What people think why i became a bookbinder: Oh she wants to explore her artistic horizon with those pretty leather bound books of hers. She even gives them out as gifts to her friends. It most likely helps her with anxiety or maybe she just wanted a more special costume made notebook.
Why I actually became a bookbinder: I just illegally downloaded and printed out several of my favourite fanfics and books and started binding them into books cuz I love reading them but looking at screens for too long gives me headaches.
Just a selection of gorgeous publishers cloth bindings from @smithsonianlibraries !✨ Though the majority of these bindings are space-themed, I couldn’t resist including the one about electricity. I just love that typeface!
Publishers cloth bindings emerged in the early to mid-19th century as an alternative to more traditional bindings covered in materials like leather or vellum. As the name suggests, these bindings were supplied by the publisher– a giant leap forward compared to earlier book production, where the buyer of a book would have to take it to have it bound AFTER its purchase! As machines began to play more of a role in book production in the Industrial Revolution, publishers realized they could make their books look more uniform and visually appealing (as well as cheaper!) if they put them in a cloth “case” before they hit the shelves. These “case bindings” were not as structurally sound as binding styles of the past, but with the development of stronger textiles, many were sufficient to survive and enter libraries and collections all over the world!
Because I picked up traditional case binding methods, I’ve been almost entirely focused on long epic works. But there are a ton of short fics out there (under 20k) that are perfectly worthy of binding and you can do that!
Option No. 1: Single signature booklet - “Zine” style
For very short works, you can create a single sewn signature (I’d cap it at 32 or 36 pages max)
A slightly more involved method that employs bookcloth, and can accommodate more than one signature. This is great because a lot of fics end up being somewhere between 25-72 pages, and this is really awkward length for either the single-signature booklet or for a hard spine case bound book.
My nephew is obsessed with dragons. He likes to study them and rearrange his collection of replicas by species and size. He also likes to gather “adventurer supplies” and go on a hunts for them, and he’s been using a leather journal I made him. I don’t want him to ever outgrow this as some kids say he’s too old for this. I decided to buy “Dragonology” for him, which is a great book meant to look like an antiqued scientific journal, but I rebound the cover to make it look like an aged scientific tome. The dragon scales were not the easiest things to stretch and mold but I finally figured it out. Some of the hardware was pretty tough to get too, escpially the vintage dragon emblem, but I’m stoked I was able to manage it.
Book will ship out tomorrow and I’m excited to see how he likes it. The monsterology book next to it will be for my niece later but it’s not done yet. Just wanted to share with you guys as well. If you were a kid would this be an awesome gift or a little too over the top?
Also my q/a update will be soon, I just had a super busy month. Wildfires, projects, more wild fires…. Alaska hasn’t been fun lately.
Because apparently seeing one post by @armoredsuperheavy about fanfiction bookbinding got the worm in my head to wiggle in excitement and now I want to preserve all those wonderful stories I read forever.
A little rant coming, but the thoughts about guerrilla publishing works that wouldn’t be deemed as “good enough” for “real published literature” (as if those weren’t just fancy words with little meaning) struck me. Because while it might be a ridiculous idea, who’s to say that the databases with our favourite works won’t just get hit by a meteor? Or that for whatever reason we would one day loose all the online databases? Where would all those stories, tales of characters and the people behind them, where would they be? In our memory for a while, and then gone, and we would never get that back.
So yeah. If I can save those works, these little pieces of human souls, I will try. (I even had a conversation with my mom about this philosophy and she approved and supported this decision, which is a wonderful feeling)
Now, without further ado: the book!
I though I should probably start with something short and simple, try not to overcomplicate life for myself.
I ended up binding the fantastic ‘hunting toward heartstill’ by @blackkatmagic
A Star Wars rare pair, it has 45 chapters and ended up just around 700 pages. Oh well. I tried.
The process itself was fun. For my sewing frame, I used an old chair (which I didn’t take a photo of… Sigh). I also didn’t make a book press, because I had a simpler solution actually at hand. Behold:
Two boards and four big strong clamps! It was surprisingly easy to use once I figured out how and it held the book in place like it never wanted to let go. Which allowed me to end up with this!
