(If you like any of the worksheets I’m using, click on the pics to take you to the links.)
Blueberry Ball does a lot of handwriting worksheets. If I were printing off every one he did, I would be spending a lot more than I do on paper and ink! My solution: Homemade dry erase books. Sure, I could just go get a laminating machine, but where’s the budget-friendly D.I.Y. in that?
I have to say, this wasn’t my idea, but I can’t find the original link that gave me the idea. That Mommy was a great influence on this one. Wherever she is.
Right now I have placed every letter and number of the week he’s had so far in his book to stay for a while along with a Name tracing sheet for the cover page. To keep things fresh and fun for him, I change out a few each Sunday night to go with his weekly theme. Below are a few different options you can use for your book. Mine is the simplest stapler one right now, but I hope to upgrade to the binder version soon.
Items you will need:
- Ziploc bags (in your choice page size) that have flat corners. NOT THE WIDER ONES with 3-D-ish corners.
- Nail polish remover (if you have bags that are painted on)
- Cute Duct tape (optional)
- A binder and hole punch (if you want the binder version)
- A stapler and staples (if you are not using the binder version)
- Optional: a needle and thread, and/ or scrap fabric
Option 1: staples and/or duct tape
- Print and cut (if applicable) your paper to your chosen size of baggy. I used the gallon-sized and simply cut around the border to make it fit better. This works well with most standard-sized printables, and I like it because I can print landscape or portrait.
- Cut a center paper to go in between your two pages making sure that you have enough room at the top/bottom (a half inch or so) for your binding. This is important for being able to change pages as necessary. Blue was able to use construction paper for this, but if you are making it for a younger child, I recommend a heavy card stock or up cycled cereal boxes.
- When you know how many pages you want to sleeve, line up that many and staple or sew them together. Try to keep them straight so your edges are smooth in the end. Remember, book pages are typically two-sided so count two pages for every baggy.
- Go over any brand labels with nail polish remover and a cotton ball. It should come right off.
- Now, you can insert your pages! Personalize the binding and give it more strength by sewing on a trim or by adding duct tape with your child’s favorite thing on it.
Option 2: The No-zipper MethodThis method works well enough when you need smaller things that can’t use a border, or that you don’t want moving around too much, such as clip cards. I would not recommend this for anything that can have a border as I don’t think it is as practical or durable. But it works well in a pinch when you have no laminating machine!
- Fit your cards tightly down to one of the bottom corners of your baggies.
- Staple or stitch the baggies together on the side that is opposite your cards. I made that side the zipper side so that I could leave a pocket on. You want to do this as close as possible to the cards while still being able to remove them.
- Cut off any excess on the opposite side of the staples from the cards. Optionally, you can leave the zipper on the top page attached and wrap it around to the back and staple or stitch again. It gave the binding a slightly more polished look and gave Blueberry ball a pocket to put his mini clothespins in. It’s your choice, but this Momma is all about built in storage!
- If you like, you can decorate the bindings as mentioned in Option #1.
Option 3: The Binder Method
- Gather your baggies and remove any painted labels with nail polish remover. You can fit two sheets per bag so remember that when counting.
- Print and cut your worksheets to size
- Personalize with a strip of duct tape on the left-hand side of your baggy (with the zipper at the top) or make a cute border going all the way around the bag.
- Use your hole punch on the left side of your paper to prep it for the binder.
- Insert pages, and put that kid to work!
Stay tuned to hear about a dirty little secret on making your ink cartridges last!