Annnnnnnnd, we're off!
30 projects in 365 days? That sounds manageable. (I've got four queued and ready to roll.)
I mentioned that phase one of this project is all about using up existing supplies. This is part of my idea that sometimes creativity comes when you GET IN A BOX. Setting parameters and working with what you have can make you even more inspired. The example I like to use is the Project Runway one: the challenges when the designers had to "make it work" with car parts always had much more interesting results than when they could use any fabric at Mood.
I have had a case bound grid journal from Paper Source in my cupboard for years and knew it would have to be Project 1.
Hilariously, I have already attempted to do a tutorial of this process (and I've already given a handbound book away!) but every five years you get to recycle blog content so we're good. Plus, I've gotten moderately better at taking photos of myself doing projects in five years. Though if I do anything right in the next five years it will be hiring an assistant to help me take photos.
I didn't have any great patterned paper on hand for the cover of the book so I decided to really go for it and stamp my own with a hand-carved stamp I made a few years ago. I already had white bookcloth and kraft paper on hand so it was a no-brainer to use white paint.
I love the look that results from a hand-carved stamp. The imperfections really make it. (I you want to carve your own, this is a great kit, I love this brayer and I have had great results with this printing ink - though any craft paint works.)
The hardest part of this project is (sadly) sourcing the book kits. You need a text block and precut book board which isn't easy to find. Paper Source has these square ones in limited quantities. Blick has these smaller ones at a great price if you want to make a bunch (teacher gifts anyone?). I am sure there are more, but these are the only brands I have tried. Other than that, you'll want:
STEP 1 : cut your book cloth down so it's a few inches taller than your book and about 4-5 inches wide. Fold it in half the long (hot-dog) way. You now know where the center of your spine will be. Place your ruler on the fold and measure out about the width of your text block on each side.
For this book, my text block is 10/16 inches thick. I went 9/16 out on either side of the 6 (see those marks on the ruler?) We measure out this far to be sure our book will open and close properly. Mark these spots with a pencil in two places of the book cloth.
STEP 2 : apply glue to the bookcloth starting at the pencil marks and pulling out all the way to the edge of the bookcloth. Line your bookboard up with the marks and push down to adhere.
STEP 3 : do the same on the other side, being careful to line the top of the two bookboard pieces up.
STEP 4 : apply glue to the top of the bookcloth and pull it tightly over the bookboard.
STEP 5 : use your bone folder to smooth out any wrinkles of the booktape on the back and front sizes. (At this point you can add a bit more bookcloth to the back center - see final photo in step 12 below - but it's not necessary.)
STEP 6 : congrats! You have just combined two pieces of bookboard (your covers!) with a spine!
STEP 7 : we are now going to cover the book with paper. The amount of paper you'll need will vary based on the size of your book. You will want 2 pieces (one for the front and one for the back) and you should shoot for a few inches taller and wider than what your final book will be. Apply glue to the backside of the paper, taking care to pull the brush off the edge (on to scrap paper). We need that whole edge covered with glue.
STEP 8 : turn the paper over and line up the glued edge against the spine so it covers the bookcloth edge but leaves about an inch of cloth showing. Use your bone folder to smooth things out.
STEP 9 : turn the book back over and use scissors, to cut wide U shapes out of the two corners, making sure to leave about 1/8 inch of space between the paper and the bookboard corner.
STEP 10 : apply glue and fold down the top and bottom sides of the paper.
STEP 11 : use your bone folder to tuck in the extra little bit corner - this will give the book a polished look.
STEP 12 : apply glue and fold over that final side. Pull tight and smooth out with the bone folder.
Repeat steps 7-12 for the other side. Congrats! Your cover is complete!
The final step is to drop in the text block. The text block is a "pre-glued set of pages" and it slips right into your covers. Stick yours in and be sure that it fits. To hold it in place, we need to cover the whole front and back pages with PVA glue. This part always makes me nervous.
What I like to do is get it lined up in the cover exactly how I like it. Then I carefully set it on the table and open the front cover. Slip a piece of scratch paper under the front piece of the text block and apply glue to the whole thing, pulling the brush over the edge of the page and on to the scrap paper. Without moving the text block, close the book and firmly press down the cover. Remove the scrap paper.
Then flip the book over and do the same to secure the last page of the text block to the back cover.
Tuck fresh scratch paper (without glue on it) behind the covers to protect the pages and stick it under a heavy book for a few hours. The extra scratch paper will absorb any extra moisture. This glue is no joke and your book will hold beautifully.
Hooray! A REAL BOOK. I've learned a lot of DIY tricks over the past decade but book binding is top ten for sure. When I make stuff, I am trying to make stuff that I would actually want to buy. This is one of those projects for sure and a perfect kick off to MAKE&GIVE30.
And now! The giveaway. Since this is a journal... leave a comment telling me something that you'd write down in it. Grocery lists? Dreams? Things your kids say? Funny Leslie Knope quotes? I'll draw a random winner by the end the week. Giveaway open to anyone, anywhere.
GIVEAWAY CLOSED! Random.org chose #278 as the winning comment which is Sara (Kanapi). Sara, please email me at elise.blahaATgmail.com and I'll send out your book. Thank you!