I haven’t bound a book in quite a while, but for some reason today seemed like a good day to change that!
I wanted a B5 size notebook – I quite like the size and shape. I have also been looking at bullet journals… While I think a lot more more effort than they’re worth (isn’t organising supposed to be efficient?), they are also very pretty and I want one.
This is a day project, which is a good challenge because bookbinding usually takes me about a week.
On to the photos!
Items collected and ready to start!
Making the hardcover. I prefer binding hardcover books – I just like the look of them better than ones with the spine exposed. This also means you don’t have to worry too much about making the stitching look pretty – functional works!
I’ve glued the card to the bookcloth using PVA, and to avoid it warping, I placed a few heavy items on top to keep it flat.
Best to start with the cover, as it involves a lot of glue drying time. I cut the card slightly larger than B5, and cut the bookcloth with space for a spine. This time I decided not to reinforce the spine and just see how it goes. After gluing, I piled on magazines and a ream of paper to prevent the card from warping.
This is always a hard task, and I never get it perfect, but that’s okay. I trimmed down some A4 printer paper to B5 size – folded in half, these will become my B5 pages!
The paper has been separated into 8 sheets and folded into signatures. A bone folder comes in very handy for this – it can be quite hard to get a precise fold otherwise.
Holes have been punched in the signatures using an awl. They are now ready for stitching.
The signatures have been stitched together. From experience it’s important to sew them tightly or the book will not be sturdy. I decided not to use embroidery thread as the spine will not be visible anyway, and opted for bookbinding thread instead.
The pages are always the most fiddly part. First the measuring and trimming down the to the right size, then dividing into signatures. After that, folding them. A bone folder helps immensely with this – you get a nice crisp crease. After the folding, it’s punching the holes with an awl, and then stitching. I ended up using bookbinding thread for this project. It’s much more reliable than embroidery thread, and since this book will have a spine, the thread will mainly be hidden anyway.
Putting it together takes a few goes too. This time I used a few strips of fabric glued to the spine of the signatures to attach the inner to the cover. You don’t want to directly attach the signatures to the spine of the cover. You want to have a little bit of flexibility in the book. The last part is gluing the endpapers on, which hides the fabric and probably adds a bit of strength. I actually didn’t have enough nice paper for the endpaper, so I just made it half size to cover the inner cover.
This book turned out surprisingly well! It still needs to finish drying, but it’s pretty much done now!