Saturday, 22 November 2014


I have been asked if I'll do a step by step blog about the process of making the books I showed you last week.  They are 'double pamphlet books' which is a very simple and quick way of making a personalised sketchbook.
Here is my work table laid out with all the ingredients and tools needed for the project.  I have decided to make 2 books as it helps to 'multitask.'  The plain coloured card comes from a local office supplier in 60 x 75cm  sheets and is a useful size for this job and for making birthday cards etc as I can cut it to the required dimensions. The floral papers were given to me by Justine from a book of crafting paper measuring 30cms square. The reels of ribbon I found in Lidl in the Christmas wrapping display this week.
First cut the coloured card into a piece measuring 42 x 21.5 cms and make a fold 17 cms from the end as shown above top left. Then score 1cm in from the first fold with the bone folder on both sides and gently bend it to make it flexible but leave the sheet folded as you see here. If you haven't got a bone folder a small plastic ruler does the job just as well and don't forget to use a ruler to get nice straight lines!
Take 30 sheets of good quality paper, I've used 120 gramme A4 inkjet computer paper, and fold it neatly in half in batches of 3.  If you try to fold too many pieces at once the folds are not very precise and you will have trouble lining the pages up later.
Make a template for the holes by marking the centre of another sheet of paper and then dividing the rest into 3 so you have 5 holes in total. Number them from the centre as shown. and then take each batch and pierce the holes using a needle stuck in a cork. You will need to protect the worksurface with an old folded towel or similar and it also helps the needle to pass right through the 3 layers of paper so you have a good hole ready for the stitching.
Now put the pages together in 2 sets of 15 and line them up carefully so you can re-punch the holes to make sure they are easy to stitch.
Use the template placed in the centre of the cover card to punch the holes on the scored line 1 cm in from the fold.
Next step is to assemble your book. Lay one batch of paper face down on the table, lay the cover on top and then the second batch of paper on top facing up. Line up all the stitching holes and clip the whole lot together.
Now you can start the stitching with a strong needle and a length of heavy duty thread 3 times the width of the book. Tie a simple knot a few centimetres from the end and start in the middle at hole 1 going down, come back up through hole 2, go down again through hole 3, back up through 2 and down through hole 1.  You will have to manipulate the paper a bit as you go but by this stage the pages will all start to line up properly. From hole 1 outside come back up through hole 4, go back down 5 and back up again through hole 4.
You should have a neatly sewn book by now and just make sure all the thread is properly pulled through and the pages and cover line up nicely before finishing off by passing the needle under your first stitch and then knotting the 2 ends together.  Cut off the threads leaving about 2 cms.
This picture shows what the inside of the book should look like before you fold back the covers.
Here is the book inside it's cover, ready to be pressed for a couple of hours under some heavy weights.  I've had to weigh it down with a little pot to take the photo as it's very springy at this stage!
When the book is nicely flat after the pressing you can open it to see how it looks and you will notice that the ends of the pages don't line up.  This is because the thickness of the batch of paper pushes out the centre pages.  You could leave it but if you want a really professional finish it's a good idea to cut off the surplus. Lay a cutting mat between the back cover and the pages, put a new blade in your craft knife and lay the ruler along the edge of the pages.  Press down firmly then VERY slowly and carefully cut down through the pages of the book until you have a nice straight edge to the book.  This is quite difficult to do and it's worth taking your time, ignoring all interruptions till you've finished!
The next step is to decorate the cover.  Cut a piece off the printed paper so that it fits the width of the book and then turn the spare through 180 degrees and trim it again to match the width. 
Put a piece of scrap paper  under the cover and spread the adhesive on the front of the book only as far as the spine.  I'm using PVA diluted 5 to 1 with water so it spreads easier.
Stick on the first piece and use the bone folder to make sure any bubbles have been eliminated.
Turn the book over and repeat the exercise, adding the spare narrower piece to cover the extra for the fold-over.  You will notice we haven't put any glue on the spine of the book, this is so that it can open and close more easily.
Now all the remains is to score a couple of lines on the inside for the folds, The first is 1cm away from the edge of the pages and the second another centimetre from the first.  I have also trimmed the edge of the foldover at a very slight angle so it sits nicely inside the front cover of the book.
This photo shows you what the end of the book should look like when you've finished folding.
That small space inside the fold is just the right size to clip your pen to but if you don't want this little extra it's very easy to just make the cover to fit the book only by cutting it shorter at the beginning.
To add the finishing touch, wrap 80cms of co-ordinating ribbon around the book and attach it front and back with a motif cut from the spare paper and a good dab of glue.
I'm rather pleased with these and I hope you too will have a go at making these simple books.  If you want to use thicker paper, watercolour for example, it's a good idea to reduce the number of pages as it's quite difficult to stitch if the book is too thick, maybe 10 sheets is enough.
By the way these and more will be going on sale at Justine's garden party next April so if any of my friends and family followers want to reserve one please let me know!

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