Christmas Break Creativity

Christmas Gifts: The Book Blocks

Christmas Gifts

I know Christmas was a while ago, but I am just getting around to writing a post on some little notebooks that I made for Chrissy presents for my sister-in-law and two of my nieces. They are similar in construction to Ana’s Book—they are hard-covered, 5-hole pamphlet-stitched, single-section notebooks with the name of the recipient embossed on the front cover, and the word ‘book’ embossed on the back.

These books are so easy to make, and are so satisfying. I can think of nothing better than when giving someone a gift, giving them one that is hand-made. My wife and I got a little handmade felt bird for a wedding gift, and it made the most impression on me out of all the gifts we got. There is something special in the knowledge that someone was thinking about you and valued your friendship enough to spend some time making something. In a world where everything you could possibly want is mass-produced on machines and is available on demand at any time of the day, what I think of as the ‘lost arts’ are so important to preserve. It takes a few days to produce a few books, what with the drying time and everything. If I wanted a journal, I’d much rather make myself one—and get something cheaper and infinitely better-produced—than go to the shops and buy an off-the-shelf one.

Christmas Gifts: Jen’s Book I Christmas Gifts: Bri’s Book I Christmas Gifts: Karlie’s Book I Christmas Gifts: Cover in Progress Christmas Gifts: Karlie’s Book II Christmas Gifts: Jen’s Book II Christmas Gifts: Bri’s Book II Christmas Gifts: Bri’s Book III Christmas Gifts: Maker’s Mark Christmas Gifts: Karlie’s Book III Christmas Gifts: Karlie’s Book IV Christmas Gifts: Bri’s Book IV

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Sharon’s Sketchbook

Sharon’s Sketchbook: Interior

My wife, Sharon, is a wonderful artist. She makes pottery, she paints, and she draws. Her drawings are mainly done with technical-style-pens: 0.005mm diameter and up. She loves her pens. She also loves nice bleed-proof paper. She had a little store-bought sketchbook that she filled up a little before Christmas. I, being the nice guy I am, thought I would surprise her by making her a new sketchbook. I tried to get it done before Christmas, but because I was trying to make some orange book cloth for the spine, and because I kept stuffing it up, I only managed to get it done just recently.

The first drawing she did is shown above. If you can’t guess, we are expecting a baby—that is the meaning behind the beautiful drawing above.

Bookbinding Nerd Details

The book is a simple case binding, 10 sections of 4 sheets were sewn onto tapes, then the spine was glued, endpapers attached (I made the endpapers from two sheets of Yuzen paper each: I tipped them together), and the block trimmed with my finishing press and plough. The last step in preparing the book block was to line the spine, and glue on headbands.

I then went through many experiments with making some book cloth. I bought some nice orange cotton, and some mulberry paper. After many failures in which the fabric was seemingly glued successfully only to have it come away from the mulberry paper when I tried to glue it to the boards, I gave up and bought some nice orange buckram and used that instead.

After cutting the boards and spine-piece to size and sanding them, I glued on the buckram. I then cut out the design for the cover and glued that to the front board. Some blue momigami was then pasted to both the front and back boards.

After leaving this to dry over night, the next morning, I cased the book in, pressed it with my pressing boards, weighted it, and left it to dry for the rest of the day.

The result is an awesome, personalised sketchbook that should give my wife many hours of enjoyment.

Sharon’s Sketchbook: Endpaper Sharon’s Sketchbook: Cover Detail Sharon’s Sketchbook: Spine Detail I Sharon’s Sketchbook: Spine Detail II