I posted this last year and still gets more traffic than almost any other post I've ever written - which is ironic since I kinda didn't want you to know that I could do this... ;) Anyway, it's very easy to do and can be made for any occasion but goes over especially well as end-of-the-year teachers' gifts.
Look out, I'm about to whip out the nasty crafty on you in a way I want you all to forget about as soon as you've read this and I've posted something else. It will be our little secret.
For some of you this idea may come a little too late - your kids may already be shirtless and barefoot and soaking up the sun in the name of summertime. But for a lot of us here in California, we're still in the thick of school drop-offs and pick-ups, end-of-the-year plays and award assemblies and OH SHIT did I get the teacher an end-of-the-year gift?! realizations.
That's where I come in. I *may* be able to help you. But just this once and then, like I said, YOU AIN'T HEARD IT FROM ME, mkay?
Brown paper lunchbag books
(Feel free to add your own ideas & change it up as you wish or based on your child's age and capability to contribute to the project)
Some tools/supplies you should consider buying:
Any one of these tapes/glues will work although if you want my opinion on which works best, I'd go with the one on the right - Dotto in "permanent." Whatever you do, don't use regular glue, glue sticks or hot glue.
Buying some self-adhesive letters will save you time and grief and will also really liven up your creation. Both Michael's and Target sell them and sometimes Target even sells some sets in their $1 section. If you're feeling particularly fancy, you can even purchase chipboard letters (far right) which are HELLA CUTE but also HELLA EXPENSIVE.
You will also need: Scrapbooking paper, scissors, ribbon, a ruler, stickers (to embellish if you want).
Ready? Let's do this.
First, be careful with how many lunchbags you choose to use for your book. Four lunchbags will results in *14* pages you need to fill plus a front and back cover. YEAH. However many you choose, start by laying them out, turning every other lunchbag the opposite direction so the first bag's opening is at one end, the second bag's opening is at the other end, and so on like in the photo. Then align them neatly on top of each other.
Folding the bags in half, pressing firmly to create a strong crease. Note that it's impossible to have the ends line up perfectly AND THAT'S OK MS. OCD. (I'm mostly talking to me, but I know there are others like me out there pissed off right now that they won't. line. up. perfectly. what. the. fuck.)
Open up your lunchbag book to the middle so you can punch holes along the crease to bind it. NOTE: a) This is where those tools I mentioned way up above come in handy, b) do not punch too close the edge in case the hole rips, and c) it may take a few punches with the hole punch to get through all those bags. YOU CAN DO IT.
There are several ways you can use ribbon to bind your book - I'm just going to show you one way because I'm lazy as hell. In this example, I threaded the ribbon from the inside of the book to the outside through the bottom hole and from the inside of the book to the outside through the top hole. I know. I'm confused too. Just look at the photo.
You back? Ready to do work? OK. Let's get it on.
Measuring before cutting is like, THE LAW when it comes to making these books. You would *think* every page would measure up the same but trust me, it won't. Also, BEFORE YOU CUT your background scrapbook paper for each page I should tell you that the idea is not to cover the entire brown portion of the lunchbag. You can and should leave a border. So if the page is 6x6" you might want to cut your paper 5.5x5.5" for example.
Also? I'm horrible at explaining things without making them sound more confusing than they really are.
If you have a paper cutter, you will be grateful. If not, you will probably be buying one. You'd be surprised how often this bad boy comes in handy... Cut your background paper according to your measurements. I personally like to use the same paper for both the front and back covers but you certainly don't have to. If you choose to, save yourself the time and cut both at the same time. Duh.
To make the paper stand out a little from the brown paper bag, I decided to use some ink to ink the edges of the paper a cool green color that ties in with both the paper and the ribbon I used to bind the book together. (Click on photo to enlarge and see more detail.)
I start with the cover of the book. Here's where those self-adhesive sticky letters come in handy. Lesson Learned The Hard Way: Double check that you have enough of each letter before actually using the letters. Heh.
Here's what makes using lunchbags soooo cool. They have openings at one end, right? Right. Well these aren't just openings. These are OPPORTUNITIES. (That's what he said.) Ahem. Anyway. These openings are the nooks and crannies where you can tuck away notes, photos, drawings, etc.
VERY IMPORTANT: I'm going to lay the lunchbag book so that the rest of the pages are out of my way and only the cover itself lays on the mat so that when I punch a hole through it (which I'm about to do) I don't accidentally punch a hole through other pages. Not that I've ever done THAT before. Nope.
That tool set I recommended that comes with a hole punch also comes with a mini mat that will come in handy right now. I slide it in the opening of the lunchbag so that I don't hole punch through to the next page...
Once the tag is attached via the ribbon, I tuck it inside the lunchbag opening, leaving enough loose ribbon so that the tag can be pulled in and out of the bag to be read. I will use this particular tag to say "To and From" since it's at the beginning of the book.
Now before you go about the rest of the pages in your lunchbag book, adding background paper and embellishing them, what's a gal (or dude) to do about those flaps on the lunchbags? Glue those fuckers down. Sure, if you're feeling foolish adventurous you can make use of them, but really? GLUE THEM DOWN before putting down your background paper.
Now you can go about your book however you'd like, but I like to go through and choose all my background paper first, cutting and gluing it down before creating each page. I also like to use matching paper for each pair of pages... But you certainly don't have to. You can fly-by-the-seat-of-your-crafty-pants and go page-by-page and mix match paper for all I care.
But now what? What do you actually put on these pages? This is where some variables come in. This particular book is an end-of-the-year thank you for my 7 year old's first grade teacher. So he can write and contribute to it accordingly. What I decided to do is ask him some questions ahead of time and then let him write his answers.
Fill-in-the-blank questions like:
Thank you for...
When I grow up I want to be...
I will miss...
And then I will fill in the some of the remaining pages with some quotes about teachers, a personal note from me to his teacher expressing my gratitude and drawings he did of himself and his teacher.
Wanna see how it turned out? Here it is, cover to cover:
Now if you decide to do one of these, I want to see how yours turns out. Upload your finished project to flickr and link back in the comments section. For reals.
And remember, THIS POST NEVER HAPPENED.