use whatever you find delightful.

5-10 sheets of paper, roughly the same size
Cover paper (thicker paper, colored paper, something that is different from what you are using inside)
An awl or sharp, thick needle for poking holes
Thread, yarn, or string
Needle (that can be threaded with whatever string you are using)

Fold the sheets of paper in half and crease the fold firmly. Repeat with the cover paper and place the cover paper on the outside of the folded sheets of paper. Open the folded paper so it again lies flat and the inside of the creased fold is facing up. Starting about an inch from the top of the book, mark 3 evenly spaced spots to make holes along the crease. To poke the holes, hold the upper half of the pages and push the awl or needle toward the fold until it pokes all the way through. Thread the needle. Sew the book together: begin by going through the middle hole, from the inside of the book through to the outside. Leave a few inches of thread inside the book. Next, go back through the top hole. Then go out the middle hole, again. Go back in through the bottom hole. Tie the two ends of thread together as snugly as you can and knot them. Now you have a book!