Make-a-Book-From-Scratch is a three-session book arts program for 2nd-5th grade students. Students will learn to make paper and a creative print at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. A third session, at your school, teaches students to hand bind their own book. The finished book would include their handmade paper cover, their print, and blank pages or their own content (worked on at school on a topic corresponding to curriculum). Through this journey students learn about traditional book arts and publishing as well as reinforce the topic of choice introduced at school. Students will work in an art studio filled with equipment that most will never have seen before. They will also operate a Vandercook letterpress print a bookmark to take home as a reminder of their visit. We provide all instruction and materials.  

Handmade paper drying

Handmade paper drying



How it Works

Papermaking and printmaking will be done in the same 2-hour block of time at the KBAC. We can accommodate one bus load of students at one time which is approximately 50-60 students. These students would be split into two groups while at the KBAC: one group making paper and the other group printing. After approximately an hour the two groups will switch and complete the other activity. If your students will be bussed to the KBAC it is best to fill the busses.  So, for example, if you have three third grade classes coming, add one 4th grade class so that the second bus is full. This allows us to be most efficient with time and money. If you have two busses coming, it is usually best to schedule the trips on two separate days.

The books will be bound at your school at a later date. The bookbinding sessions are held one class at a time and typically take one hour each.

What Students Create

* Session #1: Papermaking – Students will make sheets of paper for their book covers using 100% cotton and/or recycled fibers. They will be able to use white/colored pulp for their base sheet as well as paint on their sheets with colorful pulp creating intriguing designs.

* Session #2: Printmaking – Students will create their own print by drawing onto a foam plate then printing onto paper. Additionally, students would learn about letterpress printing.

* Session #3: Book Binding – Students will sew the pages of their book together. The book can be bound with blank pages or with content that has been created/printed ahead of time at the school.


Time: When considering your time away from school you will need to schedule approximately 2 hours in the KBAC studio plus transportation time.  Usually this is a morning or an afternoon time block.  Example:  leave school at 9:15, arrive at the KBAC at 9:30, work in studio until 11:30/40, return to school by Noon.

Location:  Papermaking and printmaking at the KBAC, 326 W. Kalamazoo Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, inside the Park Trade Center Building. Bookbinding will be located at your school.

Cost: No charge for schools with 70% or higher free lunch recipients. If the school is below that threshold there is a small fee per student ($3) so that costs for materials and instruction are covered. Transportation costs are paid for by the school.

Thoughts on Curriculum-based Learning: In the past the KBAC has worked with students of all ages on various topics. The program is is a fun, creative experiential opportunity to learn outside the classroom. It can also be directed into a more specific learning experience for any school subject including poetry/short story, science (with plant inclusions in the paper) and so on. 

Contact: lorrie@kalbookarts.org for more information or to schedule your learning experience.