Monday, February 9, 2009

The Chronicles of Book Binding

I did it! I bound my own book, finally, and I actually didn't do a bad job. This weekend, I spent a lot of time getting my supplies and my notes together on the process. I found a really good video on YouTube that took me through the whole process. Hurray, YouTube!

Anyway, I had a small chipboard shelf that had two doors on the front. The shelf got a bit smushed, so I decided this would be a great opportunity to have a book cover! I cut the doors off the front, which actually work really well for a book since there's a wrap closure and pockets on the inside of the doors. I used some modge podge to seal the cut edges of the doors so they'd be a tad more durable, but I liked the unfinished edge so I didn't cover them.

As you can see by the designs on the "cover," this is a great cover for a sketch/ideabook, which is exactly how I will be using it. Then, I had to make all the signatures (booklet sets of pages to be sewn to the cover) and make a jig so I could evenly punch holes in both the covers and the signatures. I put eyelets in the cover holes to reinforce the chipboard so the thread wouldn't tear it when I put it through. After the jig was made, I punched holes in the signatures and got my thread ready for sewing. I couldn't find any bookbinding thread so I went ahead and got some rayon embroidery floss (industrial strength and really pretty :)), and I waxed the thread myself using a chunk of beeswax. So now the thread looks good and smells good. Yay, beeswax!

When I was done putting off the inevitable (I was really, really nervous), I finally got my head in the game and started sewing my book. I tested out the technique by sewing the cover to the first signature.

It worked! Then I got all excited and did a whole bunch of sewing...

I don't know if I mentioned it, but I used the coptic stitch for my binding. I really like how this stitch leaves the spine visible because it's so pretty! It's pretty much awesome. PS - Use a curved tapestry needle if you're going to do this because it makes going between the signatures super easy! Anyway, not much happened after this except for lots of monotonous and tedious sewing. It was worth it, but still kind of boring. I'm not a person who likes to wait. Once you get the hang of it, though, it goes pretty quickly. To make a long, boring story appropriately short, I finished the book and took more pictures.

Is this cover not perfect? Besides the neat stitching, I think that's my favorite part. :) Here are some pictures of the stitching.

Here's a close-up of the stitch. The braids are what make the visible spine awesome! I also just happened to find some paper that was lined on one side and graph paper on the other side, which, again, makes the case for a killer sketchbook. :)

I told you it had pockets. There will be a mash of notes and random drawings in there in no time. They will all be post-its. I'm obsessed with post-its, and they are my muse. Seriously.

And this is how it looks in my craft bookshelf. It looks great, and I can't wait to use it! And, just so everyone knows, yet another great thing about the coptic stitch is that the open spine and stitching allow a book bound in this way to open flat. Sketchbook central. :)

NOTE: So I've been thinking about the fox tail all day today. I decided I couldn't very well have a fox tail without fox ears. Hence, I need some fox ears also. Let me know if you happen to run across some.

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