By Christine Koh
Coming from a family of seven kids (+ spouses and partners), it was a blissful day when my siblings and I decided to stop exchanging holiday gifts amongst our generation, instead focusing on time spent together and only gifting the wee generation and elders. And while it’s wonderful to be relieved of the considerable task of shopping for all of those grownups, I still like to offer a little holiday token, typically in the form of homemade treats.
A couple of years ago I decided to forgo sugary confections in favor of creating photo bookmarks, which I adore because they are pretty and creative photo gifts that inspire a connection to books. My family went crazy over them and I’ve since made these bookmarks for clients, in simple photo form and as birthday invitations, baby announcements, and even memorial tokens via typesetting on the reverse.
8.5″×11″ cardstock 1 sheet yields 4 bookmarks.
Coordinating decorative paper
1/4″ satin ribbon
Cellophane sleeves (optional)
X-Acto knife and cutting mat
1/8″ hole punch
Step 1: Using a rotary trimmer (or X-Acto knife and cutting mat), arrange 8.5″×11″ cardstock in landscape orientation and cut into 4 equal-width pieces (i.e. four 2.75″×8.5″ pieces).
Step 2: Cut decorative paper into 2.25″×8.25″ pieces, as many as you have bookmarks. I recommend selecting a decorative paper with a small pattern. Also, when I’m making a large batch of bookmarks for my family, I either opt for a neutral pattern or create 2 cardstock/decorative paper options (i.e. one version that is man-friendly). Through this tutorial you’ll see 2 variations: gold floral paper on green cardstock and vintage stamp paper on mustard cardstock.
Step 3: Select your digital photo and crop it down tight to an approximate square using a photo editing program. Open a Word document and set all margins to 0.25″. Insert your picture and change the width of the picture to 1.9″ (this will allow you to include 4 images in a row; 2″ is a tad too wide). Copy and paste the image as many times as you need for your quantity of bookmarks. Print the photos on photo paper and trim to size using a rotary trimmer or X-Acto knife.
Step 4: Use a glue stick to cover the back of the decorative paper along the edges and loosely in the middle. Attach to the cardstock, aligning at the top edge (you will have a 0.25″ cardstock border on 3 sides, excluding the top side). If your decorative paper is delicate, apply glue to the cardstock (except for a 0.25″ border on the sides and bottom) and lay the decorative paper over it. As you go, place the bookmarks under a heavy book to flatten. Add double-sided tape to the back of your photo. Attach to assembled the bookmark, about 1″ down from the top of the bookmark.
Step 5: Punch a hole in the center of each bookmark, between the top of the bookmark and photo. Cut a 10″ piece of satin ribbon. Fold the ribbon in half and push the folded end from front to back through the hole. Thread the 2 ribbon ends through the loop and gently pull the loop closed. Tie a knot to hold the ribbon loop in place. Trim the 2 ribbon edges on an angle.
Step 6: (Optional) To protect the bookmarks I insert them into cellophane bags (I use 4 5/16″×9¾”). Then I arrange them in a basket and have my family pick which style they want.
Note: To add custom text to your bookmarks, set up a Word document in landscape orientation. Set the margins to 0″ all around. Insert a 4-column (1 row) table and set it to no borders. Type your desired text, moving the text down to the desired height on the bookmark. Make sure the text does not extend into the left and right paper margins beyond 0.25″ on each side. Print and then follow starting at Step 1 above. When you glue on the decorative paper, be sure to attach with the reverse text right side up.
About the Author:
Christine Koh is a music and brain scientist turned freelance writer, editor, and designer. She is the founder and editor of Boston Mamas, the designer behind Posh Peacock, and writes a personal blog at Pop Discourse. She resides in the Boston area with her husband and 5-year-old daughter. She tweets about it all: @bostonmamas.