Crafting for Your Crush

A tutorial for putting together a special something for a special someone.

Recently, I met a cool dude who hadn’t watched any Uncle John Waters movies, EVER. I know, I know. You’d think that would have been a deal breaker or whatever, but I thought he was pretty SPESH regardless, so I told him I’d write down a list of movies for him to watch. He asked if I could mail the list to him. Say what? First of all, how dare you!? Second, you better be careful what you wish for, young mangs, because you obviously don’t know who you are messing with here. I considered this a personal challenge. A craft challenge. [Flexes muscles while holding glue gun.] I knew this list was going to be collage-based (my specialty), but while in the midst of collecting my materials, a light bulb went off and I decided to turn it into a little book!

Maybe you want to do the same. First, as always, you will need a theme. Ask yourself: Will this book be a collection of things that you both like? Are you schooling your crush on something you think they’d be into, like I did? Or are you honoring their obsessions with cryptozoology, Carl Sagan, or Bruce Springsteen? My friend came up with a really unique idea for her then-crush, now beau, and made him a “mix book,” which was like a mixtape, but instead of songs, she took passages from her favorite books and collaged them together. BRILLIANT!

You’ll need:

  • Stuff for your collage. Start by cutting out related photos, images, and text from old magazines or books—or, even easier, just print from the internet.
  • Paper, like colored construction paper or, even better, scrapbook paper. I use glittery paper for everything. (Yo soy glamorous.)
  • Throw in some special add-ons. I checked what I had in my sticker drawer before buying anything. Do all of you guys have a sticker drawer yet? This is an important thing to have forever, FYI. I still have an old ’N Sync sticker in my drawer; you never know when I’m going to need it. You can hit up a 99-cent store for cheap stickers, or check places like Yozocraft, make your own.
  • Glue gun, tape, ribbon, or anything else that will hold things together.
  • Scissors

OK, on the crafting:

1. Gather and customize your materials. I wrote descriptions for each John Waters film in my own words, and I dug up one hilarious review that describes a part of the plot of Polyester thusly: “Her son is suspected of being the foot fetishist who’s been breaking local women’s feet.” Then I printed stills or screen shots from each movie that I wanted to include, which were pretty much the ones in this box set. (I skipped Mondo Trasho and Multiple Maniacs, because I figured those were less accessible.) This is kind of the most fun part. I think rare images or more animated photos—ones with funny poses and such—make the best choices, because they give you something to play with.

2. You don’t have to, but I cut the paper in half, because my glitter paper was extra big, and it would have looked like I was turning in an essay. Plus, little things are cuter.

3. Start laying things out. I usually like to have a general idea of how it’s going to look, so I arrange them on the page before gluing anything. My only guiding principle here was to put the movies in order of what I thought he should watch first. I started with Polyester, because I saw it in high school and it ignited my obsession; plus, I thought it was edgier than Cry-Baby or Hairspray, and would appeal to his dark sense of humor. Big mistake! This was the title he was least interested in (maybe it had something to do with the foot-breaking). But we watched A Dirty Shame, which I had ranked second, and he loved it. Anyway, once you’re ready, glue your li’l corazón out.

4. Throw in a WILD CARD! I made a special page at the end about my other favorite director, Alejandro Jodorowsky, who made these beautifully insane surrealist films in the ’70s—my favorite, The Holy Mountain, is about a man on a bizarre journey who meets a group of really rich and powerful weirdos, and they trek to this mountain to become immortal. I figured he’d probably be into his movies as well. If this were a mixtape, this page would be the secret surprise song.

5. Add some personal touches. I always have letter stickers handy, so I did a “this book belongs to” part on the back cover, and also included some cat stickers, because he likes cats, and everyone likes it when you acknowledge what they like.

6. Fasten the book together! My pages ended up being too thick to staple, so I kept them loose and tied the whole thing together with a thick piece of black ribbon. You can also punch holes and insert ribbons for binding.

