Every once in a while I get this overwhelming desire to be creative. Mostly when that happens, I sit quietly until the urge passes. The older I get, the more I feel the need to conserve my energy. But on this day, my artistic muse would give me no peace, so I decided to borrow a wonderful idea from some of my fellow little free library stewards and make some bookmarks to give away.
I had several children’s books in my inventory that were all but falling apart, so they weren’t suitable for putting in my library. But I find it really hard to throw out books, even when they are past their prime. It seems sacrilegious to me. So these books had been sitting forlornly in a corner for several months, no doubt contemplating their fate with dread.
The artwork in most children’s books is amazing, so rather than recycle those pages, I chose to upcycle them. Making bookmarks is really easy.
Simply cut out a page, positioning the art in question to show it off to its best advantage, and allow extra paper to fold over for added thickness. Bonus points if you can get cool imagery on both sides of your bookmark! (If you’re like me, cutting a book up will make you cringe. I find it almost as distasteful as throwing one out. I had to keep reminding myself that these books were too tattered to read, so it is better to make them into bookmarks than it is to let them fade completely away.)
Bookmarks don’t have to be a uniform size. It’s not like most of them hang out together, standing at attention like little soldiers. They are meant to be used. I do try my best to keep them at 90 degree angles, though, because otherwise they look strange, at least to my eyes. So I found it helpful to use a cutting board that has a grid on it.
Once you have the bookmark cut and folded, I use a glue stick to glue it together. Glue sticks are a lot less messy than liquid glue is.
Then I lay them flat under something heavy to ensure that they dry flat.
Once dry, I use a hole punch to make a hole in one end, and reinforce that on both sides with hole reinforcements that you can get at any office supply store.
Then I add a ribbon tassel to the end. (I bought a variety of colors on sale so I had a multitude of choices to compliment or contrast the art.) Done.
Now, some of my fellow library stewards laminate theirs, or use clear contact paper on them. I haven’t done this yet, but it is a good idea if you want the bookmark to last and stay clean. However, I know my history with bookmarks. They usually get lost sooner than that type of longevity requires. (That sounds much better than saying I was too lazy to laminate, doesn’t it?)
The best part about this project is that you can do it while watching PBS, or the channel of your choice. Call it multitasking if you must. I just call it twice the fun.
Here are pictures of some of the bookmarks that I made. It’s going to be hard to part with many of these, because I think they’re beautiful. But part with them I will, because I will do anything, anything at all, to increase someone’s joy of reading. I think that’s the most important gift you can give.
These bookmarks will be placed, a few at a time, inside my little free library’s gift cubby, in the hope that they’ll make some patrons smile.