A couple of days later, we decided to try our hand at making bookmarks at home. Since this was going to be a little too much for Abhay, I just drew shapes out for him on normal paper and handed him a pair of scissors. And asked him to cut along the lines. And promised to give him a squeezy glue tube if he promised not to go berserk on the paper with the scissors.
Now to the gist of the matter – the making of the bookmarks.
The last time we undertook a project of this kind was when we made a model rocket as part of Aparna's Space Project for school. At that time it clean slipped my mind to take pictures to document every step. This time around, we made sure the camera was within arm's reach. Result : Plenty of pictures every step of the way :-)
This was how it went.
First, some thick, glossy craft paper. We only had green craft paper left at home and since it was too rainy anyways to make a trip to the stationery shop, there were no disputes about what colour the bookmarks were going to be. Green, it was !!!!
A ruler came into play as well and we measured, marked, drew lines and cut out four strips of the green craft paper. If I remember right the size was 4.5 cm x 15 cm. And we chose to go with the basic rectangle shape since we'd never tried making bookmarks at home.
Then came into play the squeezy container of PVA glue. Nothing bonds craft paper like PVA glue. A generous helping of PVA glue and we then evened out the glue all over the strips of paper. Finally, two strips of craft paper were glued together so that both sides of the bookmarks-to-be were a nice glossy green.
Though the middle of the paper strips bonded extremely well, the edges just refused to adhere. Probably because the craft paper is generally kept rolled up and this gives the paper a natural tendency to roll in.
Something had to be done to hold the edges down else we were going to end up with rather hungry looking bookmarks with their mouths wide open.
Stickers to the rescue. These were stickers which we had bought to tape up some gift bags and we had a lot of them left. Measured the bookmark strips and measured the stickers and found that with a eeny weeny bit of space left between each sticker, we would be able to evenly spread out the stickers over the edges symmetrically.
One one of the bookmarks, the stickers were used as they were. On the other, the stickers were each cut into half and then stuck onto the edges – just so that the pattern created around the edges was different. Same stickers, different patterns along the border.
Hmmmmm…… now we were getting somewhere.
Tried to imagine how small pieces of suede (in different colours), cut out into little patterns, would look on the bookmarks and finally decided that suede would make it too bulky- which is something a bookmark should not be. So then, decided to stick to (pardon the pun) good old glitter glue.
Appu pulled out tubes of glitter glue (about 4-5 colours) from the stationery drawer and we got to work on the designs.
I was making a bookmark for Vic while Appu was making one for herself. So she decided to personalize her bookmark while I went with abstract designs.
One side got done and then we had to take a break until the designs on one side of the bookmark dried up.
The next day, we used the same glitter glue tubes to design the other side of the bookmarks as well.
Once again, the bookmarks were left to dry.
The next day, the bookmarks were almost ready. All that remained was to attach a tassel or a trimming on the fringe of the bookmark.
I had saved a couple of tassels from a wedding invitation card a while back. Those were brought into play. Also, we had colourful suede trimmings as well as golden ones that had been bought when I had once been on a stationery shopping binge. These commercial trimmings have a very thin but sturdy wire running right in the middle with suede all around – so they can just be twisted into any shape.
I had made up my mind that I was going to use one of the tassels while Appu was still vacillating. She finally decided on the golden trimming for her bookmark.
We then measured the breadth of the bookmark just to make sure that the paper punch was placed right in the centre.
Once the paper punch had done its job, all that remained was to thread the tassel on one and the golden trimming on the other bookmark and voila ………
.......... our very own homemade bookmarks. :-))
While we were busy with making these bookmarks, another thought did strike me. Many a times, there are used dresses, sarees, dupattas that are discarded. Sometimes they are too worn out to be handed out, sometimes clothes do meet with accidents resulting in tears, at times a hot iron box does its share of damage. And such clothes invariably end up in the bin.
If only a portion of the material is damaged, the rest of it could be used for such craftwork. Bookmarks are a good example. Specifically speaking, what I had in mind was material like sungadi sarees or the Gurjari/Batik materials – basically the tie-and-dye kind. Cottons, chiffons – anything. Or even Hakoba material - preferably the dark colored ones (cos it would not be possible to wash a bookmark if the cloth gets dirty and light colored ones do get grimy faster).
If any such usable material is on hand, then all that is needed is a good piece of thin cardboard and some PVA glue. The cloth material can just be glued on to the cardboard and then use a little something to spruce the bookmark up. Like tiny little beads or sequins (which too can just be glued on with PVA glue) and you’ll have a really ethnic bookmark which looks like its just walked out of a Indian Handicraft Emporium. As a added bonus, since these batik materials tend to be very colourful, there is no particular need for a tassel or a fancy trimming either.
Bookmarks are indeed delightful companions to the books we read. And bookmarks are yet to receive their due share of attention and admiration from avid bookreaders.
What better way to end this post than with this delightful little poem that I found on the internet once.
ODE TO A BOOKMARK
O little bookmark
slim and slight
between the pages
closed up tight.
When at last
I douse my light
you guard my place
all through the night.
No matter where
that place may be
I know you'll keep it
just for me.
Then in the morn
your squarish head
admist the book
above my bed.
O little bookmark
slim and slight
through the night.
~ Duncan Ball