When I first made my very first quiet book back in 2014, I plunged head-first into cutting and sewing it without a plan. But now I realize how important it is to plan out well in advance how many pages there should be in a quiet book. Otherwise you risk getting lost in an endless, confusing crafting jungle.
Just remember that a quiet book should have at least 8 internal pages for it to look and feel like a proper book. You also need 2 more pages for the front and back cover. Take a look at this chart to see what a quiet book with 8 pages looks like.
As you can see, making a quiet book with a minimum number of 8 pages means that you will actually be creating 10 different quiet book pages (2 for the covers). Now this may sound like a daunting number but it need not be so at all. Once you follow a simple plan of how to spread out the activities inside your quiet book, it becomes very easy to create your quiet book pages fairly quickly.
Planning the number of quiet book pages
In my experience of making quiet books, I have seen that children need to have at least 3 ‘leaves’ or 3 ‘page sandwiches’ that they can flick and turn inside a quiet book. Each leaf comprises of two pages. This actually makes it feel like they are using a proper book with a beginning, a middle and an end instead of just a pair of fabric pieces haphazardly stuck together.
So for a successful quiet book that actually looks and feels like a book, you will need to create at least 3 leaves i.e. 6 pages. Plus 2 more pages for the inside of the covers. Plus 2 more pages for the outer front and back covers. Therefore 6+2+2=10 pages to work on.
We treat the front cover and the back cover of the quiet book as individual pages as well because you will be sewing, decorating and working on the cover just as much as any of the internal pages. In fact the cover of a quiet book is often made especially rich, colorful and interactive to attract children. And so you might actually end up working longer and harder on the cover compared to the internal pages.
Whatever number of quiet book pages you choose to create, always remember to add 2 to it to calculate the overall number of pages that you will be working on. Also remember that quiet books always have an even number of pages for example 8, 10, 12 and so on.
How to quickly create a larger number of quiet book pages
Now that you realize that there is no running away from the amount of effort that a quiet book needs, a more pressing question might be: how can I lay out the activities inside a quiet book to create a large number of pages in the least amount of time? And this is where the quiet book thumbnail planning tool comes in.
Take a look at this image below. It’s the same image you saw earlier, but this time I have shown how you can spread out the activities inside. I like to plan quiet books with alternating pages, with an even mix of simple pages and complex pages.
Simple quiet book pages
These have fairly simple patterns, usually with 1 to 5 different pieces. They are quick and easy to cut and sew. You can usually start and finish simple quiet book pages in under 2 hours. An example of such a page is a mirror page for a toddler’s quiet book.
Complex quiet book pages
These have more complicated patterns and have multiple small pieces of felt and fabric that need to be stitched down. It takes longer to create these pages and you might have to think way outside the box too. An example would be this rocket and astronaut page that I created for my nephew. I worked for 3 days straight on this page, trying to figure out how to create it exactly! It has loads of little bits and pieces that go together.
Mixing up the contents helps you create a larger number of quiet book pages faster!
If you were to create lots of complex pages for your quiet book, it would take you a very long time to finish it. And chances are that you might crash and burn before you even get to the end.
On the other hand, if you create a quiet book with only simple pages, it might be quicker to create but too boring for the recipient.
A smarter approach would be to mix up the contents in order to optimize the number and time needed to create the quiet book pages. In this way, you will not only save time by creating the simpler quiet book pages quickly, you will also throw in a healthy mix of more complex activities for the child.
A planning tool to calculate the number of pages in a quiet book
This is the bit I am most excited about! I am sharing with you my very own quiet book planning tool here. Simply click on the link at the end of this post to get the Quiet Book Planning Tool pdf file and print it out. This tool will help you figure out exactly how many quiet book pages you need, along with how to spread them out. This is how you do it:
And there you have it: you have just decided exactly how many pages you want in your quiet book, along with how to spread those pages out!
How to use the planning tool for longer quiet books
What do you do if you want to make an even bigger quiet book with 12, 14 or 16 pages? Simply get two prints of the same sheet. Fill out the first sheet as normal. But now, the “Back cover” thumbnail will become your page 11.
On the second sheet, ignore or cross out the top two squares. Now the “Page 2” thumbnail will become your page 12. The “Page 3” thumbnail will become your page 13 and so on. Keep adding your ideas until you are done. Finally, add your ‘back cover’ in the right hand column.
You can use this Quiet Book Planning Tool to create quiet books with as many or as few pages as you want. Just remember to have at least 8 pages though or your book will not look substantive enough.
Some parting thoughts
I hope this has helped you better figure out the layout of your quiet book. Once this is done, you can move forward to the fun creating bit!
If you are still unsure of what you need to do to make your quiet book, check out my post on How to make a quiet book which will walk you through all the steps one by one. Now go download and print the Quiet book planning tool pdf below.
Links: Quiet book planning tool pdf