The book! I followed the tutorial by DAS Bookbinding on leather half-bound library bind (loosely… As I do with most tutorials).
I had spare leather that was this humble brown, so why not? I decided to use just simple brown colours and make it look regular, up until you’d start to read.
Given that it was my first project, I also learned a lot of things: namely, that leather sucks.
It’s fun to work with in a way, but if you don’t have the right tools (like me) it can get quite tedious. I also didn’t quite manage to get a very straight cut so the paper fit funnily (the back side of the book is something that I will never show to anyone…)
But I also learned things in the positive sense! For example, I found that it’s a lot of fun to sew the head and tail bands myself. And they look rather neat!
Seen along with how thick this book is, I just love that I got the gold and purple thread to match.
I also think the corners that I made look very neat and I will definitely keep using them.
All in all, it was very fun and I can’t wait to bind more fics—catch me already working on another one!
I think my most complex/ambitious book yet! A full hardbound book with handmade cotton rag paper for the signatures! I got some wonderful bookcloth for the cover and new mull for the spine so it would be stronger! It really came together and was so satisfying to hold!!
Homemade decorative papers are a great option if you can’t affordably source already-decorated papers! Just start with a moderately thick sheet that will withstand your medium of choice. The pages pictured here use acrylic paints, india ink, and a Derwent paint pen.
No idea what story will go with these yet but they were fun to doodle
Bound a copy of the Chernobyl script. Thank you @odense for the file!
I’d made that paper a while back and worried it was too fucked up looking to use on a book but I’d say it’s pretty much exactly on brand for the script of Chernobyl miniseries.
Hand bound copy of @seaskystone ’s Pray For Us, Icarus series, done by me!
This project is finally done! This beauty has been a month in the making with the actual assembly taking up my free time of this past week! There were many trials and tribulations with this project (including royally messing up the back endpage hence why there are two different prints), but I think it turned out very nice in the end.
I wanna thank @seaskystone for allowing me to print and bind their work! I hope you like the result!
I’ll be posting some progress shots in a second post, so stay tuned!
I’ve been seeing an increasingly large amount of people get into fic binding lately, which is fucking amazing! I love each and every one of you guerilla publishers! With the history of fandom takedowns, purges, and the bull shit legislation corporations try and start every few years, it’s so good that fics are being given permanency.
I’ve noticed that fic binders seem to be focused on longer fics, ones in the 50k onward range, which makes sense and is great because these fics absolutely deserve to be put into print! But, the thing is, my favorite fics have almost always been short one-shots, and no one seems to be talking about binding them.
So! I’m gonna show you how to bind short one-shots.
So, quarantine/social distancing/ whatever you want to call it has left me with way too much time on my hands so I decided to do something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while: turn some of my favorite fics into hardcover books.
The first one I tackled was @seaskystone’s Pray For Us, Icarus and I think it turned out pretty well tbh
This blog post is about a binding that was actually actually completed
in September of last year for the 3rd International
Designer Bookbinders Competition. Given the anonymous nature of the
competition I have waited until now to do a write up about it and
have also held back on posting up anything on social media between
now and the announcement of the prizes (although it was very tempting to do so!).
December of last year I was thrilled to find out I was one of the 28
prizewinning binders. There were 194 entries from 31 countries and 74
bindings in total were selected to make up the “Heroic Works”
travelling exhibition. The private view and prize giving took place
on Monday 17th July when I learnt I was one of the
twenty-five “Disinguished Winners”, earning myself a wonderful
little Doric column award with my name engraved onto the top.
Odametey of Germany took first prize with her beautiful paper binding
of “Daedelus and Icarus”. The strips of paper are fixed crossways in two planes and are ordered like the feathers of wings.
