Experiments in bookbinding

We all have issues.  One of mine is buying stuff that I am then too afraid to use.  Afraid I’ll run out of it and need more and not be able to get it, afraid I’ll screw it up and waste it, afraid I’ll use it up on the wrong thing.

Front cover with added tapes of a cardstock journal

Front cover with added tapes of a cardstock journal

I also have a tendency to acquire things for projects that I then never make.  (I think this one is inherited from my father.)  That’s just more stuff that piles up, however neatly I might organize it.

So today I took my cardstock coupon (buy five sheets, get five free) as it’s hard to pass up “free” stuff and selected ten sheets of prismatic paper at Archiver’s (two each of five different colors).  I was going to make a journal–a little one–to play in, nothing fancy and nothing to sell.

One thing I really want to do more of are interesting exposed-spine bindings.  And another thing I want to do more of is design my own projects without referring to example projects in books first.  There’s nothing wrong with doing that . . . but it’s not what I want to do.  In order to accomplish this, I need more expertise in thinking about bindings and how to design them.  I can draw a picture of something neat, but then when I get detailed about which holes the needle goes in and which it comes out, I can see that the design won’t work.  I need more internalization of what is required, and the only way to get that is to just do some and figure it out by doing rather than by reading.

So I folded each 8-1/2 x 11″ sheet in half with the grain and decided each would be its own signature.  I drew a lovely diagram that called for two different templates for spine holes.  (Since I am using cardstock I decided not to add covers.)  Cut the punching templates, marked each with “TOP” and then “A” or “B”, marked holes, and punched away (ignoring my lovely diagram that had two “A” patterns at front and back and simply alternated A and B all the way through after adding one additional sheet from my stash to make an odd number of signatures–oops!).  Then I sewed the single-page signatures together with embroidery floss.

Lovely stitching . . . but the signatures are not well attached to each other

Lovely stitching . . . but the signatures are not well attached to each other

Turns out the pattern I did would have made a great expanding accordion but did not work for a book.  I knew that sewing along the spine rather than across would be more flimsy, but I did not realize that my pattern would result in the signatures not being securely connected.  Now I do.

The zigzag sewing allows too much play between the signatures in the absence of a sewing directly up and down between them

The zigzag sewing allows too much play between the signatures in the absence of a sewing directly up and down between them

I fixed this by using some lace tape (decollections–no idea where I got it), threading it under the stitches, and pretending I had actually sewn over tapes all along.  You could never tell!

Lace tapes inserted after sewing

Lace tapes inserted after sewing

This was great for me to do, and I’m glad I figured out a way to fix it so that my journal is still usable.  Now perhaps I will do some more books out of Keith Smith and then try designing another binding.

About Elizabeth Ann's Studio

Artist. Musician. Mother. Wife. Me.
This entry was posted in books, experiments, technique. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Experiments in bookbinding

  1. leah karl says:

    YOU are absolutely delightful!

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