How to Turn a Crafty Ebook into a Cool Gift, part 1

13 Dec 2010


Last year, I didn't talk much about crafty ebooks during the holidays, because let's face it – as cool as they are, it can be hard to give them as gifts, since there's not really anything tangible to give.

…Which got me thinking: what could you do to make them tangible - and crafty? So I came up with a whole bunch of cool ways you could buy someone an indie crafty ebook as a gift, and also turn it into something really cool to wrap up and put under the tree.

Today, we kick off a week of tutorials for making great gifts of crafty ebooks. Hope you enjoy – and support independent self-publishers!


Today's project is extremely simple – print, cut, punch and you're done. It's a great binding method for ebooks that would be handy to carry in your craft bag, like Carina Envoldsen-Harris' Stitching Borders and Beyond.

Here's what you'll need:

  • One ebook, printed out onto heavy paper or card stock
  • Double-sided, heavyweight scrapbook paper
  • Paper cutter (or ruler and craft knife)
  • Glue stick
  • Three-hole punch (or standard hole punch)
  • Two 1" binder rings (available at office supply stores)


A couple notes on printing your ebook:

Stitching Borders and Beyond is designed to be an 8 1/2" x 11" book. But since I wanted to make a book that I could easily carry, I opted to print it smaller. Many brands of printers have this capability built in!

Above is a shot of my Hewlett-Packard printer's dialog box, so you can see where the option to print two pages to a sheet of paper appears (near the bottom). Your printer may have the option in a different place, of course. Fiddle around with the settings until you have things where you want them – just print the first page while you're testing, so you don't waste paper.

I also opted to print the ebook onto card stock instead of paper, so it would be nice and sturdy in my craft bag.


Once you've printed your ebook, you can cut the pages apart with a paper cutter. So my pages are now 5 1/2" x 8 1/2".

Take a look at the layout of the ebook. If you have a generous margin on the side, you can bind it on the side. If there's a more generous margin at the top of each page, then you can bind it at the top.


Stack all the pages up in the correct page order. I also decided to cut two cover pieces from heavyweight scrapbook paper. I cut these slightly larger - 5 3/4" x 8 3/4", so they'd be distinct from the rest of the book – and, so that if I flipped the book open to a particular page, I'd be able to easily find the cover to close it later.


I then trimmed the printed book cover down a bit and glued it to the front cover piece. (Again, leaving a wide side margin for binding.)


If you have access to a three-hole punch, the next step is super simple: just adjust the punch to make holes where you want them, and punch each page.

If you have a regular old one-hole punch, you can still make that work. I usually punch the holes in the top sheet, and then use this sheet as a guide to punch each remaining sheet.


Lastly, stack all your pages up again. (Make sure they're still in the correct order!) Pop a binder ring through each of the holes and snap it closed. And you're done!


See how nicely the double-sided scrapbook paper works out?

About the Ebook:

Stitching Borders and Beyond is an adorable collection of embroidery patterns for decorative borders you can stitch onto clothes, household items, and anything else that strikes your fancy. There's clear step-by-step instructions for each component stitch, plus patterns. You can read my review here, and score your own copy here.

This binding would also be great for:

Small Stitches Booklette, also by Carina Envoldsen-Harris, takes you through 11 innovative embroidery stitches, and shows you lovely ways to use them. Read my review here and get your copy here.


I have been so excited about this series ever since you mentioned you were working on it! And then last night, sitting next to your beautiful Christmas Tree, I got a preview... seeing and touching and holding the finished gift projects!

An e-book gift does NOT have to be a nebulous link to some tiny star in the internet universe nor a decidedly uncrafty stack of printed out 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper held together with a bull dog clip! You have created and are sharing easy, crafty, beautiful solutions for giving e-books from lovely little books to - well - the rest of the ideas are YOUR reveal during the week! But book form isn't the only crafty way to go, is it?

But it would most likely be my way! And once a high quality e-book like Carina's beautiful - really beautiful - embroidery e-books has been downloaded and bound into one of your genius book ideas (this or one to come), it looks for all the world just like a book purchased "off the rack" in the book stores - except this one is a one of a kind version because it will have the giver's personal crafty handiwork added to it!

For those who still have not completed their gift list and who are still wanting to give something that is personal and handmade that won't take much time away from all the activities planned these next two weeks, you have definitely come up with the perfect gift solutions!

I think this is one of your best ideas yet! I already have the books (which are great). Time to make myself a nice present!!

Thanks, Donna! I so agree on the idea of gifting yourself in this way. In the process of making this week of tutorials, I got to bind a lot of my favorite ebooks, and I LOVE having them on my shelf in paper form now to go with my digital versions!

Clever, clever girl. :)

What a groovy idea, Diane. And I can give a workout to the brand new colour laser printer I just bought!

So... if you are giving an ebook to someone, I'm assuming it's best to purchase a copy for that person before you print it? Or would you just print one you already own and would that be okay...

Ya know, once you print it out it kinda becomes a zine!

Very true! I love how these books have a cool handmade quality, like a good zine does.

This is an awesome idea, Diane! And thank you for making 'Stitching Borders' look so great. :-)