Second prize went to Rachel Ward-Sale of the UK with her wonderful binding of “The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite”. The design of her binding was inspired by broken Greek pottery and the Japanese technique kintsugi, where precious metals are applied to repair and enhance it. Andrea Odametey’s binding has been given to the Bodleian Library and Rachel Ward-Sale’s to the Getty Collection at Wormsley.
bindings are currently on display in the spacious Blackwell Hall on
the ground floor of The Weston Library, part of
the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. It opened to the
public in March 2015 following a three-year transformation, the
refurbishment turned the 1930′s Grade II listed building into both a
world class research library and a new visitor space with exhibition
galleries, a lecture theatre, a cafe and shop.
theme of the competition was, “Myths, Heroes and Legends”, a wide
and open field from which to choose a text. I searched online for a
text block that would fit the brief and settled upon
a 1909 Hodder and Stoughton publication of “The Fables of Æsop”,
with wonderful illustrations by Edward J. Detmold.
have a particular penchant for nature, especially birds, so this book felt like
a natural choice for me given the number of bird and animal related fables.
Given the three dimensional nature of a book, and therefore the different
possibilities for decoration, it gave me scope to select a variety of
the fables and illustrate each separately on different parts of the
It so happened that at the time of working on this binding I was living in Queens Park in London and at the annual “Queens Park Day” there was an Eagle and Vulture display team, Eagle Heights, there doing a show - we came within centimetres of some of the most awe-inspiring birds of prey in the world! What better place to do a bit of feather-related research…
first task was to chose the fables I wanted to illustrate and where they were all going to be placed, listed as
very large Oak was uprooted by the wind, and thrown across a stream.
It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: ‘I wonder how you,
who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong
winds.’ They replied, 'You fight and contend with the wind, and
consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before
the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.’
- Stoop to conquer.
EAGLE AND THE ARROW’ – Front cover
Eagle sat on a lofty rock, watching the movements of a Hare, whom he
sought to make his prey. An archer who saw him from a place of
concealment, took an accurate aim, and wounded him mortally. The
Eagle gave one look at the arrow that had entered his heart, and saw
in that single glance that its feathers had been furnished by
himself. 'It is a double grief to me,’ he exclaimed, 'that I should
perish by an arrow feathered from my own wings.’ - A consciousness
of misfortunes arising from a man’s own misconduct aggravates their
HEN AND THE GOLDEN EGGS’ - The 3D hen atop of the
front book edge and the front doublure
Cottager and his wife had a Hen, which laid every day a golden egg.
They supposed that it must contain a great lump of gold in its
inside, and killed it in order that they might get it, when to their
surprise they found that the Hen differed in no respect from their
other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once,
deprived themselves of the gain of which they were day by day
FISHERMAN AND THE LITTLE FISH’ - The edge
decoration and the front and back endpapers
Fisherman who lived on the produce of his nets, one day caught a
single small fish as the result of his day’s labour. The fish,
panting convulsively, thus entreated for his life: 'Oh Sir, what good
can I be to you, and how little am I worth? I am not yet come to my
full size. Pray spare my life, and put me back into the sea. I shall
soon become a large fish, fit for the tables of the rich; and then
you can catch me again, and make a handsome profit of me.’ The
Fisherman replied, 'I should indeed be a very simple fellow, if, for
the chance of a greater uncertain profit, I were to forego my present
SWALLOW AND THE CROW’ - The 3D crow and swallow
atop of the back book edge and the back doublure
Swallow and the Crow had a contention about their plumage. The crow
put and end to the dispute by saying: 'Your feathers are all very
well in the spring, but mine protect me against the winter.’ - Fine
weather friends are not worth much.
ANT AND THE DOVE’ - The back cover
Ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and, being
carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of being
drowned. A Dove, sitting on a tree overhanging the water, plucked a
leaf, and let it fall into the stream close to her. The Ant, climbing
on to it, floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterwards a
birdcatcher came and stood under the tree, and laid his lime-twigs
for the Dove, which sat in the branches. The Ant, perceiving his
design, stung him in the foot. He suddenly threw down the twigs, and
thereupon made the Dove take wing. - The grateful heart will
always find opportunities to show its gratitude.
