I have never minded dust jackets on books, but as Budster made the gradual switch from board books to picture books, I started noticing that they got in his way as he read. So, I made a habit of taking them off his books. This was wholeheartedly celebrated by my husband, who considers dusk jackets to be packaging, to be removed before even opening a new book!
Yet, I could not find the heart to throw out the jackets; they were so pretty. So I stored the folded covers in one of the drawers, thinking that some day I may make some use of them. I confess that I did not have high hopes, because my drawers do tend to accumulate with such potential, but in the case of the dust jackets I actually found a brilliant use!
Budster has become very fond of jigsaw puzzles lately. If I do not hear him, it means that he has either finally climbed to the very top of a bookshelf or – he is playing with puzzles. He gets very serious and quiet, moving puzzle pieces around until they fit. Then he is happy and exclaims jubilantly, “Yay! Yay!”
Being only a little guy, he plays with little puzzles: four to six pieces are fun, but more provide a challenge. We got this box for him, and he loves playing with it, even after making the animals about a hundred times over the last month. So, I was wondering if I could make a new puzzle for him. That is when dust jacket covers came handy. I decided to turn them into puzzles. After all, they already had our favourite characters on them, and I could tell it would be exciting for Budster to put them together.
You will need:
– white glue (Weldbond or Elmer’s are my favourite)
– book dust jacket
– good sharp scissors
– (optionally) scroll saw, coping saw, or jig saw
For a start, I spent the morning going around the house with a pair of scissors and checking how easy it would be to cut different cardboard boxes. I needed some cardboard, so I emptied a recycling bin, then tried some cereal boxes, finally got to my sketchbooks and liked them most. I promptly took the back covers off the old ones and used them. But it is only one option. Cereal boxes are not bad either.
1. Spread glue thinly and evenly onto the cardboard with an old brush, then carefully glue the dust cover to it. When you are done, press a layer of paper and then a thick and heavy book on top, so that the final result will not warp. Leave it to dry for a couple of hours or overnight.
2. After the glue has dried, cut the main shape of the puzzle out. The puzzle can be the full cover, or it can follow the outline of a character.
3. Now, using a scroll saw or scissors, cut the cardboard into big puzzle pieces. A scroll saw leaves smoother edges and works quicker, but scissors do the job too. If you want to, you can mark the cuts first, but otherwise just let your hand guide you, and the pieces will turn out fun and unique.
The puzzle is ready!
We used the dust jackets from two of our favourite books – Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. They were a hit. If Budster had not already adored the “truckars” (his expression for “truck-cars”) from the book Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site for a couple of months, I would have said that this puzzle was responsible for causing it. But now he does even more since he requests to read this book at least twice a day. And he puts his puzzles together at least three times a day!
What do you do with books’ jackets? Do you leave them on? Or maybe use as posters?
If you enjoy making simple toys at home, you may find tutorials on how to make Monster Blocks or Nature Blocks interesting. Nesting dolls are great puzzles for toddlers too! If you want to stay updated on new stories from Adventure in a Box, consider subscribing to our Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram pages. Thank you for reading!
I have to admit I was attracted to this blog post by the image of the Goodnight Goodnight Constriction Site cover as it is my 3 year olds favourite book and the only book I have a dust cover to that was taken off as we read the book so often. This is the most awesome idea ever – I absolutely cannot wait to make the puzzle for my little guy and now I’ll be looking for books that have dust covers to do more!!!!
I am so happy that my post was useful to you! :D My son loves Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site too, and I could not part with the cover because it has such adorable art.
Great idea! Library book sales are a source of book jackets. For older children, one could make puzzles from bird books, plant books, fish books, etc.