Mark the spot

Cardstock (8½ by 11 inches)
Magnetic tape (roll or strips)
Art supplies (markers, stickers, glue, etc.)

September means back to school—and time to hit the books. After a long summer of days at the pool, the zoo and the playground, your kids may (or may not) be excited about this prospect. Either way, an artsy afternoon spent making magnetic bookmarks will hopefully inspire some educational enthusiasm. Or, at the least, ensure that your kids never lose their place while reading or studying. Here’s how:

1. Gather your supplies (and kids).

2. Cut the cardstock into strips that measure 1½ by 8½ inches.

3. Fold each strip in half. The side facing you will be the front of the bookmark.

4. Decorate. This is the fun part. Use stickers, markers, glitter glue, stencils, rubber stamps, paper punches, pinking shears, metallic paper—whatever you have on hand. If you want, decorate both sides of the bookmark to make it reversible.

5. Apply the magnets. (Note: You can use either pre-cut magnetic strips or a roll of magnetic tape. The tape is more cost effective if you plan to make a bunch of these.) The key here is to make sure the magnets line up correctly. Here’s a nifty shortcut: Cut two identical pieces of magnetic tape, each about½-inch long. Don’t be tempted to use a giant strip—with too much magnetism, the bookmark halves will be difficult to separate and the paper may tear. Snap the two magnets together so that the liner paper (which covers the sticky side) of each piece is facing outward. Unfold the bookmark. Remove the liner paper to expose one of the sticky sides and lay it onto the inside of the bookmark near the bottom. Remove the other piece of liner paper. Fold the bookmark back in half so each side is now stuck to a magnet.

5. To use the bookmark, sandwich the page you’re trying to mark between the two magnets.

6. Take a test run on your favorite novel (or math book).

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