Thursday, January 10, 2013

DIY Baby Board Book

Whenever shopping for a new baby or a young child, there are SO many cute things! Let's face it, anything for a baby is just adorable! Here is a great gift idea that is cute, affordable, and personal.

A homemade baby board book!

Here are the supplies you will need:

Mod Podge - I chose a glossy finish. A small bottle will be plenty.
A small roller sponge - I found mine at Walmart for a buck and change.
A small sponge or sponge brush
PLASTIC plate - not paper
Scrapbook paper
Printed words
Blow dryer (this will make it dry faster and save tons of time)
Fine-grain sandpaper, optional

...and of course, the book. There are two ways you can go here; either purchase a cheap board book and plan to cover every inch of it (which you can find these for $1 or sometimes less - check garage sales!), or purchase a blank one. I chose to get a blank one, seeing as how this was my first Mod Podge project ever (hard to believe) and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for myself. I got mine on for about $7! I ordered 2 so that I could have a back-up.

For this book, I chose the theme "first words". I took photos of items in my niece's life that have a simple, instantly recognizable label. Try not to choose something with a generic term, like "toy". Instead, choose something specific like "blocks" or "ball" or "doll". Whatever the child will be taught to call it is how you should label it.

Another cute theme would be "family album", in which you simply use photos of people in the child's life and label them. I included a few in the book that I made (mommy, daddy) and I included the four-legged brother and sister. For these photos, I labeled them not only with "cat" and "dog", but also with the names of the animals.

After you have your photos and words printed, now decide if you want the whole background to be scrapbook paper, or if you want just the photo or label to be backed in scrapbook paper. I decided, for the sake of time, that I would simply mount the label on scrapbook paper.

Let's begin!

First, pour some Mod Podge onto the plastic plate and roll the roller brush through it to coat thickly and evenly.
This was an "after" shot. You will need much more Mod Podge on the brush. :)
It is important with this project to do one page at a time, from start to finish. This will reduce the chance of your pages sticking together. You can, however, do the 2 adjacent pages at the same time.

Roll the Mod Podge onto the page and place the photo on top, or scrapbook paper if you are covering the whole page. Unlike Elmer's glue, you cannot really slide the photo around once you place it on top, so be precise the first time! You can use the Mod Podge just like glue to adhere all your photos, paper, and labels.
This is the texture of the Mod Podge when it is rolled on. Don't worry, it isn't really that noticeable and can be smoothed out with sandpaper at the end of the project.

Let everything dry for 5 or 10 minutes. Then roll another generous coat on top, using a sponge brush closer to the crease in the middle where the roller cannot reach. *After doing this project, I learned it is easier to do one, really thick coat instead of trying to do several thin coats. Just slop it all on!

Use the sponge to get into tight spaces. Remember, it goes on white, but dries clear!

It can be air dried, or to speed things up, use a blow dryer. It saved me so much time!
You can really see the texture here. According to the bottle, using a paintbrush can help reduce this look.

All dry!
Continue working on the pages in your book. I saved the cover for last, hoping that I would become an "expert" and end up with a phenomenal cover. Or something. Just so that you are not worried about your own book, here's what mine looked like as I was working:
A view from above.
Warped pages.

I discovered that using the blowdryer was a great idea until I saw that it was curving my pages. But as I worked through my book, once I did the page behind it, they flattened out. See the two pages in the middle? And the first and last page? Those only have one side done. After I did the middle 2 pages and the outside covers, they leveled out. So don't worry!

After I finished everything, to my surprise, I realized it only took me an hour or two. Amazing!

I will say that I never did figure out how to get the book to lay completely flat. I don't think that it will be able to, seeing as how layers of paper and photos and Mod Podge have been added.
BEFORE being smashed down under a heavy weight.
I put mine under a gallon jug of vinegar. We didn't have any heavy books!

Notes on this project:

If you want the book to be fully "slobber proof", be sure to run some Mod Podge over all surfaces, including the spine of the book and the 3 edges of each page. My book was made to be fully enjoyed, which includes mouthing, slobbering, and chewing. Mod Podge is non-toxc, so there are no worries! Of course, anything that your baby puts in the mouth should be closely monitored. I feel that goes without saying, but I gotta say it anyway.

Sand paper can be used to smooth down the texture that results from rolling the Mod Podge on. I chose not to - it was just going to be another trip to the store during the holiday shopping season. I was making this 2 weeks before Christmas and didn't feel like exerting the effort. Plus the thought of scrubbing down 14 pages? No thanks. I think the texture is fine - babies need sensory stimulation anyway. It's hardly noticeable.

Be sure to wash your brushes with warm soapy water when you are through. Once it dries, the brushes are useless and will have to be thrown out. Learned that lesson already.

The awesome thing about using a plastic plate is that, besides the fact that the Mod Podge will not soak through onto your workspace, once the Mod Podge dries, you simply peel it off and the plate is good as new for the next craft project! I think in the photo above you can see my peeled-off Mod Podge on the counter.

I think she likes it!

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