When I first started making quiet books, I was very unsure about how to approach my craft project. So I would simply work from page to page, cutting fabric and felt directly as I went. And despite working long and hard on my project, the end result used to be less than impressive. But over the years, I have learned that the first real step in making a successful quiet book is to get my hands on a quiet book pattern.
Now there are a number of different ways in which you can get your hands on a pattern for your quiet book page. You could simply buy a pattern from Etsy, or you could look for free downloadable patterns. You could also copy a pattern that you like for personal use.
I have tried pretty much all of these methods in my crafting journey.
And now I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the most satisfying way to make a quiet book is to make the quiet book patterns yourself. The sheer joy of turning ideas into quiet book patterns is enough to make this process worth its while.
Let me share with you some of my favourite ways of creating patterns for my quiet books. All of these are also incredibly easy to do!
1. Making quiet book patterns by hand
You don’t have to be an artist to make quiet book patterns by hand. In fact for simple shapes, hand drawn patterns are easiest and fastest. Even faster than using print-outs!
For example if you want to create a cloud or a leaf, you can simply draw its outline on paper and cut it out. It does not take any special skills at all!
What about symmetrical quiet book pattern shapes?
If you want to create a simple but symmetrical shape, for example an apple, you can fold a piece of paper in half and draw one half of the apple against the fold. Cut around the line and unfold to reveal a perfectly symmetrical apple!
Using tools to create quiet book patterns by hand
Of course if you need to create simple precise shapes like a circle or a square or equivalent triangle, don’t hesitate to use simple tools like the compass, ruler and/or protractor to help you get the perfect angles. This will speed up the process of pattern-making and also give your precise results.
2. Making quiet book patterns on the computer
Your computer is a handy device to help you create basic as well as more complicated quiet book shapes and patterns. When I use my computer for this purpose, I always start with the simplest solutions. Let me show you how.
Using MS Word to create quiet book patterns
Everyone has MS Office on their computers. Or some form of a basic word processing software. This is all you need to create quiet book patterns for letters and numbers easily.
Simple letters and numbers can be created without using any patterns like in this Youtube tutorial. However I like my letters and numbers to be a little more exciting. For this, I love using MS Word.
Simply type a single letter or number on a page and blow it up to huge proportions. Now you can use this as a pattern for your quiet book page.
Using MS Paint to create quiet book patterns
Of course your computer would have simple software like MS Paint as well. This is very handy for creating basic quiet book pattern shapes.
A number of these shapes are built into the program for example all the blue shapes that you see in the image. To make these shapes symmetrical, simply press the Shift key while dragging your mouse cursor.
You can also use MS Paint to create simple patterns yourself. For example I used the the curved-line tool to make the cloud and crescent in the image.
Using Inkscape to create quiet book patterns
If you want to get a little more adventurous in making your quiet book patterns, you can use the free software Inkscape. You can download it off the internet and get creating. It helps to first watch some tutorials on Youtube. I am no expert on Inkscape either. I just use a handful of basic functions on it which gets my job done!
The best thing about Inkscape is that it creates vector images. Vector images are scalable so you can make them as big or as small as you need without losing pixel quality. You can also use the image you create on electronic cutting machines. But that’s a totally different area so we’ll get to it in time!
Some thoughts on creating digital quiet book patterns
A lot of times, what we see on the computer screen might not be the best solution for our quiet book. If a quiet book template is too tricky or fiddly to cut, it will be impossible to sew it effectively. So it is best to stay away from such patterns and go for the simpler forms.
For example the letter G on the left might look fancy, but if you try to cut out a printout of this letter, you will be in for a rough and unrewarding ride. A simple solution is to use a less complicated font that is also pleasing on the eye.
Finding free quiet book patterns for personal use
The internet can be your best source for finding quiet book patterns as long as you are only using the images you find for personal use. So if you are making a quiet book as a gift for a little one, Google images can offer you every option you would ever need and more.
For example if you want to make a quiet book with a letter G page, you could search for “G is for” and Google would churn out a mind-boggling array of images. Say you particularly like the cute giraffe in the image there. You could simply use it for your quiet book. Just make sure that you are not selling your project because this would be copyright infringement!
So before you think about buying patterns, try Googling the images you need. Chances are you won’t have to spend any money after all!
