Thursday, December 8, 2011

Easy Mini-Book Christmas Ornament Tutorial

If you're a regular reader, you know how much we love books at our house.  A couple years ago, I made Firecracker a felt book ornament to commemorate her learning to read.
I wanted to do something similar for Little Brother this year now that he's really reading too, but I wanted to think of something a little bit different.

After a little experimenting, I came up with these little mini-books.  They're SUPER easy... that might explain how I ended up with all these.

Seriously though, if you're going to get the supplies out to make one, you might as well make 9 or 10...because that's how many book covers you can print in a sheet.

I've seen tutorials around for printing directly onto fabric, but hadn't gotten brave enough to actually try it.  It's opened up whole new worlds of possibilities, including making these.

If you want to try it, here's what you'll need.

  • Green and/or red felt.  I happened to have some glitter felt in my stash, but regular felt works great too.  (I used felt-by-the-yard from my stash, but by trimming the books a tad more, you could get four books out of one piece of colored felt and two pieces of white felt.)
  • White felt
  • Plain white, cotton fabric
  • Heat'n Bond Lite (Regular Heat'n Bond would work fine too...and there are other brands that accomplish the same goal.  Heat'n Bond is iron-on adhesive.  It comes with a paper backing, so you can iron it onto a piece of fabric, peel off the backing, and then attach your fabric to another piece.)
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread to sew by hand
  • 7 inches of 1/8 inch ribbon for hanger
  • Scissors

First you'll need to print your book covers.  I got all my images doing Google Image searches for the books I wanted.  Then I resized them in Word.  You come up with  your own favorites or you can use the ones I came up with.

Click here to download a Word Document with the book covers I used.  If you have Word, you can edit to have just the covers you want.

Click here to download a PDF with the bookcovers I used.

To print the covers, I followed this tutorial from Modern Day Moms.  You'll want to go read her directions.  The only difference was that instead of using freezer paper, I used Heat'n Bond Lite.  (  That way I could iron it right onto my book after cutting out each piece.)  I cut an 8 1/2 x 11 size piece of Heat'n Bond Lite and ironed it to my plain white cotton fabric.  Then you trim around the edges and put it through your printer like you would a piece of paper...just make sure you put it in the right way so it prints on the fabric side rather than the paper side.

You should end up with something that looks like this:

Cut out the covers.  I liked the way it looked if you leave a white border around the edges, but you can trim it as close you you want to.

Peel off the paper backing.

Fold your colored felt in half to figure out how big you'll need it to make your book.  For the amount of border I left on my book covers, I found I needed to cut the felt about 6 1/4 inches by 3 5/8 inches for most of the books.

Iron your cover onto your colored felt.

Cut out your white felt pages and pin inside book cover.  I cut my pages slightly smaller than the cover.   As a general rule, it's an inch less in width and 1/2 inch less in height.  Mine ended up being 5 1/4 inches by 3 1/8 inches.  You can't see it well in the picture, but I also used a pencil to lightly mark the middle of the book.

Then you just sew right down the middle.
Now we just need to add the hanger, which will also help your book naturally stay closed, instead of flopping right open.  I used 1/8 inch ribbon, but you could use embroidery thread or something else.  To get the ribbon through I needed a really thick needle, but you could use a smaller needle if you're using a thinner hanging material.

Tie one double knot close to the book.  This will help keep the book closed.

Then tie a square know at the tips to finish off the loop. 

One of the great things about these, is that they're easy enough for a school aged child to help with.  Firecracker was able to help with some of the sewing and ironing...and LOVED it.

Something else I love about these, is that you can easily add the child's name and year inside with a little note.  (I used this fabric pen.  I tried a ultra fine point sharpie and that didn't work well.  I think a regular tip sharpie would work though.)  Here's Little Brother's...

We gave a whole set of about 8 or 9 of these to Firecracker's librarian who has been super extra nice at encouraging her to read...just when she was getting tired of hearing about it from Mommy and Daddy.  I tried in particular to choose books with characters the elementary school children would recognize.

We also included one as the gift tag with the gifts to Firecracker's teachers.  (More about those gifts tomorrow.)  I wrote their names and the year inside and then Firecracker signed them on another page.

I've had to hide the ones that are still in the house because Sweet Pea wants to carry them all over the place and I'm afraid they'll get lost...and she can carry a lot of them by looping their hangers over her finger.

If you plan on mass producing these, I suggest cutting getting all your materials cut out at once.  I used a cutting mat and quilting ruler, but those aren't necessary.  You could also cut out a template with a piece of cardboard and just trace it.

Then the construction goes really fast putting them together.  I cut all the covers and pages out to fit the typical upright book (like the Grinch, Fancy Nancy, etc).  Some of the book covers were smaller, and for those I just trimmed them down a bit...first the cover and then the inner pages.

