Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

MakerSpace: Fun with Lettering and Quarto Books

Lettering might seem like an odd thing to discuss when it comes to making, but there are lots of great ways that you can include lettering with making. If you have read any of my makerspace posts, you know that I have mentioned how my teens tend to be into more traditional arts and crafts as well as technology, so we work hard to find ways to combine the two. And some of those ways include lettering.

I’ll be honest, the ideas all stemmed from my love of these books on lettering from Quarto Books.

lettering3 I’ve already shared a post about some of our chalkboard related activities, which you can find here:

TPiB: DIY Chalkboard Fun

Making Text Transfer Chalkboard Speech Bubbles

MakerSpace: Button Maker Challenges

TPiB: MakerSpace Poetry



lettering6And we do a lot of stuff with Sharpies. And I mean a lot. You can find some of those activities here:

TPiB: Sharpie Art! Quick and Easy Programming

MakerSpace: Button Maker Challenges






But there are a couple of other books on lettering which we also enjoy that have spurred some additional creative ideas. Those ideas include combining digital media with hand lettering to create our own books and bullet journalling.


Book Making

There are a variety of great books out there about making both books and mini books. Combining those books with our lettering books, we have created a pretty cool book making station in our Teen MakerSpace. We help teens use our digital media lab to create photos, which they then print out and turn into books. They can add text digitally, but we also encourage them to use a variety of lettering techniques to give their mini books a pop. And just this past week we purchased an old school manual typewriter that teens can use to type poems or add text to their books. You can read more about our mini books here: MakerSpace: Instagram Scrapbook and Mini Books.


Bullet Journals

Bullet journals are very popular right now. I learned about them from Librarian Drea at ALA. Actually, several librarians I follow online engage in bullet journaling. And the Irving library in Texas has a monthly bullet journaling program.

What is a bullet journal? According to Bullet Journal.com, “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” Basically, a bullet journal is whatever you want it to be, but it is not necessarily a long form diary. It is composed more of short lists, goals, and more.

Buzzfeed has a variety of posts on Bullet Journals that may help you get started:

WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why Should You Start One

Here’s How To Use A Bullet Journal For Better Mental Health

29 Bullet Journal Layouts For Anyone Trying To Be Healthy

23 Bullet Journal Ideas That Are Borderline Genius

You can also find a lot about Bullet Journalling on Pinterest:

Bullet journal, Bullets and Journal ideas on Pinterest

Many journals can be kind of expensive, so we made our own using 1 inch binders, scrapbook paper, a variety of cool pens, washi tape and stickers. And to add a bit of tech, we made inspirational quote pictures for our covers.


The Teen filling out her bullet journal at home. She still uses it months later.


I taught the teens about Infographics and they made their own biographies in Infographic form


An example of a cover made using our digital media lab


Sample bullet journal pages. This teen made a page of their favorite book quotes.


The Bestie writing in her handmade bullet journal

As a librarian, I like that the idea of books keeps coming up in our Teen MakerSpace. Whether it’s making our own books or just journalling about books or making our favorite books quotes into memes using our digital media lab, we love to find ways to circle back to books. And we love that there are books out there not only inspiring our making, but that teens can use to help support their making. We are about making, but we are also about books and reading. It’s not one or the other, but both.

Win Quarto Books

This week I’m posting all about Quarto Books and the various ways that we use them in our Teen MakerSpace. Because I use Quarto Books a lot, I contacted them and asked them if we could host a Quarto Books week and they have generously agreed to donate a set of 5 Quarto Books for us to giveaway. Thank you Quarto Books! To be entered to win, you must be a U.S. resident and need to do the Rafflecopter thing below by Friday, November 18th, 2016 by Midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MakerSpace: Instagram Scrapbook and Mini Books (Book Making in the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County)

Sometimes you have one of those moments of serendipity. I had just gone through an ordered a handful of books about book making when a teen came into the Teen MakerSpace and made a book. It was a sign, so we created a book making station.

Book Making Station Supplies and Examples

Book Making Station Supplies and Examples

And because The Teen spent the first month of summer with me in the Teen MakerSpace, we set to work making an example. We ended up making three, because she kept making examples and I kept having mom moments and wanting to keep them. Then the MakerSpace Assistant Morgan came in and made an example that proved to be very meta: She made a DIY Book on making DIY Buttons.

The Teen hard at work making books

The Teen hard at work making books

Here’s how we set up our book making station in the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH).

Book Making Supplies

Book Making Supplies

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 piece of card stock weight paper for cover
  • Regular or card stock paper for inside pages
  • Duct tape, Washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Ultra fine point Sharpie
  • Instagram photos, sized 2 x 2
  • Booklet stapler

Because we have fairly nice counters in the Teen MakerSpace, we found and use flexible plastic cutting boards as little stations whenever the teens are using Sharpies. We have found they work very well at protecting our surfaces.

Making Your Book Cover and Pages:

The cover story

The cover story

Cut all paper to a size of 7 inches long and 3 1/2 tall for 2 x 2 sized Instagram photos. You can adjust your paper size if you want to make larger books or use larger sized photos.

Fold in half and staple together with the page for your cover on the outside. A couple of staples right down your folded spine and now you have an empty book!

You can have as few or as many pages as you would like, with about 20 pages being an ideal size.

Filling Your Pages:

bookmaking7 bookmaking5

We glued a picture onto each page, but you can obviously fill your pages however you would like.

Decorate with tape and markers as you would like. This is where you have to get creative.

Create Your Cover:

Use various tape and markers to decorate your cover however you wish. We put a piece of duct tape on the outside spine to reinforce it and that’s the only real recommendation I would make.


Please note: You can make your scrapbook whatever size you wish, you just have to adjust all your measurements accordingly. You can also draw pictures  instead of using printed photos or use this book as a type of personal journal. Bullet journals are super popular right now and you can certainly make your own using the process outlined above.

Teens making books in the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

Teens making books in the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County

We had quite a few teens come in who were interested in making their own books.

We then took a picture of each page of our DIY Button Book and used Giffer to make a little video of our book. I think you have to click on the image of the image to get the GIF to flip through the book.


As a librarian who is obsessed with pictures, I loved watching everyone make books. I highly recommend it. Plus, the materials aren’t that expensive. The teens were very excited to realize they could make graphic novel panels and make their own graphic novels. And if you wanted to up your tech component, you could have them make the pages digitally and then craft them together by hand.

Some of our book resources include: