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Pencil bookmarks make the grade

This easy craft for children produces back to school bookmarks.

By Amanda Formaro, Special to Tribune Newspapers

August 7, 2012

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Chances are parents have started someback-to-schoolshopping. Have you noticed, though, that bookmarks are often not among the supplies found at the store? So here's an easy project: fun, pencil-themed bookmarks. They'll come in handy, and it also gives the kids a chance to prepare for the new school year. For a colorful variation, younger children may want to create crayon bookmarks instead of pencil ones.

Materials:

(These supplies are sold at craft stores, some department stores and online.)

Jumbo craft sticks

Acrylic craft paint: yellow, pink, peach, silver and black

Paintbrush

Scissors

Emery board or sandpaper, optional

Fine-point black permanent marker

Acrylic sealer

Directions:

Note: Each craft stick will need to be painted on both sides. Allow one side to dry before painting the other side.

1. Paint each craft stick with yellow paint; let dry.

2. Paint about an inch or so of one end with pink paint for the eraser; let dry.

3. Leaving about 3/4-inch of the pink paint visible, paint a stripe of silver over the bottom of the pink; let dry.

4. Paint about 1 inch of the other end of the craft stick with peach paint; let dry.

5. Use scissors to cut the end into a point, making sure there are no splinters. Sandpaper or an emery board can smooth out edges. (Skip this step if you are concerned about a pointy tip for younger kids, or just round off the tip with scissors.)

6. Paint the end of the tip black for the pencil lead; let dry.

7. Repeat steps 1 to 4 and step 6 for the other side.

8. Label the bookmark with the marker. Some suggestions include the class subject (science, math, etc.), the child's name or her school's name. For a more generic approach, write "No. 2" and give them as back-to-school gifts!

9. Apply a coat of acrylic sealer to both sides of the bookmark.

Amanda Formaro is a professional crafter; find more projects at her website, craftsbyamanda.com.

sunday@tribune.com