02. 21st Birthday Book
Unlike the other big books that we made, we wanted to be able to actually open Leon’s Harry Potter 21st birthday book, so guests at the party could write a birthday messages in it for him. I had a piece of foam that was roughly the size I needed for the book, I used the hot wire jigsaw I had made to make the edges of the foam block look like pages. I just pressed the edge of the foam on the wire and let it melt slightly, repeating the process and leaving it looking like pages of a book.
Then I just sprayed gold paint on the edges of the pages from a can without sealing it first. This was because I wanted the thinners in the paint to react with the foam and eat at it leaving a old worn effect.
Next I cut out the front and back covers from foam core board so that they were slightly larger than the foam. We placed the top and bottom covers on the foam so we could get the measurements for the spine which was cut from a roll of cardboard.
Now was the time to cut the fake leather material to cover the book, this doesn’t have to be very accurate. Next I used a black marker on the inside of the material to mark up were the back of the book, the spine and the front cover will go. We did a trial run to make sure everything folded nicely before we glued the material over the cover and spine pieces. The best glue to use for this is contact adhesive.
Once the cover is finished and dry, it’s time to glue foam pages to the back cover. Leave the front cover and spine free for the time being. To make a working hinge for the front cover, cut a strip of fabric a couple of inches wide and a little linger than the spine of your book. We used a piece of left over calico from our library book but any piece of woven (not stretch) fabric will work.
Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron it so that there is a sharp crease. Put contact adhesive on one half of the fabric and a little on the spine of the foam pages. Glue in place with the fold facing up towards you. Next glue the other half of the fabric to the inside of the cover spine.
When you have finished the fabric should be almost invisible and you will be able to open and close the front cover of the book. Carefully trim away any excess length of fabric
We then cut a piece of thin cardboard to the size of the pages and glued it to the foam so that their was a firm surface under the paper and guests could write on the paper easily without puncturing it.
Then we cut one piece of paper the width of the front cover and the pages when fully opened. This tidied up the inside of the front cover and hid the cardboard. Last was to attach the pice of paper that they were going to write on. We chose to slightly singe the edges to add to the aged and worn look.
As we wanted people to write in Leon’s book for his 21st, we tried looking for something that looked old to write with. We didn’t want a real nib with an ink well as it would be hard for people to write with and could make a real mess if it spilt. So we came up with another idea.
We bought some feathers from a craft shop, and a cheap black pen. We pulled the pen apart so were left with the middle ink part. Now we wanted to disguise the pen inside the feathers, so we glued two feathers either side of the pen with Araldite. Now it just needed something to cover the base of the feathers to make it easier to write with but it still needed to look antique and fit with everything that we were doing. We found some twine and wrapped it around a few times and this finished it of nicely.
It’s amazing what you can find when hunting the goodwill and secondhand shops for props. You need to have to have an open mind, just because something was a vase or a decanter in it’s past life, doesn’t mean it can’t be an inkwell or a potion bottle for your Harry Potter party. We had found a small brass ornament that would do nicely as an inkwell and use it to display our quill.