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Homemade notebooks photo demo


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13 replies to this topic

#1 robeck

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:44

And here it is, as requested, the first in a series of photo how-to's showing you how I make my own hand sewn notebooks. I'll be making another notebook from scratch over the next few days and this time I'll photograph the process as I go to show you how it's done. I'll be making an A5 in a beautiful burgundy mulberry cover with Conqueror Wove paper.

Before I get started I must acknowledge that I have drawn my ideas and inspiration from others on this forum (in particular ArPharazon) and from various other websites. In particular, I learned how to do Coptic stitching from this link: http://www.trumpetvi...skine-reloaded/

So to start the ball rolling - what materials are needed? Hopefully the following 2 photos should be clear enough to see what I use. Many of the items I had laying around the house and some others I had to buy. No one item costs more than about £2 to £3. I bought some of my supplies from HobbyCraft in Bristol which is a franchise operating throughout the UK and some others from a local artists shop.

MJ4O9918.jpg

MJ4O9919.jpg

Here's what the items are:
  • A cutting mat or other work surface on which you can make a mess.
  • "Stanley" or other sharp craft knife for cutting the hardback card. Scissors for trimming.
  • A couple of strips of clean wood (soft pine) for clamping the bookblock during glueing.
  • At least 2, preferably 3, G-clamps with a minimum gape of 2 inches. I got these really cheap from a hardware store.
  • A small bulldog clip to assist when sewing.
  • A thimble and needle. The needle is about 2 to 3 inches long with a hole large enough to take the thread.
  • Some thread. I use waxed dental floss. The wax helps stop the thread from sticking during sewing. The fluoride helps stop my teeth from falling out so I assume it also helps stop the pages from falling out. roflmho.gif
  • A ruler to measure and use as a cutting edge.
  • A small paint brush to apply the varnish.
  • A craftmaker's bone to smooth out the paper flyleaf when sticking to the book cover. This is optional, you could use a bunch of tissue or other soft cloth.
  • PVA glue and the extra strong Pritt stick glue. I've tried using just the PVA for all glueing tasks but found that it caused bubbles and warping in certain places so I use the drier Pritt stick for those areas. I'll describe in more detail in a follow-on posting. You may be better at using PVA than me so this might be all you need.
  • Some Decoupage glue to stick the tissue paper to the cover and to seal it. I use one made by Aleen. It comes in gloss or Matt. Either will do as I'll be covering the decoupage with varnish.
  • A clear, gloss varnish to finish the cover. I use a varnish called Prizm Clear Glaze.
  • A couple of sheets of waterproof acetate or plastic to stop the flyleafs sticking together when assembling. They need to be larger than the book you are making and will be reusable.
  • A hole punch template (the red peice of card).

Here's a closer view of the hole punch template:

MJ4O9921.jpg

The template requires 5 holes. They don't have to be equally spaced but they make a much neater appearance if they are. The template ensures that all the holes you punch into your paper signatures (more later) line up. I have also marked the template so that I always use it in the same orientation for each signature of paper.


And finally, you will need the following materials to make the notebook:

MJ4O9922.jpg
  • Your paper of choice. Each sheet will be folded in half to give 4 pages (sides). This is very economical but it does mean you need A4 paper to create an A5 notebook and A5 paper to create an A6 notebook. When I bought the Conqueror from a local stationers, they offered to cut half the A4 ream into A5 for free. The ream holds 500 sheets so I now have enough paper to create approx 5 by 192 page A5 and 15 by 128 page A6 notebooks! Bear in mind that if you require lined or other marked layouts on your paper, you will have to print the paper. You can't start with lined paper because the folding process will "flip" the lines 90 degrees. I prefer blank paper anyway so this is not an issue for me.
  • Mulberry tissue paper. My favourite colours are the dark green, navy blue and burgundy but you can find them in all shades in craft shops. I buy mine in large A3 sizes and cut to size but you can buy them in A4 packs which are plenty large enough for A5 and A6 covers.
  • Stiff card for the hardback cover and spine. I am a keen photographer so have many left-over offcuts of photographic mount card used to mount and frame my photographs. The card I use must be about 1.5 to 2 mm thick. Each piece of card will be slightly larger than the size of the notebook i.e. A5 or A6.
  • Some ribbon for the bookblock end stops and page marker. Optional but adds a very professional look to the finished article.
  • Some thick paper or thin card to create the book cover with. The stiff card above is glued to this thinner, flexible card. This paper needs to be very roughly about 180gsm. Note that although you will be covering this thinner card with the mulberry tissue paper, the colour of the card may show through since tissue paper is pretty thin and slightly see through. My card is white so doesn't affect the colour or tone. The size of this item will need to be two sizes larger than the size of the notebook i.e. you will need an A3 piece to create an A5 cover and an A4 piece to create to create an A6 cover.
  • You will also need some suitably coloured thick paper or thin card to make the decorative spine strip which is seen. I tend to use black to contrast with the mulberry.

