I've always wanted to do a buttonhole stitch book, but it looked hard and complicated. Would the stitching hold the book block onto the hardcover? It looked a bit flimsy. And those long stitches with a hole in the spine. It just didn't look like a proper book to me.
A couple of weeks ago I came across a watermelon, buttonhole book video by Sea Lemon. She always makes everything look so easy. True to form...
But how to do a buttonhole stitch on a hardcover?
I remembered Cailun had written about it. There were some good photos on making the buttonholes on the spine. Then I went to another blog post that explained the Modified Long Stitching.
Next I tried the real thing. It seemed a lot like a kettle stitch/Coptic stitch to me.
I took some photos. I hope they help. It was a bit strange stiching a book with a camera around my neck.
I sewed each end separately tying off the top end and cutting the thread. You could run the thread down to the bottom set of holes and start stitching as an option
Even after finishing one end you'll find that if you keep the tension firm, it sucks the signatures nice and tight, right to the spine.
So if your dog runs off with it and throws it into the air, it'll be fine.
3 Things I'll do Differently the Next Time
1. I think I'd make a book that's a lot thicker the next time. It was hard to fit all the signatures and stitching into that narrow slot.
2. Try some variations like covering the signatures. They will show through the buttonhole. It'll also use up some of those scraps you have laying around.
3. Can also try punching circular buttonholes. I think I'd be alright. Punch the sewing holes at the top and bottom of the holes.
I found this to be a real fast and easy stitch to do once I figured it out. Poke your awl around to even out the stitches.
Let me know what you think. Send me some photos of what you've done and I'll post them here.
I do more than bind books, so much more. Today I'll give you a look behind the scenes of what I do when I'm not making books.
I started off doing Altered Art and mixed media. I still love it and try to incorporate it into my hand bound books. It was my interest in mixed media that led me to bookbinding. I took a class making Altered books. This is why I especially love making Artist's journals and Sketchbooks
5 ESSENTIALS FOR ALTERED ART
I continue to follow my love of making mixed media and Photoshop art.
I make greeting cards, mixed media tags and collage sheets for artists, scrapbookers and those wanting to experiment with the art form.
COLLAGE SHEETS AND ATC BACKGROUNDS
ORIGINAL ART NOTEBOOK COVERS
These are some of the many notebook covers I've designed in Photoshop. You can find them in my NOTEBOOK section.
ART GREETING CARDS
ATC backgrounds can be blown up to greeting card size.
Here's some ATCs that grew up to be greeting cards.
So that's a peek into my other job. I hope you liked it and would love to hear any comments or questions.
I've also been wading into the world of boxmaking and book casings. But it deserves its own post. Stay tuned.
If you're making a case then in the morning you'll wake up to this.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Now mark the book for top and bottom and front and back. Then go have lunch so everything can dry.
The groove on the edge and the spine are formed while the cover is still damp. Put bricks on the book taking care to place them only on the book board. Don't crush the spine by covering the entire case with the bricks. Now the cover can be trimmed back to fit the pages.
ALMOST THE FUN PART
Your cover should be bone dry. Remember when I said to not glue to the edges? That's because that loose strip is going to be gently ripped off. Don't cut it. You have to rip it. It should look really ratty with rough edges and pieces sticking up. Take your bone folder and rub those nasty pieces down until the cover is smooth.
You can get a remarkably smooth finish by by rubbing the rough edges with the bone folder.
THE FUN PART - COVERING THE SPINE
Cut the cloth about 3" and put on the spine. Rub it with your bone folder or just using your hands. On my leather book below I chose to use matching leather on the edges. That's because the paper I used is quite fragile. So I'm protecting the edges with the leather. You don't have to do the corners or spine in leather. Covering the entire cover in book cloth or paper is the easiest.
On this book I didn't pare the edges of the leather because I don't know how. The decorative paper is rather thin and I don't want a ridge where the paper and leather meet. So I'm adding a strip of plain paper to each of the white parts of the cover. This builds up that section of the cover to get rid of the height difference between the leather and the paper.
Next is to make a drop in groove in preparation for the paper. This is made by running a line along the spine piece. Put he line on the leather and close to the edge. Cloth is done in the same way.
The decorative paper does not butt up against the cloth and paper, but goes in the drop in groove. So when the book dries, the paper does not shrink away from the cloth or leather.
So pop in your already measured decorative paper and....you're not done.
Flip the book over and the edges (turn ins) will not all be the same size. You have to wait for the cover to dry for a bit. Go close the curtains, turn on the lights and make a cup of tea. After your tea use a ruler to even out those turn ins.
Next get a piece of white paper and trim it to fit inside the the white rectangle. Glue that in. To get a good fit I usually butt the paper against the top and run my finger nail around the inside edge.
At this point I wrap the text block in waxed paper and slide it into the cover. After the book is closed around the text block get a pair slender knitting needles and put in that groove. Remember the groove? Put under weights overnight.
Most people think that it's easy to slap a book together; two pieces of cardboard, a duct tape spine and throw some pages in. How hard can it be?
Mmm....Kinda. It's not difficult, but involves a lot of steps and drying times in between. I thought that it might be best to take it one step at a time. That's why this post is just about how to make a hardcover. Yes, just the cover.
Book Covers I've Known and Loved or hated
Cut the covers out of bookboard or grey board. Or use mill board. It comes in large sheets and is fairly cheap. It's about $7 CDN for a large sheet. The store will usually cut it in half for free. Once cut in half it is almost square, so draw some arrows pointing the length of the board before they cut it. Everything in the cover needs to have the grain pointing upward.
SUPER EASY BOOK BOARD
Sometimes you can buy black bookboard pre cut.
