Bookbinding Doesn’t Take that Long

Well, it shouldn’t, but it did for me and not for the reasons you might think. I started my handmade sketchbook adventure back in January when I decided that I wanted one with all different types of paper in it. That’s not something you can zip over to the art store and buy (why not??), so I took it as an opportunity to make something really personal. I thought I did that last year when I converted an old (and meaningful) art book into a journal, but after a year of filling it up it still isn’t quite what I want. 

What Happened?

So I started the book months ago with plans for three types of paper (drawing, multimedia, and watercolor) and a cover made from my son’s old jeans that were too holy to donate. Of course, it all had to be filmed so I could make a video out of it! Everything was all set up – lights, camera, computer, and bookbinding supplies took over my dining room table. During the first session I cut all of the paper to size and gently creased and stacked it into signatures of one of each type of paper. 

And there it all sat. The whole time I wondered what it was, why I wouldn’t just sit down and work on it. It’s pretty obvious now though, right? It was that extra step of making the video. Rather that just sit down and put all the effort into making the book, the video was what really had priority. My excuse was what a pain it would be to get set up and get going even though most of what I needed was left out. And because of that dinners at the table didn’t happen for months. Family crafting didn’t get done at the table. There was an eyesore in the middle of my house! 

Last week I finally took the camera set up down and put the bookbinding project away in its own special box. Guess what happened? We ate some food at the table and did some projects together. Then I finished the book – in two days. Mistakes were made, but I feel like since they’re baked into the book already that there’s no point in worrying too much about what goes into it. That first page of a sketchbook is always the toughest!

How I Made the Book

The tutorial I followed can be found below. It’s really easy to adapt your own measurements and I found the whole process to be very relaxing, except for the very end where I realized the cover was too big and I already put glue down. I snapped a few pics along the way, because it still needed to be documented, so rather than make you read more of my rambles, let’s go on a little photo journey together!

A pretty stack of signatures ready to be sewn!

This is a beautified version of what my table looked like for MONTHS, except without holes punched in the signatures. How long did it take to measure and punch those holes? Maybe 10 minutes. At least I was able to get any bitterness about it over with right away. 🙂

I thought sewing the signatures together would be tedious, but it was very relaxing! It was kind of my favorite part. <3

The signatures all stitched and ready for glue.
Signatures glued and clamped.

I have no control over where glue goes. It’s a miracle that none of it got on the pages! That’s a paint stirrer cut in half and two-inch clamps to keep it all together.

I set them out to dry like this. I forget why. Maybe to make sure they dried evenly? It must have worked because they did. 🙂

Signatures glued, clamped, and drying.
The cover pieces all laid out.

The cover is made out of my son’s old jeans and chipboard.

The Result!

There aren’t any pics of the fiasco that was gluing all the things together, but this is how it looks now. I sewed denim strips on and left the edges out so it would fray over time and have a nice distressed look. Plus it’s kind of relaxing picking at the little strings as they come loose. I finished it off with a patch from Alex Pardee. 🙂

At the end of the day, bookbinding is fun!

The tutorial I used:

If you don’t know him, now you know him. You’re welcome. 🙂

Thanks for reading! Until next time!