Book binding is a love of mine and I think the book arts are under-rated in terms of art lesson plans. To me, book making is the perfect way to marry language arts and visual arts for an interdisciplinary lesson. After a slide show of all of the exciting things going on in the book-art world, and reviewing parts of book (case, text block, head, foot, front, back, spine), I demonstrated how to make an accordion book. This is an easy method that doesn't require any stitching. Paper, board, glue and scissors are all you need.
To make an accordion book, we cut 18"X 12" paper in half length wise to make 2-6" tall pieces. Each of these were folded in half.
We folded the ends back towards the first crease, one side, and then the second. This should zig-zag like the letter "W."
before stacking another cut edge against it so that it ends up making two "w"s attached at the middle edge. You may double the number of pages by folding and gluing more strips of the same sized paper. This should make a double"W".
Cut two pieces of book board, mat board, or cardboard that are slightly larger than the text block.
Cut decorative paper or construction paper that is about 3/4" bigger than the boards. Cover the board with glue. We used a glue stick. Flip it upside down onto the paper, than flip it back so you can rub the paper down on the board.
Cut the corners off at a 45 degree angle. You want to get close to the board, but not too close, about a board's width worth of paper left to cover that corner.
Run glue along each edge, and fold it over, onto the back of the board.
When attaching the end pages, place a piece of paper between the end paper and the rest of the book, to keep the glue where it should be. Glue the page with glue stick, going the whole way to the edges. Center the text block to the board, and then open it and rub the end page to the board to make sure it is attached completely. Do the same for the other end, and you are finished binding the book.
My students filled their pages with content before attaching the boards. One did a book of dessert recipes, another made a "How to Rap" book, written with rhyme and rhythm. Some did lists of favorite things or favorite foods. A couple did simple auto-biography. There were quote books that ranged from themes of love to money. And one student made a "Baby's first ABC" book for a teacher's newborn son.
About half my students wrote their books in Braille, and for some of them, I glued a print translation. They illustrated the pages with whatever worked for them (several blind students used stencils, one used Wiki Sticks).
There's something to be said about spending time to combined personal interests, words, and images in a unified way. There's something to be said about gaining skills and learning a craft. And there's something extra nice about being able to carry a piece of art in your hand or your back pack to share with friends.