Fashioning your own ABC book is easier than you might think

August 2 | Guest post by Claire Chambers
A is for Appleโ„ข, B is for Bunny
All photos by Claire Chambers.

Have you seen most ABC books? Yawn. I wanted to create a book for my daughter Olive that would be tactile and interactive… and awesome. I wanted to show her things that mean something to me and her father. You know, important things like trademarked characters and ice cream. So I raided my stash of felt and set to work with scissors and a hot glue gun… and a gob of fake hair.

I cut every piece by hand, thus the general wonkyness. I created a few pattern pieces, but mostly it was just easier to cut them free hand.

C is for Candy, D is for Daddy

E is for Egg, F is for Flowers

Flower details

I incorporated a few photos, too. O is for Olive, of course. The photos turned out being some of the simplest pages to make. Photo, thin sheet of plastic, felt, glue, go:
M is for Mama, N is for Numbers

U is for Unicorn, V is for Vegetables

Zelda is one of the few princesses who doesn't make me want to throw up… even if she is mostly just baggage to be saved for most of the video games. She really comes into her own around the Majora's Mask era, however. But I digress.
Zelda detail

You can see the book in its entirety in the slideshow!

  1. Wow, I LOVE it!! I might have to steal this idea some day… how is it holding up to wear?

    3 agree
    • Hi Maya,
      Please DO steal the idea! So far, it's holding up to wear pretty well…but the fake hair is a mess! So far, that's Olive's favorite page. I have a feeling page H will be going bald eventually.

  2. I LOVE THIS. Making one next week!

    "M is for Mt Holyoke, T is for t-bird, W is for Weezer…….."

  3. I love the TEXTURE, and so will babies. Another idea is to take photos of household objects and family members and laminate them into a book or scrapbook. Kids like familiar stuff!

  4. That's awesome! We did something similar with pictures cut from magazines, but ours wasn't so pretty or tactile. Since I'm not having any more babies to make one for, I might have to steal this idea for a baby shower present.

  5. WOW, I love that!!! I really want to make one…did it take forever to cut out all those felt pieces? I suppose I could make a less labor intensive version by using more pictures. I'm also curious as to how it's holding up to wear.

  6. My sister made a photo ABC book for my son that has important people and pets and things to his first year corresponding to the alphabet. He loves looking at it and pointing at all his people! Plus, he's learning the letters! =)

  7. Just got back from the craft store with a bundle of felt — love this idea!!

    1 agrees
  8. It might be worth checking with your local library or school to see if you can make use of their Ellison-Die-Cut machine. Those suckers are expensive, but if you can find a machine to use, it's WAY easier to cut out different flannel shapes that the library or school might own. One of the libraries in my area makes a die-cut machine available for anyone to use as long as you bring your own supplies. Also, though most people think of those machines as being for paper, they work fabulously for flannel.

    What a FANTASTIC idea! This is definitely my next baby shower present ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Construction question – how on earth did you sew through all of the pages to do the book binding? I'm trying to think of sewing through 8 pieces of felt folded in half with my sewing machine and it makes my machine want to cry. My husband and I totally spent half an hour brainstorming our letters, by the way ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • You're thinking too hard! I can't answer for the original poster but it looks to me like 1) the felt wasn't folded in half prior to sewing; you just sew down the middle and then fold it in half over the stitches and 2) those red stitches on the M page look to be hand stitched. Just get a big, heavy duty needle and some button thread and do it the old fashioned way. For a small book with big stitches it should still only take a few minutes.

    • Right, exactly as Anie said. There's no way my poor little sewing machine could handle all that felt. Just lay your pieces in order, and sew up the middle with a very large needle. I used embroidery floss doubled over as thread, and so far it's holding up well.

  10. this looks fantastic.

    i created some felt letters for my daughter which she LOVES….she loves books so combining them both seems like a brilliant idea.

    well done!

    1 agrees
  11. This is such a great idea!! I cannot wait until my sister has kids. Hopefully, her two dogs, Addy and Zoey, are still around at that point, 'cuz those are the perfect names to start and end the alphabet with!

  12. One of my favorite keepsakes from my husband's childhood is a felt activity book his mom made for him. We're keeping it for our kids. I'm sure your little one will treasure this, too!

    1 agrees
  13. Can you tell me the measurements of the pages you used? We're having a hard time deciding on how big/little the pages should be and finding felt the right size! I'm really excited to try this out ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Thank you, we're going with having each sheet 20" wide by 10" tall as this used our large sheets of felt the best.

        I really can't thank you enough for this idea, we've already made a good start on the book for our little girl – i just know she is going to LOVE it ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Hi Claire,

        We're ready to sew the pages together now but I realised I have no idea what sort of stitch to use to connect the pages together, could you please tell me what stitch you used (as I noticed above you said it was holding up well so far).

        Thank you again,
        Laura

        • It's just a plain old straight stitch. I used a few pieces of embroidery floss, doubled over and knotted at the end just like regular thread. I'd love to see your book once you're ready to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Thanks Claire. I'll send you some photos once we've finished it, even though it's a lot of hard work we are really enjoying making this for her so thank you again for sharing this awesome idea ๐Ÿ™‚

          • It's wonderful!! You did such an awesome job. Love the octopus page- a brilliant touch! I wish I had incorporated more ribbon. Thank you so much for sending the link over!

            1 agrees
  14. I most definitely plan on making one of these as a gift for my niece's 1st birthday coming up in October! My brain is now scrambling with ideas for letter pages. ๐Ÿ˜€ I'm thinking R is for Rainbow, D is for Dinosaur…

  15. Love this! I think that you finally convinced me to do this project. It seemed so daunting but yours shows that it can be easy and still come out great and look durable.

  16. LOVE this, but is the glue safe? I'm really wanting to make it for a friend's baby, but she's a very concerned parent and I'm worried she will veto it for the possibility of sucking on/swallowing gluey pieces. I'll do a little research myself on what's in hot glue and post back here if I find out anything. Anybody else already know?

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