Using All Your Scraps in Book Arts

August 25, 2010

See the blog post for two soft-covered books made from scraps…


Above: two soft-covered mini-journals made with Gutenberg paper for text pages and Fabriano Uno 140 lb. Soft Press watercolor paper (Uno is no longer made) for covers. Waxed Irish linen thread was used for the decorative spine stitching. Both books have folds at the fore edge so the covers are double thickness. The book on the left is 4-3/4 x 3-3/8 inches and contains 3 signatures. The book on the right is 2-7/8 x 4-1/4 inches and has six signatures.

A 22 x 30 inch sheet of watercolor paper goes a long way even if you have a couple slipcases to make. Recently you've seen posts on my Stonehenge unbound journal that I made when preparing to sketch dogs at the Paws on Grand event August 1, and the slipcase made to hold the 2009 Portrait Party booklets. Well I still had some more of this paper I had prepainted with blue fluid acrylics so I made the two books pictured above as gifts for friends. (Both contain Gutenberg 130 gms paper that I had left over from my State Fair book binding batch.)

Left: An extreme close up of the chainstitch sewing on the six-signature book.

Even after the different cases I have recently made with this sheet, and these two soft covered books, I have enough strips and scraps of this paper to save and use in various ways in my class demos in my upcoming MCBA class—Journal Practice: Collage and Sketching, beginning Saturday, September 25, 2010.

Tip: if you are unsure of establishing grain direction once a sheet is torn or cut down partially, then make VERY light, soft graphite lines on the back of the sheet, in the direction of the grain. You can erase these with a kneaded eraser when your project is completed if you use only the lightest of pressure. Only enough pressure so you can see the graphite line!

This will allow you to utilize the leftover paper for other projects without fuss when grain direction is important.

You can also leave deckle edges intact on scraps, or other markers that will remind you of grain direction. You might elect to put Post it notes on your scraps (just be sure to use notes that won't come off on their own, and which don't have glues that will mar or discolor your surface).

Start saving and using your scraps. You will enjoy looking back on your projects to see a "chain" of use as the same paper appears at a certain time in your creative life as part of many projects, or intermittently over a long expanse of time.

Scraps are often great starting points for planning a new book arts project—they can suggest color palettes, or inspire you to create bindings around small elements. All the while you'll have the satisfaction of using your supplies wisely, but not hoarding them!

  1. Reply

    oh yumTH to the n9Th!!!! Do you have a tute for the spine stitch? That’s the one area everyone seems to neglect in tutorials about hand crafted books. Please?

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