What is a quiet book PDF? A helpful beginners’ guide

If you are interested in making a quiet book for a young child, you must have come across the term quiet book PDF. This can sound confusing if you have never worked with downloadable printable patterns. So let me tell you what a quiet book PDF is.

A quiet book PDF is a document containing one or more quiet book patterns, which can be downloaded and printed to create quiet books at home. PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Pattern creators often save their work as a PDF because it keeps their quiet book patterns in exactly the intended format.

Adobe, the creators of PDF, say that it helps to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. This means that if you save a quiet book pattern as a PDF, it cannot be altered or tampered with easily.

PDF files ensure that the quiet book pattern remains in its original condition

Therefore for purposes of creating, saving and downloading quiet book patterns, a PDF pattern ensures that you will be able to get accurate dimensions in your print outs. And so the finished quiet book that you see online is exactly what you will be able to recreate at home.

How to create a quiet book PDF

 There are lots of different ways to create patterns for quiet books and save them in as a PDF file. Let’s start with the simplest method.

Hand drawing a quiet book PDF

This really is as simple as it sounds. You start by creating a quiet book pattern on paper, for example the outline of a simple cloud or a leaf. Use a pencil or a pen. Now get rid of any unwanted scuffs or marks. Make sure that the quiet book pattern has the exact dimensions as that of the finished quiet book contents you want.

Hand-draw simple quiet book patterns on a piece of paper and scan them in

Now simply scan your hand-drawn pattern into your computer using a flatbed scanner. Finally, save this image as a PDF file.  

Creating a quiet book PDF on the computer

If you want to get a little more adventurous in creating your quiet book patterns, you can use graphics software to do this. Quiet book pattern creators often use  software like Photoshop to make high quality, sophisticated and scalable quiet book patterns which can then be saved as a PDF file.

However I am not very good at using sophisticated programs such as these. Instead, my favorite program for creating quiet book PDFs on the computer is Inkscape. I have written about Inkscape in my post here.

Inkscape is a wonderful free graphics software for creating quiet book patterns

Basically Inkscape is a user-friendly program that helps you draw scalable (or vector) images. When I first started using it, I had little idea of what I was doing or even where to start. But after watching a few useful Youtube tutorials, I was up and running in no time.

You don’t need to know a whole lot about Inkscape to get started. In fact you can create a beautiful quiet book pattern using only a handful of tools within the software. You can also scale your quiet book patterns or change them anyway you like with just a few simple touches.

If you want to learn a little more about using Inkscape, along with a quick and easy Youtube tutorial that teaches you how to do this, check out my post on making quiet book patterns. You will get plenty of ideas in there on how to move forward from here.

Create original quiet book PDF patterns by combining pencil drawings and Inkscape

This is by far my favorite method of creating quiet book PDF patterns. I do this by combining the two methods that you just learned above.

Import your hand-drawn image into Inkscape

In short, first hand-draw your pattern on a piece of paper and scan it into your computer. Next, import it into Inkscape.

Now trace and tweak it on your computer to create your final quiet book pattern. You can read more about how to do this in my post.

Save your image as a PDF document

When you start making quiet book patterns in this way, you are planting the seed for creating a truly original high quality quiet book. You can now save your quiet book PDF pattern to your computer, print it out and get making.

Don’t forget to save a copy in Inkscape’s own file format (SVG) so that you can return to it later. In this way, you can tweak, edit or resize your quiet book pattern for future projects.

Where to buy a quiet book PDF

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of making your own patterns, you can easily buy quiet book PDF patterns online. One of the best places to find these is on Etsy, which is an online marketplace for crafters.

You can purchase quiet book PDF patterns on Etsy

You will be able to find all kinds of quiet book patterns in the form of downloadable PDFs.  If you are planning to spend the time and energy to create a quiet book, then these quiet book patterns can be well worth the investment. You can use a favorite pattern over and over again forever.

Printing quiet book PDF patterns ─ an important consideration

The essence of quiet book PDF patterns lies in the fact that they turn out exactly how their creator intended them to be. To make sure you do this, you need to print the PDF pattern exactly to scale. You must not shrink or resize a quiet book PDF pattern unless the instructions say so explicitly.

Sometimes however, I have noticed that even though I have created a PDF pattern to a certain scale, the print-out keeps coming up around 5% smaller than the original intended size. I have wasted dozens of sheets of paper trying to figure out how to print it out exactly to scale.

And I think finally I have cracked it! The trick is to use poster settings. Here’s why.

Sometimes when you are trying to print a particularly large quiet book PDF pattern which fills out most of an A4 sheet of paper, your printer refuses to print it out to scale. I’m no expert and so I don’t know why. But I have found that if I point my printer settings to ‘poster printing’, everything falls into place!

These templates print perfectly to scale once I set my printer to the Poster settings

You can see an example of this on my resources page where there is a link to my free quiet book PDF pattern of page templates. You can use it to create perfectly sized quiet book pages ranging from 5 to 7 inches. I have included the printer settings to make sure that the printed templates come out exactly to scale. I have also included a reference 1-inch scale so you can make sure your printer settings are on point.

I hope this has helped clear out some of the mystery surrounding quiet book PDF patterns. And that it may inspire you to go create some quiet book patterns of your own. It really isn’t difficult at all and is a lot of fun. Once your quiet book PDF is in hand, it can be a very rewarding experience.

Related questions

How to make quiet book pages stiff

Make your quiet book pages stiff using my tutorial

 If you are starting work on a quiet book for a child that you love, make sure that you are using perfectly stiff quiet book pages for the best results. I have a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to make quiet book pages stiff. You will find tips and tricks in there to help you save time while you do this. Do check it out.

How to make a quiet book step by step

If you are unsure of how to go about creating your quiet book, you can find my detailed 12-step method that will walk you through each stage of creating a quiet book.

I am constantly updating this resource so do check it out. Once you follow the 12 steps one by one, you will be left with a beautiful quiet book at the end of it.

Don’t forget to check out my free resources page here where you can find downloadable quiet book PDFs to get started quickly.

Happy crafting!

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