I had worked out the design I set about pulling the book. The
original text block contained numerous illustrations from drawings by Edward J. Detmold plus
23 original tipped-in colour plates.
the plates had been tipped onto a paper that had quite badly
deteriorated over time through fading, and the edges had had a lot of
wear. I therefore decided to carefully remove the images from these
pages, pressed each of them flat, and sourced a new paper on which to re-mount them.
best match I could find colour and weight-wise was 312
Dark Green Hahnemuhle Bugra Butten paper from
John Purcell Paper. As
I knew I wanted to decorate the edges of the text block, rather than
tipping in the colour plates before re-binding, instead I tipped in
waste sheets to compensate for their thickness. I also made sure the
waste sheets were the same size as the book‘s pages so that they would span
right to the edges of the text block in order to have a level edge to aid me
when doing the edge decoration. These were to be removed at the end
and replaced with the colour plates.
the process of pulling the book I realised it was going to be
necessary to repair the spine folds of the sections where the
original sewing holes had been as they were quite large and
vulnerable. I did this using Japanese tissue (dyed to the same shade as the paper of the pages) and paste.
I chose to use the endpapers to illustrate the fable of “The Fisherman and the Little Fish” and wanted to print a net onto them. I inked up the net using some black lithographic ink and a roller, then laid it onto paper and pressed it hard in the nipping press.
In order to get the net printed in exactly the correct place on the page so that it could run around the book edge continuously from the front to the back I had to carefully map out where to print it. I made a paper frame upon which I could stick the netting to in order to print it in the right place on the page.
Once inked up, the page was laid within the frame and the whole thing was pressed in a nipping press.
The printed pages were left to dry for a few days and were then made up into the endpapers. Before laminating these with a folded sheet I cut out a small fish and backed it with gold leaf, to illustrate “The Little Fish” in the fable. The sections were then individually pressed before being sewn onto 4 tapes using a link stitch.
The book was squared up and placed between boards under a weight and the spine edge was glued with PVA.
Once dry, the shoulders were marked onto the outer edge of the text block and placed between backing boards. The spine was rounded and backed before being glued up and lined with linen between the tapes.
I was then able to sand the three edges flat in preparation for the edge decoration. Firstly I clamped the book tight in a press and made up a template for the top edge which I tacked in place with a couple of small pieces of masking tape.
Through small holes I had pierced out of the template I was able to pencil in the joins of the net. I then removed the template and inked in the net using a fine nibbed pen.
Given it was hard to accurately print the net on the front and back endpapers exactly in the correct place it was necessary to slightly elongate the netting across the spine to match. I started by drawing guide lines in with pencil and worked out the spacing manually. I then inked in the lines.
The end result was quite satisfying…
For the headbands I worked with black and cream thread, working them in a pattern to continue the grid of the net on the top edge.
Before lacing on the boards It was necessary for me to fix three metal tubes into the board edges. These were in order to insert some three dimensional characters into the board edges - a part of the overall final design. Firstly I cut some channels into the core of the board using a jeweller’s piercing saw.
I then encapsulated some square profile metal rod into the channels by laminating watercolour paper each side.
A hole was drilled down the centre of the square rod in order to fit a 1mm gauge pin which would later be topped with some carved figures. The edge of the board was then sanded to a bevel all the way around.
The boards were then laced on and back-cornered.
It was then time to work on the leather, starting with the onlays. The leather I used for the onlays was the split/suede side of a variety of coloured skins that I coloured with watered-down white acrylic paint. This gave me the colour and texture I wanted for what was to become the feathers of the two wings on the cover design.
These onlays were then stuck down in place on the covering leather with PVA through a tracing paper template, first the dove’s wing on the back…
…then the eagle wing on the front, starting with the larger bottom feathers…
…building up to the smaller feathers on the top of the wing in a lighter colour.
Once these were done I was able to back-pare the leather and begin the embroidery process. Firstly I worked on the outlines of each of the individual feathers, pricking the holes first using a needle bodkin. I then used a Holbein stitch that was further whipped around with a thread of the same colour.
