Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Let's Make a Book Nook!

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Girls,

When I go to Barnes and Noble, my first stop is always the magazine section.  I try to scoop up at least five magazines before one of my boys leaves my side (runs away) in search of the train table and stage in the children’s section.  Getting a chance to “read,” AKA look at pictures in a magazine because I’m actually supposed to be supervising my children while at Barnes and Noble, is my idea of a REALLY good time. 

On my latest picture-skim-adventure, I saw this photo in Country Living.

It got me thinking … could I make one?  Maybe turn it into a book nook?  Wait, even better, could I make one, let it be a book nook, and give it to my best friend’s twins for their first birthday?

When I got home, I also checked out this tutorial at the Cakies blog online.

I liked the center dowel in the tutorial version, but missed the wooden braces on the bottom like in the Country Living version.  I also noticed that both versions kept the wood natural/wood stained.  I began to imagine a bit more funkiness in the final product. 

Feeling inspired, off to Home Depot we went. 

Here are the steps I followed to make the book nook for the twins:

1.  Purchase Supplies:
  •  2 - 1" x 2" x 8 ft pieces of wood (cut these in half making them 48 inches each - for a total of 4 boards)
  •  1 - 3/4" x 48" wooden dowel
  •  2 - 1/2" x 48" wooden dowels
The holes drilled into the top of the boards are explained below.

2.  Drill Holes
  • Line up the four boards.
  • Measure down 6 inches on each board.
  • Drill a hole on each board with a 3/4 inch drill bit.
  • Now, at the other end of each board, measure down 1 1/2 inches.
  • Drill a hole with a 1/2 inch drill bit on each board.
       3.  Sand
             Sand down all the rough edges with a palm sander for a nice smooth finish.
       4.  Assemble
  • Grab two of your boards.
  • Line up the holes that are six inches down on top of each other.
  • Push the 3/4 in. dowel through the center of the hole.
  • Repeat with the other two boards.
  • This should be a tight fit.
  • Now slide the two dowels through the bottom holes on each side.

5.  Paint
I painted the tent frame with craft paint from Michael's.  (Check out the photos below to see the painted frame.)

6.  Sew a Tent Cover
In search of tent fabric, I headed out shopping again.  I needed fabric that was about 48" x 86", so I figured I could get 2 1/2 yards, a rectangular tablecloth, a curtain, or a twin sheet set. Here’s how that shopping trip panned out:  Jo Ann Fabrics  (the fabric I loved was a bit too expensive), Big Lots (one option, but it was red, not my friend’s favorite), Goodwill (hoping for something with a vintage flair – no luck), WalMart (nothing fun), Home Goods (again, nothing, boo!), and finally Target (Bingo - a gender-neutral twin sheet set with a fun pattern on sale for $17 packaged inside a cute drawstring bag – score).  Do you find as much joy as I do that the tent for twins is covered in a twin sheet?

Here’s how I sewed the fabric cover:
-Use two of the existing sheet seams (major score) for one side and bottom.

-With the frame of the tent assembled, measure the width of the tent add one inch, cut the sheet, and sew the side with a 1/2 inch seam.

-Sew a slot for one of the bottom dowels with the existing sheet seam.  I folded the bottom edge up two inches and sewed straight across the top.

-Place the cover on the tent.  Insert the dowel through the one end you just sewed.  Pull the tent really tight.  Figure out where you want to sew the next dowel slot.  Now add 3 inches - 1 inch to create a 1/2 inch seam and 2 inches to form the dowel slot.  

-Cut the fabric.  Sew a 1/2 inch seam and then fold the bottom up two inches and sew straight across the top.

-Place the tent cover through both dowels and admire your work.

The paint color is Martha Stewart Crafts - Satin Finish - Love Bird.
Once the fabric was added, it just seemed like it needed something more...maybe a monogram (or two on a tent for twins)?  Off to Jo Ann's I went again.  This time in search of some fabrics that would pull the whole tent together, something manly for the boy "L" and feminine for the girl "A", and perfect with the existing colors.  Then, I read up on how to applique fabric and got to work.  Here's my process:

7.  Monogram Applique
First, using Microsoft Word, I choose fonts for each of the twin's first initials. Then I printed them out on card stock paper.  I cut out the initials and used them as my pattern.

The A is Monotype Corsiva, bold, size 700.  The L (below) is American Typewriter, size 700.

Next, I pinned down the letters, backwards, and on the wrong side of the fabric.  I traced the letters with a pencil.

To give the initials more "wow" on the tent, I cut out a circle (using a plate for the pattern) to applique the initial to.

Then, I got sewing.  I used matching thread because even though I thought it would be cute to use contrasting thread, I didn't trust my sewing skills.  To sew the letters on the circle, I used a small zigzag stitch.

Finally, I pinned the circles onto the tent fabric.  This fabric was awesome because the leaves formed straight lines and I could easily center both letters on each side.  Then, I got my applique on again and zigzagged my way around that circle.

Take a look at each letter on the finished tent.

8.  Finishing Touches

Book Bag

Remember that cute drawstring bag that the Target sheets came in?  Well, I thought it could be used for a book bag in the book nook.  Since every bag needs a peg to hang on, I purchased a 1/4 inch dowel and cut it into a 3 inch piece. I painted the dowel piece yellow (craft paint, Apple Barrel in the color Sunny Day) and drilled a 1/4 inch hole for the peg.  Within minutes, that hook put the book in book nook.

Entrance Signs

In my opinion, this book nook needed some signs, so we made them.  Using foam-core board I cut out a rectangle 5 x 11 1/2 inches .  Then my youngest son painted them yellow.  I added some white paint with a dry brush.  I'm no decorative painter, but it seemed like a good idea.
Then, I called over my oldest son to paint the words.  We made two signs, double sided.  Two are book themed:  Shhh! and Book Nook.  The other two are twin (turning one-year-old) themed:  Twins Only and 1 and Over We I.D.

After the paint dried (a little, you know I'm impatient), I punched two holes and knotted some ribbon on each sign.

My boys happily tried out the book nook in the backyard.  I put some books under that tent, and no joke, they voluntarily started reading.  This thing actually works!

 Here are some detail shots for you...
Bottom dowel

And that is how you make a twin book nook from a twin sheet.

Book Nook

Off to the post office, 

P.S.  Wouldn't this be great in a classroom?  I'm totally a teacher at heart.  When, I'm not sewing, I'm busy creating free resources for teachers at my Brain Waves Instruction store.  If you're a teacher, stop by and see what's new.  

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  My favorite part of this nook is the way you used the sheet bag as a book tote!  I also love the sweet signs painted by the kids.  I think I could make the signs in this project.  


Anonymous said...

This is so cute!
- Karry

Naptime Notebook said...

Thanks Karry. This coming from the Craft Goddess!

Mrs. Gosling said...

I love how the boys are so involved in your projects! Now, can you please whip up 2 of those and bring them over. I'll make lemon loaf!

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