Buying quiet book patterns
If making your own quiet book patterns seems a bit OTT right now, you can always buy these online for example on Etsy. You will need a computer and a printer to print and use these digital patterns.
Choosing the right material for your quiet book patterns ─ paper or cardstock?
Once you have all your quiet book patterns in hand or on your computer, it is time to cut them out. But first you need to think about the best material for your quiet book patterns.
For most parts, you will be using ordinary paper to draw or print your quiet book templates. Cheap, low density paper is perfect for most of these crafting jobs, such as cutting out large letters, numbers and shapes. Paper is also perfect for fussy-cutting more detailed quiet book patterns such as parts of an animal or bird, parts of a tree or a tractor etc.
However there will be instances when your quiet book patterns will require a more robust medium. This is particularly true when creating the overall page template or for making simple repeated shapes and patterns. For these quiet book patterns, you will need a higher density paper, ideally cardstock or cardboard which is robust enough to withstand repeated use.
For example this thicker card is perfect as a quiet book page template because it will retain its shape and straight edges when you trace it out.
Also, take a look at the little fish in this quiet book page. The pattern for these was also made out of cardstock instead of flimsy paper. This helped me trace out the pattern quickly over and over again.
Now look through your quiet book plan and see what material is best for each of your quiet book patterns.
Essential tools for cutting quiet book patterns
You will need a sharp pair of scissors to cut your quiet book patterns. Ideally you should have two pairs of scissors for this job: a larger, more ergonomic pair that will not put pressure on your thumb. And a smaller one for more precise cuts.
For example my Fiskar’s student scissors do a brilliant job of slicing through tough cardstock and all kinds of materials. I have used these to cut all the quiet book patterns you see on this website. On the other hand, my small Korbond scissors are perfect for tight corners and fine detail.
Never use your fabric cutting scissors on paper or card!
You can also cut out quiet book templates with a craft knife or retractable cutter. Even if you don’t cut out the entire centre thing with a knife, it is good to keep it handy for tricky bits. For example to cut out the holes in letters A, B or D, you could first make a slit within the hole using your craft knife. Then you could use your smaller scissors to finish the cut.
Tips for cutting quiet book patterns
Now that you have the right tools for cutting your quiet book patterns, it is time to get cutting. Here are some cutting tips that I have picked up on my journey into quiet book making.
Move the paper, not the scissors
Remember to move the paper rather than the scissors when cutting through tight curves. Keep your hand holding the scissors fairly still. Only move the fingers to open the blade wide for the next slice-through.
Store quiet book patterns for easy access
Find a way of organising and storing your quiet book patterns in a way that is quick and easy. My favourite method is to use cheap CD envelopes. The clear window helps me see the contents easily and I can label them on the other side. The envelopes can be filed away inside a small folder or an old shoebox.
Keeping your quiet book patterns easily accessible will make it easier for you to use them. You will also find yourself more inclined to making more quiet books because the basic work has already been done!
The next steps ─ making a list of quiet book materials
The best thing about making quiet book patterns is that it gives you a real feel of what materials you would need for your quiet book.
For example you might have thought of using felt to make a house on one quiet book page. But once you start cutting the house template, you might realise that actually using a textured fabric like burlap might be better. In this way you can determine the basic supplies you need for each page of your quiet book.
As you cut the quiet book patterns out, make a list of what materials you will need to create each page. By the time you are done cutting out all the pieces of your quiet book, you should have a fairly exhaustive list of all the supplies you will need for you project. Go over this list once more and edit/tweak where necessary.
Once your quiet book materials list is ready, go scavenging around your home to see if there are any supplies that you might already have at hand. You are bound to find at least one item that you might be able to use. For example a large button or a piece of fabric. Or even a pair of old (but clean!) jeans that can be cut for parts.
Now tick off the things you have found already at home, and buy everything else. If you are unsure of the exact quantities you need, err on the side of a little extra. It is a huge pain when you realize that you are falling short of one bead to complete a page. But to order it online means you have to wait at least 48 hours for it to arrive through the post!
And if you have any leftovers, you can always use them in your next craft project or donate them.
Hopefully this has inspired you try making some simple quiet book patterns at home.
You can get started by making the easiest one first, which is the quiet book page template. You can learn how to do this here.