7. Proofread your work! I didn’t realize that I’d forgotten to glue the T and the I to the title on the front cover until I was on my way to the post office. This ain’t amateur hour, Rie! Luckily, my hawk-eye spotted it right as I was putting it in the envelope, and I fixed it with a pen. (Which is another part of this tutorial—things don’t have to be perfect.) So from there, the book went RIGHT INTO THE HANDS OF MY CRUSH. Eeeek!

Some of you may wonder: did it ever occur to me that perhaps creating some elaborate ~special arts~ might instill fear in my crush, and how it could be thought of as similar to the meticulous work of a serial killer who covers their basement walls in newspaper clippings? MOS DEF! But wouldn’t you love to get something like this? From me especially?? And since you are all wondering, yes, he really liked it! But even if he ran out the door, never to be seen again, that’s just the risk you gotta take. Life is too short not to craft 4 UR crush. ♦


  • takebackyourpower February 1st, 2013 7:11 PM


    • caro nation February 2nd, 2013 9:17 AM


      • RJ February 4th, 2013 3:58 AM

        me neither! never met anyone who’s seen Holy Mountain

  • NotReallyChristian February 1st, 2013 7:11 PM

    This is great! I did a really fun comedy collage for my boyfriend a few years ago – OK, perhaps slightly out-there stuff coming up but this is a sex-positive space, right? – using porn magazines and pages from National Geographic and called it ‘Gashional Neo-Graphic’. It had the yellow border around it and everything! He has it on his wall but obviously he has to stick something over it when people come over. Ok maybe I sound a little crazy.

    • Marie February 1st, 2013 8:27 PM

      OMG love it

    • AliceinWonderland February 1st, 2013 10:08 PM

      That sounds incredibly crazy and out there but in the best way possible.

  • kathryn-s February 1st, 2013 7:17 PM

    so guuuuuuud!!!

  • Britney February 1st, 2013 7:22 PM

    This is beautiful! I currently don’t have a crush, but I’d make this for myself. (Narcissism, anyone?)

    • Eryn February 1st, 2013 10:00 PM

      Oh good, so we’re on the same page then :)

    • delailasvelte February 1st, 2013 10:35 PM

      oh please, I did brought a present for my crush once but I ended up keeping it for myself! XD

    • Caitlin H. February 2nd, 2013 5:57 AM

      Yep, same. This is just too good!

  • Jessica W February 1st, 2013 7:23 PM

    I was expecting this to be a lot creepier (i.e sending you crush collages of your wedding together). Nope, matter of fact this isn’t creepy at all. Totally freakin rad~*~ in fact.

    My collages never look this good…. but one day -ONE DAY I TELL YOU- they will

    The Lovelorn

  • purrr February 1st, 2013 7:26 PM

    I never made any actual books, but I would make boxes myself (it’s pretty easy if you look for tutorials, I would make blue ones with white glitter stars) and fill them with small letters I would write sometimes when I thought of my crush. Like, hyper-romantic texts I never sent, but instead wrote on brown package paper with an ink pen. (USE INK PENS AND PRETEND YOU CAME FROM ANOTHER CENTURY!!! I REMEMBER ONCE I GOT KICKED OUT OF CLASS FOR USING AND INK PEN. must mean they are super-cool.)

    I would also draw little murals on the inside of the box, so it would look like a little house.

    • AnaRuiz February 1st, 2013 8:03 PM

      Uuuu, that’s also an amazing idea!! The possibilities are endless. We could do this also in envelopes, and with backpacks, or you could like decorate a table or a chair like this.

    • flapperhatgirl February 2nd, 2013 12:16 PM

      By ink pen, do you mean a fountain pen? They’re so cool.
      And I love this tutorial in general.