I used a different thread colour for each of the layers.
I then added the central quill shaft of each feather before adding the linear vanes to each using a couching stitch to tie down the long threads.
Next I added shorter threads to add a tonal effect on each of the feathers.
And added further stitches to each of the quill shafts in contrasting coloured threads.
The reverse of the leather began to take on a life of it’s own too!
The topmost feathers then got the same treatment.
Finally, metallic threads were also woven in underneath the stitches of the vanes, copper in colour for the largest great feathers…
The same method was used for the wing of the dove on the reverse using threads in white, light greys, gold and silver.
The water ripples on the back cover of the book were first machine sewn using a sewing machine and then they were whipped by hand in a thread of the same colour.
Finally a “floating” leaf made from gold leaf adhered to Japanese paper was stuck down in the centre of the circular ripples.
The body of a black ant was inlaid onto the leaf and the legs sewn on top of it, along with some veins on the leaf.
Once the embroidery was complete the leather was damped on the front with an atomiser and then paste applied to the back.
Despite all of the embroidery the leather stayed pretty flat and went down onto the book easily - always a relief!
A couple of days later, once the paste had dried, it was possible to open up the book boards by dampening the outer joint with water. I could then stick down the leather joints and infill the insides of the boards.
The front and back endpapers were devised to work with the little three dimensional characters I had designed to sit on the board edges. The same gold leaf on Japanese paper (as used of the leaf on the back cover of the book) was used here. On the back endpaper featured some swallow feathers for “The Swallow and The Crow” fable…
…and on the front some golden eggs for the fable of “The Hen and The Golden Eggs”.
I don’t often title my books but decided on this occasion I would like to title both the book and the chosen fables featured on it. In order to tie each of them into the design I tooled individual letters onto punched circles, firstly onto paper.
These were then adhered in place on the endpapers and doublures of the binding using PVA glue and tweezers to place them down correctly.
I added extra circular “bubbles” in a variety of blues to illustrate the watery sea that the fishing net was in.
I then did the same for the cover, tooling the titles onto leather circles.
For “The Eagle and the Arrow” fable, before gluing the title down the circles were placed in position in order to work out the tooling of the arrow heads.
The gold tooling of the arrow heads could then be done using Moon gold.
And finally the title of the book was tooled in Moon gold leaf using larger handle letters, on larger circles of leather. These were stuck down on the spine section of the binding, following the curved lines of the water ripples.
From the onset of working on this binding I knew I wanted to do something to take it to the next level - it was for a competition after all! I decided the way to do this would be to make some small three-dimensional pieces to sit on the boards of the book, but to be removable so as not to be impractical. I decided to carve some birds to illustrate two of the fables that I had chosen to feature on the doublures.
I worked out how large the three birds in question (a hen, swallow and crow) needed to be in scale to one another. I then used some little blocks of tulip wood that were first roughly cut to shape with a junior hacksaw.
These were then shaped using files and sandpaper until I was happy with the end result.
Pins were glued into a drilled hole to make the legs. One was left long as this would be the pin that was going to push into the metal tube inserted into the boards. The other was left short enough so that when the wire legs were formed the foot would sit on the top edge of the board to stop it from spinning.
Paper feathers were cut for each of the birds in the relevant colours, including some feathers cut out of the Japanese paper/gold leaf lamination.
The wooden forms were then painted with acrylics ahead of the feathers being stuck to them using PVA. The feet were formed using wire and a spot of glue added to the base of the feet to keep them in place.
Once all of the feathers were added the beaks were painted and little eyes added.
With the addition of the three dimensional birds I needed to make a container that would house them in safely both for storage and for travel, given the books were due to tour as part of the exhibition. I devised a box that had an extra section above where the book was going to sit for the birds to sit in. A piece of wood was machined to slide in and out of the top section upon which the birds were to sit on “perches”.
