Finished Project: Adventures in Bookmaking

When I was growing up, I was fascinated by a local bookbinding company that we would sometimes pass on the highway, Wert Bookbinding. My mom would tell me about how she went to school with one of the Wert sons who now was running the bookbindery, and I would think, “Wow! That must be such a cool job! I wish my family made books!” But now I can say that I, too, can make books, though probably not a quarter as well as an actual bookbinding company.

I wanted a small journal with a map-print cover but didn’t want to just go buy another thing, so I figured out how to make one with materials I already had around the house. Behold, the fruits of my first adventure in bookmaking:

front of handbound map journal

The front cover

back cover of handbound map journal

The back cover

handbound map journal spine

The spine

A side view of the handbound map journal with covers and pages slightly open

Mmmm, blank pages

I knew some of the basics of making books before I started (you need paper, and something for the cover… and there’s sewing involved) but I found some great tutorials on the interwebs that helped me through. I mostly followed this tutorial from Trumpetvine Travels. It is actually about how to put different paper in a Moleskine notebook, but it had the clearest instructions on putting together signatures and sewing the binding. Then I used this Instructables tutorial to guide me through the rest of the process (starting around step 6).

For this journal, I used stuff I already had. The pages are 24-pound letter-sized paper (8.5 by 11 inches, or close to A4 size if you’re not in the USA), folded in half. This weight of paper is slightly more substantial than the typical printer paper — it is what you’d use for resumés or nice letters — but I’m sure regular printer paper would also work.

The cover is cut from a very thick shopping bag from some fancy store, it is about as thick as cardstock. I used a gluestick to glue the map onto the cover, then carefully folded the edges over and glued them down. One thing that was super helpful in this process was a bone folder; it is great for getting really crisp folds and for smoothing out bumps when you’re gluing down paper.

Since I wanted to use this book as a daily journal, I used a date stamp to put dates on the pages.

close-up of date stamped on inside page of handbound map journal

open-pages

Now it is all ready to be filled!

Have any readers out there tried to make their own journals or books? How was your experience?

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Filed under 2015, Finished Projects, Paper Crafts

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