Then I had to cut out the extra wide books (like Polar Express) seperately.  You could just choose to use covers of the same size to keep it simple...but I just couldn't leave out Polar Express or a few of the others.

Edited to add:
I also tried out a few variations when I made a few more.
  • No-sew option...I tried using my glue gun down the spine of the book to hold the pages in and it works great!  
  • Muslin page option...I ran out of white felt, so I tried using some muslin.  The muslin is easier to write personal messages on, which is nice.  On the other hand, it also results in a much thinner book, so it all depends on the look you want which one you'd prefer.

Now here's the fun part for you.  I have a few extras that I'm offering as part of a little giveaway in celebration of Christmas and my 501st blog post!  There will be at least 4 winners.... 3 winners of sets of 2 completed ornaments, plus one winner of a printed sheet of covers for you to make into ornaments.  Sorry!  Giveaway is not closed.  I'll select which book/ornaments you get from the ones I have left.  If you're only interested in the completed ornaments or the printed covers, please let me know in your comment.

Here's all you need to do to enter...first you must be a follower/ subscriber (via blogger, Facebook, a blog reader, whatever) to enter.  Then all you need to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas book and how you follow my blog.  Please be sure that you either leave your email with your comment or your blogger account is set up, so I can easily reply to your comment.  Each person can only enter once, so if you make a mistake, go back and delete your extra comment.  The giveaway closes at midnight, December 13th, so I can be sure to get these in the mail in time for Christmas.

And if you love reading as much as we do, you might be interested in my Children's Book archive page here.

And if you're interested in the Baby's First Christmas version, see my post here.

Please show my sponsors some love...
Christmas Sticker Book - From Lisa @ Usborne Books
"Holiday Cheer" Reversible Bib - From Mimi and the Boy
The Real Santa - Art Print from Prints of Peace


  1. These are adorable and would be perfect for my kindergartner learning to read this year! One of my favorites is how the grinch stole christmas. hlvognetz at yahoo dot com

  2. These turned out really cute, Polly! Great idea!

  3. I adore these! I'll be sharing them at The Storage Geek today. So cute!

    P.S. Our favourite Christmas book right now is Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas. (Ok, it' mine) Wednesday Loves Get Dressed Santa by Tommy De Paola

    P.S. I am a FB and blogger follower.

  4. so cute! Love them. I am a follower and my fav xmas book is the polar express.

  5. Love this! My daughter is a Fancy Nancy fan! They are so cute in little book style. I am thinking I have everything on hand to make them, but may put paper rather than felt inside =) Thanks for sharing!

  6. I wish you lived closer so I could come do this stuff with you and our kids could play together! :) lol. My favorite Christmas book is The Light of Christmas. And I follow you on facebook =) these are way too cute! The hard part is figuring out how to get to the fabric store with these three munchkins.. =/

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  8. I would love a set of these ornaments! My son has a tree in his room and he would just adore hanging them up!! Thanks!!! I follow you on FB And through Blogger!

  9. I follow your blog! My favorite Christmas book is The Tiny Star!

    shelly at flottfamily dot com

  10. Congratulations on 500 blog posts! I would love to receive a set of ornaments or the printed sheet. I follow you on my blog roll. My favorite Christmas story is Luke chapter 2.

  11. These are adorable, Polly! I follow via google friend connect and my *favorite* christmas book this moment is Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree. (Of course, it could change at any moment.) :)

  12. How fun! This will be so fantastic for our school librarian! I'm a follower!

  13. Polly! These are SO sweet! I was just thinking this is our last year for alphabet ornaments and what would I replace them with. Now I know. My favorite Christmas book is Mary's First Christmas and I follow you via Facebook.

  14. How fun!! I am a follower through blog roll call. My favorite Christmas book is The Night Before Christmas.

  15. These are adorable, and will be pinned for sure =)

    My favorite Christmas book is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and I would love to win whatever you have available.

    I follow with Google Friend Connect

  16. These are absolutely wonderful! I'm so glad I saw the link to your site today... I'm a first time visitor but will definately return to browse. I just liked you on FB and I've bookmarked you as well.

    My favorite Christmas book is "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever" though I have many other favorites as well. In fact if you get a chance come on by

    A few weeks ago my blog partner and I posted 10 holiday favorites... and if you're interested we are also having a giveaway that runs til the 12th. Thanks again for a great idea and a wonderful post! I would LOVE to win!

  17. Right now one of my favorite Christmas picture books is Christmas is Here by Lauren Castillo. Love the book ornament idea! I think I might make some paper versions of your ornaments using my mini book template. If you are interested, here is my mini book post:

  18. Keeping the kids involved is win win combo in pre holiday craftsmanship. I love when the family is focused and bringing something together. Nice tutorial and great ornaments :) Thank you and happy holidays.

