I love books. I love writing and graphic design. And I especially love being Catholic. If you are like that too, then making mini-books is definitely a project for you. All you do is take a regular piece of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, fold it in half both ways and the long halves in half again, until you have eight equal sections. Then after you cut at the middle fold, you fold it together inwards and–voila!–a tiny book with a front and back cover and six inner pages. (This all does make sense once you can see it–here is a link showing someone folding up one of these mini-books in seven steps.)
Ever wanting to be the educator, when I happened upon this explanation (at the very bottom of the page) of how to fold one sheet of paper into a eight-page mini book–no staples required!–I thought this would be perfect for use at the local parish church in my town. (No one needs Catholic evangelization as much as the Catholics, I believe!) Turning this diagram into a template on the desktop publishing program on my computer, and then filling it with information for parishioners, I knew I had a project that would keep me happy with good work for months.
I unrolled the mini-books series at the end of April with a booklet of prayers to the Blessed Virgin, and titled it Mary’s Month: Ways to Pray in the Month of May. (See the end of the post for a PDF of this mini-book to print and use.)
It’s fun searching for beautiful images that can be scaled down or cropped to fit on the cover and inside the pages. The image on the cover of the above book is from an illuminated manuscript. I used colors that matched the tints in the cover image in the headings and text of the book to make it more attractive and appealing.
These books are just so cute! But although they are only about 4 inches tall, you can fit a surprising amount of information in their eight pages. (And I haven’t even begun to experiment with the possibilities of putting content on the reverse side, for use if a reader were to unfold the book…)
I made twenty copies at the local office and copy store. To display them for folks to pick up at the church, I took a plastic candy box I had saved ages ago (from those fancy European chocolate and hazelnut truffles wrapped in gold foil) which turned out to be the perfect size for this. Taping the lid of the box to the bottom, I made it into an ideal display container. It worked out well at the church, because people helped themselves to the booklets, I am glad to say. I hope they have been praying to Our Lady a lot!
Personally, this is one of my favorite projects ever. It’s fun to do, it’s a beautiful way to showcase the richness of our Catholic tradition in bite-sized form, and I like to think it’s irresistible to folks (especially kids) to pick up and look at. Isn’t it great that we can do beautiful projects at home on our computers? Let me know if you give this idea a try too. Enjoy!
(Mary’s Month – Ways to Pray is here in a PDF version if you would like to make a copy for your family. I also did a second one which I put out last Sunday: a mini-book for Pentecost. Several more are in the works!)