bookish bookmarks – how to make your own

Okayy so I showcased some cool bookmarks I made last week on my Instagram (@narrativedreaming), and said I would follow up with a ‘how to’ post, so here it is!

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you will need:

  • colourful ink pens (gel pens and biros won’t work!) OR watercolours
  • a black pen (can be biro but wouldn’t recommend)
  • scissors (if you’re starting with a large piece of card)
  • a pot of water
  • a fine, preferably non-plastic, paintbrush
  • card (can be white card or coloured. paper won’t work!) – make sure you have extra for mixing ink on! kind of like a palette.

all of these items should be readily available in a local stationary shop, although you may have to go to an art shop if you’re shopping for a nice paintbrush.

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I used a flashcard that probably should’ve been kept for revision for my palette, as you can see I take my education very seriously.

Mixing your inks with water to make them pastel and spreadable (?) is very important if you don’t have any watercolour paints (which I don’t) and it is how I get my colours spread evenly. You are essentially making coloured water, which you then transfer to the strip of card, just like painting.

To do the actual mixing, simply scribble on your palette/spare piece of card and then use your paintbrush to dab water on it. The ink from the paper will bleed into the water, and then you can spread the coloured water onto the piece of card you are actually using as your bookmark! I decided to use three colours in both the bookmarks I made. Below is an example of a red, orange and yellow gradient effect that I also made! You can achieve the cool gradient effect by simply overlapping the different inks/watercolours slightly!

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Next step is to add the quote/words your using. I chose a quote from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, in anticipation of the release of Lord of Shadows, the next instalment in The Dark Artifices Trilogy!

IMPORTANT NOTE: make absolute certain that your ink/watercolour is DRY before you start writing on it. Especially if you are using another ink pen to write!

It can be hard to find inspiration for fonts and handwriting styles to use on your bookmarks, I sometimes really struggle to come up with interesting looking letters. Don’t worry though! If this happens I have a cheat sheet for you… Just google and browse all the fonts there! I’m particularly fond of this site for two reasons:

  • The calligraphy section! The fonts are separated into themes and in my humble opinion the calligraphy section contains the prettiest ones!
  • The handy box at the top called ‘custom preview’. This allows you to type in whatever word you want and then converts it into the selected font! It’s so so so useful!

I hope this has helped anyone wanting to try their hand at bookmark making! If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to comment!

Here are two of my finished bookmarks, so you can see what the finished product looks like (I’m sure yours will be much better than mine…) sorry for my chipped nail polish…!

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bookstagram – a beginner’s musings.

Hiya everyone!

Okay, so about a month ago I decided to recycle an abandoned Instagram account I used to use when I was an awkward 13-year-old who still believed in the Power of Fandom and said words like SuperWhoLockian and other such embarrassing things. I thought it would be cool to show you all some of my photos and walk you through some decisions I made in regards to username, theme, content etc, in case anyone was looking for pointers, or general advice!

Screenshot (14)So this is a quick look at my ig!


  • You can see I used the same username (narrativedreaming) as I do here and on tumblr!  purely for #brandconsistency lol. Seriously though, I think if you’re considering being on the internet in multiple places (i.e. a blog, an Instagram, a twitter/tumblr)  it would probably be a good idea to avoid massive differentiations in username, just so that people can find you wherever you are!
  • I didn’t use an underscore as that seems to be really unpopular and just generally not a good idea. If you’re struggling to find a nickname, the generic (but by no means boring) username seems to be @*yourname*reads. So mine would be @esmiereads, which is coincidentally a name I seriously considered using for this blog! Usernames with the word ‘book/s’ are really common as well, surprise surprise! This is definitely not a bad thing either – some of my favourite blogs use this idea v effectively!


  • okay so you can probably see that my photos all have filters on them. This is to help build up a theme and a sort of recognisability, i.e. hopefully soon people will be able to recognise my photos because they look like mine.
  •  I use the VSCO app for editing and applying filters to the photos taken on my phone. (…I spend a disproportionate amount of money on books and as a result, sadly do not have any left for cool Nikon cameras and the like. But my pictures seem to turn out pretty good quality-wise, and it means I don’t have to transfer them to a computer and then on to my phone, so honestly, I’m not complaining!)
  • Word of Warning: there isn’t much point in filtering your photos if you’re gonna use a different one each time! If you’re going for vintage vibes then use filters that bring out the whites and browns and golds. If you want a minimalistic black and white theme, then stick to it! That’s not to say you can’t change your theme at any point. Just don’t change it every other day, is all I’m saying!


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  • okay so this one is super fun and really good for giving you inspiration when you’re struggling for #inspo
  • challenges are super fun! for example I’m about to start an April Bookstagram Challenge that looks a little like this:

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  • and I recently posted a photo for a tag challenge called ‘favourite title’ where you post a photo of the book that bears your favourite title on the front and then tag some other bookstagrammers/friends to do the same!

moving on….


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If you’re good at something use it to your advantage!

  • example: I’m really into lettering/calligraphy at the moment and I’ve always loved to doodle and draw! So I decided to put these hobbies to good use, and make a quote page for Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and then use it as a fun prop in a photo! Some other cool ideas I may be trying in the future and then subsequently blogging about:
    • making my own bookmarks
    • mixing my own book themed candles
    • buying some pretty fairy lights (apparently a near essential item)
    • and some other stuff I will keep you all updated on!

Props/what do you put in your photos? Some guidelines:

  • Is the prop the same colour as the book in the picture? Use it.
  • Is the prop the same colour as your general theme? Go for it.
  • Cup of coffee/tea/iced beverage? Hell yeah, put it in.
  • is it aesthetically pleasing? In the frame it goes.
  • Is the prop itself a reference to a scene in the book? !!!definitely include it!!!
  • You get where I’m going here.
  • Literally anything can be used as a prop. The more the merrier.
  • Anything.
  • Go hunting around your house, or even local dollar stores/markets and you will find something!
  • have a cheeky stalk of some popular accounts and try to find things similar to what they’re using! Although!! if you are taking photos that are heavily inspired by another account make sure to credit them by tagging them in your caption.

And lastly remember to have fun! It sounds disturbingly cliché, but as enjoyable as the bookstagram experience has the potential to be, it also has the potential to be draining and stressful. Please don’t waste brain space and precious time worrying over follower counts and number of likes etc, etc. It’s not worth the angst and general anxiety.

Also use hashtags! they make a world of difference, here are some useful ones;

#bibliophile #bookstagram #bookish #bookworm #bookaddict #bookphotography #booknerd #bookaholic #books #book #reading #reader #igreads #yalit #yalovin #yabooks #instabooks #instablogging #bookblogger #igdaily #igstyle #ilovereading #ilovebooks

I hope this has been at least a little bit helpful and/or informative!

If anyone has anymore questions or tips to share, don’t hesitate to comment!

esmie x