Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Books I’m working on

I have been taking a break from bookbinding while I put in new flooring and reorganised my reading/work room, but I found I couldn’t keep away from it for long. Last night I set to work on covers for two blank books I had already cut and folded and made a third bookblock and a cover for it. The covers will be dry and ready for binding when I get home tonight.

The first is made from acid-free textured drawing paper for which I simply covered the boards in white drawing paper to be decorated at will. I will add “dustcovers” from clear vinyl over the white covers to protect them from dirt. I still haven’t decided whether to bind these onto the book or to make a cover that can be slipped off, or perhaps just make a wrap cover.

The next is 8 signatures of different coloured paper in pastel colours. The covers are made from woven coloured paper. I may add some stamping or drawing before I varnish it. I also made a woven piece from some pages of the same book as the “Victoria” cover and plan to use it as a cover for a notebook.

The third is a CD book. I cut a CD in half with a utility knife, used it as a cutting guide for the paper and cut out signatures the exact size of the half CD. I will drill sewing holes in the halves and coptic bind the book. The question is: do I use the shiny side or the other side for the outside? Both are quite decorative.

I also prepared blank covers and made up signatures from high-quality drawing paper for a fourth book. I will probably cover those boards with brown paper and leave them blank for the prospective owner (myself or someone else) to decorate.

A project I have on the backburner involves a stack of A5 sheets I printed frames on in Word, using all the different choices possible and shuffling them around. I will probably cover the boards on this one with brown paper which can be decorated at will. I then intend to have it spiral-bound and will keep it with me for those occasions when the small notebook/sketchbook I always carry with me is not big enough.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

A book gets made


If you are interested in a full text tutorial, please let me know.


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Voila!
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Monday, 14 May 2007

"Victoria" - torn paper cover notebook

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This is my third coptic book. I made the cover by tearing up pages from an old paperback that had yellowed nicely. I pasted the pieces onto the boards and covered it with Mod Podge. This was a bit tacky when dry, so I gave it a final layer of matte acrylic sealer. By changing the way I held the book and using a slightly different method than before when I was attaching the second cover and last signature, I was able to get a tighter binding while still getting a nice chain-stitch pattern on the spine. Since coptic bindings are generally on the loose side I don’t think I am going to get them any tighter, but next time I am going to try using a curved needle and see if it makes a difference. By using a curved needle I will not have to keep the book open in two places while I sew, but only in one.
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If you're wondering how a booklover like myself can possibly tear up a book - well, it had several pages missing when I got it in a box of books from somewhere and so had ceased to be readable.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Second coptic book: "Lemons"

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This is my second coptic book. I’m not quite happy with how the stencilling turned out and am thinking about how to improve it. Perhaps I will make a leather cover for this one.


As in the first book, the stitching is not as tight as I would have liked, but the shaded thread I used lined up beautifully and made a nice pattern on the spine:
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I think I should be able to get an even more interesting pattern by using two needles and two contrasting colours of thread. I could probably work it out myself how to make two-needle coptic stitching, but I would prefer to find some instructions :-)


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The stitches are not quite as well defined as I would have liked, but I suppose that will come with practice and perhaps stiffer thread.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

First coptic-stitch notebook: "The Alphabet"

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I finished my first coptic (chain) stitch notebook. The boards are sewn on together with the pages in this kind of binding, instead of being pasted down onto endpapers that are bound in with the pages like in the previous books I made. This makes for faster assembly. Endpapers are optional, but of course a pastedown endpaper is necessary to cover the inside of the boards. The pastedown can either be the first page of the book, which will strengthen the construction of the book, or a separate piece of paper cut to the right dimensions. I am relatively pleased with the result, except that the gaps between the signatures are rather large, but I expect that with practice I will be able to make tighter bindings.

When opened and laid flat, the edges of the boards touch and protect the spine. However, it is usual to put books like this into a loose protective cover, traditionally made of leather, which I plan to try soon.

The cover is coloured heavy paper and I used an alphabet stencil and acrylic paint on it. My mother remarked that is doesn’t look like a book, but rather like a piece of painted wood, which I think is right.

On the spine you can see where I drew the thread a little tight and cut through the spine of one of the signatures. This is always a possibility when sewing books. In this case I will probably cover the spine with ribbon to hide the mistake.


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