Friday, July 20, 2012

Making books.

I have been making books like crazy lately. There's something especially lovely and satisfying about binding a book...or maybe I just feel that way because I'm a bookish person. :)

Sometimes I make the covers from scratch, with recycled cardboard covered with paper or fabric. But I keep an eye out in thrift stores, etc. for old hardback books with pretty covers that I can reuse. That's where these two came from: I found the green one for $1 at the Salvation Army and the red one came from the local library book sale.

{Even though these were obscure books that I seriously doubt would be read by anyone again, and I told myself that I was giving them another chance at life (okay, I'm getting a bit dramatic here :), it's always a nerve-wracking thing for me to cut a book apart. But I keep the insides, too, for collages and journaling and such, so no part of the book gets trashed. Except for the outside spine.}

I had a crafty inspiration book, but it was all jumbled together so I rarely used it. I decided to divide up my ideas into two books: a sewing one and an embroidery one. The green one is my sewing book.

It's coptic bound, which is nice because it (for the most part) lies flat when it's open. I've only made three or four books bound this way, so I still need to watch a video to remember how to do it. For these two books, I used this video and found it a lot more helpful than the one I previously used. I used my usual waxed thread in brown.

I should probably wipe away the excess glue from where I stuck on the buttons. :)

Instead of covering the insides of the covers, I left them just like they were: writing and library stamps and all. For the pages, I used my favorite multimedia artist paper.

I added tabs to keep things organized. I might go back later and add more.

My embroidery book.

I used doubled embroidery thread for this one. I love the way it turned out, and I'm looking foward to seeing how durable it is compared to the waxed thread. It was easier to handle, though it tangled a lot.

Inspired by Meredith's embroidery on paper, I decided to give it a try on the first page of my book. It was pretty interesting. I had one little spot to tear- the top of the 'o' in embroidery.

I pulled the old library card slot (don't you miss those things? Writing your name on the card and such?) off of the back page of the original book and reattached it on the back cover, to preserve a bit of its character as an old library book. :) Plus it'll be a handy place to put the sticky notes that I have scattered everywhere with ideas scribbled on them.

In Anne Lamott's book Bird by Bird, she mentioned a quote by Flannery O' Connor that said that anyone who has survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of her life. I thought that was funny and it kind of stuck with me...Sometimes I stumble across something that triggers a memory, something that I thought I had forgotten. So when that happens, I'm going to start jotting down the memory.

That's what this book is for. I found this vintage picture book at Goodwill, and I rebound it using a type of Japanese stab binding. It was my first time doing that binding, and overall it turned out okay. The technique came from At Home with Handmade Books, by Erin Zamrzla. I have collected tons of craft books, but I don't always make many projects out of them. I've made four books so far from this one, so I'd say that's worth it. :)

I kept some of my favorite pages from the original book and bound them back in with the artist paper. (I kept the rest of the pages, too, to use for other things.)

There were a few little problems. The cardboard on the book is a bit fragile and tore some around the holes I punched. And the binding on the back of the book is loose. I don't know how that happened, unless I just didn't pull it tight enough? It wasn't this loose at first, but I kept fiddling with it and made it worse.

Until next time,


  1. I love your bookbinding projects! I especially covet the red one :) I hope you are able to figure out what went wrong with the 101 Dalmatians one because I think it is a great way to breathe new life into some old books of mine my mother has saved since forever. Please keep us updated!


  2. Your crafty acumen never ceases to amaze me! Love seeing pictures of your projects!

  3. All of your books look amazing! I love the embroidery on the inside as well and I was happy to hear you quote Anne Lamott. She is a rare soul and a fun writer. I have Bird by Bird right here on my desk as I write this!


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