How to make quiet book pages stiff
Perfectly stiff quiet book pages

Back in 2014 when I made my very first quiet book, its pages were flimsy and soft. So I started to wonder how I could make my quiet book pages stiff. After much experimentation with different fabrics, stiffeners and haberdashery supplies, and after making a number of successful quiet books since, I can now confidently share with you how to make your quiet book pages stiff.

The best way to make quiet book pages stiff is to use heavy weight fusible interfacing heat pressed on to the back of cotton or poly-cotton fabric. This will create a stiff smooth quiet book page that you can then decorate. But cutting and using lots of different colours of fabric and pieces of interfacing can take time. So I have discovered this quick and easy method of making my quiet book pages stiff in the shortest amount of time. Let me show you how I do it.

Things you need to make your quiet book pages stiff

Pin this to your quiet book board for later reference
  • A large sheet of heavy-weight fusible interfacing
  • An old cereal box or a piece of card slightly larger than the actual size of your desired quiet book pages. Alternatively, you can invest in a quilting square of the exact intended size of your quiet book pages.
  • Pieces of cotton fabric or poly cotton
  • Retractable cutter or craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Protractor or quilting ruler or set square to mark right angles
  • Ball pen
  • Rotary cutter
  • Self-healing mat

If you don’t have a rotary cutter and self-healing mat, don’t worry. You can do just fine with a pair of scissors instead.

Creating a template for your quiet book pages

The best way to speed up the process of making your quiet book pages stiff is to make a template for the fusible interfacing. I love to do this by cutting up any old cardboard box (usually cereal boxes are best because of their large flat side).

Cut open the cereal box and take a large flat piece of cardboard larger than the actual size of your desired quiet book page. On this cardboard, you will draw an outline for your actual quiet book pages. Usually, this will be a perfect square. Unless of course you want to create a rectangular quiet book, in which case you will draw a rectangular template.

DIY quiet book template
DIY quiet book template using an old cereal box

To do this, you will use a pencil, a ruler and a tool to help you mark 90 degrees at each corner of the square template. But you could always use a protractor, a quilting ruler or a compass. Whichever tool you decide to use, just make sure that your square is perfect. You will be using it to cut out all of your quiet book page fabric and fusible interfacing.

Cutting your quiet book templates efficiently

DIY quiet book template
DIY quiet book template cut using a craft knife

Now that you quiet book template is drawn out, it is time to cut it out. While you might think that using a pair of scissors is the best way to go, you will find that actually using a craft knife or retractable cutter, along with a straight edged ruler yields much better results.

This latter method is quick, easy and precise. Besides, a craft knife or retractable cutter will give you a smooth clean cut, so you won’t have to worry about any jagged edges on the quiet book template.

DIY quiet book template
DIY quiet book template easily cut using a craft knife

Make sure to put something under the cardboard that you are cutting, for example a self-healing mat or even an old chopping board. This will protect your work surface. Now get going and cut out that perfect cereal box square.

Once you cut it out, take a pen and write down the size of the square on your template. In this way, your quiet book template will always be ready for any future busy books that you might want to make.

For example here is the quiet book template that I created for my 7 inch quiet book.

Label your DIY quiet book template
Label your DIY quiet book template

Preparing fusible interfacing to make quiet book pages stiff

Now it is time to prepare the fusible interfacing to stiffen your quiet book pages. Fusible interfacing comes off the roll in large sheets. One side of this sheet is matte and the other is shiny.

Remember to place the fusible interfacing shiny side down. Now place your cardboard quiet book page template on top of the matte side and grab a ball pen. Trace all around the template with your pen.

Quiet book patterns on fusible interfacing
Quiet book patterns on fusible interfacing

Draw as many squares as there are pages, plus two more for the front and back covers. For example if your quiet book has eight different activity pages, you will draw 10 squares.

Cutting fusible interfacing to stiffen quiet book pages

After drawing the outline of the quiet book page template, it is time to cut out the fusible interfacing.

While it is tempting to pick up the first pair of scissors you can find and start cutting, think about how you can do this quickly and efficiently. A rotary cutter is the best way to cut fusible interfacing for your fusible interfacing. You will also need a cutting mat or clean chopping board, and a straight edged ruler.

How to make quiet book pages stiff
The best tools to cut fusible interfacing efficiently

Simply place the edge of the ruler along one edge of the ball pen squares. Now roll the rotary cutter’s blade along the ruler’s edge to get a quick and clean cut. Repeat on the remaining three sides and move on to the next square. Continue until all the fusible interfacing squares have been cut out.

Preparing fabric before stiffening it for your quiet book

Next it is time to prepare the fabric for your quiet book pages. Essentially you want to do away with any wrinkles or creases before you stiffen the fabric. So take a hot steam iron and press all the fabric nice and flat.

If your iron does not have a steam function, use a thin piece of damp muslin over the cotton or poly cotton to get flawless results. You could also use spray-on starch for a lovely crisp finish.

You should now have a set of quiet book fabric pieces, slightly larger than your cereal box square, all neatly pressed and ready to be stiffened

Quiet book fabric
Quiet book pages fabric ready to be stiffened

Fusing fabric and interfacing together to make quiet book pages stiff

Now it is time to stiffen the fabric for your quiet book pages. For this, simply take the pre-cut squares of fusible interfacing and place them, shiny side down, on to the back of your desired fabric. Now follow the instructions on the packaging to give this a shot of heat form your iron. Usually, this is only a couple of seconds.

As you do this, follow these three tips that I have picked up to make this process as efficient and effective as possible:

  1. Use dry heat to fuse the interfacing. Switch off the steam function on your iron.
  2. Press rather than glide the iron over the interfacing and move on as soon as it has fused to the fabric.
  3. Line up the edge of the fusible interfacing to any repeating fabric prints to give you an even finish on your quiet book page.
line up the edges
Line up the edge of the fusible interfacing with repeated prints on your fabric

Repeat the process until you have fused the entire fusible interfacing square to the back of the fabric. Now move on to the next square.

Trimming down the fabric to reveal perfectly stiff quiet book pages

Once your quiet book fabric has been fused to the interfacing, it will immediately feel stiff. Now is the time to trim off any excess fabric from around the fusible interfacing to reveal your perfectly stiff quiet book pages.

Again, a rotary cutter, a ruler and a self-healing mat are your best friends here. In other words, you will get flawless results quickly and easily using these. So go ahead and get rolling.

Once you have finished, stand back and admire your handy work. Your quiet book pages are stiff, smooth and ready to be decorated.

How to make quiet book pages stiff
Your perfectly stiff quiet book pages are ready

If you are still unsure of what things you need to make your very own busy book for toddlers, you can read all about quiet book materials here.

You can also get a quick overview of how to make a quiet book here.

If you want to watch a video of how to use fusible interfacing, you can find a short and sweet one at this link.

Lastly, you can read all about how to make a quiet book here and follow the links within.

Happy crafting!