Sturdy Chipboard Bookmarks
The idea for these came to me a couple years ago. It was Christmas time, and like many college students, I had no money to buy gifts. What I did have was an old notebook from the end of the semester with a heavy backing. I also had a hole-punch, a few simple craft supplies, and patience! Needless to say, the gift recipients were impressed I had made "something beautiful out of nothing."
This project does take patience, but is definitely worth the end result. Unlike other bookmarks, they last long and stay looking great! They have a very hard finish--not too shiny, not too dull--that protects the designs underneath from bumps and scratches that would otherwise come with everyday use.
Total Time: 2 hours
- craft knife and small cutting board
- pencil with eraser
- craft/scrap-booking paper
- chipboard (available at craft stores and sometimes found as a hard back to school notebooks)
- Mod Podge
- Trace desired dimensions for your bookmarks, using a straightedge, onto the chipboard. In this example, I used the width of my ruler as a template for the width of my bookmark. I also simply created parallel lines running the length of the chipboard and drew a horizontal line to split them in half. Feel free to make your bookmarks bigger or smaller, but remember to take note of their measurements.
- Cut out a rough square around the desired number of bookmarks to make the precision cutting easier. For safety when using the craft knife, place the cutout on top of the plastic cutting board.
- I find that gradually scoring the chipboard helps make it less likely to cut crooked lines than with scissors. It also doesn't compact the edges in odd places, which would result in a rough finish. On a flat surface, score the traced lines 5-6 times over with the craft knife, one line at a time. After you cut the first edge, bend to make a 90 degree angle to see if you can easily snap off the section. If not, try going over the cut 1-2 more times. When finished, trim any ragged bits with the craft knife.
- Once you have the first bookmark cut out, take your ruler and measure the halfway point of the short edge. This is where you will be able to make a bow with the ribbon. Mark clearly with a pencil.
- Line up the marked section with the hole-punch, leaving about a 1/8 to 1/4 inch section at the top. Note: this is so much easier if you use a single hole-punch! However, it's not the end of the world if you just have a cheap, plastic one on hand. What you need to do is make the indentation as deep as possible on both sides. Carefully curve the tip of the craft knife around the outline, scoring 2-3 times on each side. Then, poke a pencil through the hole to make it into a more seamless circle and trim off the ragged bits. The ribbon and paper will cover the rest!
- Trace a section of craft paper using the bookmark as a template. Cut out the rectangle using the craft knife and trace through the ribbon hole on the opposite (blank) side. Next, use the paintbrush to portion out a good amount of glue. You want to spread it out evenly, covering the whole bookmark and smoothing out any thick ridges the brush will form, at first. Then, simply align the paper with your bookmark, smoothing out small wrinkles and bubbles as needed.
- Once the glue has dried (wait appx. 10 minutes), cover the other side of the bookmark. If you don't have a single hole-punch, be sure to flip over the paper so that its printed side faces the table and the blank side is touching the cardboard. Then, trace around the circle to mark where the hole-punch needs to go. If you try this any other way, you'll end up with the circle out of alignment. Note: the following picture depicts a second bookmark in progress. Since you need to apply several layers of Mod Podge, creating a second bookmark in between drying times helps better manage the time spent on this project.
- This is the fun part! Glue ribbon, cutouts, etc. to make a design. Also feel free to draw on/stamp the bookmark before adding the first protective layer of mod podge. Think about how you could combine colors and accents for a unified theme. I made these as a gift for a friend in the Peace Corps, so I chose to use the dove emblem and inspirational word cutouts from scrapbook paper. To put ribbon directly onto the bookmark, coat the entire ribbon in a layer of glue and work the glue into the weave of the fabric. Then, apply a strip of glue onto the bookmark, where the ribbon will go, and press down for a few seconds to secure firmly in place.
- When your design is finished, trim any excess paper from the edges and seal the top surface of your bookmark with mod podge. Wait 10 minutes to dry before repeating on the other side. Each bookmark will need at least three coats (4-5 if there are raised objects on the paper's surface).
- Tie a bow through the top, add a personal touch, and youre done! Make sure to let the bookmarks cure for at least two hours.
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