      • purrr February 3rd, 2013 3:43 AM

        yes, except ink pens aren’t mechanic and you get ink all over your hands, they’re messy and the blades/whatever are interchangeable, and so is the ink

  • LadyKatie February 1st, 2013 7:49 PM

    ahhhhhhh I love John Waters! I’m from Baltimore and Serial Mom was filmed in my high school and my friend’s house.

  • AnaRuiz February 1st, 2013 8:00 PM

    I’m afraid of getting repetitive, after all, I comment this on maaaany things Rookie posts, but this is AMAZING. I foresee future gifts for all my dear ones!!! I’m giddy and exited about all the nerdy booklets that they’re going to get, yay.

    PS. Like, it would be AWESOME if lots of Rookies decided to do their own books and there was a day, like with the “reader’s diaries” post about a month ago, when we sent in our books and showcased them all!

  • DreamBoat February 1st, 2013 8:05 PM

    I’m DEFF MAKIN’ THIS FOR MYSELF. I’m pretty sure getting a John Waters book from AUNTY RIE RIE IS ACTUALLY THE STUFF OF MY DREAMZ (Marie is now Aunty Rie Rie because I feel spiritually connected to her rad bangs/adorbs face).

  • woodlandrea February 1st, 2013 8:06 PM

    I love the idea !! Thinking of making some as birthday presents for friends AHH THIS IS GENIUS

  • Ana February 1st, 2013 8:13 PM

    I really like this idea! Too bad i don’t have a crush to give anything to.

  • woahmeredith February 1st, 2013 8:24 PM

    watch out who you give these things to, because one time i made the most amazing craft care package for this guy’s birthday. it was the greatest thing ever created by human hands. anyway, after i sent it to him i never got like a call, text, or thank you note from this dude. the next time i saw him he was like (in unenthusiastic caveman voice) “ug thanks i guess, im just a dumb boy and don’t understand what fantastic is or how not sending thank you notes tears down a society. ” so just be careful, and make sure the person your giving it to won’t take your amazing crafting skills for granted!
    it was traumatizing!

    • lizzyheinie February 2nd, 2013 11:27 AM

      Oh god this just made me feel ridiculously guilty for not having written my Christmas thank-you notes yet.

  • katie February 1st, 2013 8:37 PM

    how did your crush like it??????

  • Blou February 1st, 2013 9:01 PM

    I love this! Marie, you are seriously a collage master. :)
    I actually just made something similar for my friend’s 18th birthday by gluing pictures of all her celbrity crushes into a little booklet and decorating it with stickers and dialogue about how great she was. She loved it, totally recommend little books as gifts!

  • miramiraonthewall February 1st, 2013 9:08 PM

    oh my goodness gracious, this website is my savior! i feel like you’re all just reading my mind. you always post the exact article that i need, exactly when i need it. this is gold.

  • pleasecallmeginger February 1st, 2013 9:28 PM

    I would do this for my crush on valentines day or whatever, but I’m preeeettty sure he would just totally flip ‘cos I don’t even know him that well……..and stuffff……
    But I could definitely make one of these as birthday presents for my friends!!!!

    Super excited for a birthday!!
    Then again, my horoscope by Susan Waters (I read the article about her and it was super cool) said valentines day was gonna be good for me, so who knows?!

  • AliceinWonderland February 1st, 2013 10:07 PM

    Wooooow, this is like one of the best ideas for a diy everrrrr!!!!! I love it!

  • reginageorge February 1st, 2013 10:08 PM

    This is very cool! Are there any sites where I could get glitter paper packs? $2.50 for a single sheet is ok but not for intense crafters.

  • kolumbia February 1st, 2013 10:09 PM


  • Starfish February 1st, 2013 11:10 PM

    This is so cool!!!
    The Holy Mountain looks AWESOME.
    Too bad I’m friendzoned :(
    ~in luv with my best friend~

  • AmyL February 1st, 2013 11:13 PM

    This is an absolutely amazing idea!

