Bookbinding: Hardcovers

The final step of making a book, after you’ve got your book block all sewn up, is the cover. The cover isn’t hard, but it does require some finesse, attention to detail, and a lot of measuring. Let’s get started, shall we?

For the cover you’ll need some eska board (or other thick card, I recommend two sheets of illustration board glued together as a substitute), a lot of glue (plus leather glue if you’re using leather, and fabric glue if you’re using fabric), a ruler, a pencil & eraser, your bone folder, a strip of thinner cardboard (feel free to lift this from a cereal box), and some thin woven fabric (I like muslin). (more…)

Bookbinding: Stardard Sewn Book Block

The book block is the meat of the book; all the pages in the centre. They can be blank or printed—whichever suits your fancy. I’ll be working with blank pages here, but someday I’ll get around to detailing how you can set up your own designed book into signatures and print them for your entirely self-made book.

The first part of making the book block is a lot of folding. You’ll need to fold every single page in half. It seems a bit daunting at first, but just put on a show in the background and you’ll fall into a nice rhythm and it’ll be done before you know it. Use your bone folder to create a firm crease. Once you have a nice stack of papers (in multiples of 4; each set of four is a signature), go back and re-crease every fold. When you’re done all the folding and creasing, your stack of papers should be perfectly square; you should not be able to tell which edge of the stack is folded. If you can, go back and go over the creases with your bone folder again. (more…)

Double Your White Glue with Homemade Paste

What I’m doing here is making a wheat starch paste and combining it with PVA (polyvinyl acetate, or plain old white glue). This achieves several things. It thins the glue so you can spread it thinly across the paper with ease.

It also slows the drying time, giving you more time to work. I find this especially helpful when I’m binding books or working with large sheets of paper that need to be entirely coated with glue before mounting them on something.