Bookbinding, Blank Journals, Coupon Books

I have always had a love of books. That was instilled in me early and, well, I also had a natural tendency to enjoy them. I really like old books. Just the feel and smell of them. Especially with the gold painted on the edges of the pages. The scrollwork and designs on the old leather bound books is also a tactile and visual delight.

In the last couple years I've toyed with making my own books, my interest being mainly in books without any writing in them. Those puppies are spendy. Well, I finally knuckled down because I lost my Idea Book - a blank journal with all my plans, ideas, drawings, comments, notes - and I was once again in a creativity flow where the ideas come so fast and so furious if I don't write them down I lose them. But I couldn't afford to buy anything. So online I went joining the Books & Boxes list to see what I needed to learn. From there I was lead to a webpage with a tutorial on how to bind a book. An easy tutorial!! Even kids can do this! Check it out!!

So this page is the result of my bookbinding and paper making endeavors. Keep an eye out, there's gonna be more than what you see here as I go along!!! I've found a new addiction. *sigh* Like that's all I need like another hole in my head....

First Project: Blank Journal

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So I followed along with the above tutorial for bookbinding, finishing the signatures completely (stitching with plain old washable crochet yarn *horror!*) before starting on the binder. I used fancy scissors and cut each color a different design. But - when it came to the cover I deviated. And, being the deviant I am, I deviated a lot. I'm quite pleased with a whole bunch of what I achieved, but either mystified or bummed about some things.

I cut up some old folder separators used a hundred years ago by the military to separate files in a drawer. Strong little rascals. Then I took a piece of linen and cut it so it was an inch bigger all around than the leaves and spine of the cover. I dipped the linen into TLS (Transparent Liquid Sculpey) and squeegied out the excess with my fingers as I pulled it out. Following the tutorial, I folded the linen all the way around the edges. With TLS I could do all those steps in one "swell foop" since the TLS was delightfully sticky!! I baked it at 275F degrees for 20 minutes. It worked like a charm!!! Gosh - if I had used a pretty fabric I would have been done with this fool thing by now. But no - I wanted to clay the fool thing.

But first I needed to hide the ragged edges of the linen. For that, I applied a generous amount of TLS to the insides of the covers where the tutorial used glue. Then I laid a sheet of typing paper on top of it and let it sit for about 30-40 minutes. I found out on the first sheet any longer is counter productive. What the sitting does is allow the paper to absorb some of the TLS ensuring an undeniable bonding of the paper to the TLS covered surface. By letting it sit too long the first time around, the paper began wicking the TLS to other spots - like the spine. Oops. The second piece of paper was just perfect and the idea worked like a champ! I baked again, same temperature, for another 20 minutes.

Now it's time to clay the cover!! *grin* So I whipped up a quick skinner blend and applied it to the TLS linen cover. Sticks beautifully! But foolish me coverend the entire thing, spine and all. Premo clay is definitely flexible, but even that will crack under the abuse of opening and closing a book. Look carefully at the second picture and you can get a hint of the spots along the spine that broke away. They look very similar to the fourth picture where I deliberately cut the clay away. Anyhow, I had a square bead laying around and rolled it all over the surface to texture it. Looks pretty cool, if you ask me.

I tried a little TLS with mica powder in it along the spine where the Premo broke away, but it didn't hold up any better. Oh well. At this point I decided I was done messing around with it, I'd learned enough and figured out what questions I need to ask. So I went back to the tutorial and followed the directions for placing the signatures (groups of pages) into the binder. I glued the signatures in, let it dry and I've already made a couple entries!! I'm quite pleased with myself since I did it on my own, no other help than the online tutorial. Now - if I can just find an online tutorial for the Coptic Stitch my life would be complete. For now. *wink*

Second Project

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Listmom, Lynn Gary, at Yahoogroups Books & Boxes (now defunct), effused about an envelope accordian book demonstrated on one of the Carol Duvall shows. So I followed her link and was equally struck with the simplicity and potential of the design! I set about immediately to make one and the above photos show my results. Much better than my first journal!

I stabbed a bunch of holes along one edge, manufactured a couple of covers from Sculpey III (I know, risky choice), bound it with matching yarn and a couple stone beads, cobbled up a snail bead and gave it a ribbon closure. To get the ribbon cemented to the covers I saturated the ends with TLS and covered them with attractive decorations. The cover is a gold/white/red pearl Skinner Blend, the snail bead is mica-shifted gold pearl and the back is silver pearl with a hologram effect using the mica shift qualities. I aligned the mica in the clay, drew my design with a needle tool and ran it through my pasta machine a couple times to smooth the surface. There are no raised areas or etch marks! After the fact, I can see I need to make the cross stitch binding much looser than I did as the pages don't turn freely.

But, all in all, I'm quite happy with the results and my wife is tickled pink with her Coupon Book!!! She was busily pulling coupons from the bottom of her purse and sorting them into envelopes within minutes after receiving her gift! I'm going to have to make another to use as my "bank" for when I go to the local fairs so I have someplace unique and handy to keep all the bills! But I hafta find a better method for binding....

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Copyright 1998-2010 Colleen D. Bergeron.
Last revised: May2 2010