Saturday, August 1, 2015

Paper love - bookbinding

High time for a post as I haven't been here in a while, I've had a rather stressful time at work and in my free time I've been playing The Witcher 3 (which I can fully recommend btw) - so less time for pen related things! However I've had some fun with a closely pen related hobby: bookbinding. One of these things (like making soap) I'd always wanted to try and after a few attempts I have to say making soap is somewhat easier! :D

I'm not showing the very first attempts as those are more than a little embarrassing but here are some recent ones (still very dilettante I'm afraid):


These rather neat looking specimen are made with ready made book blocks. I've only made and decorated the covers plus end bands and ribbon bookmarks. It took one failed attempt to work out the right measurements for front and back covers but after that it went pretty well.

The book blocks are really neat by the way, 144 chamois colored pages with a slight vergé texture and very fountain pen friendly (they also come with lines and grid). They come with end papers so all you need to do is glue them into place. If you are located in Germany I recommend the shop Buch-Kunst-Papier! They generally have a huge range of bookbinding and general paper goodness to browse.

However for me working with ready made components is not as satisfying since I haven't made the whole thing from scratch! So I've also done some coptic binding.


All these books are A5 size by the way as this is my favorite format for journalling.
I've been fascinated by coptic bindings since I first saw them on FPN (in one of TMLee's threads I believe) as those books open completely flat. These are truly handmade books from folding and piercing the paper and decorating the covers to stitching the whole thing - including all the flaws.

There's still so much to learn, I've yet to produce the perfect coptic binding - one is wobbly, another one has irregular stitching, the third has a glue stain somewhere (in fact almost all of them have glue stains somewhere - I'm really not made for handling icky, sticky paper, also makes me remember my kindergarden days more vividly than I care for!) but whatever. It's still fun to experiment.


As boyfriend has been working with leather for quite a while (see the leather notebooks he's made for me) and we still have a rather large stockpile I've started experimenting with leather covers last week. I like leather for book covers as it's obviously more sturdy than book cloth and less prone to staining and the general grubbyness that comes with use - most varieties anyway. For this black and orange notebook - again with a ready made book block - I've used some scraps of kangaroo leather. It's amazing, super thin but firm with a super glossy surface.

It was only after taking the picture I'd noticed that the orange endband was missing - I've managed to fondle it in place by now!
The cover is from a paper pack pad I found at TK Maxx called Steampunk Florals. These papers can be pretty great for bookbinding, especially for use as flyleaves and such, because they are quite sturdy. Also this one has a glossy surface which is pretty neat for a cover, especially combined with the high sheen leather.


This is my latest attempt in coptic binding: black horse leather, bright orange yarn and ribbon bookmark. I got this postcard with the leaf lady from a dear friend several years ago and have always love the motif. The postcard sits in a slight indentation which gives some protection from wear and tear.


My go to paper for bookbinding is the System Inkjet paper by Karstadt (I believe I've referenced it several times in the past) as it is a nice ivory color, fountain pen friendly, firm and smooth at 120gsm. Also it's inexpensive which is important as I'm experimenting all the time and need at least 30 sheets for a journal.
For the leaf lady notebook I've printed a light grey 5 mm dot grid.




I love marbled paper and journals with marbled covers can be hard to come by or super expensive. However the papers per se aren't that pricey - especially when compared to Japanese Katazome - and I really like being able to use them to my heart's content. I believe the above is my favorite, especially together with the the dark red book cloth.

I've seen videos about how the marbled effect is achieved but I'm still no less than amazed by it. Maybe I'll try that myself some day too!

What have you been up to this summer? Is there any hobby stuff you've always wanted to do?

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