  19. My favorite Christmas book is Santas Toy Shop its a book I read when I was small.

  20. Only one? I'm not gonna get the name quite right, but "Mortimer's Christmas Manger."

    I love the story and just discovered it last year. So, there's that whole range of childhood favorites.

  21. I appreciated your kind way of knowledge.Great Stuff Here..hope more to come.

  22. what a cute idea. These are so fun. I love the message written inside.


  23. Adorable! And I love that you used Heat n Bond...two birds with one stone!

  24. New follower! Love this idea! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas!

    Lad underscore 76 @ hotmail dot com


  25. These are amazing! They are so personal. I'm in love!

    Michaela @

  26. Such a cute idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  27. These are so Adorable!!! My Favorite Christmas book is The Night Before Christmas!!! Merry Christmas & Thank you so much for a chance to win!!!

  28. This is so great!!! Hands down the best idea that I have seen. This would be perfect for our book advent. Thank you, thank you!!! I would love for you to share this on the CSI Project this week. The theme is ornaments. Come by everyday to see a tutorial. Then link up starting Wednesday at midnight!!!!
    We have a great giveaway too!

    Dee, the CSI girl

  29. Love this idea! And your tutorial and photos explain how to do it so well! Thanks for the tips and tricks!

  30. I really wish I knew how to use a sewing machine!!! I love these!

  31. Oh how FUN!!! what a GREAT gift idea for a local library... This is even just great for my daughters American Girl Doll's... I would love for you to share this here...

  32. Absolutely adorable!! Great job!

  33. Adorable, thanks for the tutorial and PDF. I just taught my granddaughter to use the sewing machine, she will be thrilled to have a project like this.

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  35. I like you on Facebook. I am not sure about my favorite children's Christmas book, but my favorite winter picture book is "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats.

  36. I love these little book ornaments:) Thank you for sharing the tutorial! I follow on facebook and thru google reader. My favorite Christmas book is the Night Before Christmas:) Have a very Merry Christmas:)

  37. These are adorable! What a fabulous idea. I haven't used printable fabric either but now I might have to give it a try.

  38. Wow! I know the giveaway is done by now, but I had to tell you how amazed I am. I just found your blog tonight via abcand123 blog.
    These little book ornaments are the cutest things I've ever seen! You should sell these on ETSY or something. I'd buy about 100 of them! I am not very creative and don't sew. I am a bit intimidated, but I may try these.
    We are huge book lovers here and my passion and hobby is childrens literature, so I am drooling over here! You are so creative!

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  40. These are gorgeous, what an original and wonderful idea!

  41. these are so darling what a fun idea I have a few friends that are reading fiends. I'd love you to add this to my What We Wore and Made Party over at

  42. What a CUTE idea!! LOVE it! I am your newest follower! I'd love for you to follow me back, if you want to =-) I would love for you to come link up at my TGIF LInky Party - - I know my readers would love to see!!
    Merry Christmas,
    Beth =-)

  43. Those are really cute!! What a fabulous idea- this would be great for a school or library tree!

  44. WOW! Love it! I'll have to e-mail the school librarian about these!

  45. Hi Polly, these are adorable. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  46. These are so cute! I'm making one for each of my book club members using the book they liked most this year (we don't all read the same book, we each bring what we're reading and discuss it.)

  47. Oh, I meant to ask - I have just the cheapo felt squares from Michaels - is that fine or do I need something nicer? This is intended to be my daughter's ornament for the year that will hopefully last a long time - I didn't know if there was a felt quality issue :). Thanks!

  48. Wow these are awesome! I love that your daughter helped sew. Thanks for linking and look for your post to be featured in this week's A Crafty Soiree.

  49. 'Polly' thank you for sharing nice information about Christmas Ornament. Here people are crazy for getting these types of Christmas gifts.

  50. These are so cute! I think they would make great gifts, too. I'm trying to get a jump on the holidays this year and I can't wait to try this!

    I would love it if you would share this at my new 12 Days of Christmas in July linky party. You can link up here:

    I can’t wait to get organized for a peaceful and frugal holiday season!

  51. OMG. I made these last year from your tutorial. I love them. I made a bunch of them. In fact they are right on the counter now along with all of the other craft/Christmas stuff. This place is such a wreck right now. I'm making ornaments for Christmas. Oh, I also have a Christmas Ornament Party going on right now on my blog and would love to have you link up this ornament and any others you have. I thank you for this tutorial. Had lots of fun making it. I printed out the covers of Christmas children's books and made them into little felt books just like you showed. Nice. Thanks again. Linda


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