I recently left a message on a blog I enjoy reading, Magnolias and Sunshine about saving a few old board books before donating them all to a good cause. If you don't have any laying around, look for them at garage sales, friends of the library sales (I got some for only twenty-five cents each), or a used book store.
I thought I should post one of my own, because it's a fun little craft and people are very impressed with them. I made this a few years ago for my friend in CA of her first baby boy. It is fairly basic because it's first one I'd ever made and was learning the techniques. The pictures were kind of dark, so I tried to auto-fix them, but some of the colors are still a bit off. I used a baby themed kit from K&C, which made it quicker to put together since I only used pieces from the kit and some velum quotes.
The first things I do is make sure the binding is intact. You don't want to put a lot of hard work into your creation and then have it fall apart after a few uses, trust me this is from experience! Most board book pages have a shiny coating on their pages. I sand the pages using a scrap of sand paper and then wipe off all the little bits. I read somewhere that this gives the glue something to hold onto and ensures better adhesion. Next I plan out my pages, choosing which pictures to include, papers and ribbons, what embellishments to use, etc. A note on embellishments: try to use as many flat embellishments such as stickers and die-cuts if you want your finished book to close and be somewhat flat. All the fancy 3-D embellishments will add to the bulk of your book and prohibit it from closing.
It's all a matter of preference, because I've made some with bulkier embellishments and I think the finished book looks pretty with the pages fanned out on a table. In that case, I display mine standing up, so the front cover looks like a frame.
The pages reveal a little bit of what's inside and I think it makes your guests want to pick it up and look at it. Also, if you are using 3-D embellishments keep them toward the outer edges of your pages, the idea is to have a slight fanning of the pages, not to have them completely open. The design phase is also the time to plan for any extras such as, shortened pages, windows, or flaps. A shortened page is just that, when you cut part off, so that a little of the following page can be seen. A window involves two consecutive pages; you cut a shape out of one page, I found a square to be the easiest one. Place a photo behind the opening and glue to either the back of that page, leave a border around the print for glue, or glue it to the following page so that it can be seen through the opening. Adhere both pages together, I like to use really strong double sided tape to do this as it's quicker, but you can also use mod podge.
You will need to apply the glue, then use clamps or clips to hold the two pages together overnight. A flap page is similar to a window, but when you are cutting out the shape cut out three sides and score the last one so it will open. Glue the first page to the second, being careful to not glue the flap. You can place a picture or patterned paper and embellishments in the opening of a window or flap.
Okay so now you've prepped your book by sanding and wiping it clean, planned out the pages, and made any necessary cuts to pages for extras. To assemble. Cover each page, one at a time with a thin layer of mod podge. Cut decorative paper to slightly larger than the page. Attach and smooth out any wrinkles with your fingers. Continue until pages are all covered. Let glue dry. Cut around each page with an x-acto knife. Sand away any excess paper so edges are smooth. Now you can decorate and embellish to your heart's content.
I save the cover for last, because if bulkier embellishments are used on the front it can make it harder to complete the inside pages if the book will not longer lay flat. If you choose to use flat embellishments on the inside, the front cover is the place to go crazy, I've even attached bigger items with hot glue.
Cover the front and back using the same method as the inside pages. Measure the spine of the book's height and width. Add an inch or so, so that the binding will be covered as well as some of the front and back. Using a coordinating scrap of paper, cut binding cover and hold up to your book to check that you like how it "fits" and make adustmentss as necessary. Cover the binding by, attaching first to the front of the book, folding it and gluing as you go around the spine, and then gluing it to the back.
I like to cover the seams on the front and back with ribbon. Cut to lengh and use glue dots to attach, fray check the ends before attaching. Or attach with mod podge, I haven't needed to fray check the ends as the glue does that for you. When you are finished you may want to apply a thin layer of mod podge to the covers to protect it from fingerprints and smudges.
If you embellish the front with silk flowers or something along those lines do not put mod podge on top of those. In that case, apply mod podge on the unembellished cover, let dry, and then hot glue on bigger items. I usually also apply a thin layer onto of each inner page, allow for drying time. You can apply mod podge right over any embellishments and photos as it drys clear.