Hinamatsuri (which means Doll Festival) is not just about dolls. It is also referred to as Momo no sekku which means Peach Festival. On the lunar calendar, March is peach blossom season.
My absolute favorite fairy tale growing up was the story of Momotaro. His legend has him springing forth as a baby from a giant peach found in the river by his poor elderly (adoptive) mother who, with her husband, had wished for a child. Momotaro is also a warrior of virtue and justice. Plus he has a dog, a monkey and a bird for best friends so really, what isn’t to love about this tale? (For an easily read aloud version, go here: https://www.candlelightstories.com/2011/03/13/peach-boy-a-folktale-from-japan/ Their audio version is a bit dreary but there is one on this link too).
My dollies love to read so I decided to make them their own copy of Momotaro. Baxley Stamps has some wonderful versions up online including the 1911 (& 1940 reprint) version as well as a Swedish version (that I couldn’t resist having a dear friend who is Swedish). There is also an excellent write up of how books were bound at the time. I highly encourage you to read through the text when you have time.
To make your own book, you’ll need to print out this handy PDF:
I’m going to caution that I used 11 x 17 paper because it required less taping. Home printers likely aren’t going to accommodate that. A copy center will be able to print the single page for you relatively inexpensively or your local library may have a printer/copier that can handle the larger size paper (standard is 8.5 by 11). If that doesn’t work for you, drop me a line and I will reformat to the standard size for you (or if you’re not in the US and need a different size paper, let me know!).
Before we start cutting, let’s fold things so all our pages are even.
Fold the panel with the cover (the first image)back so you can see it using the edge from the rest of the paper to line up your fold on the top and bottom of the sheet.
We’re going to fold all the outer edge seams first so we need to skip a panel and fold up again. Repeat this until you have folded every other edge. It looks like this now:
To fold the inside seams, use your outside seams as the “edge” folding each “inside” by meeting the two “outside” seams towards each other. When you’ve done them all, it looks like a simple fan fold:
Now we need to separate the sections. I used scissors. An exacto knife, straight edge and cutting mat would be ideal to maintain your size but scissors worked (your book is formatted to 2 inches wide by 3 inches tall). Using the photo below as your guide, separate the sections by rows. Try to keep them in order or use this photo for reference again later! Trim off the extra paper on the top and bottom only for now (as shown)
To connect the sections, use the excess white on your edges by folding them over to create another seam. Fold one in and one out so you can overlap them,
align and secure (with tape or glue, I used tape). Repeat this for the third row.
The front cover also has excess white before it. That’s ok. Fold that around towards the back and secure it (with tape or glue) to the back leaving the back cover free (sorry, I apparently missed that step in the photos).
To hide that white strip, wrap the back cover around (trim the spine to width if your paper is thinner than mine). You can see here that my spine ended up shorter than my book. That happens. I trimmed the bottom edge of the book carefully with scissors at the stage.
Next we need to secure the spine. No more extra book now!
I used regular Scotch tape. I find that if you lay the tape flat and set the book on it, it’s easier to align. I’m showing that here using the edge of my desk. Once I had it aligned on the tape (extra above or below the book is ok, you can trim off extra tape after the book is together) so the tape would go past the spine (so it makes contact with the front cover), I pressed down on the book and carefully rolled the tape up around the spine and front of the book to secure it.
I then used both hands (only one shown, guess where the other one was) to firmly press the spine down on my desktop to square out the spine.
This step isn’t required but it does make the spine look nice.
To show you the scale, here is the book with the tape dispenser. I think they make a lovely couple.
Did you know the story of Momotaro? What do you think of a baby hatching from a peach?