Sunday 21 August 2016


Sundays are for Different Things. I'll grant posting has been a bit erratic contentwise, but I hope, with all the adulting I've had to do because of school holidays there's been some things you've enjoyed.

So. In the midst of organising craft activities for the kids, on Thursday I decided to have a second go at book-binding. I am not a pro! Last time, this time last year or near enough, it was a little single signature sketchbook, paper bound. I used it. This time I wanted to make something grimoirey, sturdy and large. And home-made.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen some of these pictures already, but a bit of documentation doesn't hurt. Details and pics after the cut. 

All of the materials I used were old. A friend was clearing out her late father's house and found boxes and boxes of unused art materials, including watercolour boards, heavy grade art papers in various colours, and watercolour paper in various sizes, as well as tons of brushes, drawing tools, paints and pastels. Some of this stuff had "made in West Germany" printed on it, which should give you a brief idea of its minimum age.

She passed them all on to me.

I used a huge pad of heavy grade paper (18"x12") to make the signatures. Nine sheets made three signatures. This is me folding them.  
OK, so this piece of art board is the spine. And that's a pin vice with a 1mm drill, with which I drilled 15 holes in it, three roles of 5.
OK, so now with that pointy tool thing (top right) I pierced holes in the signatures (five in each) to match the ones in the spine, and with some strong quilting thread I got from my Beloved I sewed the signatures to the spine and...
This actually looked pretty good and pretty solid. Tying off the thread was pretty tricky but I got there in the end.
OK, so now I sliced down the signatures so they were roughly level on the outer edge. I didn't mind that they weren't perfect.
OK, so I decided that the boards for the cover – watercolour boards – would be double thickness, so after cutting them down a bit, I rolled on some PVA and stuck them together. 
They were a bit rough on the inside edge but that's OK, this'll be invisible.
Beloved let me raid her fabric drawer for the cover fabric. 
I left it overnight at this point, because it was getting late.


Heavy grade art paper for the endpapers, pasted onto the outer ends of the book. I couldn't find a piece of paper big enough, so I improvised.
At this stage it still looked pretty good.
OK, I skipped a few steps. My hands got sticky with all the glue and everything, and I always seemed to be using one hand to hold stuff shut or hold things steady.

So. first I glued another card spine over the first one. Then I used some gaffer tape to hold on the covers.

Then, I covered the spine with thick green fabric, folding down the top and bottom in the gap between the spine and signatures. That done, I covered the covers with the thinner purple fabric, then put more paper on the inside covers to seal down the fabric. And pasted a plate on the front, which I'll decorate. But first...
I needed to leave the book overnight under a press while the glue dried.

Which meant I actually got a use out of all those gaming hardbacks I wrote. Hurrah for the Shelf of Shame!

Off to the Other Place of Work, then.

Be back in the morning.
Saturday. And it's done. 

OK, I'll be honest, I should have used coarser cloth for the cover. It got too... pressy. Still, not bad for a first go at a stitched multiple sig binding. 
It holds together and everything. It's not perfect, but there's a next time, and more importantly it's booky enough for my purposes. Now to put things in it.