book making.

My sister-in-law, Cristin, is pretty crafty and she is always carrying around handmade books.  When she gave me one as a gift a year or so ago, I knew that book making needed to be in my future.  Fast forward to last weekend and my dreams of book making became a reality (if only all dreams were so easy :)).

Cristin originally learned about book making from Design Sponge.  Totally cool idea, right? RIGHT.

I thought that I’d share my own little (less cool than Design Sponge) tutorial for all of my crafty friends in the blogosphere.

Gather your “insides” — the paper that you’re going to use for the pages of your book.

Design Sponge and Cristin recommend using recycled paper.

(Recycled printer paper)

When I made some on my own last night, I used old, blank notebooks that I had in the house.  Does anyone else tend to use 1/2 a notebook and then discard it when it feels ratty? Oh no? Ya, me either…eh hem.

If using recycled paper, fold the paper so that the writing is on the inside.

Be sure to fold the paper really well.

Use a bone folder or, if you’re lacking a bone folder, use something else that will create a crisp edge (note, you’ll have to apply a bit of pressure).

I used a spatula because I was folding paper on our kitchen island and it was available. And classy.

Note: I folded a LOT of paper initially so that we could make a bunch of books at once.

Once you feel like you have enough (but not too much) paper folded, stack it all the same way.  You want the folded edge towards the outside (the non-bound side).

Note: I made my notebooks about 1.5″ thick and felt it was a good size.  Cristin told me that when she makes hers too thick they tend to lose paper a bit easier.

Pick your cover.

Cut the cover paper to match the size of the notebook you’re making.  I’ve made a bunch of books at this point and I used a few different cover techniques, see below for details, but basically you want the cover to be fairly durable (at least use a thick paper so that it holds up).

Make sure that the papers are even.  Tap them on the counter a bit.  This step is critical (the evenness, not the tapping on the counter). Check again.

Pay attention to your folded edges, this will become the open side of the book.

Once you’re certain that the paper is all even, use a firm ruler or painters stick and clips to hold the bound side together (the open edge of the paper).

My friend Jessie making sure that her book is even.

Now it’s time to apply glue.

I am pretty sure that there are many types of glue available for this, but we used PVA glue from Paper Source.

You are going to need to apply multiple coats of glue (I did 5 coats on my books).

When applying glue, you want to apply it well, but not so well that you get glue everywhere :).

Use a paint brush or foam brush for this part.

Depending on how much glue you put on, you’ll need to wait 15-30 minutes between coats.

Cristin gluing her book.

This project is a labor of love.

Note: If it’s not obvious, you’ll need to move your clips to be able to apply the glue.  Hold the book tight when you do this, especially the first time so that the pages don’t move.

Now that you’ve applied enough glue and your book is actually looking like a book, it’s time to add the finishing touches!

Cut your book cloth to the right size to cover the area that you glued.  You probably want to cut enough so that it covers the sides of your book a tad – it’s really your preference on how much.

I don’t know why, but I totally forgot to take pictures of this step.  You’ll just have to trust me (or email me with questions) that it’s easy.  I’m sure there’s also a YouTube video out there too.

Note: I bought book cloth sheets and book cloth tape to finish my books.  The difference is that the tape is already sticky (doesn’t need glue).  I found that the book cloth sheets were easier to use because you can cut it to the exact size / shape that you want to use.  Although it’s annoying to have to glue it, I didn’t think that the tape that I bought (from Paper Source) stuck as well.

You’ve glued, you’ve book clothed and now you have a finished book!

If you’re like me, you might have trouble marking it up initially, but go ahead, you can make another one!

Cover Details

Some thoughts about your cover… and options…
Make sure that whatever you use is fairly durable.  If you’re taking your notebook in and out of your purse or bag, it’s going to get worn.
I used scrapbook paper for a couple of my covers (pictured in the prep pictures above) but then I decided that I wanted to try something else, so I covered recycled cardboard with wrapping paper and random paper that I had available (pictured above and below – the top 2 books in the picture).
I like the idea of cardboard, but the scrapbook paper was definitely easier.
With the cardboard you have to manipulate it a bit because it won’t hold with your other papers.  If you look at the picture below you may be able to see how I did it.  I basically glued (using the same PVA glue) an extra piece of scrapbook paper on the inside front a back covers.  I cut it long enough to be able to also cover the first and last pages of the book.  That kept the cover in place (I did this AFTER I glued, btw) and then I added the book cloth to cover it up and make it look polished.
Cristin likes to add ribbon and embellishments to her covers.  I added a little bit of washi tape, but otherwise left it as is, but you can be as creative as you want.
Supplies Needed:
  • Thick / fairly durable paper or cardboard
  • Recycled paper
  • PVA glue
  • Paintbrush or foam brush for the glue
  • Large binder clips
  • Paint stirrers or other firm material (ruler, cardboard, etc)
  • Book cloth tape or paper
  • Paper trimmer (to trim paper or book cloth)
As I said, this idea originally came from Design Sponge and was adapted by Cristin and then me.  It’s really fun (and maybe a little addictive), so let me know if you give it a go.
Happy book making!

0 thoughts on “book making.

    • Thanks 🙂 I am not scrapping… I don’t even know if I remember how 🙂 I’d like to start that again, I really would, but right now I’m enjoying some other things (sewing, the books, etc.)