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Make your mark with this simple craft idea


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POSTED: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bookmarks were created to protect the pages of rare and valuable books from harm. Mass-marketing hasn't rendered books less valuable to those who don't want their reading material marred by dog-eared pages.

Bookmarks make an inexpensive yet personal gift that can be given any time of the year. One-of-a-kind designs can be created to suit a reader's personality or interests.

The personalized creations can stand alone or work as a fitting accompaniment to a book gift.

Only a few simple materials are needed: scissors, craft glue, scraps of paper, card stock, a hole punch, paint and embellishments such as buttons, ribbons and beads. Materials for decorating bookmarks are endless and include foam, felt, ink stamps, trims, stickers, brads, charms and old puzzle pieces.

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This type of project also presents a useful means of recycling old greeting cards, calendars, used cardboard gift boxes and small scraps of paper, among other things. The main idea is to use materials on hand.

Once you assemble all your craft pieces, a bookmark can be completed in less than 30 minutes. If you're aiming for more elaborate creations, consider painting a design. Artistic designs also can be scanned and reproduced to save time. The use of photographs further personalizes the gift.

Foam is a good material to use, especially when involving children with the project. When using foam, cut the bookmark to the desired size and decorate it using additional foam cutouts and embellishment. This could be a perfect activity to pursue on Furlough Fridays. It would make an ideal gift for teachers, friends or family members.

Once the embellishment is attached and the glue is dry, laminating your bookmark or covering it with contact paper will protect the design and make the end product more durable.

When you're done, you can leave the bookmark as is or use a hole punch to create a hole about a quarter-inch down from the top edge of your bookmark. Weave a ribbon, strand of yarn or raffia through the hole and knot. Beads and charms also can be added to a strand of embroidery thread for additional flair.

Notebook covers can be decorated in the same fashion to match the creative bookmarks.

Instructions for a making a basic bookmark

» Cut a strip from card stock, cardboard or foam (standard size bookmarks are 2 by 6 inches, but other sizes will work, too).

» Cut out pictures, other strips of paper—inspired by reader's interests and preferred reading material—and glue them on the front of the bookmark. Allow the glue to dry.

» Add embellishment, as desired.

» Punch a hole about a quarter-inch from the top edge of the bookmark. Weave a ribbon through and knot.

”;Handmade”; will present a simple craft idea for the holidays each Sunday through Christmas. E-mail Nancy Arcayna at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).