My friend Janne was visiting me not long ago, and as part of our “art-ing”, she showed me how to make a bound book!
I’m not quite sure I can redo (and remember!) all the steps, but first you fold sheets of paper, and sew them together with waxed thread, and they are also attached to a piece of cloth at the spine:
After cutting boards for the cover and spine (there exists special bookboard for this exact purpose, but I just used the cardboard-like final page of a watercolor-paper pad), you glue. Lots and lots. The cloth is glued to the covers, the covers are glued to a special mesh fabric, that gets glued to the spine, and then it is all covered with fabric, and finally a sheet of decorative paper for the inside covers.
All done! I love how it has a proper spine, with creases and dents, just like a real book!
I also love the shape of the pages in an open book, and seeing the contrasting dark thread that holds the pages together. It’s like seeing traces of the process and the hand that made the book.
And the inside of the cover! This is a piece of gift-wrapping paper, you know – the racks in art supply stores with endless gorgeous sheets of papers? This one is from Snow&Graham, a Chicago-based company I adore deeply.
I painted the cover in my absolute favorite muddy color – the paint was called “green gold”. Since I was taking apart an alarm-clock at the same time, I set aside the front of the clock itself to decorate the front. I’m not sure I’m done decorating the outside yet, but I think it’s perfectly acceptable if the outside changes along with the inside.
This particular shade of green might not be the boldest of the bunch, but it’s plenty bold for me, and it has inspired me to make this my color-book. I’d like to challenge myself to fill this book with bold, bold colors and ephemera – lots of collageing, more glueing (!), and more painting.
Making a book from scratch was so fun and satisfying, that I’m planning to take a bookbinding class at school. I can’t wait to go more in-depth with this wonderful craft! (Oh, the nostalgic part of me is overjoyed – getting to learn more about a real handcraft of the olden days? Sign me up!)