Most of the tools and material I need for bookbinding I can find at home already. Paul had an awl and some black waxed thread in with some old leatherworking supplies. I have a multitude of needles, including a curved needle, inherited from my grandmothers, and cutting tools from my days as a student, or when I ran an illustration and graphic design business.
I even have a big block of beeswax from my silk painting days. But it was much too big a chunk to be practical, so yesterday I carved off a piece, melted it in the microwave and poured it into a tablespoon to set.
Then I fixed one of the deficits in my bookbinding supplies using the tutorial on the Craft Leftovers site by digging up my old embroidery thread and waxing some by running it over and through the beezwax a few times.
I was all set to go. But what to make first? Well, I figured it would be wise to practise on materials and content that, if I messed up, it wouldn’t bother me.
I inherited some old “How to …” art books a while back. They’re truly awful things, from the perspective of learning art. For a start, the printing was so bad that the colours were never right, and the advice… let’s just say my old art teacher shuddered when I brought them along to class for a laugh.
But they’re also wonderfully kitsch in a faded postcard kind of way. I’ve already made placemats for the dining table by getting covers of six of them, and ten of the pages from one on drawing trees, laminated.
There’s plenty more fodder in them for fun projects, and one in particular looked ideal for a bookbinding project because of the way the examples were laid out, four to a page.
But I didn’t want a book just of pages from the “How To …” book. I’ve been wanting a sketch book of coloured paper to draw in, so I rifled through my old paper supplies and found sheets of coloured Canson paper from back when I had a go at drawing with pastels. I had five colours and cream.
My bookbinding books all recommend finding and cutting to the grain of the paper, and through this wasn’t the most economical way to cut the paper I was a good girl and obeyed. I got four sheets (to be folded) of each colour and eight of the cream.
Then I placed one page from the “How To …” book on the inside and one on the outside of each section of Canson paper, making six ‘signatures’. I trimmed the edges and used the awl to pierce along the fold where the stitching was going.
And then I covered two rectangles of cardboard with pages from the “How To…” book, for the covers.
This meant I had to leave them to dry squished flat under a pile of heavy books, and do the binding the next day. Since this is going to be a very long post if I show the entire process in it, I’m going to blog about the next step until the next post.