Monday, December 24, 2018

DIY: How to Sew a Quiet Book

What is a quiet book? A quiet book is a soft book typically made of fabric or felt full of interactive activities to help babies/toddlers learn and keep them preoccupied. I’m not sure whether it’s called a quiet book because the book is made of soft/quiet materials or if it makes your child stay quiet because they’re engaged… but either way, they are fun to make and to play with!

I had never heard of a quiet book until my sister tagged me in a Facebook video about one as a “subtle” hint to make for her then 1 year old daughter, my niece! So I had it in the back of my mind to make one for her and then ended up CRAM crafting the week before xmas to make it! I actually made this quiet book a whole YEAR ago, but it’s never too late to post about it! I’m really happy with how it all turned out!

This blog post will:
·        Go through my process of how I went about figuring out how to make a quiet book
·        Walk through how I created the individual pages and bound the book together, step-by-step. I’ll also include any helpful links as additional reference material!

My approach to getting started:
  1. Look for inspiration online. Look on YouTube, blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, etc. There are SOOOO many different kinds of pages you can make, some more complex than others. Some are no-sew as well!
  2. Research how you want to bind the book together. There are various ways to bind your book together – with eyelets and three ring binder clips, sewing them together, with grommets and ribbon/string (what I used), etc. Also look into what materials and tools would be needed to bind your book together.
  3. Narrow it down. Once you’ve compiled a bunch of potential pages to make, narrow it down to the ones you think you want to make and map it out visually to see how it’ll all piece together. I am a strong proponent of PowerPoint for a quick sketch so I used that as a major planning tool for this project. Notice how I also drew out where the 3 holes on each page would go. (Note: some of these images are screenshots from other blogs, so the final product doesn't look exactly like this!)
  4. Make a shopping list. Document what materials and the quantity each of the pages would require.
  5. Purchase your materials. Gather your coupons cuz materials ain’t cheap! I went to the Joann Fabric and Craft store and bought my materials there. 
  6. Outline step-by-step instructions for each page. This step seems a little tedious, BUT it will cut down on “thinking time” when you actually get to making the book. Just list out quick steps on what you need to do in order, so you don’t accidentally sew something together and then you’re like, “crap! I was supposed to sew the grass on last, not first!” Or, if you find a good blog that lists out the steps for you, like this one, then you don’t have to do this :D hehe Again, I used PowerPoint to list out the steps next to the image of the page.
  7. Make the book!
Some general info before we get started: 
  • Number of pages: 6 front and back pages (total of 12 felt sheets)
  • Time spent making the book: approx. 40 hours (not including time spent researching and planning how to create it). Also, should note that I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I tend to take longer to make things haha 
  • Cost of materials: I had some of the materials already, but had to purchase most of them and I think it was around $120 for all the materials >.< 

  • Felt 
    • (8) Light Blue (for the base pages)
    • (2) White (for cloud, unicorn)
    • (1) Yellow (for sun, flower, shapes)
    • (2) Orange-ish Yellow (for shapes, weaving page)
    • (1) Orange (for sun, flower, shapes)
    • (2) Light Pink (for pages behind cover pages)
    • (1) Dark Pink (for flower, shapes)
    • (1) Light Purple (for flower, shapes)
    • (1) Dark Purple (for shapes, photo box)
    • (1) Red (for flower, shapes)
    • (2) Green (for flower stems, shapes, tree, grass)
    • (2) Dark Brown (for flower pot, tree, shapes)
    • (1) Light Brown (for shapes, apple basket)
    • (2) Turquoise Blue (extra thickness for cover pages)
    • (1) Turquoise Blue (for weaving page, jellyfish ocean)
    • (1) Black (for shapes)
  • Felt Letters (for cover page)
  • Pink Yarn (for unicorn hair)
  • Big Button (for fastening the book open/closed)
  • Elastic Cord (for fastening the book open/closed)
  • Cool colored cording (that's like skinny rope, for binding book)
  • (9 packs) small button packs in different colors
  • Pack of Assorted Colors of Beads (for jellyfish)
  • Thin ribbon (for jellyfish tentacles)
  • Pack of Friendship Bracelet Thread, aka embroidery floss (for miscellaneous embroidering)
  • Velcro (for shapes page)
  • Heat n Bond® Iron-on Adhesive Sheet, Ultrahold (for ironing shapes onto the felt)
  • 1 pack of 12 each) Sew-on Snaps (for apple tree)
  • (3 packs) 3/8” Grommets (for binding book) 
  • Grommet Pliers that fit 3/8" grommets (for binding book) 
  • Cardstock (not pictured, optional, for making the page stencil)
  • Leather Hole Punch (not pictured, optional)
  • Rotary Cutter (not pictured, optional, for cutting out the page stencil)
  • Invisible Ink Pen (not pictured, optional, for tracing out images)


