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Materials For The Cover Of A Hand Made Journal? Chipboard Thickness, Alternatives, Etc?


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Hello there fellow fountain pen friends. I'm newer to the fountain pen scene and already quite addicted. I recently became very intrigued with handmade journals after seeing some of the ones people from these forums have made. So after binge watching journal and bookbinding videos I went on a quest to buy supplies (which was harder than I thought it would be as most the local craft places didn't have what I was looking for) and so far I have been able to collect the basics I need to make my first journal other than the chipboard. (Technically the waxed thread I have is too thick and I think it's really for leather but I'll make do)


I wasn't able to afford any chipboard yet though so I was wondering what Ideas or things people have had success with that I can use in place of chipboard for the cover? So far I've heard of using cereal boxes which is what I think I might try first.


Also when I go to buy chipboard which thickness is good to go with? I was thinking of buying some off of eBay when I can afford some since I figure that might be the cheapest place? I would like something pretty sturdy.


Also if you don't mind is there a specific thread I should buy so I can make my own waxed thread? Buying already waxed thread seems a little expensive. But I'm not sure what thread to buy to make my own, there are so many different types of thread lol.


I really appreciate any info. I'm usually handy with my hands but my experience is limited to automotive work, engines, and carpentry, I've never really done much on the crafty side of things.

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Pittsburgh should have some good art supply stores, Most would have book binding supplies. You needn't buy waxed string, buy the cord intended for book binding and go to your local store in the sewing notions department and you will find a small plastic container with slots and a beeswax insert that you simply draw your thread through. For a cover material to use on the cover boards a good sturdy paper will do. If you can't find supplies locally look up Dick Blick Art Materials, they carry book binding supplies and I'm sure you can find other sources on line.


I've made my own clamps and sewing station for sewing signatures using odds and ends of wood and plywood that I had. One good resource book that I've found very helpful is Books, Boxes and Portfolios by Franz Zeier.


Book binding is great fun. I took classes at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and you may find classes in your local area, which you might find worthwhile.

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I think cereals Card is a good option to try. On thickness, I usually use 2.5 mm thickness, though 2 or 3 mm would work too. For flexible covers, I use 1 mm thick. For sturdy, I'd go with 3 at least. If you want more, just paste two together for more thickness.


I have thread and wax for separate. Check if there is someone selling honey around you. I was on a fair two years ago and there was this table which sold honey and real bee wax candles. He had some untouched wax there as a sample of the rough material. I asked him for some and he sold me 100 g for 1€. That 1 euro of wax will last me a lifetime.


I would say to experence with threads. That is what I do. Start for the cotton ones used in crochet. They should work fine.

You are welcome to visit my blog: http://gatzbcn.blogspot.com/ and that is my shop: https://www.gatzbcn.com/shop

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My approach to bookbinding is to use as many found and easily available materials as possible. For hardcover books, I keep my eyes open and scavenge sturdy cardboard from various sources - the back covers of notepads, packaging from other supplies or products, anything that is thin enough to cut but not so flimsy that it will bend. Cereal boxes will be fine to practice on, but I bet if you look around, you can find something better. If you work in an office or know someone who does, you have potential bounty at your fingertips.


I have never used waxed thread to make books. I use nylon upholstery thread for my hardcovers and embroidery floss for the quick, softcover, single-signature notebooks that I make for every whim and purpose. Both types of books have held up just fine, and I am really hard on my stuff. I have some super easy bookbinding instructions on my website here. I've tweaked my method a little since posting those instructions (for example, I use double-stick tape these days more often than I use glue), but they will get you started. There are lots of other styles out there, but this one and the softcover single-signature are the two that I make most often because they are quick to make (but with nice-looking results) and the instructions are easily adaptable to various sizes.


Good luck! Be sure to post pictures of your first book(s).

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