Jump to content

... homemade journal ...

Recommended Posts

over the weekend, pushed myself to persevere to the end to complete my very first homemade handstitched blank journal....



A6 in size. Covered in scrap leather.




View of the spine. Wonder what string to use next time. This thread too fine and not expressive enuf.




Close up of the signatures. I made six of them.




spread opened. Not perfect I know.




testpage with assorted FPs




reverse side of the same testpage. the ink doesn't bleed thru but it can be seen from the reverse side due to transparency of the paper.




As in all self made projects, its always exciting & the feeling of accomplishment is just sweet.


Edited by TMLee
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1.8k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • TMLee


  • mhguda


  • pen2paper


  • Earthdawn


Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

QUOTE (goodyear @ Mar 26 2007, 09:23 AM)
Is the paper that Daler-Rowney stuff?

Yes. It comes in an assortment of 4 colors within that pad itself. Each sheet of A4 is cut into half. Then each half is folded. Five of these folded papers form one signature and are then stitched.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi nice work....was wondering where do you get the leather cover ?

I've always stiched the signature but nothing to cover the notepads.



Link to post
Share on other sites

QUOTE (limfookming @ Mar 26 2007, 09:43 AM)
Hi nice work....was wondering where do you get the leather cover ?

This particular piece I bought from a cobbler in a shopping ctr. When I saw he repaired ladies' handbags, I asked him if he had leather scraps. He sold me a piece reluctantly. This piece is white in colour. I actually used the underside bcos the finished side had stains from my own storage all these years. What I did was to use sandpaper to clean off the layer of dirt and discoloration, causing it to feel a lot more velvety. I am not sure what hide this is. Probably pigskin. Its also too thick for real leather bookbinding. But , you know , as you work, you improvise and come up with alternative solutions. Other places I buy leather scraps is from leather workers, you know those who craft natural leather satchels etc. You got to beg them to sell you cos they don't know how to price it to sell you. If they have a skiving machine there, they'll charge you some dollars to skive down the leather. I bought other colors years ago for other leatherwork. This is th efirst time I am doing it on books.


If you are hardworking enuf, go to pasar malams or dept store sales and buy real ugly ladies' handbags, and cannibalize the leather. I did that once - buying a ladies purse for the imitation ostrich skin that was really well imitated, first class calf leather but really realistic ostrich imprint. It was on cheap sale , pretty much unwanted but looked great for its new use. I believ a ladies cheque purse is still large enuf for an A6 journal.


Actually, you may want to use self adhesive velvet for yr covers too. Available from art supply stores.

Edited by TMLee
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice.


I've made a couple, some hard cover, some soft.


I like to use 100% cotton paper -- no bleed, no feathering. Boring white, but it won't fall apart like the notes my mother made for her pictures all those years ago -- the paper crumbles when I try to flip the pages back and forth! Any good paper will do, and the best part is that you can check for FP friendliness BEFORE you make it!


You can get leather fairly cheaply on eBay, one seller will happily split it for you, so that you can have one very thin epidermis leather (called a pliver) and the other half, now very smooth, called a nubuck or skiver. Both work well for bookbinding.


I've been gluing a standard mull (sort of -- the linen I could find is actually toweling and too thick) down the spine and then to the covers. Much stronger, but stiffer, and no nice stitching showing.


I've used Coptic and "standard" binding sewings, either works well. If you glue a mull ot the spine, it really doesn't matter as you can't see it, but the Coptic allows the journal to lay flat like yours does (something I really like).


I've used heavy nylon upholstery thread, but linen is probable better as it won't fail as quickly.


You will be making more, just like any craft it's kinda addictive....



Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Peter ...

Its always great to find someone who shares the same interest, that way , learning gets accelerated from exchanging know-how.


Not to sound patronising, this journal was really touch n go and very amateurish, maybe the photos hide the obvious flaws well.


There are some things I can't find , like mull . I don't know what that is . But can I use , say bandage ? Or Cheesecloth ?


I manage to borrow Keith Smiths books on bookbinding from the local library. (them books seem seldom loaned at all - very newish them books ! I think few pple want to do this)


The book explains well how to do the Coptic stitch but I have yet to figure out , impatience on my part I guess. But more imporatantly , I must get that thick cord first , which frankly I don't know where to buy. I want to do the Coptic srtitch but realized it was a bit too challenging, and I ended up with this journal you saw.


In place of the 'mull' here, I used nylon gauze - wedding veil material - and as you can see, it doesn't adhere . Hence I decided to stitch thru the signatures right thru to the leather.


Leathers from eBay , ya , I once tried to buy Bullfrog hide long ago before I discovered bookbinding, small hide but beautiful . But no reply from seller. So I was really puzzled and lost steam after that.


Any advice? Just point me in the general direction. Appreciate that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

QUOTE (maryannemoll @ Mar 28 2007, 01:23 PM)
Nice work! I wish i had the time to do the crafts that I like.

Tks M ...

But you CAN ...

You just got to push yrself to do it. like I did ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

QUOTE (Latro21 @ Mar 27 2007, 03:55 AM)
very nice work. seeing that makes me want to make my own journal as well.

Tks Nick...