Well I think that's it in terms of materials. You'll see that there is nothing elaborate or expensive here. The results surprised me completely and I'm now stuck on always making my own. I'll try to get the next installment posted as soon as I can.

Best Regards,
Dean



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#2 Songwind

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 13:43

Nice - I get craft information and practice on my Brit-to-American translation skills. smile.gif
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#3 robeck

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 13:57

QUOTE(Songwind @ Jun 12 2008, 02:43 PM) View Post
Nice - I get craft information and practice on my Brit-to-American translation skills. smile.gif


I knew I was gonna hit this problem: gsm, A4/A5/A6, £, and the list goes on... thumbup.gif



#4 Rocket Jones

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 16:34

As an American, I often hear complaints from across the pond about my usage of US measurements and terminology. Think of this as your chance to get back at the Yanks. biggrin.gif

In other words, the precise details are less important than the overall process.

Edited by Rocket Jones, 12 June 2008 - 16:37.

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#5 Daosus

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 16:52

Hehe, not to mention G-clamps and bulldog clips. ( I call them C-clamps and "binder clips") Thanks for the pretty pictures. I look forward to reading the rest of your notebook making.

#6 Songwind

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 17:29

QUOTE(robeck @ Jun 12 2008, 08:57 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Songwind @ Jun 12 2008, 02:43 PM) View Post
Nice - I get craft information and practice on my Brit-to-American translation skills. smile.gif


I knew I was gonna hit this problem: gsm, A4/A5/A6, £, and the list goes on... thumbup.gif


Yep, though in this case the one I had to look up was PVA - making sure that it was, in fact, plain old white "Elmer's" glue.

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#7 Siv

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 19:34

This and the subsequent parts should be stickied!! Or at least referenced in the DIY guide sticky at the top.
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#8 klangbogen

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 21:16

QUOTE(Siv @ Jun 14 2008, 12:34 PM) View Post
This and the subsequent parts should be stickied!! Or at least referenced in the DIY guide sticky at the top.



I'll second that! thumbup.gif
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#9 Phthalo

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 23:50

Never any doubt this would go into the "DIY / How-to Guides and Resources" pinned topic for this forum! smile.gif
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#10 robeck

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 13:40

QUOTE(Phthalo @ Jun 15 2008, 12:50 AM) View Post
Never any doubt this would go into the "DIY / How-to Guides and Resources" pinned topic for this forum! smile.gif

Hi Phthalo,

I had already written a PM to the FPN Admin team offering these topics and they had suggested I contact you. I was just about to PM you and I've noticed that it's already being discussed here. Can I leave it in your good hands as to how best to group/organise these. I'll be putting part 3 up today (the cover) and the final part in the next day or two (final assembly).

It's been fun writing these topics as I'm house-bound at the moment with a torn knee ligament and I'm glad people are finding these of use.

Best Regards,
Dean




#11 scribere

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:31

Man. This is making me want to make a book of my own....
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#12 mjord753

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:39

I am preparing for a tour of Israel and have not found the "perfect" notebook. I am thinking about making my own notebook. Thanks for these amazing posts!

#13 Callique

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 18:35

Wonderful Robeck, thank you!  I have just made my first journal (before seeing your posts) and am now going to undertake a second, BETTER one, following your instructions.



#14 GatzBcn

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 15:42

Interesting :).


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