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A sturdy, stand-up alphabet make the pages out of balsa wood.

A sturdy, stand-up alphabet book . . . you make the pages out of balsa wood

For little hands and curious minds, this wooden-paged book can be filled with alphabet pictures, family photographs, or whatever you think will please a very young viewer. For ours, we photocopied animal pictures from a copyright-free illustration book, glued them to square balsa wood pages, and arranged them alphabetically with the appropriate letter on each page.

To make the book, you'll need a paintbrush, scissors, medium sandpaper, a craft knife, and a straightedge. Also:

Three 6- by 36-inch balsa boards, 1/4 inch thick (available at hobby shops; about $3 per board)

Acrylic varnish (1-pt. can, about $8)

3 yards 1 1/2-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon

Craft glue (4-oz. jar, bout $1.85)

Large adhesive or rub-on letters ($4 to $10 per sheet at art supply stores)

Copyright-free illustration book (at bookstores, art supply stores, libraries)

Cut the balsa into 6-inch squares, six per sheet (for our book, we used only 14 of the squares). Then determine the placement and size of the image you're going to glue to each one. If you are using pictures from a book, you may have to reduce or enlarge them on a photocopy machine to fit the wooden pages. In planning the sequence of the pages, determine which sides will butt together; leave a 3/4-inch margin for the ribbon along the back edge of each page. Instead of adhesive letters, you can use a stencil or hand-draw them with a permanent felt-tip marker.

Photo: Thick but lightweight pages, sturdy enough to let the 4 1/2-inch-thick book stand on end, are easy to turn for normal reading. At end is list of included animals' names; for the curious, X stands for xerus--an African squirrel

Photo: Cut balsa into 6-inch squares using craft knife and right-angle triangle. Round two adjacent corners for front edge of each page; sand the edges smooth

Photo: Seal wood with one coat of varnish, then glue down cutout animal images; smooth out any air bubbles and let dry. (Note position of rounded corners)

Photo: Varnish both sides of each page twice more, letting dry thoroughly between coats. Recoat after applying appropriate letter

Photo: Connect pages by gluing strips of ribbon to square-cornered back edges. Leave 1/8 inch between edges so book can close
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Sep 1, 1986
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