I actually started experimenting with sewing thread and after a while , realized I shld keep at it and finish it , in order to not have wasted valuable time already spent. This here was the product after 2 or 3 afternoons, and looking at simple examples and getting a clear idea in th emind what amount of effort and eqpt was required. I ddin't even have a bone folder when I folded. (now I have one though and am happy to have found the right tool) I even used a sewing needle instead of a proper ball-point needle. Paper - I scrounged from unused pads - you know - stationery lying around for a long time , but just can't find an ocassion to use them. It started off as a tryout and ended up nice, luckily.

Link to post
Share on other sites

QUOTE (vermillionpart4 @ Mar 28 2007, 05:25 AM)
The word that springs to my mind is 'badass!'.

nice job!

Tks V ...

My ass is still good ... rolleyes.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, the key is glue...


You can use any fabric for the mull and for the binding ribbons (they go under a set of stitches, then the mull goes over them). It nees to be fairly strong and fairly thin -- cheesecloth is the right thickness, but way too weak. It's there to hold the covers on, so that if you drop the book (yes, I know you never do anything like that!), the end paper won't rip and leave you with an uncovered book. Old cotton/polyester cloth like bedsheets that have been retired works well, or you could search the fabric stores for some remnants of lightweight cotton in plain or twill weave. Traditional mull is rather open to make it thinner and much less obvious, and you can buy it from a bookbinding supply store if you want, it's still used all the time.


Best glue I've found so far is ordinary Elmers PVA glue. It's archival in that it won't damage paper, and it doesn't get brittle like hide glue does (it doesn't stink, either!). You can spread it fairly easily, too. You can buy "proper" glue from the same sources as the mull.


You should also investigate a "book press" -- I use a pair of deep C-clamps and a pair of boards. A bit unhandy, but far better than a loose binding, I've found.


Best way to assemble the book is to sew the signatures however you want, then line them all up nice a square in your improvised book press, clamp down with a bit of the spine sticking out (getting everything all neat and square is the hard part here), then coat the exposed spine with a thin layer of glue, allow to partly dry, apply more glue, and press the mull onto the wet glue. Thin layers -- you don't want a thick, stiff spine. Once it dries, you can unclamp the book and glue the endpapers to the mull (and ribbons if you used them), then glue the endpapers to the cover. You can glue the spine to the cover, or not (I prefer to leave it free), etc.


Coptic stitch binding requires either a hard cover or a fairly rigid strip of something to replace the cover. This is because the stitch goes out of the holes in the signatures, around something, and back into the same hole. One the first signature, this must be a cover or something rigid enough to hold the book together, on the rest of the signatures, it's the previous loop coming out of the holes. I used a strip of silk bandage tape stuck to thick paper, and trapped a length of my sewing thread under each loop. For the last signature, I used another strip of silk tape and sewed through it at each chain stitch, again to keep the cover attached. I then glued the paper to the cover.


I used a standard "out of one signature into another and back" stitch on later journals, but they don't lie as flat.


The materials are pretty cheap, it keeps me off the streets, and it's not really messy, unlike car repairs -- I just spent $1500 in parts, and will be covered in black oil for a week putting a new cylinder head on my Mercedes deisel for my vacation in the next couple weeks!




Link to post
Share on other sites

For sewing the signatures together, you can use "artificial sinew". This is thin nylon ribbon (like really heavy dental floss). It comes in a "natural" light brown color, as well as other primary colors. Tandy Leather Co. sells it. Other leather crafting supply outlets stock it also.


Another really heavy synthetic thread is the stuff used to make bowstrings. You can get this at an archery shop or online at 3-Rivers Archery. It comes in several colors and is pre-waxed. You would probably want the polyester string called "B50". The string called "fastflight" is smaller in diameter and more expensive.



Edited by Paddler

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Peter ...

Tks for taking the time to describe ... quite a mouthful (handful) ...


Ok ...

PVA glue - check

C - clamps - Check

Boards - check

mull - ? have to do some scouting around


yr paragraph on Coptic stitch is heavy going for me, trying visualize what u mean. will research more.


yup much neater than repairing yr car . Here, we don't even have time (nor the guts) to do that.


I am still wondering whats the proper way to sew the signatures together. I did it the trial and error way, all the while making sure I have a journal that'll open flat and stay that way. My signatures are full of holes. But they open flat ! biggrin.gif



Link to post
Share on other sites

QUOTE (Paddler @ Mar 28 2007, 04:50 PM)
For sewing the signatures together, you can use "artificial sinew". This is thin nylon ribbon (like really heavy dental floss).

Another really heavy synthetic thread is the stuff used to make bowstrings.

Dear Paddler ..

Tks for the pointers. will source for these.


BTW, do pple stitch with dental floss?


Bowstrings, is it like for tennis rackets? won't it be too springy and not pliable enough?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another separate thread here in this forum just gave me an idea. .... He was looking for a blank book block to use his leftover leather cover.


Why not make our own leather sleeve cover that will receive our own handsewn 'book block' ? eureka.gif Something very much like a passport holder sleevetype of cover.


So the question here is how to sew leather together. Simple stitching. But I got no leather sewing machine. Will a normal sewing machine do? I don't even sew !


(i think th emoderator may just remove this thread for getting off topic. Sorry.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh , hey ...!


Another idea eureka.gif ...


while we are at it, why not make a few single penpouches too in leather ? ! That'll be fun. (unless this is already an old idea)



Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...