Handmade Books That Tell Your Story

handmade book pierson
HouseBook, handmade by
Leilani Pierson.

cate pratoA couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the house shape in art and how houses are my personal symbol. After that post was published, I recalled one of my favorite sayings, "Home is where your story begins." I have it on a plaque in my living room, where it serves as a family reminder as well as an inside joke in a house full of readers, writers, and storytellers.

One of my favorite bookmaking projects encapsulates this saying: Leilani Pierson's HouseBooks.

Like me, Leilani is a self-described "book junkie," collecting them for art purposes as well as reading. Like me, she is "drawn to the shape of a house and the stories that lie within."

I am also drawn to her art that combines fabric, books, collage, and found objects to create simply beautiful and meaningful pieces.

At this time when home in very much on our minds, I thought I would share the directions for making these handmade books with you today.


  • Mat board scraps
  • Old book covers
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Crop-a-dileTM (or other hole-punching device such as an awl)
  • Eyelets
  • Glue of choice (such as Aleene's® Tacky Glue.)
  • Fabric scraps
  • Found words
  • Embellishments
  • Found objects
  • Copyright-free images
  • Ribbons, lace, string, wire
  • Optional: Tim Holtz DistressTM Inks, Oil pastel crayons, Acrylic paints

handmade books
This handmade book makes me think of a
Jane Austen cottage.


1. With your rotary cutter, cut your mat board scraps into 6 long rectangles, all the same size. These will be the pages of your HouseBook.

2. Take an old book cover and cut out 2 shorter rectangles that will overhang slightly on each side of the pages. This will be the roof of your HouseBook.

3. Punch 2 holes on the short end side of your "pages," being sure they match up when they are stacked together.

4. In the book cover rectangles, near the top edge, punch 2 holes and insert eyelets.

5. Decide in which direction you will "read" your HouseBook and glue fabric scraps, embellishments, words, etc., to decorate the pages and roof. Be sure to leave the holes visible.

6. Once the pages have dried and set, slide string, ribbon, or wire into the holes to secure the pages and roof together. This serves as the book binding.

7. Stand your HouseBook up and enjoy its shape and the story within.

This project first appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. It, and all the other Cloth Paper Scissors back issues are now available as downloads.

This is the perfect cozy project for a rainy or snowy day!

P.S. Your house no doubt has many stories to tell. If your house were a novel, what would it's title be? Share in the comments section below.


Blog, Handmade Books


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