Book Board info link.
You can use any material cotton, silk, the afore mentioned linen. Lay it face down and brush wheat starch on it. Make the wheat starch the consistency of gravy. Once it's saturated then put the piece or pieces on on a smooth dollar store place mat or cellophane. Let dry completely. That's it. It's just that easy.
SUPER EASY CLOTH
Go buy some paper backed bookcloth.
Wheat starch is commonly found in Asian food stores. You can also use rice starch. But you can not use corn starch or flour. Wheat starch has a really low cooking point. Think eggs. Mix the wheat starch with water and cook in the microwave for 20 seconds. It's done when it's clear. Strain or use an electric whisk to get out the lumps.
It looks like the white paste they gave you in grade 1. The paste that someone always inevitably ate.
You only need the ruler and the knife. Also a small painting brush (dollar store) and watercolour brush (steal one from the kids) for the gluing. You can use a plastic triangle for squaring everything up.
With your nice, fresh wheat paste and your dollar store painting brush standing by, take a couple of white sheets out of the printer and cover your boards. Leave the over hanging paper on. You want to keep that. Then go to bed. The boards need to dry overnight.
New blog post. Anatomy of a book Part 2 Assembly
Bookbinding 2. It's a tale of spectacular sunsets, lost luggage, ferry trips and trips to the hospital. There were curious partners peeking into the studio as the days stretched on a few extra hours. There were sliced fingers wrapped up and covered in latex finger tubes so we wouldn't bleed on our books. There was also bookbinding.
The innocuous title of Bookbinding Course in the bucolic setting by the sea, lulls one into thinking of a holiday doing crafty books. But make no mistake about it, this is an intensive determined to make us bookbinders. It's 2 weeks of cramming our brains with as much info as possible, feeling like the studio has become your new home and rushing (carefully of course) to finish books before the ferry comes.
In the months to follow it all comes to fruition as the information is absorbed into the new and hopefully better books we make.
I for one, feel lucky to have been there. It's the only course of its kind west of Toronto.
ROUNDING AND BACKING
Dan Mezza, the instructor shows us how it's done.
THE PLOUGH not a new yoga position
This is the way we plough our books. This is how to get those nice, flat edges that we can paint on.
HAND SEWN HEADBANDS
When the instructor asked where he could find hemp cord everyone laughed. After all, this is the west coast.
A big thanks to my wonderful customers who helped me have the best year yet. I hope you are enjoying your journals and notebooks.
I hope 2015 will bring everyone a great year of creativity, learning and good memories. As Carly Simon once sang, "These are the good old days."
Paper Bag Books
I'm starting to fill up my Japanese stab bound book section. I was inspired by some beautiful paper with cherries on it. The paper is Lotka type paper and is nice and soft and supple yet strong.; perfect for making a stab bound book. I've done some simple stitches on the notebooks.
I also was inspired by a paper bag from a retailer who shall remain nameless. It was the snowflakes . It seemed like a no-brainer for this time of year
So now I think I'll try my hand at something more complicated. I'll be referring to
which has instructions on how to sew every kind of stab stitch in the galaxy. Stay tuned.
So the paper bag book came from an idea for a sketchbook which is on my bench right now. This is also from the same retailer who shall remain nameless. I stuffed the sketchbook with my favourite Fabriano sketch paper.
One last book. I was gifted a few sheets of ancient sheet music in London by my instructor at my first ever bookbinding course. I used a sheet on a book cover I made. Then the cover sat on my bench for a few months. I was so stuck with this cover and fresh out of ideas. I even tried to peel it off the cover. It seemed to have melted into the cover and became one with the cover.
Then, the other day I was looking for paper for a slipcover. I came across some with musical instruments. It was too small for the slipcase, but gave me an idea for the music sheet book cover. Here it is.
I still have to do some sanding on it and more altering. Sill wondering what kind of paper to use for the inside. But it's progressing.
I've always been terrified of making slipcases. This fear is second only to making boxes. But lately I've been dreaming about making slipcases. They add a certain elegance to a book. I have also been looking for a nice way to protect my journals and sketchbooks when mailing them to their new owners. So I thought I'd give it a try.
Once I dug in and started to look for patterns for a simple slipcase I discovered it was absurdly easy.
After assembling the the case I was somewhat horrified that it looked like a paper VHS case. Not the dignified look I was after. However it's a good basic case to slip over the book for mailing.
You can make this case with a heavy card stock. I'm using a 110lb or 297gsm card stock that I bought to make greeting cards. To make life so much easier I recommend you score your folding lines.
To figure out where to put the spine measure the centre point. This paper is 11" wide so I put the centre point at 5½". Then you can centre the spine on that centre point and simply draw the lines for the spine by tracing down each side of the book. For the width of the book lay the book flat against one of the lines for the spine and trace the outside edge of the book. So now you have your measurements.
The top and bottom foldovers will always be the same width as the spine. So if you have a 1" spine then each foldover will be 1".
I used Kraft paper for the first one. I put a 2" hand punch halfway into the cover to make the semi circle. Good for pulling the book out. I'm glad I did as I had some trouble getting the book out of the wrapper.
Making a Hard Case Cover
The Guild of Book Workers USA
MILLIMETER BINDINGS henryhebert.net/2012/01/11/millimeter-and-rubow-bindings
HAND SEWN HEADBANDS
Be sure to check out the bookbinding blogs too.
They often have tutorials
BIG JUMP PRESS
Beautiful books and boxes in Finland
Portugal - leather tooling
OWL AND LION
Bookbinding workshops in Scotland
Forum & lots of info
BECCA MAKING FACES
Examples and TUTs of every Japanese stitch in the world