It's Just the Coffee Talking: A fun way to track books you read in 2023 - this is especially a fun arts/crafts idea for kids!

Good Morning Coffee Friends!

Fresh, hot coffee in hand and my first official post of the new year. 


Do you recall ever making a little construction paper 'book shelf' back in your elementary school days?  Everything old is new again...

I'm a reader. My whole life; I'd rather be reading something (almost anything) rather than doing anything else.  But I've never been mindful of making a list of my books.  (You would think I would - with my personality - but no.) In the past I've made some half-hearted attempts at keeping my reading lists on a running list, or later, excel spreadsheets, etc. but I never end up keeping them up - and that's ok.  I honestly don't care about it all that much.  But last night I was doing some nervous waiting in between hearing updates from family members traveling cross-country to get home and having terrible car issues.  I needed something mindless to fill my time and I realized that with the start of a new year - it would be a great time to start a new 'book list' for 2023 - but with an outlet for my creativity too.

I have a faint memory of making a 'book shelf' art craft in elementary school for some project or class.  I saw them mentioned online again this past week and kind of smiled, remembering making them as a child but then... last night I had the idea to use this artsy craft idea to waste time while waiting for an update from family to see if they made it to their hotel safely - and at the same time, it's a brand new year so it's the perfect time to make this my "BOOKS I'VE READ IN 2023" list!

I thought I'd share it with my coffeetalking.com readers - a fun little quick arts/crafts project your kids can do to keep track of the books they read - but adults can do it too!


Simple Instructions: 

  • Use brown or black strips to design a bookshelf across your paper (all the way, part of the way, staggered, etc. Up to you!)
  • Use colored paper to make thin rectangles of all different heights and widths to serve as your books.
  • Optional:  Using other bits of paper or draw in things on your shelf like a vase or flowers or a plant.


You can use construction paper - browns for the shelves, on a white background is simple and easy. 

Colored paper for the 'books'.  If you don't have construction paper or don't want to use it up for this, just use regular white paper or scraps of paper from envelopes from bills or mail or any other pieces of paper you have and just paint them with water colors or acrylic paint, or use markers!

I had a heavy duty piece of white paper that was an insert from the back of some toy or something.  It was heavier than a piece of regular paper, so that was my background and how I brainstormed my idea of making this. 

I used a little bit of brown paint to paint strips across a page of white, regular computer paper.

I used a second piece of paper and painted rectangles of color over the page - all over - no design or being picky - just paint large (3 or 4 inches) of squares or rectangles and let the paint dry.  I cut out tiny little rectangles from the colored areas of paper that would be my 'books'. 

I had some leftover pieces with scribbles of marker on them so I cut that out to make a 'vase' and green scribbled marker pieces to be leaves.  I made another vase out of a piece of an old envelope I saw when I looked down into the trash can at my desk - I used a tiny piece of it to cut out another 'vase' and used the security side (the black lines) and simply snipped a few more pieces of paper with green paint or marker smears to make more leaves.

I glued the strips of brown to make my selves; opting to stagger them, and not make them straight across the whole paper.  I started to add my books - randomly placing them, stacking a few, and shoving a few in at an angle (just like my real life book shelves look like right now!  Ha). 

As I read books in 2023 I can grab my list (kept at my desk) and just jot the title of the book down on a random book on my paper shelf.  A fun way to track my 2023 reading!  Note:  if I keep up this list idea and it doesn't peter-out, I'll probably have to make about 5 or 6 of these, but it was really FUN to make and it was one of those crafts where I could just let my mind wander and pass the time so I won't mind making 5 or 6 of these this year to track my book reading.

PS:  I think this is a great idea for kids! 

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Thanks for sharing morning coffee with me!