Handbound Journal or Book Binding

Sarah Brown
by Sarah Brown
2 Days
Book binding is a very old Art form that is greatly lost today in the era of 'perfect binding' and other machine methods of creating books, now being replaced again by digital books.
I have been binding books and journals for several years and sell custom journals locally.
This design is a small journal, (4.5x5.5") with a flexible, ribbon spine.
Required Tools:
*Heavy Chipboard (front and back covers)
* Ribbon for Spine (wide types work best)
* Paper (copier/parchment, whatever you like)
* Glue (I use Tacky glue because it is easy to use and not toxic)
* Mod Podge for cover
* Krylon Triple thick clear glaze to seal cover
* Pan scraper (orange) or Sign Squeegee (blue) (both are in photograph)
* Paper punch Awl ( I also use a jewelry awl)
* ruler, needles and thread, 2 sheets cardstock, Xacto knife, Binder Clips
* Printer to design custom page layouts
* Paper Cutter/ Guillotine/ stack cutter to cut final pages cleanly.
Day 1:
Plan to do the covers first. Cover them with the paper, add any embellishing or coloring before covering with 2-3 layers of Mod Podge, allowing to dry then spraying with at least 1 coat of the Krylon Triple Thick Clear Glaze, although 2 may be required to give a uniform shiny luster. ALLOW TO DRY 24 HRS Minimum before applying to book.
Works well for various skill and age levels. Covers can also be all fabric and with hard or soft spines. Mod podge makes nice layered covers.
Pretty much all the tools you will need to make a journal.
To speed up the process of punching the paper for my signatures, I took a piece of cardstock and punched holes every 1/2 inch to make a template.
Small journal using copy paper. Each signature is 12 shts of paper and book is 6 sigs thick. For larger books using bond paper, 10 sheets per signature. Folded after punched.
Sew Signatures together. Make sure to never go all the way to the end. This is where the book may be cut down. I can give more details about sewing the signatures if you run into trouble.
Clamp sewn raw book together, making it as straight as possible and then glue the raw spine. Clamp and allow to dry atleast 1 hour. Then glue cardstock wrap around book and smooth with squeegee.
Reclamp raw Book with binder clips and allow to dry while you begin on the spine and cover.
After you have selected ribbons for spine and make sure they are wide enough to allow to wrap around and connect covers.
placing the raw book inside covers, fit the spine over the edge of book. Mark with your Awl where to punch hole. Then Punch holes through, smooth reverse of hole flat. Glue and sew the ribbon to cover. Repeat for back cover.
fold long ends around the covers and glue and sew down to make the finished spine. Now you are ready to glue your signatures/ Raw book together. At this point IF you have a paper cutter you can trim down the pages to fit in the cover
Some other custom journals using printed out images, that I colored then sealed with mod podge.
Custom journals for my hometown. Black and with printing, on brown craft paper and colored with Prismacolor pencils then sealed with mod podge.
Lg. journal: If you wanna make a journal with lined pages. Make sure to leave room at all edges for cutting and a center gutter, that will allow for the seam. I leave at least .5 inch on all sides. Print a few sheets at diff. setting
Double page layout: This is from the Fayetteville journals I sell. you may need a layout program like Adobe Pagemaker to lay these out in sequence. Sorting pages in Signatures for printing is tricky at first, but easier with time.
A layered cover design. I found images of old Arch. designs from the early 20th century online and used them to make a cover design for a few books. Any original or royalty free images can be used this way and printed.
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