Earlier this year one of my friends took a night school course on bookbinding. I was really impressed with what she’d created so I thought that I’d give it a go myself. Bookbinding can get very complicated depending on how ambitious you are, and for that reason I’m going to suggest that actually taking a class might be a good idea as it can be tricky attempting to follow instructions off the internet (it’s also good to get inspiration from others/learn from their mistakes!). Nevertheless, here’s my first attempt:
It’s all very rough because this was a trial and I didn’t concern myself too much with the very fine details, but on the whole I’m very pleased with how it turned out. The sewing was quite shoddy from me (I usually sew very neatly) because I didn’t mark up the pages as I should have done. I was also irritated that the spray glue I’d bought marked the end papers, I’m quite exacting about the craft supplies I buy but went for the cheaper product this time and definitely regretted it. Making the book was quite satisfying though, and it gives me an excuse to indulge in my penchant for pretty paper.
What sort of materials do you need for bookbinding?
1. Glue! Spray glue that won’t mark your paper, superglue, a glue stick etc.
2. Ribbon, so that you can tie your covers together
3. Charms or beads for the end of the ribbon. This is quite a nice little (unnecessary) touch, I also add these charms to the end of the ribbons in notebooks
4. Scissors/craft knife/ needle and thread
5. Stamps/photographs/ephemera to stick onto your pages. I bought a large bag of old stamps from all over the world at an antiques fair this year for £1. They’ve been an excellent addition to notebooks and other artwork, my favourite stamps are the ones from countries that don’t exist anymore like Rhodesia and the DDR. You can buy mixed bags of old stamps online if you can’t find them in the real world.
6. Stiff cardboard for your covers
7. Good quality plain paper. I’m not sure what your preferences might be with that, but I’d veer towards something off white rather than plain white as it can look a bit harsh.
If you’re feeling fancy then it is possible to buy offcuts of leather for your covers, but this is still a bit too ambitious for me.
Just another note on paper – I used some quite thin, almost tissue like paper for some of the inside pages and this was a mistake. The paper was very lovely, but just to delicate for this sort of thing – I was worried it would tear while I was sewing it, and then I’m worried it will tear when I flip through the book. Rookie mistake. I’m sure there are a lot of other materials you could you use, as always you’re only limited by your imagination, but this is a good start if you’re only starting out and playing around like me.