Friday, December 16, 2011

Making Bookmarks

A few weeks ago, I was browsing around on and came across this thread on "What do you use for a bookmark?".  As an avid reader, bookmarks are fact of life.  I read several books a week (usually sequentially), but rarely do I finish a book in one setting.  Hence, a bookmark. 

I have a hidden passion for bookmarks.  Beautiful ones with colorful tassels, cartoons with jokes, inspirational quotes, even those impractical metal ones with the beads and ribbons hanging off the end.  When I was younger I had quite the bookmark collection going.  In my modern, book-reading life, however, bookmarks are most often a scrap of paper, a receipt, an (unused) Kleenex, or even a dryer sheet.  In short, whatever happens to be near at hand at the exact moment that the book needs to be set down.  I've found over the years that my fancy bookmarks are often top-heavy and fall out of books while I read, or I put them down and then don't find them, or even more likely, they end up staying in the book and I move on to a new book with no bookmark.

But, back to the book forum.  Reading through this thread of fellow book lovers re-inspired my thoughts of beautiful, fun, creative bookmarks.  There were several readers, like me, who used household scraps to hold the place in their book.  There were several more who told of creating all sorts of fun personal bookmarks.  After reading several people's ideas, I decided to try for myself.  Here are the results of my first set of bookmarks.

My plan was to use colorful scrapbooking paper and a small personal laminitor that I've bought for my classroom.  My first night of efforts turned out pretty good, but kind of rough.  They were different lengths as I adjusted what felt most comfortable to me.  I used several different sheets of scrapbooking paper, so ended up with a fun variety.  I shared a few of those with some of my fellow teachers who like to read.  I did want to go a bit further, and get a bit more elaborate, so on my next go-around, ended up with the bookmarks pictured here. These were inspired as 2 individual sets to give to some friends as a host/hostess gift slash Christmas present.

In this first set of pictures - for her.  She's a Harry Potter fan, and has read the books and watched the movies.  In fact, we've watched 2 of the movies together, so I can attest to her fanhood. I decided I wanted to create something Harry Potter themed, but give it a fun, girly twist.  In the set of 5 bookmarks, each has a fun tassel, ribbon, or beaded ribbon that will stick out of the book.  On the front, on white cardstock, I printed out some fun phrases and pictures that have to do with Harry Potter.  On the back of each bookmark I put a fun colored pattern of scrapbooking paper.

Here is a close up of the tasseled bookmarks.  I actually found a website that gave instructions on making bookmark tassels, so they worked well here.  I have a Super Fun tiny hole punch that punches a Star instead of a round circle.  I used that on the bookmarks to create the hole for the ribbons and tassels to thread through.  For these bookmarks, the pink tassel has a quote from Luna Lovegood, "You're just as sane as me" with her fun glasses.  The blue tassel has a quote from Albus Dumbledore to Harry in the first movie, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

This is one of my favorite fun tassels.  This tassel consists of 3 different ribbons, beads, and some charms.  The main ribbon is a colorful white with bright stars.  The thinner two ribbons are complimentary colors that match some of the stars.  Each of the solid ribbons are threaded with bright, primary colored plastic tube beads on one strand and a metal star charm on the other.  The beads and charms are spaced out using knots to give it more dimension.  The star ribbon is also tied at the end (to prevent fraying) and has a small black bead at the knot.  On the bookmark itself, there is an envelope, complete with stamps, addressed to Harry Potter in the Cupboard under the Stairs.

This bookmark is one of my favorites.  It starts out with a quote from Hermione to Ron, "You've got the Emotional Range of a Teaspoon."  It has an elegantly simple tassel of a soft, satin-finished deep maroon ribbon.  This thick ribbon drapes elegantly from the book, reminding me of Hermione's simple elegance.

For this last bookmark in the series, I chose the quote that applies to many of us, "I grew up with the boy who lived in the cupboard under the stairs."  I think this is true, especially for this series.  This was a long series of books, realistically appearing about every year, so you really did feel like you were growing up with Harry and living his life.  Having the movies come out in the same timespan, with the same actors who we watched grow up, reinforced this idea.  Now that all the books are out, people will be able to read the books much quicker and not have quite this same experience.  I wanted this tassel to be simple, but again, a little more interesting than the basic tassel.  I chose a two-toned black ribbon with a thin gold ribbing.  I cut it just long enough that it will stick out above the books pages perhaps an inch, and cut the ends into a finished V shape.

Here are the backs of all the above bookmarks.  I chose color-coordinating prints to go with the tassels and what was on the front of the bookmark.  After putting the scrapbooking paper together with the front of the bookmark, each was laminated, and then trimmed to shape before the tassels were added.  Overall, I'm fairly pleased with these bookmarks and hope that they will be enjoyed for years to come.

Now, on to the next set.  They aren't as "bookish" - being more themed based for the person they were made for than related to any literary excerpts.  The theme of this was for a first-year science teacher.  He's teaching middle school science, so a little bit of all the basic science themes.  My plan for his set was to have some sort of science or teacher related graphic on the front, and colorful paper on the back.  No tassels here, because - well, are tassels manly?  Not sure about that. These bookmarks will work equally well for reading books or to mark the place in the textbook between classes.

These first two.  A mad scientist.  What else for a science teacher?  As a science teacher myself, you have to be a bit mad during class, and the crazier the experiment is, the more the students will remember it and get involved.  (And anyway, they probably think we're crazy anyway because we care about all this science stuff).  Then, the second one has a basic science rule that is true, but always makes us laugh during the safety video,  "What I learned in the Lab:  Hot Glass Looks the Same as Cold Glass."  Oops.  It's funny because it's true.

Next up:  "Trust me, I'm a Science Teacher."  Just a fun science phrase.  Then, "Warning:  Mad Science At Work."  Same reasoning as the mad scientist.  And my favorite, "Back in my day, PLUTO was a planet."  LOL.

And here are the backs of these bookmarks.  Some repetition, because I'm afraid I had quite a few girly scrapbooking pages, and not so many neutral ones.  That's okay - I think that makes this look more like a set, anyway. 


  1. They're awesome! I came to visit here because of your Goodreads post. I've enjoyed that thread too and I'm glad to meet someone who is as avid about bookmarks as I am, but is also really creative!

  2. Thanks! I've been having a lot of fun over the past few weeks making all sorts of other bookmarks. I'll have to put together another blog post to show some of the new ones. I did handmade sets for Christmas with quotes from favorite books / themes for some of my family. Also, I've been playing around with some scrapbooking tools to cut fun corners and paly with colorful scrapbooking papter. Fun! :)