Bookbinding! Who does that?

Yes, indeedy, who does bookbinding?  Well, most assuredly there is a whole industry around bookbinding, but most people aren’t into it as a craft.  Once upon a time someone showed me how to bind a book. So I taught my students how, but I haven’t done one in 20 years.  Not one to let old skills moulder away,  I hunted up some examples to study before I attempted to bind the book I had just spent a month writing.  Dang it all, couldn’t find ONE example.  Which really bugs me, because I had a whole folder of bookbinding samples from my school teaching days.  Just in case I ever came across a desperate class in need of the ancient art of bookbinding.  That’s what I get for cleaning my studio.  I throw things away that haven’t seen the light of day in 10 years or so and lo and behold I am in need of that very old thing.  BUT fortunately, I didn’t throw away my brain. I did remember the basic gist of the thing, so what the hell, I collected up what I would need and plunged into the fray!


Materials needed: card board, glue, paper, ruler, x acto knife and the thing you are binding

I had to decide on a color scheme and found a faux finish sample I had painted on the back of an old print.  That would be my cover, so I embellished it to represent an aspect of the story.

Not that these look like crop circles, but there are crop circles in the story.

Not that these look like crop circles, but there are crop circles in the story.

After I measured and planned out the size of the book, I cut out my cardboard front and back, then glued them down (using my spray glue) to their respective covers.

20141214_131503Note the hinge tab.  That is so the book will fold open on the seam.  I drew green lines on the cardboard so I would line them up correctly.  Then I trimmed off the extra paper and folded the sides up.  Once the folds are made, I cut out the corners so when I flatten them down they will fit nicely.



The corners are trimmed roughly, I didn’t bother measuring.  Then I glued down the edges to the cardboard. Next, after measuring my end papers, I glued the end papers on top of the covers, hiding the folded edge.

Next I assemble the book.  Making sure everything lines up as neatly as possible.








To help keep it all in place, I used rubber bands and later, even wood clamps.  I made a template where the holes should go, every half inch.  The template also protects the cover from the drill.


20141214_140037I drilled a pilot hole on the top and on the bottom and then used 2 nails to hold the book down while I drilled the rest.


20141214_140720Here’s the final row of holes all drilled out.  I use a drill with a very small bit on this book because it is thick, but on thinner books, you can just use a nail to make the hole.  A drill however, will give you a much cleaner hole.

20141214_141050I even put a nail in the center hole to keep all the pages aligned.  This will make things easier when I start to sew it together.  At this point, I am ready to sew.  I found an old upholstery needle, threaded it with cotton twine and got started.  Here’s the part where I am a bit fuzzy about how this should go.  So I made a few practice runs, before realizing it is as important to go up and down with my stitches as it is to go side to side, or else the pages won’t hold properly when you open the book.  I sewed one book all the way before discovering this, so had to take it apart and start over.  If you are considering doing this project yourself you’ll have to figure out a pattern that works for you.  I made 3 books but didn’t sew them with all the same pattern.



This is what I mean by side to side and up and down.  You have to go through the holes more than once.20141214_160210

Made a few false starts and broke some thread, but eventually I figured it out.  At the bottom of the pic under my fingers is a pattern that didn’t work out.  I pulled out the stitches as I went.  I left them in since they were helping to hold the book together.  I had used wood clamps on my first attempt, but they got in the way.  I left the nails in as well and pulled them out as I came to them.  They assured the pages would stay aligned, making it easier to sew.  The other two books I made were thinner and I was able to use paper squeeze binders.  Well,  here is the final result!

20141214_212321_resizedWhat did you do last month?  Oh nothing much, wrote a novel, printed it and bound it. Bookbinding rocks!

Imagine Transformation

Imagine Transformation






Phew! Glad that’s over!

Hurrah and Phew!!   Today I reached my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words in a month. And I am, apparently a winner!  Just like everyone else who made it to 50K words.  My story is not finished, I was bulking up what I thought was the end but wound up adding yet another problem to be solved.  But now that I can actually edit the thing instead of madly writing, looks like it will either be a new cool addition to the novel or axed and I’ll finish the actual story in less than 50K words.

I may post it here in serial form if I get some requests… anyone interested in reading a first attempt sci-fi novel?  The hubby said he liked it, but hey, he is the hubby.  Though I do trust his honesty…. well, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

In addition to my mad writing skills, I took a mandala workshop too.  So, in honor of that, here are the exercises in order as we worked through them:

Day 1, seeing circles and learning about the mystery of the circle!  Medium: twist crayons

20141130_185506 This was a cool exercise in going round and round… I inadvertently made an eye in the middle!  My text above says, once seen, it could not be un-seen.  There I am, on the inside looking out.

Day 1, continued.  The magic of circles… interesting geometrical facts… like how the radius applied to the circumference creates 6 segments that make other interesting shapes when you connect the lines. Medium: Sharpie Markers and colored pencil.



Day 2, we moved on to lotus shaped mandalas.  Fun!!  Wish you could see the copper colored ink.  Medium: Sharpies and copper ink.




Day 3 was a self exploration using collage. Never my favorite medium, but the point was to cover up our affirmations that were written below the images.  No thinking allowed…. a good exercise for me!  Sometimes I need to shut it down or shut it up.  My brain, that is.   Medium:  pencil, magazines and matte medium.




Day 4, just finished.  A Hamsa…. not exactly a mandala, but a wonderful pattern of protection.  Also a fun exercise.  Medium:  Prismacolors, water color pencils, Sharpies.



Day 5…. well, I think I ‘ll save that for the next post.  Always leave ’em wanting more, said the hubby.  Not that he said it first, but still, a very good idea. 🙂

Blog vacation of sorts

Dear Readers,

I should have told you all sooner, but I am taking a short blog break.  November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo  for short.  Blogger friends of mine take part every year and this year I thought (gulp!) I’d give it a try.  The task is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month which means I have to average 1,667 words a day.  Which I have been doing, so yay!!  But that means, no blogging for now.  I’ll be lucky if I can get back into the studio to paint.

In addition to this craziness, I also signed up for a week long on-line mandala workshop.  I’ll post some of those creations later, we just started the workshop today.

I’m at 28,000+ words right now and on track to finish by the end of the month!  Wowsa!  I’ll be back to the blog in December, thanks to all of you for your support and interest in my work and ideas and verbosity.  Seems like I always have something to say about something, so maybe writing this book was good for me.