Bookbinding 101: Your First Book
Last week I gave you a fast and dirty introduction to binding your own books. This week I'm going to show you just how easy making and sewing your own book can be. The easiest book to make is a one signature book, as seen in the first image. Today, I'm going to show you how to fold the folios, make a single signature, awl punch the paper and then sew your book with a bookbinding needle and waxed thread. While I am giving instructions to create a digest (5.5" by 4.25") sized book, you are welcome to cut your paper to make your book any size you want. I've cut paper and made single signature books to add into my Hipster using this method.
Before we begin, you'll need the following items from your local art store:
- 10 sheets of regular white office paper (this article uses 8.5 x 11 but you can make your book any size you want)
- Heavy cover paper (this can be construction paper, or thick handmade paper or a postcard weight paper)
- A bookbinding needle
- A Bookbinding Awl (I own a heavy duty paper awl)
- Wax thread or book binding thread.
- Grab a sheet of office paper and fold it in half. If you want a smaller sized book, trim the paper down to the size you want and then fold it in half. You now have made one folio.
- Fold the rest of the sheets of paper in half to make 10 folios. You can fold the heavy cover-stock at this point as well.
- Open a folio slightly and then slide in the remaining 9 folios into that one. Doing so should give you a stack of folios. This becomes the book's signature.
- Put your heavy coverstock over this folio and viola. Some of the guts of the paper will poke through your cover, so you can either trim the overhang so it matches the cover or leave it. It's all up to you and your style.
- Open the completed book. Using a pencil, mark a dot in the center of the fold.
- Now make two more dots, 2.25" up and down from the center dot on the fold. These will be where you punch the holes for the thread with your awl.
- Punch the awl through all 11 pieces of paper. If you twist the awl after it has gone all the way through, it widens the hold and smoothes it out. It's now time to sew the signature.
- Take out your waxed thread and measure out roughly 2.5 feet of thread. Load up one of your book binding needles with the thread.
- You now have to make a choice of whether you want the leftover thread to hang on the outside or the inside of the book. If you are making a book for mostly decorative purposes, most artists choose to leave it on the outside. This decision effects whether or not you start sewing from the center of the book or on the outside. Because I am going to show you a decorative book, I will tell you the instructions for keeping the leftovers on the outside.
- Take the needle and thread and push it through the center of the hole on the outside of the signature.
- Pull the needle and string through the hole, leaving a few inches behind. This becomes what you will knot the string with to make your book.
- Put the needle into the left outer hole and pull the thread tight.
- Pass the needle and thread through the opposite outer hole on the outside of the cover.
- Put the needle through the center hole one more time and remove the needle. You are all done sewing.
- Pull both strings tight to help keep your book together.
- Now tie a knot (I usually make 2 or 3 knots together for security) where the two strings meet. Depending on how long you want the excess thread to be, you may need a pair of scissors to trim it down.
And that's it. You have now finished making a very simple book. Congratulations. What's even better is that you now have a book that fits inside your planner that you can now use as a separate journal or sketch book when you are out at work and feel the need to be creative. If you liked this simple journal but want to spice it up a bit more for a holiday present, here's a few ideas of things you can add to your first book.
- Rip the edges of each folio so it has a "rough edge" to it. To do this you carefully rip about a centimeter of the page, or wet the page roughly and tear small bits off to make it rough. I will warn you that this is very time consuming but it does make a nice ripped edge.
- Print out a sheet of paper with a title for you book and then glue it onto the cover of it.
- College an assortment of pictures or scraps of colored paper to your book.
- Tie decorative strings in various styles off the outside of the book to give it an artsy flair (and make it more kitty-toy friendly).
- Braid the remaining binding and add beads to it.
Next, week I will step things up a bit more and show you how to make another, more intermediate, book that you can make.
|Book Arts: Beautiful Bindings for Handmade Books|
author: Mary Kaye Seckler