DIY Quiet Book

by Rae Schrock

Some of my earliest memories of church involve sitting on the pew next to mom and dad and playing with the Quiet Book. Handcrafted by my creative mother, the Quiet Book was a special toy reserved for special occasions. It consisted of about a dozen cloth pages, and each one featured a unique activity - a wheel to spin, popsicle puppets, zippers that opened to reveal miniature playthings. The pages didn’t tear and the activities and toys inside were made of soft material, making quiet play easy for restless little ones. A few years ago I made a Quiet Book for my niece and found the process whimsical and fun. There are hundreds of creative page ideas and patterns online, so have fun doing your own research. To help you get started, enjoy a sneak peak at a few pages from my quiet book, plus tips for creating your own.

Images by Rae Schrock

Images by Rae Schrock

Making the Pages

SUPPLIES
• Muslin
• Sewing Machine
• Thread
• Scissors
• Heavy iron-on interfacing
• Felt in various colors

METHOD
Cut muslin into 11”x13” rectangles. Cut 11”x13” pieces of interfacing and iron one to each piece of muslin. Plan the content of each page and the order you want pages to go in. It may be helpful to sketch or write the ideas for each page on slips of paper and pin them to the muslin to help keep the order straight.

Cut desired patterns out of your felt or fabric scraps.

Lay everything down on the muslin page to get a visual for the arrangement. Then, pin or use hot glue/spray adhesive to fix them onto the muslin. Sew in a zig-zag stitch around each item to secure it in place. 

Once all the pages have been completed, pair them up and sew right-side-on-right-side, 1/2” from edges around all four sides, leaving 3" opening at the end. Use this hole to turn the pages right-side-out. Handstitch the opening closed. Iron the page flat.

Use a notebook page to mark 3 holes at the spine of each page, and sew a buttonhole at each mark. Once the entire book is completed, slip them into a binder, or use 1” clasp rings (available at WalMart) to bind pages together.

HAPPY DAY EXPRESS PAGES

This spread is relatively easy to make. It features "the Happy Day Express", which is a line from a song I learned as a child: "We're going to a mansion / On the happy day express / The letters on the engine are J-E-S-U-S / God calls us all to heaven / We gladly answer YES! / We're going to a mansion / On the happy day express!"

I freehand cut a train engine, caboose, and two coal cars out of felt, and zig-zag stitched them onto my pages, connecting them with a blue cord between cars. The wheels of each car are actually snap-on - fun, right! Make the wheels by cutting two circles of felt. Onto one, handstitch one of your snaps. Cover the stitching on the back with the second felt wheel and sew the two wheels together by whipstitching around the edge. Sew the other side of the snap onto the bottom of your train car on the page. I free-hand cut my letters out of felt, and straight-stitched them onto the page. You can get as fancy or as simple as you want with this; an easier option is to simply write the words on with a fabric marker. Embellish with a scallop, clouds, sun, etc. at the top of the pages.

There are dozens of excellent tutorials and inspiration boards on Pinterest for quiet book pages. Pictured here are a few more that I included in my Quiet Book: button-on flowers connect to their flower pot by ribbons. A rainbow made of a felt wheel, and snap-on arches made by sewing felt strips around pipe cleaners (yay, bendy!) can be tucked in and out of a big fluffy felt cloud. The ice-cream shoppe pages were my favorite to work on. The options are endless! I drew my inspiration for this particular spread from this awesome blog. She includes printable patterns and everything!

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