A. Cardstock Stencil
  1. Cut out a 9" x 9" square from cardstock material. I had a poster board on hand so I cut it out from that. Optional to use a rotary cutter. 
  2. Mark where the 3 holes will go and cut that out. This will be where the grommets will go. Grommets are those metal circular things we'll insert into the holes when binding the book together.
B. Book Pages
  1. Lay the stencil on top of all the felt sheets you'll use as the book pages and cut them to size
  2. I cut out 2 turquoise cover sheets, 8 light blue sheets, and 2 light pink sheets
C. Cover Page
Note: I edited the image to blank out my niece's name, per her parents' rules to minimize her digital footprint. 
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. Here, it's on the left side. This is so you'll know where to place other shapes so they don't get cut out or get minimally cut out.
  2. Get the felt letter stickers and lay out the letters that spell “[Name]’s Quiet Book” and draw out the cloud shape that would fit behind it on your Heat n Bond® Iron-on Adhesive Sheet
  3. Iron on adhesive sheet to white felt. Trace out cloud shape and cut
  4. Iron on adhesive sheet to yellow felt. Trace out sun shape and cut
  5. Iron on adhesive sheet to orange felt. Trace out sun triangles and cut
  6. Sew triangles down, then sew the yellow sun on over it 
  7. Sew cloud down
  8. Lay letter’s on top and sew over
  9. Sew big button down on the right side of the page (not pictured here) 

D. Flower Page
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. They are on the left side.
  2. Cut out flower pot with brown felt
  3. Cut out flower stems and leaves with green felt
  4. Sew a middle part onto the leaves
  5. Trace out flower shapes (5) onto the Heat n Bond® Iron-on Adhesive Sheet and iron them onto different colored felt sheets that match the button colors you'll be using. 
  6. Cut out the flower shapes 
  7. Iron the flower shapes onto the matching colored sheets and cut the edges. You're doubling up the thickness of the flowers so they're thicker.
  8. Sew the stems down
  9. Sew the flower pot over them
  10. Sew the buttons down
  11. Sew the leaves
  12. Cut slits into the center of the flowers and stitch the edges 
  13. Attach the flowers to the corresponding colored buttons

E. Shapes Pages
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. One will be on the right side, and one will be on the left side.
  2. Create shapes in Microsoft Word, print them out, and cut them out. Or you can hand draw them if you're a wild one! 
  3. Trace the shapes onto the book pages with invisible ink and hand stitch the border 
  4. Trace the printed shapes onto the Heat n Bond® Iron-on Adhesive Sheet 
  5. Iron the shapes onto different color felts and cut the shape out
  6. To double up on thickness, peel the backing off the shapes and iron them onto corresponding felt colors and cut them out. 
  7. Stitch around the edges
  8. Cut out a rectangle that will serve as the pocket that will fill the shapes. Hand stitch the word “SHAPES” on it
  9. Sew the pocket down, only the left, bottom, and right sides! Leave the top unstitched so you can put shapes into it
  10. Attach little Velcro pieces into the center of the embroidered shape outlines and on the backs of the shapes. Stitch them down

F. Button Page

  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. They will be on the right side.
  2. Cut out 2" x 2" template out of the cardstock / poster board. I got to this size by laying out the 7, 8, and 9 buttons on the sheet to know how big the biggest square had to be making sure there was room for the grommets
  3. Use the stencil to trace and cut out 9 different colored felt squares
  4. Hand stitch 1 - 9 onto each of the squares
  5. Lay out the 9 squares and pin them down
  6. Zigzag stitch only the top edge of the squares down
  7. Hand sew the buttons down under the squares

G. Unicorn Page
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. They will be on the left side.
  2. Follow the instructions from this tutorial to make this page! 
  3. Note 1: I googled an image of a unicorn silhouette to make my own unicorn template 
  4. Note 2: When you trace the horse stencil onto the Iron-on sheet and iron it onto a piece of felt, the horse will then become BACKWARDS when you iron that onto the book page. It might make more sense when you see photos below. 

