Saturday, 17 March 2012

Instead of eating and finishing an assessment, I...

....tried my hand at Japanese style bookbinding.

Japanese bookbinding uses 'stab sewing' to bind single leaves together. It can be quite decorative. (See end of post)

Now, I'm terribly aware that this is probably the messiest thing you've seen me post - but I did make it out of scrap paper. (From print outs from my third year project, coincidentally, about books) It also has fluorescent orange endpapers. *Shiver*

But I'm pretty pleased with the result, and the sewing wasn't as complicated as I thought it would be.

I made a right mess with the beginning and start knot. But I was practising a new technique - never intending to make things completely perfect.


The only thing with sewing like this is that, although it looks great, you do lose quite a lot of margin, and can only open it a certain amount without bending the board too much.

Here are some examples of neater and quite frankly beautiful books sewed in the Japanese style. 

Japanese Journal by aalenfae
Japanese exercise books by nekogriz

handmade book 25 by darkest-red
Maybe I could bind my own dissertation like this....(!) to cook some dinner!

Monday, 5 March 2012


I love Doctor Who, and when I saw River Song’s journal I knew I just had to re-create it.

Last summer I was very lucky to receive a whole load of bookbinding materials from Roger Trise. Included with all the tools and things (see post 'A bookbinder's cigar box') I got some small rolls of book-cloth. I used the most beaten up and ‘Tardis blue’ cloth form the bunch and tried to make something that resembles River’s journal of Spoilers. I also used some of the paper that Roger gave me.

I made the book and cover in the normal way, and then cut out the elements for the ‘Tardis’ effect from thin card, gluing them on. Here is a template I used:

Then I glued the book-cloth over the top, pressing my bone folder into all the grooves.

After that, I got a charcoal pencil and did some outlining in black. Then I sanded down some areas for more of a 'worn' effect.

The charcoal kept on coming off on my hand, so I covered the whole thing in glue, which as well as making it shiny, helps to keep it strong.

For endpapers I bought a dove-grey colour, and used a light blue ribbon as bookmark.

This was also the first time I have used headbands, and adding them to the spine immediately made the book look a lot more neat and professional than any of my others.

I completed the book by adding a book plate and tying it with red ribbon.

I made it for my friend, Abbie, who loves Doctor Who. She received the package on her birthday. When she finally opened it after a few tantalizing hours after she told me she’d got it but hadn’t opened it she said that she ‘squealed’ and thought it was amazing.

I am ridiculously proud of this. Although it’s not perfect, at least Abbie still knew what it was meant to be!

This has been the first time I have used pretty much everything that a bookbinder should use, and it was really fun!

 Next project? 

I have some black book-cloth. So naturally, I'm thinking something like this: