New Adventures in Book Binding

October 30, 2017
All my binding methods can be done at home without any special equipment. I stack my books with heavy art books as weights, there are also some bricks on the top of the stack that didn’t make it into the photo. When I’m done binding everything gets put back on the shelves and it’s life as normal. These two books are about 8 x 11 inches (portrait orientation). They contain Fabriano Artistico 90 lb. Hot Press Bright White Watercolor Paper. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to add a new entry into this series of posts started way back at the beginning of my blog!

A shoulder injury has kept me from binding batches of books. I’ve bound a book now and then so I’d have a special Minnesota State Fair Journal, or for a class that I was teaching, but it’s been too long.

My clothing, specifically my tee-shirt where it hits my waist, is once again covered with streaks of PVA. (That’s where I quickly wipe my bone folder when I am folding over and burnishing down the fabric on a book case. 

I have never been so happy about a laundry nightmare!

I can’t wait until tomorrow when I pull the books out from under the weights.

I’ve posted a couple images, as I’ve been going along, on my Instagram account. If you want to see more you can go there: Roz Stendahl is how you’ll find me. (I don’t give lengthy explanations or captions there because I can’t stand to type on the phone! But every now and then during a break I snap a photo.)

I cased in two books today and have six more ready to go. (I had torn the paper last fall and last summer! I punched the sigs last week and glued the text blocks up on Friday.)

Next I have to purchase some more binder’s board. I keep forgetting all the things I need to bind. Sunday I had to run out for large newsprint to use as waste paper! I love how I am getting back into the swing of things and memory is taking over again though.

I have six more text blocks and case materials all ready. I look over at the shelf and smile. It’s very fun, I feel fortunate to be able to do something I love so much again!

Tomorrow I’ll be making a birthday present for a friend that is two years overdue (I thought my shoulder was OK and set up to bind, but then circumstances made it impossible). The friend got something else, but it will be nice to give her this book this year.

I have four more boxes of paper all torn and folded into signatures. I’ll be starting in on those as well, punching, sewing, gluing, cutting more cover materials, and casing in. I don’t have a count on how many books this is, though I have made up info sheets on it all. (Every time I try to count I get interrupted and loose track so I decided I’d just keep binding until they are all done.)

Info sheets are the sheets I use to draw my tear diagrams and list all the particulars about a book, like the height and width of the text block when sewn, and all the parts I then measure and grow off of that, depending on which type of structure I’m making. 

I got out all my book cloth to check how much I had in any given color. I started matching up fabrics with decorative papers. I added all this information to my worksheets before I started to cut. I like to make my own decorative paper because it’s easy and quick and it makes the book a little more personal. I’ll be offering my Textures class again in 2018 if you want to learn my texture methods.

With these sheets I can keep track of the color fabric and decorative paper choices I’ve made so I match the correct book with materials, so things like the headbands match the way I’d intended. And then when the process is over the sheets help me work out how quickly I was able to work and what materials I used. I can even use them as a reference to reorder a favorite paper or book cloth. Should I need to look something up in the future I have my handy dandy chart. 

Someone on Instagram asked about my charts. I happily admitted that I’ve been making charts on every thing I do since I was about five. Several people have said they think I was an efficiency expert in another life. I’m OK with that. I love it when the wheels of productivity roll smoothly along. (I’m using #2017BigBind on Instagram and Facebook, though I didn’t remember to tag a couple images and don’t use Instagram enough to know how to edit things!)

It’s been so long since I bound a batch that I’m actually redoing my chart. When I finish improving it I’m going to get all my online binding students together and have a webinar about it to encourage them to use a chart. I’ll even be sending them a PDF of my chart as incentive.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to take a binding class with me yet, don’t worry, there will be at least two online opportunities in 2018. The Simple Round Back Spine will be offered again, and new to my online class roster I’ll be offering my “Sewn on the Spine” construction which is a great book for mixed media artists who also like to add a lot of collage and work dimensionally. (Look for a new schedule of classes on my class page sometime in December.)

Now I have to go and fold some laundry to stay on target with my productivity!

I hope you’ll be able to join me for a binding class in 2018. It’s a happy thing for an artist to know that in a few short hours there will be a new journal or sketchbook, sized exactly the way she wants it, with the paper she loves, waiting to be filled with sketches.


    • Beverlee
    • October 30, 2017

    I’m so excited that you’ll be offering a Sewn on the Spine binding class, Roz! I have loved making my own Simple Round Back Spine sketchbooks. Your teaching methods mesh perfectly with my learning methods. Can’t wait to see your chart. I’m glad you’re feeling better. Happy Halloween!

    1. Reply

      Beverlee I’m glad you’re still loving binding it’ makes me very happy. This structure is fun too, for different things. That’s how I feel about the structures I make, each is good for a specific thing. Those specifics are very broad, but in the case of the Sewn on the Spine book, it has some real advantages for collage artist. I’ll probably get the chart out in November. I thought of more things to put on it yesterday but my hands were too covered in glue to type! You have a great Halloween. (We don’t get trick or treaters here because we are surrounded by university students, but I have some tootsie pops for ME!

    • Eleanor
    • October 30, 2017

    Roz you are so amazing. You do not seem to let life or health issues distract you from getting work done. And you use all the books you make (the ones you do not give as gifts). For most of us that is a huge challenge. You continue to amaze and inspire me.

    1. Reply

      Eleanor, thanks for the kind note (I killed one of your posts because it was a double post, I’m sure it just didn’t post fast enough for you to see it). I do use 99.9 percent of all the books I make. Since many of my friends can make their own books I can’t really give them books. I tend to go through a lot of books every year. I am enjoying this round of binding because all these possibilities for paintings are waiting (and weighting) in a stack in the other room.

      EVERYONE HERE agrees that being able to bind right now has improved my mood tremendously after this bronchitis nonsense!

      You know what it is to want to do things and that there is never a perfect time. We just have to do them.

    • Karen Cole
    • October 30, 2017

    Roz, did you try the wooden rounded back spine form we sent you? And has the first one we sent ever arrived? Making another book this week.

    1. Reply

      Karen, thanks for touching base. I never did receive the first spine form you sent. (I am pretty sure we agreed based on packaging and other info that the one I received was the second you sent.)

      I haven’t used it yet. Right after you sent it I started filming for the Sewn on Spine class which doesn’t need that. And the huge batch I’m doing now is a different structure because there was no way I could round all these spines with my shoulder. it’s touch and go as it is. But I know when I make a rounded spine in the future it will be much simpler thanks to you. Thank you again for sending it. I doubt the other one will show up at this point, but if it does I will definitely contact you and get it you!

    • zeke browning
    • October 30, 2017

    That’s great news on a 2018 binding class! I’m hoping to take it 🙂

    1. Reply

      Thanks Zeke. I think it’s going to be a fun class. I enjoy the binding and it’s relatively easy and quick to make. I’m trying to get my head back into the editing of the videos after all this time away from it.

    • Evie
    • October 30, 2017

    That’s great, Roz! Can’t wait for your new 2018 classes (and I am still holding my breath for a gouach class!!). 🙂


    1. Reply

      Thanks Evie, The gouache class is still on the table, but it takes a lot of filming—I can’t film myself painting, and there will have to be so many demos in it if it’s like the live class I have done. I have to stop picking up every but in the air!!! It cuts into filming time.

    • Paul
    • October 30, 2017

    So glad to hear you’re back in the Batch Book Binding (BBB) mode again. Do try and pace yourself, you don’t want to aggravate those joints again! Looking forward to seeing the new books.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Paul, I’m am pacing myself, as much as I don’t want to pace myself and just finish everything. This afternoon I cased in 4 books and only had two more left to do, but I stopped. (I need to get more binder’s board before doing the final 3 in the batch, but I could have done 2 of a different size with all materials cut.) I could feel a couple aches here and there from muscles that haven’t been used in this way for a long time. So WISER Roz simply stopped. I put everything away. I’ll sew more text blocks up tonight just to relax, but no more gluing today. The first two from yesterday look BEAUTIFUL. I am so happy with them. They are HUGE 8.5 x 11.5 inches portrait.

    • Tina Koyama
    • October 30, 2017

    Great to hear that you are over your injuries and able to bind again! It must be a terrific feeling!

    – Tina

    1. Reply

      Thanks Tina, it is terrific. I get up in the morning and can’t wait to pull stuff out from the weights. I’ve got 6 done of the first batch and am already sewing the second batch which has 8. I think I’ll finish the spines for those today in my free time. Then I will go get some more book board so I can finish casing in the first batch (5 left of those) and start working on the cases for the second. I have three more boxes of paper already folded into signatures! This weekend we are going to shoot video for a 2018 and a maybe a 2019 bookbinding class (since all the materials are already out). Then I will probably put things a way for a week, or maybe I’ll keep going with the momentum. It’s great because I can do a little, get back to work, do a little when the glue dries at another step, and get back to work. It has been so fun. I think I’ll be able to finish 20 books just this week. But the great thing is that since I’m working with this stuff around other work, I’m not obsessively working on the books and overdoing it. So hands and shoulders feel good. I’m enjoying this now because I know there’s an expiration date on being able to do this activity. I am going to have so much room when I get all these boxes out of here!

    • Dana Burrell
    • October 31, 2017

    It’s great to hear you’re deep into #BigBind2017! I can just hear all those lovely books on the shelf calling to you… “me next, me first!” Did you say what papers you’re binding? I seem to be your mirror image as I have lots of book board but no paper… yet. I have a list going and I’m just about ready to order. I’ve also started saving all sorts of paper bits just in case I can make a Weirdo-like Journal during your sewn on spine class. Looking forward to the webinar and new chart… Happy Binding!

    1. Reply

      I don’t remember if I listed all the papers I’m binding, but I think I have as I’ve gone along on Instagram. Basically the first batch was the last paper I tore down (it was the rest of my State Fair paper purchase)—Fabriano Artistico. I had both hot and cold press 90 paper. (I used 140 for my State Fair “journal” which was 5 individually bound sigs. But this was the paper I bought in case I didn’t want to go that route.)

      Up next was a batch that contained the remaining Stonehenge Aqua (tested for the Fair but not used for the Fair. I’ll have a journal each of cold press and hot press to further test, to see if I can love it more. HMMMM?

      The batch also includes some Kilimanjaro which is 140 lb. Cold press and so bright white it burns my eyes. It’s some of the paper I used in 2016 to test for the Fair and didn’t use it and didn’t get to bind it either!

      Oh, I forgot, in the first batch there were also a bunch of signatures of Winsor and Newton 90 lb hot press and a Strathmore journal I’m rebinding (soft cover removed—just to see if I like it better bound my way. I am not a fan of any of the soft covers on the market right now but I love the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper as you know).

      Also in future batches are the Gutenberg I bought last fall when I was told it was being cancelled (I tore it down this spring) and Arches Text Wove and Zerkall Nideggen. (These last two were paper purchases I had to make when Gutenberg was discontinued because I had to redo my Simple Round Back Spine class because it was based on Gutenberg. I know papers die, but I never thought that one would. I should have looked at my past experience and not set myself up that way. It was a tone of extra work. But the extra papers will now make fun journals for me.

      I feel I’m missing something. There are some other commercially bound journals—Japanese Lined journals—that have soft covers that I’m rebinding. I’ve cased in one of these before. I don’t have a photo of it, but it’s the book that contains this project

      I really love that slightly grayish paper with the lovely lines. I have two of them I’ll be casing in probably tomorrow as I got more binder’s board on Saturday!!!! The bad news is my large cutter needs the blade sharpened so little things like that keep slowing me down.

      Today Dick and I shot video for an upcoming book structure class because I wanted to finish a couple books of that style so I could put all “that” stuff away.

      It’s fun, but a bit crazy. The books are stacking up. It has improved my mood immensely. I’m not 100 percent yet and still have a rather annoying cough if I try to talk much (and when don’t I?) and over do. But I was able with the help of my inhaler to ride outside a couple more times this season even though the temps dropped and that too improved my attitude.

      I’m glad you’re saving odd bits and pieces. YES, the P10—Adjusting is the one I use odd bits.

      I do use odd bits in the Weirdo journal, but that’s a sewn text block and pages had to be removed from it when other stuff was added in, whereas P-10 was bound with all the bits because it’s sewn on the spine. You probably found this post which is part 1 of a flip through
      that’s before it was bound and worked in.
      there the pile of stuff I used!

      Don’t know if you found this post on it

      And the flip through of the finished P10 is here, part 1, with parts two and three following in the next two posts

      I can’t believe it has been 7 years since I worked in that journal. It was so much fun. Working on the sewn-on-the-spine videos for the next class (I hope to offer it early in 2018) was great and I think my first journal for 2018 will be an 8 x 10 inch s-o-spine book that I’ve been saving. I’d start now as I’m finishing up some other books and will need something to last out the year, BUT I still haven’t found a good glue substitute for Purple Uhu. (I’m on the final tube you sent me. Thank you again!!!!)

      I have a couple candidates to put through the smell and drying test. We’ll see. But I don’t want to take that on while I’m editing video tape. I find I get lost in collage journals and emerge hours later!!!

      Besides I’m working on those diabolical prompts for IFJM 2018!!! (More on that soon.)

      Have a great sketch filled week!

    • Dana Burrell
    • October 31, 2017

    Darn! I went to go look at the weirdo journal again and realized that’s not the one I was thinking of. I’m going to look into it further for the one with assorted page sizes and bits.

    • Dana Burrell
    • October 31, 2017

    Found it… P10 – Adjusting.

    1. Reply

      see my response to your other message because I put in some more links that you might not have found in your search.

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