Mini Book Charms (with tutorial)

I’ve got two friends who are celebrating their birthdays soon and I decided (as usual) to make their presents. The first one was easy, I just stenciled the Lord of the Rings inscription along the hem of a black shirt. Since I’d already given them the same present last year, I decided I had to think of a different present for the second one this year.

Luckily, I remembered one of my friends linking to one of those online shops that sell mini book charms and I remember thinking back then ‘Hey, I could make that’. So, I decided to make a book charm necklace for the second friend. (The thing with friends who love books is that there are a lot of choices for book-related presents). I decided to go with Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, but of course, I couldn’t just make one, hence the abundance of mini book charms

The Stargirl charm is 1.5" tall, the others are all 1" tall

The Stargirl charm is 1.5″ tall, the others are all 1″ tall

Details and tutorial inside

I started with Google image search to find the book covers. It’s really hard to find more than the front cover of the book, though. So for the ones where I didn’t have the spine and the back, I just picked a color from the front and added it to the image using Gimp (an image editor), sized large enough for the back cover and the spine. I think I did a 0.5″ spine for the image, which was actually too large, but that’s ok.

I put all the book images I wanted in one image sized to 8r (8″x10″) and had it printed on silk paper at one of the printing shops here. It’s 60pesos for one 8r (around $1.50).

As you can see, I found a wrap around cover of one version of The Westing Game and The Hobbit. But for The Westing Game on the upper left, I had to use just a plain color

As you can see, I found a wrap around cover of one version of The Westing Game and The Hobbit. But for The Westing Game on the upper left, I had to use just a plain color

Cut out the book image, and fold along the spine edges to make the mini book. I used an awl to put a hole along the top of the spine and put in a ring to make the mini book a charm.

Folding along the spine using my metal ruler

Folding along the spine using my metal ruler

Book image folded with the metal ring at the top of the spine

Book image folded with the metal ring at the top of the spine

I had a bunch of loose pages from an old book that I turned into a hollow book, and I used those as the pages for the book charms. I measured the width and height of the book and made sheets twice the width of the book and folded them in half to make the pages. I used a bulldog clip to keep everything in place and used glue to put everything together. Kept it pressed together with the bulldog clip and let the glue dry.

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I used Diamond Glaze to cover the whole book and make it more or less waterproof. I covered the spine and the front cover with a thin layer and let dry. Then I did a thin layer on the back and let that dry. Then I did a layer around the book edges and hung it up to dry. (All this waiting for stuff to dry takes time, I suggest watching a show to pass time, or something.)

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Here’s a different angle of the books I made:

The book on top is Ender's Game. I was able to find the spine (but not the back) of Stargirl

The book on top is Ender’s Game (plain back and spine). I was able to find the spine (but not the back) of Stargirl

Learn from my mistakes!

– Don’t be tempted to cheat on the pages just because cutting them out and putting them together is tedious. Your book charm edges won’t be squared and the glaze won’t settle flat.

– Put a piece of stiff cardboard between the clip and your mini book when you’re letting it dry. You don’t want to put a crimp in your mini book.

– Let the glaze dry thoroughly before touching it. That’s the only way to keep a clean finish.

An example of what not to do: (I know it doesn't look that bad, but believe me in person it is. The glaze isn't even, the book isn't at the right thickness)

An example of what not to do: (I know it doesn’t look that bad, but believe me in person it is. The glaze isn’t even, the book isn’t at the right thickness)

I’m turning these mini book charms into pendants by adding another jump ring and adding to a chain, but they can also be used for charm bracelets and for anything else you could think of.

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14 thoughts on “Mini Book Charms (with tutorial)

    • It doesn’t take very long to make one. About an hour, excluding drying time. Making pages took the most time for me, because I did that by hand. But waiting for the glue to dry takes a few hours and I let the diamond glaze dry overnight. If you’re making a lot, it’s best to do it assembly line style so you can let them dry all at the same time

  1. I see that you printed your covers on silk paper. Do you have to use silk paper or can I just use regular printer paper?

    • It doesn’t have to be silk, but I suggest using a thicker paper, just so it’s easier to keep its shape while you’re working with it. Also, it makes the charm look a lot more like a real book if you can see the difference in width between the ‘pages’ and the cover

  2. Could you elaborate on how to make the inside? The paper part please. I’m confused and don’t know what that silver metal part is. Or what to do I guess lol.

    • The metal ring is just a jump ring so the book could be attached to other findings. Since I used these as pendants, I just attached another jump ring and put it on a chain. I just poked a tiny hole at the top of the spine and put the jump ring in. (If you don’t know what a jump ring is, it’s just a metal circle that has a cut in it so you can open and close it)

      The pages where just scrap paper I had lying around. I cut them out to be the same height as the book and twice the width so I could have them folded in half inside. Just use as many pages as will fit the book spine. I just used regular white glue to glue them inside the book (the bulldog clip is to keep it together as it dries)

      Hope that helps! 🙂 If I ever make more if these (which I might, I have another friend who has a birthday coming up), I’ll do a follow-up post with more details on making the inside.

    • Yeah, the pages can’t be turned. You could probably make one that could be turned, but I wanted to make sure that the book was fully covered by glaze so it wouldn’t get wrecked by accidental moisture

  3. I love how great the books came out. But I was wondering both how you applied the Diamond Glaze to the book (with a sponge brush thing?) and what size jump rings do you use?

    • The Diamond Glaze I have has a tip applicator and I just used that, dragging it around to create a more or less even layer. I’m not sure about the jump ring size since it’s from my stash and I don’t keep any details about them, but I’m pretty sure it’d work with any size jump ring you have on hand.

  4. Thank you for this! I actually make miniature books for a doll house company & am allowed to keep a few extras from each batch. I’ve been trying to figure out what to use for coating them, as I have several Nancy Drew books that would make cute earrings or necklaces. I’ll look for the glaze while I’m out & about tomorrow 🙂

  5. Pingback: FWBC: Resources From the Web | Draft Rehash

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