H. Weaving Page
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. They will be on the right side
  2. For turquoise blue strips, cut out SIX strips, 1 inch thick each, 7 inches long
  3. For the orangish yellow strips, cut out SEVEN strips, 1 inch thick each, 6 inches across. 
  4. Sew one edge down for each and weave them together

I. Jellyfish Page
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. They will be on the left side
  2. Count out your beads so that you have enough of the same color for each number. You'll need groups of 1, 2, 3.... all the way up to 9 beads
  3. Cut out jellyfish head shape. Surprisingly, an Ikea trash bag holder is the perfect shape for this
  4. Stitch the eyes and mouth onto the jellyfish head (the mouth was a later addition, so it's not shown in the photos below)
  5. Figure out the spacing for the 9 ribbon tentacles 
  6. Cut the ribbon tentacles (isn't this ribbon I found COOL! Rainbow fusioooon). Mine was about 4.5"
  7. Cut out ocean water
  8. Stitch down the jellyfish head with the ribbon tentacles behind it
  9. Add the beads. Each tentacle should have 1 through 9 beads on it
  10. Stitch down the water making sure to tuck the ribbon underneath it

Before I move onto the next page, can we just take a moment and just admire the MESS on the table in the jellyfish head cutting-out photo? haha it was a crazy time 

J. Apple Tree Page
  1. Use the page stencil to mark where the grommets will be with invisible ink. They will be on the right side.
  2. Trace out 6 apple shapes on the Heat n Bond® Iron-on Adhesive Sheet 
  3. Iron the sheet onto red felt and cut out the apple shapes
  4. Cut out 6 little brown stems
  5. Place the stem behind the cut out apple shape and iron the apple onto another piece of red felt to double up on the apple thickness. Cut out the apple shape. The stem should be sandwiched between the two pieces of red felt.
  6. Hand sew the edges of the apples. They were so small that I felt that hand stitching would be better than trying to run them through the machine. 
  7. Cut out the leafy green part of the tree on green felt
  8. Cut out grass from the green felt 
  9. Cut out the tree trunk out of brown felt
  10. Cut out the apple basket with light brown felt 
  11. Thread the sewing machine with dark brown thread to sew a basket design onto the light brown felt
  12. Mark on the green tree part where the apples will be
  13. Sew the 6 snaps on the tree where the apples will be
  14. Sew the other side of the snaps onto the apples 
  15. Sew the tree trunk onto the book page
  16. Sew the grass down
  17. Sew the tree leaves down
  18. Sew the basket down. Careful to leave the basket opening top OPEN
  19. Snap the apples on
Note: For a young toddler, these snaps may be hard for them to use. You may want to consider using velcro instead. 

K. Photo Page
I put this page in the book because I live in a different state than my niece so I wanted to include photos of us together so she would remember me every time she looked at the photos.
  1. Cut out a rectangle shape from the purple felt
  2. Hand stitch the letters "PHOTOS" onto the center of the rectangle
  3. Stitch down the left, bottom, and right side down onto the pink felt page leaving the top open
  4. Put photos inside the Photos pocket 
L. Back Cover

  1. Line up the back page to the front page to see where the elastic would go on the left side 
  2. Pin and stitch down the elastic band. Trim off any excess elastic band 
  3. If you have a tag, stitch that down

M. Sewing Pages Together

  1. Use your sewing machine to sew the edges of the pages together. Note that the back of the front cover is a pink page that we hadn't mentioned before. Use the summary graphic earlier in the blog post as reference for what pages go together. 
N. Binding It All Together

To bind the book together, I used 3/8" grommets and grommet pliers to close the grommets shut. It's pretty fun! Grommets are the gold circular things in the picture above. They are sometimes referred to as eyelets, but grommets are typically for more heavy duty fabrics. You may notice grommets in your shower curtain!
  1. Make thing slits where the grommet markings are on each page. I had purchased a leather hole punch to make these holes, but they actually weren't very effective so I ended up using scissors to make the small slit/hole. (see photos below of the leather hole punch)
  2. Insert the male piece of the grommet (the one with the metal piece that sticks out) on one side of the hole and the flat piece on the other side of the hole
  3. Use the grommet pliers to squeeze the grommet shut. 
  4. Follow this blog for a more detailed description and pictures for how to install grommets 
  5. Cut your cording into 3 strips and loop each strip through the 3 grommets and tie a knot to bind the book together
  6. You may want to lightly run the end of the cording through a flame to melt it a bit to prevent fraying 

Now loop the elastic band around the big button and you're done! Good luck! I'd love to hear how your project went!

Additional References: 

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