Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Newbery Caldecott Wilder Banquet Outfit 2017: Paper Doll

Necklace3It began so simply. One year I discovered that it was possible to make your own temporary tattoos. For fun I made some Newbery winners and placed a band of them on one arm right before the Newbery Caldecott Wilder banquet. When the next year rolled around I did two arms, one for the Caldecotts and one for the Newberys. The year after that I tried something different, turning the covers into circular tattoos and then weaving words from that year’s Newbery winner (When You Reach Me) around one arm. That didn’t really work (the tattoos made me look as if I had some interesting variation on the bubonic plague) so I tired of tattoos.  The next year some friends and I created a Shrinky-Dink necklace of winners. After that I tried making an outfit out of all the picture book winners.  It didn’t really work but I got an A for effort. Then in my personal life I started producing children and things calmed down. Last year I tried getting away from the winners altogether and just wore a dress of card catalog cards (all children’s books) with card catalog barrettes in my hair.

This year, I hadn’t really planned on doing anything. So I happily went along my merry way, weeding my collection.  Each time I weeded an older title I noticed its Due Date slip.  Sometimes they’d fall out as I was inspecting the title, and after this happened enough times I started collecting them. I didn’t know what to do with them exactly. Maybe make a dress out of them? After all, I’ve seen people do it with Pokemon cards and playing cards.  It could probably be done with card catalog cards as well, but that’s an awful lot of work, and if it fails while you are wearing it then you are in rather dire trouble. Plus, Due Date slips aren’t made of thick cardstock, like a card catalog card, but are as thin as the paper in the books they grace.

Banquet 6 copy

That’s when I figured it out.

Meet my sister, Kate.  You may know her from our podcast Fuse 8 n’ Kate where she keeps a calm profile.  Yet long before this current state of affairs she was a blogger herself.  She created a site called How To, How Hard, and How Much where she would find internet craft projects and break down precisely how easy or difficult they truly were.  Highlights included a failed gingerbread Tardis, a very cool book bracelet that I own to this day, and (perhaps most memorably) comic book shoes.

Comic book pages are a bit thicker than they used to be these days, but honestly they’re not that different in consistency from Due Date slips.  And so a plan began to form in my cranium. What if I bought a pair of shoes and Mod Podged the heck out of them with my slips?  It’s not as if no one has ever put due date slip patterns on shoes, but it’s usually the sneakers that get the attention.  This could work.

Very carefully I followed Kate’s instructions to the letter.  I did break some rules right off the bat, though.  These shoes that I had picked up at Payless (a half a size larger than my regular size because the shoes constrict a bit when you glue them all over) had rounded toes. According to Kate that’s a no-no.  But I was determined. I was scrappy. I would do this thing!

Here are some shot of the work in progress:

Banquet 11 copy

Banquet9 copy

Banquet10 copy


Banquet3 copy


Banquet4 copy

Banquet2 copy

In the end, I was most taken with how the slips hugged the heels. I love how the slips wrap around them so flawlessly.  Thinking of making your own pair?  Follow Kate’s instructions to the letter (all the while bearing in mind some of my own lessons) and you can’t fail.

So I’d have a dress and some shoes. Easy peasy, right?  Except . . . what about accessories?  Could the Due Date slips rescue me on that account as well?

The trouble with jewelry is that the options are tricky. At first I bought a cute little ring maker, and proceeded to create a couple Date Due slip rings for fun.  Unfortunately, the slips weren’t anchored very well and since I wanted to give them to my daughter to play with I didn’t want to glue them all in there.  That said, I also bought myself a jewelry making kit:

Banquet 7 copy

So how do you turn slips into jewelry?  After a little while I realized that the ring maker’s hole punch actually created fairly large circles.  Could I Mod Podge the slip circles and then glue them to a slightly more substantial piece of cardboard? Nothing too thick, of course.  Something more like . . . a TV dinner box?

Banquet 12 copy

Done and done some more.

And now for the piece de resistance.  I’ve taken care to keep many of the F&Gs that fall into my lap and are award contenders.  Why? Because when the time is right, children, you do something with those books.  Thanks to Du Iz Tak? I wanted to pay homage to Carson Ellis’s genius.  I wanted to take her Gladdenboot (the name given to the flower the insects adore) and somehow put it around my neck. I also wanted to take budding Gladdenboots and put them in my own hair.  Paper jewelry start to finish. I just wasn’t sure how to start. In the end it took a needle and a pin. The pin would poke through the sides of the little paper circles and the needle would widen the hole. Then it was just a matter of working in a little connecting circle to make the first link in a necklace.

Banquet 8 copy

This, as you might imagine, went on for a while.

Finally, I cut out the Gladdenboot.  I wanted it to really stand out, but also not curl up and die immediately. The answer appeared to lay in Mod Podge, once again.  I simply painted it on both sides with the glue.  Sadly, that made it start to curl a little, but at least it stood up.  And voila!

Banquet1 copy

Pretty necklace.

As it happens, no one really noticed the necklace.  Every date on the little circles contained at least one June in honor of the banquet.  That’s okay.  The shoes were the real draw. Amusingly, I have only one photo of me actually wearing them, though they never left my feet all night.  Full credit, then, to Leah Henderson for shooting this picture of me with my fellow-former Newbery Committee member Dr. Claudette McLinn.


You know I’m a classy dame by the way you can still make out the imprint of the socks I was wearing mere moments ago on my ankles.

And a good time was had by all!

I’ll recap the actual conference itself presently, folks.  Have no fears. Just figured I’d cover the basics first.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. ModgePodge is magic! How did the shoes hold up? Will you be able to wear them again?

  2. Those shoes are amazing! The necklace is very beautiful too. Perhaps the pieces just need to be bonded to something thicker. Way to put together an adorable outfit for an affordable cost!

  3. Genevieve says:

    Wow, those shoes are fantastic! Love the whole outfit, Gladdenboot and all, but especially the shoes.

  4. Love, love, love.


  6. I said not to have round toes? I’m an idiot. They look great!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Thanks! But the round toes point is dead on. The back, sides, and even heel were simple compared to the difficulty of trying to figure out how to get flat paper to curve. In the end it took a lot of little pieces, carefully cut to just the right angle, to make it work.

  7. You realize you have to write a HOW_TO craft book for kids and adults! How to Make ANY EVENT even Better!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Bibliophile Style: Crafting for the Tired Librarian. I like it! I should get my sister involved. She’d totally dig that kind of a project.