  • Lorelei February 1st, 2013 11:18 PM

    This is such a cool idea! Unfortunately my crush has no idea that I exist. He’s like my Jordan Catalano, my Jake Ryan. I’m just waiting for the good part to happen.

  • Yazmine February 2nd, 2013 2:43 AM

    This is the raddest thing ever! Never mind the object of my affections, I wanna make this for myself

  • paige.xo February 2nd, 2013 5:17 AM

    This is perfect! I think that movie playlists and book to read lists are underrated. I mean, I adore mixtapes and music, but my real true loves are books and film… <3

  • victoria February 2nd, 2013 5:48 AM


  • TinaBallerina February 2nd, 2013 6:19 AM

    This so great!! Wish I had the guts to make stuff for my crush, but I would look cray cray. I don’t know him really well, and he lives far away, so he would probably be freaked out…

  • soretudaaa February 2nd, 2013 7:26 AM

    Bahahaha this reminds me of something I’d do as a kid, me and my cousin would make these fake tabloid magazines with collages and REALLY OUTRAGEOUS headlines such as “UNITED NATIONS PRESIDENT MARRIED A TRANSGENDER GOAT” or “MADONNA NOW EATS NOTHING BUT DIRT” and shit. We did like, 20 or so.

    • moonchild February 2nd, 2013 10:16 AM


  • Johnwaterzrulez February 2nd, 2013 8:13 AM

    Omg we have the same crush!

  • Mary the freak February 2nd, 2013 8:37 AM

    And my crappy day is saved now. Thank you.

  • MissKnowItAll February 2nd, 2013 9:16 AM

    haha I’m going to make a one direction book for my girlfriend!

  • wanderluster66 February 2nd, 2013 10:30 AM

    You don’t know how happy I am that John Waters is on one of the first posts for this month. He deservedly belongs here and this is beautiful!!! Crush-crafting is so perfect, and for Valentine’s day, especially. :3

  • keckles February 2nd, 2013 11:21 AM

    girrrrrrrl you’re so cooool!!!


  • amberino February 2nd, 2013 11:33 AM

    Once upon a time my crush was complaining about his boring phone case, so I took it hostage and returned it the next day covered in glitter, bows and stickers.

  • all-art-is-quite-useless February 2nd, 2013 12:57 PM

    I made something similar for my friend’s birthday – I made a little booklet filled with pictures of Snape’s head, glittery stickers and Snape quotes….

  • Allergic2TheLaw February 2nd, 2013 2:58 PM

    Did the same kind of thing for my crush last Valentines Day, and it went terribly. But making it was so much fun so I do not regret the complete embarrassment.

  • Esme February 2nd, 2013 5:23 PM

    aargh i love this SO much

  • catpower44 February 2nd, 2013 6:00 PM

    OMG I’m totally gonna make one dedicated to Freaks and Geeks. I think half of it will be composed of Bill’s awesomeness, though.

  • unicornconnect February 2nd, 2013 11:14 PM

    Definitely thinking about making one of these bad boys;) awesome idea.

  • Annie at Cher Ami February 3rd, 2013 12:27 PM

    i’m so glad he loved it, seeing as you put so much effort into it!

  • awesomebabe86 February 3rd, 2013 1:43 PM

    Mike B is everyone’s crush!

  • Caden February 4th, 2013 1:39 AM

    I legit got on my computer to start making a collage poster for my boyfriend for valentines – inevitably got sidetracked looking at Rookie and OMG THIS IS HERE! you girls are mind readers :P.

    ps now im gonna make a ribbon-tied book collage instead

  • lishbish February 6th, 2013 12:06 AM

    Um…so, yo soy glamorous has become my new catchphrase since I’ve read this. Personally, I think it’s the best catchphrase I’ve ever come up with on my own, but I wanted to “thank” you for the “lovely” sass I’ve brought into our home.

  • Cutesycreator aka Monica June 5th, 2013 6:43 AM

    I am so super motivated to make an awesome collage book of awesomeness now. YIPPEE <3 <3