Sunday, 29 April 2007

Polka-dot notebook

I have finished another notebook:

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I covered the boards with an advert from a magazine. If the cover looks familiar, you obviously live in a country that has Target stores.

Since I am not selling this book but will be using it for myself, I don't think Target is going to go after me for violating their copyright, but if you are going to make books like these and sell them or even give them away, you had better make sure that the stuff you use on the cover is
a) in the public domain (i.e. copyright free),
b) under a creative commons licence that allows this kind of commercial use,
c) you can obtain a licence from the copyright holder, or
d) you hold the copyright.

I am working on using my own photographs to cover books to be sold, but using photographs or photos printed at home on photopaper is not easy, as PVA glue doesn't hold them. Using regular photocopy paper is a problem too, as laser printed photos on regular paper are rather delicate (I use this for origami and the paper shows through in every fold) and the photos I have printed with my inkjet printer tend to smear. I will probably have to invest in some special paper and ink if I want to do this, or find a suitable glue that will bond photographs to bookboard.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

2 more notebooks and a couple of ideas for future books

I have finished two more exposed-spine notebooks using the same method as in the previous books, except I did not glue the ribbons down onto the covers but tied the short ones into bows instead and left the long ones loose to be used for tying the books closed or to be used as bookmarks. I put glue on the ribbons on the spine to make sure they couldn’t accidentally be pulled out.
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The notebook on the right is covered with a traditional snakeskin-patterned book paper and has black ribbons and the one on the right is covered with gift paper with drawings of old books (making it a bibliobook) and has shiny beige ribbons.

The snakeskin book has brownish-gray endpapers with flecks of darker fibres and the bibliobook has marbled endpapers in shades of red:
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I was preoccupied with something else when I assembled the bibliobook so I accidentally put one cover on upside down and didn’t discover it until the glue was dry:
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Instead of trying to fix it, I decided to use it for myself and write only on the right hand pages until I reach the end, when I will turn it around and again write only on the right hand pages, so the text on opposite pages will be topsy turvy. That way, when full, the book will look like the covers were attached like that on purpose...

I am currently working on a photo-tutorial on how I make these books, which I will publish once the sample book is ready.

I am also working on an A5 notebook that will have blank pages and a decorated cover and will be spiral-bound.

The next thing I think I will try is using coloured thread to sew the books and make a decorative pattern on top of the ribbons. The next book I have lined up will have red ribbons and a predominantly red cover with some white, so I think white thread will be ideal.

I think it's time I learned to use coptic (chain) stitching to sew books, as it is a very decorative stitch, especially when using coloured thread. You can even use two or more colours, depending on the number of needles you use. It will take a while until I am ready to exhibit any such books here, since there are no courses available here and I will have to learn it from books, and as everyone knows (except my friend whose first crochet project was a Christmas dress for her daughter - beautifully done and finished in record time) practice makes perfect.

I am also thinking about using the covers from old paperback books as covers for notebooks. I buy a lot of second hand books and every now and then I come across one that either has some pages missing or falls apart in my hands and is not worth repairing. I already use the pages from such books for origami experiments, and I think using the covers would be a neat recycling idea - certainly better than having them pulped and made into toilet paper (if you didn’t know what happens to books when the paper gets recycled... well now you do).

Monday, 9 April 2007

Exposed spine diary

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My mother asked me to make her a one-of-a-kind diary in A5 format, but with lined paper. This meant I could not use the blank paper I have been using for my small notebooks. I solved this by buying a cheap diary and stripping off the covers. Then I picked the signatures apart, with the inevitable loss of one sheet of paper from each signature due to the outermost sheets of each signature being glued to the next signature. The paper in those books is very thin, so I added an extra sheet of heavier paper to each signature to protect the spines (in the future I may just guard the spines of the signatures with strips of paper instead of adding whole sheets to them). Then I sewed the block up on ribbons and added colourful endpapers:

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I reused the old boards to make the new cover, stripping off the black paper and the red bookcloth nearest to the spine and covering the boards with scrapbook paper. I left the red corners, which harmonised nicely with the warm browns and oranges of the paper, to show the book's origins. I then glued the boards down onto the endpaper and glued the two shorter lengths of ribbon onto the boards for extra strength. I also added some glue to the spine to hold the ribbons in place and fill in the sewing holes for extra strength. The longest ribbon can be used to tie the book closed.

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I am still perfecting the technique. Because I have no book-cutter (guillotine) to use at home the edges of the pages are inevitably uneven, and because I have to cover the boards before gluing them to the textblock, I have to be very precise both when I cut them and also when I place them so that they are not uneven and the textblock doesn't stick out from the covers. But on the whole I am rather pleased with the result.

The next step will be to try ornamental stitching on the spine.