August 18, 2011

Adventures in Bookbinding–Tips and Techniques


I have always wanted to make a hand bound book but never quite gotten around to it until now. My daughter has made several and I loved the way they turned out. I may have even been slightly jealous but I’m not telling her that.

One of the reasons I love craft swaps so much is because they give me a reason to try new things and push me in new directions. God knows I could use a little pushing from time to time. This book was created for a craft swap (I love the way I use my friends as guinea pigs).

The idea for the book cover came right away. The original plan was for black leather but my leather stash just wasn’t “speaking to me” so I headed off to the JoAnn’s Fabrics.

xprd1601772_zI found this awesome brown faux leather fabric that looks just like the distressed leather of an old Aviator’s jacket. I squealed out loud. I think I scared my daughter half to death and I got some strange looks from some of the other patrons in the aisle next to me. The final trim pieces (the closure/strap and the vertical accent piece on the front cover) were made of brown leather scraps.

There were so many decisions to make that I was almost overwhelmed, but by using more than one resource, it was possible to pull it all together. My poor daughter got roped into this project since she is my resident “expert”. We still struggled a bit and, I will say, this is not a project for the weak of heart. 

The basic book design was inspired by a book-making kit, made by a company called Lineco, that my daughter had purchased at United Arts and Education. Of course I can never do anything the easy way, so I immediately changed the size, the paper type and glue.

It was necessary to experiment on various papers with water colors, colored pencils, felt tipped pens and an assortment of markers to see what might “bleed” through. Based on these results, a winner was chosen in some 100% cotton rag off a roll of paper I have had in my studio --- FOR. EV. VUR.

(see the clip below for random fun)

FOR. EV. VUR. (from the movie “The Sandlot”)

I wanted a deckled edge. So, after carefully measuring the size of my pages and laying tape guidelines on my work table, I grabbed my metal ruler and went for it. R-R-R-R-R-I-I-I-I-P-P-P-P!

Quite a bit of time was “wasted” on trying to decide how I wanted the spine to look. Holy cow, you can’t believe how many spine choices there are!!

I finally found just what I wanted for the spine in a book I already owned but had overlooked due to the (very generic and misleading) title.


(image via Amazon)

Entitled, simply, Scrapbooking, this book is filled with amazing content that is less about the modern definition of scrapbooking and more about the actual creation of the book itself.

Here is an excerpt from the book, from the two pages I used for both the inspiration and instructions on this cool ribbon addition.


So the next step is to add some ribbon on the binding….Ok, sounds easy enough….right? After all, I have a stash of ribbon that would make most anybody pea-green with envy. But do you think I had the RIGHT ribbon?

--- oh no of course not---

IMG_0009So….off to Hancock Fabrics, where I found the most awesome ribbon that looks like linen. It’s made by Offray and sold by the spool for only $2.49. It measures 1 1/2 “ by 3 yds. and the color is called San Marino Oatmeal. I also checked out the clearance section and found Baroque 100% crochet cotton that I used to sew the signatures together. This is made by DMC Art 159 and the color is Ecru.







** TIP: If you coat the thread with beeswax, it won’t tangle onto itself and it pulls through the signatures REALLY well.

The final decision was what to use for the end papers? I chose a paper called “Crackle” from Paper Pizazz.

--30000--7232_product_291120834_thumb_large   IMG_0008

It is acid-free, lignin-free and gave me the EXACT look I was going for.

I hope this post inspires you to try bookbinding. It was so much fun! I plan on making a bunch more. If you happen to be on my Christmas list stop reading here or you may spoil the surprise!


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