The box sides were machined from oak with a channel routed into them in which to hold the Diabond lid and base of the box. The Diabond panels were covered in paper to match the look of the endpapers and doublures. A ratchet strap was used to hold the box tight whilst the glue dried and then small brass pins were driven in to hold the corners secure.
The box was lined with paper and oak spacers added to hold the book snugly in place. A ribbon was attached to aid the lifting of the book out of the box.
Finally the spacers that were stuck in at the beginning of the binding process were removed and the original colour plates adhered back in place.
A removable foam cut-out was included in the box to stop the birds from jumping off their perches during travel!
The book was delivered to Oxford and then the waiting commenced…!
I am now pleased to share the details of this binding and have now posted it onto my website at the following link:
took me a couple days to cut 130 different pieces of paper to size but i made myself a junk journal using the tutorial made by @goblinblogging !!! i am by no means finished decorating the exterior and i can’t wait to start adding doodles, dead leaves, lolly wrappers etc to the pages inside!! i’ve made quite a few books before and though this was the most time consuming it was by far the most fun i’ve ever had making one!
It’s only recently that it seems my dashboard has been flooded with posts about people figuring out various ways through which to print and bind physical copies of favorite (usually longform) fanfic.
I’ll admit, that’s in large part because I’ve carefully curated a dash of creative, like-minded people, and also that I’ve intentionally sought out tumblr users who share that same goal. Several of them beat me to the punch by years, and a few even by decades.
But, better late than never, and now I have the start of a small library of handbound fic by yours truly, including a work of my own—a 20k Hockey RPF fic by the title “Let Your (House) Colors Brightly Shine.” It’s the shortest fic I’m likely to bind, because it turns out it’s more difficult to bind fics under 30k, and I have yet to bind one over 200k (although there are dozens of those in the queue, so I’ll figure it out).
One of my first projects was for a dear friend of mine, someone who was there when I first dipped my toes into hockey, both in fandom and in the sense of the actual sport: @ladyjanelly.
Her fic—Nothin’ For Free—now sits on my shelf in book form. I’ve also been assured her copy also has a place of honor on her shelf—and rightly so, given how much love and research and time went into creating this piece of art.
I must thank @armoredsuperheavy for their patience as I’ve slowly made my way through the bookbinding process. Although I’ve built the insides of books many times, I’ve never built a book for a noncommercial binding project. Doing it by hand was an experiment—a successful one—and I believe I’ve found a proper hobby with which to stick.
After all, there are (literally) hundreds of fics in the queue, and I have a lifetime yet to live (although I may need to expand the bookshelves … somehow).
Your post about bookbinding fanfic crossed my dash, and I wonder if you could share how you format the fic to print it for binding? I wanna bind myself some quarantine reading, but organizing the signatures has me stumped. Thanks for your time!
Ok so first i copy the fanfics into a word document and make sure to have 2 cm margin on both the left and right side of the page (you can change that in page layout) and add page numbers at the bottom cuz that way binding the pages in the right order will be easier and less co fusing and then safe it as a PDF. At this point you need the program called bookbinders collate. You just open up your pdf with bookbinders collate and the program will put them in the right order for binding.
But i suggest you first test out different binding methods by creating a bubch of small notebooks using cheap copy paper. That way you know which binding methody is the easiest and most comfortable to use and then you use that method for binding a fanfic.
● Made with golden embellishment for the front cover.
● Used Vector art for the chapter header design.
● Hand painted the golden end pages.
● Used IM Fell English SC for the main header font and Inherit for the rest.
■I’m so sorry meowmers for the late post because my printer broke down half way the printing process and we had to save up enough money to buy a new one whilst moving into a new home, and thank you so much for letting me do this.
▪ 5.5/10, I could’ve done better.
▪ The quality of the photo down graded a lot, (What is happening????)
I’ve been trying my hand at bookbinding and layout. I have yet to fully figure out the case, but here’s my first finished attempt! I bound one of my favourite fanfics of all time Shelf Awareness by @ghostofbambifanfiction. It was an absolute delight formatting it, from picking out fonts to creating fake imessage screenshots.
