Sunday, July 6, 2008

How to ... a book tutorial

Here is the tutorial on how to make an ‘old book cover’ journal, it's my first tutorial, so I hope it’s ok and easy to follow. Any comments welcome! Also, if anyone actually makes one, I'd love to see it!

1. Find an old book with an interesting cover, a good size (I like small ones!), and one that has damaged, yellowed pages (it will make you feel better about taking it apart!)

2. Carefully cut the page block away from the cover. Decide first whether you’d like to keep the end papers (sometimes old books have gorgeously patterned endpapers … this one didn’t though)

3. To neaten the bare spine, measure and cut some paper to cover it. I used a page from the book, which is the perfect height, but it was very brittle so I had to be careful it didn’t rip. The size of the spine cover should be the height of the book page and about 25mm wider than the spine.

4. To make the pages for your book, measure one of the old book’s pages and take 5mm off the side and top measurements. Decide on the number of pages and the type of paper you want and cut your pages to size. (Don’t make your stack of pages too thick, otherwise it will be very difficult to sew up – mine was 4 – 5 mm thick)

5. Sew up your pages using the Japanese Stab Binding method. There’s a great little explanation of how to do it here. Bundle your pages with heavier paper on the top and bottom and attach with bulldog clips so they don’t move while you’re sewing it up. You can use an awl or a very strong needle to make your holes (and having an old phone book underneath will save the table from lots of little holes!). The thread I used was stranded cotton that I ran through a candle to wax it. Waxed thread works heaps better.

6. Glue your sewn book block to the book cover. Use PVA glue and weigh it down with a heavy book once you’ve attached it to the book cover.

7. If you’d like to, you can create a little pencil holder to run down the spine. I used a thick-ish piece of paper. The dimensions of the paper should be about 50mm wide and as long as it needs to be, mine was 115mm. Fold back about 15mm on each side, glue each surface and then glue to spine. I found it easier to have the pencil in while I was gluing so that it kept the right shape.

7a. Alternatively, you could make a little paper ‘tab’ to glue in the spine, and then attach a map etc. to it (like in my NZ travel journal).

8. Choose some paper to make your ‘ephemera pocket’ out of. Again, I used one of the old book’s pages, but glued it to another stronger piece of paper. (I loved the chapter title at the top of the page, "Seth Washes a Handkerchief" so I had to use it!!)

Cut your paper to size, mine was 100 x 110mm, so that it fits nicely in the cover. Fold under 10 – 15mm on the sides and bottom and snip out the corners. Glue to the cover. Squash this bit under a heavy book too.

9. Your book’s done! You might like to lacquer or wax the outside of the cover to protect it more. Now you’re ready to write your travel journal, jot down your thoughts, or place your book by the phone for those important phone doodles or messages!


Annette said...

Your tutorial is great, very well explained. I worked at a bookbinders for a while, and I learnt so much, the "old" way of doing things, love seeing how things are made in this way. Your brolly shadow shot is a beauty too!! Have enjoyed looking at your blog and your kidlets enjoying the beach - they are the best and most memorable places for kids - its how we were bought up too. Enjoy your week. Annette :0)

Lisa B. said...

That is so cool!!! I want to try one! Nicw shadow shot!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Very nicely detailed tutorial. Even I can follow it. ;-)


Net said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! It seems really well explained. I can't wait to have a go at making one.

Hot Fudge said...

Wonderful workshop, with very clear instructions. Now all I need is the time, because I sure have the enthusiasm!

Sandra Ree said...

Love it! Filing it away for another awesome project to do when I find time! :)

Bec said...

Ali you've got me all inspired. I actually thinking that maybe I could find a large hardcover kid's book and turn it into a scrapbook for Lee using this method. He would love doing something like this....actually I think I may even have some old thrifted kids books on space, with rockets and planets on the front. Eeekkk, now I really am going to have to make the time to do this aren't I?
Thanks for doing this - it's a great tutorial!!!

Astrid said...

Great tutorial, and I love the notebook! Might just have to come back to this one! :)

Ali said...

Ah yes ... time!
Bec - great idea!! Be sure to share it when it's done!

Kate Hanson said...

I LOVE this invention! Thanks for the comments on my new blog! I want give your idea a go!

Hey Harriet said...

This is great. I really like the nice and simple, easy to follow instructions. I must confess that I was lost as soon as 'sewing' was mentioned. Phooey! I can't sew :( Maybe I could ask a sewing buddy to do that part & I could do the rest. I'd like to try making one as it looks like a really nifty & cool project. Thanks for sharing.

PS- This is funny because I just did a post about destroying books for the sake of art. Hehe :)

Ali said...

Hey Harriet - it's more 'stitching' than sewing .. .don't be scared!!

fallon knowles said...

just what iv been looking for :) thank you for sharing :)

Feel free to stop by my blog, im just starting out in book binding and home crafts and well as lots of yummy recipes to try :)