September 6, 2011
Today, I want to share with you a technique I’ve been using quite a lot lately. I love mini-books – lately they’re my favorite kind of scrapping, and I’m always looking for new ways to construct books. I had seen books like this before. I think I may have made one in elementary school once for a project. Anyway, I’m sure there are directions online, but when I first set out to make one recently, I just sort of improvised until it looked right. Then I made a few more. Here’s how I do them…
First, I decide on a size. For this one, I wanted the area available on the pages to be about 6×6, so I cut my papers to 6×7. The extra inch is for binding. I just picked a bunch of pretty papers from the September kit and cut them to size.
You’ll have to excuse the weirdly colored photos at the beginning of the tutorial. I took them as I was working, which happened to be at night.
After the pages are cut comes the fun part, in my opinion. I gesso them, spatter them with paint, add trim, and otherwise decorate them. Decorate both sides. One IMPORTANT thing to remember is that one edge of each page will be in the binding! So keep your embellishing to one side, and when you flip the page over to decorate the other side, be aware of which edge is going in the binding.
They can be as neat or as messy as you like. As you can see, I like messy.
Here they are, all stacked up…
Now, my second favorite part! Decide on the order of your pages! I love shuffling them around and figuring out what the facing pages will be. I’m such a paper dweeb.
You can see that the inner edges are free of decorations because they’re going in the binding, and the outer edges are decorated. Once I’m happy with the page order, I set them aside for later.
Now it’s time for the cover. I like to use book board. I used to have 8×8 book board sheets but I ran out and I only had a big 12×12 sheet, which is partly why this book ended up being 6×6. For the cover, you’ll need 2 6×6 pieces. Cutting it down is a little tricky. I draw a line with my ruler where I want the cut to be, then go over the line again and again with a craft knife until it’s cut through. It’s a super fast way to ruin a knife blade! This is my least favorite part of making the book.
See how the pages hang out of the cover on one side. That’s where the binding will go.
OK, now another fun part! Decorate your front and back cover!
For the outside of the covers, I used gesso, then made a wash with acrylic paint and a little water to give it a pretty green color. Then, I layered some Mod Podge on top of that and sprinkled some glitter. I glued on an old flower from one of last year’s kits and added a little name tag sticker for the book title. I stuck some woodgrain contact paper to the inside covers.
OK, binding time! First, finish your covers. Cut two strips of book board. They should be 6 inches long, and about 3/4 inch wide.
To get an idea of how the cover and binding strip should be positioned, lay them next to a page.
Now, cut a strip of duct tape to 13-15 inches long. It comes in so many pretty colors these days that I use it for bookbinding all the time!
Carefully place the duct tape so that it comes right up to the edge of the binding strip and extends onto your cover. Press it down firmly, flip over, and wrap the tape around. There’s your front cover! Do the same thing for the back cover. Just be careful to think through the side you attach the binding strip to. It’s the opposite on the side you attached it to for the front. It always takes me a minute to figure this part out!
Once the covers are finished, take a moment to cut an extra strip of cardboard. It can be book board, or just scrap corrugated cardboard. Cut it to the same size as your binding strips.
This strip gets inserted into the binding and serves as a spacer. It helps the book to lie flat when pages are bulky. If you have a lot of pages, you may need a couple spacers.
Now you need to punch some holes. I use my crop-a-dile. First, place a ruler next to the edge of the cover and use a paper piercer to make 5 marks on the binding strip. The marks should be evenly spaced, and about in the middle of the strip, width-wise. Once the marks are made, punch them. Now, use the cover as a gauge to make pencil marks for the holes in the pages. Use the crop-a-dile to punch holes in the pages. You can punch through several pages at once, just keep them lined up. Work through the pages in batches until they’re all punched.
Now, choose a color of embroidery floss that looks nice with your book. Use all six threads, and a really big craft needle. I cut a couple arm-lengths of thread just to be sure I have enough. I’m not sure what this one is actually used for. It’s my book binding needle!
Starting on the front side of your book, and the top corner, push the needle through the covers and all the pages. It may take a little wiggling, but it will go through. Leave about 10 inches of thread loose on this side for tying later on.
Weave up and down until you get to the bottom hole.
At this point, the needle should be on the bottom of the book. Wrap the thread around the bottom edge to the front of the book, through the bottom hole and back to the bottom.
Now wrap it around the side of the book to the front, through the bottom hole, and back to the bottom.
Move the thread up to the next hole and pull it through to the front. Then wrap it around the side of the binding to the bottom and pull it back through to the front.
You’re on the front now. Move the thread up one hole, pull through to the back, wrap around the side to the front, and pull through to the back.
Now you’re on the back. Move up one hole and pull through to the front. Then wrap around the side to the back and pull back through to the front. Then go through this process one more time until you’re at the top hole. Your loose thread should be on the front, and the thread with the needle should be on the back.
At this point, you should also have wrapped around the side at each hole. Now, take the needle, wrap the thread around the top and toward the front, then pass it through the top hole to the back.
The end of thread attached to the needle is on the bottom now. Move it down one hole and pull it toward the front so you can tie.
Tie a really tight double knot, then make a little bow. I usually double know the bow, too.
Whew! You’re done. Now you just have to fill it with pretty pictures and words.
Projects like this are the reason I can’t have nice fingernails.
Thanks for joining me for this little project. If you try a book of your own, make sure you show us!
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