Tag Archives: Bookbinding

Cover designs and a surprise

2 May

First, I apologize for the lack of updating. It was that time of year…finals time.

Anywho, for the last month of my bookbinding class, my professor set us loose to explore whatever we were interested in. I chose to focus on decorative covers and generally whatever I felt like doing at the time.

I’ve made a few books with flap closures but I decided to get a little fancy with this one. Not only did I do a shaped edge, the cover piece has a raised portion so the flap is flush when its closed. For funsies, I added a the cute little badger I cut out of the cover of one of the free Badger Balm calendars I got with a order.

I also did a bit of experimentation with cut-outs. This one has a cool geometric design to let the fancy Japanese maple leaf end page show through.

One of my classmates decided to attempt a ‘Secret Belgian’ binding (sounds so fancy and mysterious!) after looking through one of my books on books (bookception). After watching her finish the cover, I decided to take a whack at it too. I added eyelets to mine for a more polished look. This binding is surprisingly simple. We both used this tutorial which is pretty clear cut.

My wall shelf above my desk has become a shrine to my books. It started overflowing though so I relegated my less-pretty creations to a box in my closet. I still have a few more designs that I have yet to photograph, but I should get them up in a week or so.

Lastly…a non-book surprise! I was digging through the storage closet on my patio last week, and I kept hearing a weird squeaking/chirping noise. I was worried that some mice had moved in, so I searched for the source. It turned out a bird made a nest in the little vent pipe that lets out hot air from the dryer (which we don’t have), and there were baby birds! I can’t decide if they are gross or cute…maybe a combination of the two? They look like naked frozen chickens.


Decorative paper & latest creations

4 Apr

I hadn’t realized just how much decorative paper I’ve been hoarding in my campus flat file until recently. When it comes to fabric or paper, I simply cannot resist a cute printed pattern. So when Hollander’s had their online sale last week, what did I do? Buy more paper. I’m really enamored with the selections I made. I even got one featuring cat breeds!

I’ve been doing lots of experimentation with my book covers and general aesthetic, so having lots of paper options comes in handy.

This grouping is books I made last week. I decided to try using eyelets for my hardcover link stitch books to give them a more polished look. It’s a tedious process, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the old way now! The cover of the middle book is actually made from an envelope I had (part of one of my many cute letter sets I collect). My husband and I are planning our belated honeymoon (DISNEY WORLD!) for this December, two and half years after our wedding. I thought the little phrase would make it perfect for a little pocket book to write down plans for our trip. 

This week, I’ve moved onto some more ambitious designs: more split-tone case bindings and faux raised cords. I love the look of raised cords, but the traditional way is very time consuming, not to mention that I prefer a hollow spine to a tight back. My solution: glue pieces of cord on a bristol board spine and cover. Looks just as nice, less work, and I get to keep my spine hollow. I’ll probably make a visual tutorial in the future.

I also did an elastic closure for the first time and it worked quite nicely. I just used plain old sewing elastic, but I dunked it in a cup of tea so it wouldn’t be stark white.

On a side note: I adore this faux bois paper. Both hubby and I are obsessed with faux bois/woodgrain patterns, so when I found this at my local art supply store, I had to get a piece.

I’ve got a few more books planned or in progress. I can’t wait to make some crazy fancy books.

Character designs and some fancy books

25 Mar

I’ve been making some good progress on my picture book recently. During spring break, I completed character designs for almost all my little critters. I’m in the process of painting their final designs now. So far, I’ve finished Rosemary the chipmunk and Sable the black-footed-ferret.


I’ve also been making more books as usual. I finished the book I had been planning for my father. My father is the kind of person that loves to make predictions, and remind you of them when and if they come true. So I made him a book where he can write down his various predictions and refer back to them for gloating purposes.

I made another case-bound book with a clasp closure that I’m particularly please with. I’ve always liked the looks of split color covers, and I think the pattern of the Japanese paper goes really well with the overall design. Making clasp closures are also a tedious process, but the effort is definitely worth it.

I’ve also been trying out new Japanese stab-binding patterns using leftover paper scraps. Making hardcover stab bindings is a massive pain, but they look so impressive. Mine are a little messy since they were the first attempt at each pattern with the exception of the blue hemp-leaf binding. My biggest frustration is a tie between determining how much thread I’ll need and making wide enough holes through the thick text blocks. Like most things though, practice makes perfect. So more practicing is in my future.

Bookbinding Tutorial Roundup

9 Mar


Since I’ve been posting primarily bookbinding stuff, I thought I’d go ahead and do a small tutorial roundup. Enjoy!


These are books

9 Mar

I made a few case-bound books over the past week and photographed my favorite ones to share.

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Bookbinding Tutorials: Punching Cradle and Jigs

4 Mar

In my bookbinding supply guide post, I promised that I would post tutorials on how to make your own punching cradle and jigs. I’m surprised that I didn’t find any similar ones from a simple google search. Most of the tutorials for punching cradles involved wood, which is obviously more durable than cardboard, but more time consuming and expensive. As a college student, I’m all about doing things on the cheap. My bookbinding professor has the same mindset and taught me how to make them quickly and dirt-cheap.

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Supply Guide: Bookbinding tool kit

2 Mar

This semester, I’m taking a class I’ve wanted to since I first started at my university: bookbinding. I’ve always adored books and what could be more fun than making your own? Over the last couple months I’ve accumulated a decent supply kit and lots of additional materials. The other students clearly think I must have no life besides making books because I like to stay for hours on end in the studio working, reading books on bookbinding, and pestering my uber-patient professor for more information.

Here are two link stitch books I did yesterday.

I thought I’d share the contents of my tool kit for those of you interested in bookbinding.

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