A little something so your little ones can spend the summer drawing en plein air.0-drawing-outdoorsSome of my best memories growing up involve drawing or painting outdoors. Sitting in the field by our middle school sketching an old barn, painting a mural with high school friends in the home depot parking lot. It’s something I think every kids should get to try. So this morning we put together a portable portfolio from a thrift store book and fabric .


The basic idea is to cut off the front and back book cover, then make a sleeve for them with the fabric.

We started with some hard back books we picked up at Good Will and scrap fabric. Anything works, old sheets, pillowcases, place mats, shirts.

1-fabric-covered-portfolio1I cut just the covers off the books and traced them on the wrong side of the fabric as shown. I left a half-inch space in the middle and a half-inch seam around the edges. Plus I added a 3-inch flap at both ends at the bottom.



First I cleaned up the edges. I made a few extra snips to make the seams work as shown. Then, with the fabric wrong side up, I sewed a seam along both the right and left sides, as shown. Plus the three inches at the bottom of the side


3-craft-from-thrift-store-sheetsThen I created a sleeve for the book covers. I folded the fabric down, wrong side out, and stiched along the edge.


4-thrift-store-craftsI turned it right side out and stiched down the middle.

how-to-make-a-fabric-portfolio-5I chose where I wanted the handle and ties to come through the book. These will add a little bump which isn’t good for drawing over, so keep them just an inch or two from the edge of the book. I punctured the book with a knife and threaded ribbon through, tying it on the wrong end. Two holes on the side for the handle, one hole in the middle for a loose ribbon to make a tie.

5-handmade-classroom-portfolio6-classroom-fabric-covered-portfolio7-handmade-fabric-student-portfolio8-fabric-portfolio-for-kidsFinally, I put the book covers in the sleeve so the ribbon handles were poking out. Then I tucked in the flaps. You can hand stitch the openings if you like to keep the covers inside.

9-handmade-fabric-portfolio-for-kidsFor a little extra fun, I added a pencil holder from a scrap of felt.

95-handmade-fabric-folder-pencil-holder-for-kids1My daughter was thrilled to try it out. She picked out a nice little spot and got to work on her first piece of art.11-handmade-gifts-to-sew-for-kids


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