All you need for the base of this book is a bunch of envelopes and a glue stick. Really. That's it. Then, you get the fun of embellishing the pages in short order.
|Coin envelopes in kraft: flap down on top of flap up|
In a nutshell, the envelopes are glued together by their flaps and fold up accordion-style to produce a "Book".
Now, you can use any envelopes but I use Coin Envelopes. They are small and easily fit an ATC or #5 Manila tag if you cut a half-inch off the bottom of the tag. The kraft paper is also quite sturdy if you plan to use a lot of inking or painting.
You're going to make a chain of envelopes. Your first 2 envelopes have the flap facing up. With a glue stick (I used Elmer's Craft Bond Extra Strength), apply glue to the back of one of the flaps. Glue that flap to the bottom edge of the other envelope on the topside. The fold of the flap should line up with the bottom so that the envelopes will fold together.
|Right in the middle is where the fold is.|
Now you will add the next envelope to the bottom of the two you have glued together. Apply glue to the back of the flap of the third envelope. But this time, you'll glue it to the underside of the other envelopes. This way you'll have a Valley fold first, then a Mountain fold, which allows the book to fold up like an accordion. The fold of the flap should always line up with the bottom of the envelope it's getting attached to.
You keep repeating these steps, alternating which side you glue the envelopes on, until you have the size book you're looking for. When you're done, all the envelopes should fold up one on top of another. The unglued flap of the very first envelope can serve as a spine for binding if you don't want the whole thing to be unfolded. I use the unglued flap as a place to add a bit of string or ribbon to wrap around the book.
What I particularly like about this "book" is that it can be embellished on both sides, making a double sided project. You can open the book on one side then turn it over to get another book on the other side! The best part is that the pockets of the envelopes are entirely usable! You can tuck ATCs or tags in there. Or just little surprises like stickers or small coins or buttons! For letterboxing, I use the pockets to hide blank cards where fellow letterboxers "log-in" and leave their signature stamp.
It's really a quick and easy project. You can get into the fun part of adding pretty papers or stamps right away. The one I have made has been VERY WELL USED and after two years of going through the mail and being handled, it's only now beginning to show a little wear on the folds. They hold up extremely well!
I'll be making more of these little beauties!
More info about Letterboxing