Unveiling the Mystery inside a Greek Manuscript Binding
The University of Michigan Library and the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) have recently collaborated in a project to produce x-ray images of the hidden structure inside a fourteenth-century Greek manuscript binding. Read more!
Bookbinding on a Budget Part 1: Preparing Your Pages and Making Your Signatures
I’m going to show you how I bind my books. This is not entirely traditional or “correct” but I find it works best and needs the minimal amount of tools and supplies. You will get a sturdy book out of it, though this method is not designed to be perfect by any means. I think it gives a book character.
The total cost of materials depends on what you have on hand and is largely determined by what paper and cover material you choose. If you have to buy an awl/needle/thread you’re looking at $10-$15 for tools max, and if you shop with coupons and sales you can easily get the tools for under $10.
Paper and cover materials can range from free and scrounged up from around your house to super fancy expensive stuff, but you can easily make a nice, 8.5x5.5" 250 page book with decent paper for under $20, even less if you already have some tools or supplies on hand.
What you need:
-Paper. Any paper will work for this method as long as it’s not too heavy (I.e. watercolor paper). I’m using 32 lb paper here, but feel free to use basic copy paper, or something fancy like parchment or linen paper. Your book will be half the size of your starting paper dimensions (e.g. 8.5 x 11" paper will give you a 8.5x5.5" book, 11x14" would give you 11x7", etc.)
-Heavy duty thread. I use extra strong upholstery thread which is readily available at craft and fabric stores. If you can get your hands on book binding thread, go for it, but it’s by no means necessary. Don’t use embroidery floss or standard sewing machine thread. Both will break too easily.
-Awl. I use a sewing awl which again are easy to find at craft stores or fabric stores. You can also use a heavy duty needle or a leather awl.
-Needle. Doesn’t really matter. Any normal sized embroidery/hand stitching needle with an eye will do.
These are the materials you need for making the body. I will go over materials for the cover and spine in my next post.
1) Determine how many sheets will be in your signature. I like to work in 10 unfolded sheets which make 20 pages (40 counting both sides) per signature when folded. If you are using thin paper, you can have more pages per, bulky paper will be less per.
2) Fold your stack of sheets in half. Your page edges will not be perfectly aligned, and that’s okay. If you want perfectly even page edges, look up more traditional tutorials that use knives and jigs and such. Crease the fold really good. Running the handle of your awl over the crease can help.
3) using your awl, punch holes down the inside of the crease approximately ¼" apart. If you like you can use a ruler and premark the holes. I just eyeball it and do it free hand.
4) Measure out a piece of thread about 6.5 times as long as your pages are high and thread your needle. Pass your needle from the outside to the inside of the signature. Leave about a 3" tail.
5) loop around and go back to front twice more to lock the thread in place
6) The next few steps will outline the stitch we will be using. First, bring your needle inside to outside through the 2nd hole down
7) bring your needle outside to inside back through the 1st hole
8) bring your needle inside to outside through the 3rd hole down
9) take your needle back up outside to inside through the 2nd hole
10) repeat the previous steps until you have stitched all the way down. Your inside and outside will look like this
12) go outside to inside through the 2nd to last hole. Go inside to outside through the last hole. Flip your signature so the “bottom” is on top, and repeat the stitch just as you did going the other direction, but this time the sides are switched (you’ll be going forwards and skipping a hole on the outside and looping back on the inside)
11) lock your stitch twice around the end like you did at the beginning, your needle should be going inside to outside as you do this.
13) lock your thread and tie off with the original tail with 2 or three knots. Trim the ends. Voila! You have completed your 1st signature!
It took like three months and formatting was a pain in the ass but I DID IT!!
@leblonde’s Art Thief AU, do what you gotta do, is an actual real book on my shelf!!!! It’s like two inches thick and well over 600 pages but it’s THERE and it looks damn good, if I do say so myself. I used Van Gogh’s The Sea at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for the end pages, and then there’s this completely accidental but nonetheless perfect formatting
Ahhhhhh I love turning fics into physical books this is fun lmao