craft verb \'kraft\ to create with care, skill and intention

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Passport to Fun

I don't know how much "Toot & Puddle" you guys watch - thankfully I don't have to watch it as much I used to :) One thing I love about the kiddie show though is the little saying "The more places you go, the more you know." So simple, but so true. The more different kinds of places you go and the more different kinds of people you meet, the more you know about the world and the more you learn about appreciating similarities and differences in other cultures. So I have decided to do something a little crazy this summer: I'm going to take my kids on a trip around the world. Okay, I know what you're thinking: "Wow, that envelope budgeting system must be awesome!" And it is...but not quite that awesome. Yeah, we don't actually have the tens of thousands of dollars that it would take to haul our family of 7 all over the globe Brangelina style.

So, we are going to do the next best thing and take an imaginary trip around the world. We will spend time on every continent visiting a variety of countries (18 in all if we stay on schedule - no promises there). The benefit of this kind of journey is that we can travel not only through space but also through time. For instance, I don't know how interested my kids would be in modern Hungarian culture, but I think they will find learning that Hungary was the birthplace of vampire mythology to be very cool indeed. When we visit Mexico we will make a modern pinata, but we will also do an Aztec pottery craft. I am so excited about this and I have been compiling info for months now. We are "leaving" for our first destination next week ~ Mexico ~ and so I have been spending this week getting our passports in order. Our Passports to Fun, that is.

Would you like to join us for all or part of our journey? I will be posting things here, recipes and crafts and such so that anyone who wants to come with can easily do so. If you would like to make passports for your kids to help them document their adventures, here's how I did mine. But first, remember that it's all about having fun! Nothing has to be perfect. This isn't for a guest spot on Martha Stewart or's just about fun things to do as a family.

The very first thing I did was to create 2 documents in Word. You will see pictures of them in the following steps. One is a personal info page that includes a place for me to attach a school picture for each child. The other is an info page for each country we visit. If you would like to use these documents, just email me or mention it in comments and I will be happy to send them to you. Each page will be one quarter page of an 8.5"x11" sheet of regular printer paper, which means that I will be cutting each piece of paper in half crosswise to make 2 pieces that are each 8.5"x5.5". I decided that I wanted my cover to be just a little larger than the inner pages, so I used 12"x12" scrapbook paper (Bazzill Basics in "Admiral") and trimmed it down to 6"x9".

Then I folded each piece in half lengthwise to make my little book cover 4.5"x 6". You want to use something to give you a nice sharp crease at the fold. If you have a fancy bone folder then more power to ya :) Me, I used the flat edge of this plastic camping knife.

I decorated the front with stamps from the dollar bin at Michael's and some gold ink. I discovered (a few days later) as I continued to work with these that the gold ink kept rubbing off on my fingers. I blasted it with a couple of shots of hairspray and that took care of the problem.

This is the country info page. It is printed on the front and on the back.

I cut the pages in half crosswise and then folded them. I used my fancy-pants creasing tool again to make sure the creases were sharp so the pages will lay nice and flat for me. Before we go on, let me say that the most straightforward way to assemble all of this would be to nest your pages together, nest the pages inside the cover, and then staple the whole mess together through the spine. If your stapler will cooperate with you in that method, go for it. Mine wouldn't, so I had to use a different but almost-as-easy method.

Here you can see the personal info page on the left, which will be the first page of our passport. Because I am {50% planning, 50% hoping} to visit 18 countries I used 5 of the country info half-pages. That will actually give us 20 info pages, but I'm okay with having some extras. I nested each of these pages inside of each other, then nested that group inside the folded page for the personal info. Does that make any sense at all? It's very easy to do, but I feel like I'm making it sound complicated. Sorry :)

Open your little booklet to the middle and use a sharp object to poke 3 holes in the crease - 1 in the middle and 1 about an inch or so from the top and the bottom. As you can see, I used my seam ripper. You can use an awl, an ice pick, or whatever works for you.

Get a needle and 30-35" of thread. You won't actually need that much, but it's a lot easier to work with long tails and you can trim it after it's tied off. Thread your needle leaving the thread doubled and do not knot the end. Okay, picture the top hole as 1, the middle hole as 2, and the bottom hole as 3. Bring your needle up (from the backside to the front) up through hole 1. Leave a tail of several inches of thread at the back and hold it with one of your fingers (or a piece of tape if that's easier). Take your needle down through hole 2, back up through hole 3, back down through hole 2, then tie it off on the backside. Trim the tails down to a half inch or so.

This is how the little booklets look at this point. I'm quite enamored with them :)

Now open your cover and smear the whole thing with some kind of adhesive. I used Mod Podge.

I tried a few different ways of doing this, but I'm only going to show you the one that worked best for me. Lay the closed booklet onto the adhesive on the back half of the cover, snug it right up into the crease, then close the cover.

With the cover closed, smooth everything together (that's my $6 brayer ~ woo hoo!) from the front and back sides.

Open up the passport and smooth the front and back covers from the inside. Be gentle, the paper tears easily while the adhesive is still wet. Close it up and hit the spine with your creasing tool one more time.

To make sure they dried nice and flat, I set a phonebook and some weights on top of them for a little while.

Here's what it looks like when you open it up!

Here's the finished passport! They are so fun! This is a pretty long post for a project that was pretty quick and easy. If you want to do something similar but a little less involved, go for it! Your kids will love whatever you do. They don't care nearly as much about perfection as we do :)

Have fun!

Party at Beth's!

Hop on over to Meg's party too!

A Little Knick Knack

1 comment:

SarahinOK said...

If you want to do India, let me know and I'll cook up an Indian feast that we can sit around on the floor and eat with our hands, play Indian music, and get out all our Indian type stuff... ;)