Sunday, 13 May 2012

DIY Book Making! Not as tricky as it seems!

Today I  happened to come across this in another one of my Pinterest Wanderings...

You might have seen this particular tutorial's very cool in my opinion!!! Fantastic, and very easy to follow! (Thankyou Mr James Darrow!!)  I'm addicted to paper...truly!! I don't know why but I love notebooks, artbooks, blank ruled pages, scrapbook paper, coloured paper, all of it! Give me a blank prettily covered book and I'm in heaven! Of all the strange addictions to have right??! So when I came across this my mind went pinging with thoughts of creating my very own hand bound and covered notebooks! Then I thought, why not make one to keep my craft and recipe tuts in? Great! I read down the list of required materials and my heart sank. I didn't have half of them! Chip board, wax coated string, heavy weight artists' paper (DEFINATELY not something I'd be using for a handmade book if I had it, I've used it before in my drawing adventures and it's quite pricey...well pricey for me and my complete lack of income anyway!), spray-on adhesive... And the half happened to be the most important componants of this tutorial! But, still being eager to try it anyway, I compromised and found alternative materials to work with. Now don't get me wrong, one day I will make a book (after I've had a little more practice) using parchment or something similar and use only a calligraphy pen (ooooh I'm drooling already..try not to picture that it's a bit weird) but in those famous timeless is not that day!

So here's what I did instead!
Instead of the artists' paper, I used printer paper and followed the instructions for folding as per the tutorial.
I've seperated the 'signatures' into pages of four for ease of sewing as per the tutorial.... when I cut up my bits of paper, I did it in a haphazard kind of way. In short the edges are a tad wonky. Oh well! It's a practice run :p
Ok so my binding job is a TAD untidy..I made a few small rips here and there and wove my thread back and force in places to hold it together. I won't see this section in the end anyway. The binding was very simple and not nearly as hard as the tutorial makes it out to be. I'm sure using a more heavy duty paper you won't have tearing...even so, it was so minute with the printer paper that it won't be noticable. Also, instead of the wax coated thread, I just used embroidery thread. It's nice and sturdy and works wonders! Just don't pull it too tight or, as I mentioned, you'll tear your pages. And yes green probably wasn't the best choice but it's all I had around the house

The instructions then call for the use of canvas to cover the sewn binding and provide stability but I just used a piece of cotton drill and it seems to work fine! For all my glueing I am just using a standard glue stick too by the way. If you let it dry thoroughly it's quite secure.

Next comes fitting the pieces for the book cover (front and back) and the spine. It calls for chipboard BUT as I don't happen to have any lying around, I used the cardboard lid from a an old pressure cooker box!
see? :p
My fabric of choice! I love the bold prints!
The make-shift crafty project so far!
Assembling the cover pieces onto the fabric and gluing in place (still with my trusty glue stick!) *NOTE* using a gluestick, fabric and cardboard works BUT you absolutely must let it fully dry before moving on to the next step.
Adding the book block to the cover. Then leave it to dry thoroughly before the next step, you don't want the block to shift out of place whilst applying the paper inserts in the final step ( I learnt that the hard way).

I found the final step to be the trickiest of the whole process! Please don't go flying into glueing down those scrapbook papers into the inside of the covers without carefully measuring first!! Mine turned out a bit wonky and ill-fitting due to the fact I lost my ruler and had to eyeball it as best I could. Also, if you want to hide that drill showing through (on the otherside of the first and last page) simply glue that page to the next one and you won't see it :o)

This is what I mean when I say pay attention to which way around your fabric is before you glue it to anything! This is the back of my book and it was meant to be the front.
My finished (and sideways) book!! It's sideways because for some reason it wouldn't upload the right way around but you get the idea :o)

Do's and Don'ts!
(Panic not my friends! Not all the 'don'ts' are bad ones! Don't let them scare you off!)

DO have immense amounts of fun whilst doing this!!!
DO make as many as you care to and use them for everything as I intend to! Shopping lists, as gifts, journals, recipe books, keep one in your car, handbag, beside the phone....seriously they're just THAT useful!!
DO make one from the original tutorial using all the suggested materials at some stage as I am sure it will turn out a billion times better than mine!
DO make sure your fabric is the right way up/around before you glue it to anything. I ended up not paying attention and the side with the zebras on it that I intended for the front ended up on the back.
DO show me how you went!!! Pretty please!!
DO make a cute little flower for the cover (I used the same flowers from this tutorial) ...seriously it adds that final touch! Gee you would think I was hinting something? Or make matching bookmark with the leftover scrapbook paper...I happen to have a tutorial for one right HERE if you like :o) Nothing like some shameless self plugging!

DON'T forget to place a scrap piece of paper under the page you are glueing the inside cover to or the next few pages might go a bit 'wrinkly' from the moisture. It also helps so you don't glue more pages together than you intended to!
DON'T put this in the 'too hard' basket...I really urge you to give it a try! You'll be suprised how simple it is!
DON'T (or at least try not to) be too impatient and skip the 'let the glue dry' step. It really is very important and will effect your end result so grab a cup of tea and a book whilst you wait.
DON'T be afraid to use your hot glue gun to stick down any bits that come loose. I hot glued the corners of my inside paper covers to be doubly sure they'd stay down and a few pages needed reinforcing too but that was more to do with my dodgy stitching effort.

PLEASE NOTE: I, in NO way claim the original tutorial by James Darrow as my own. It is his own work and all credit for the diy book goes to him. I am not copying his tutorial in any way, merely giving it a go with items I had available to me and inspiring others to use the original tutorial in a more frugal way making it more accessible to us (broke) peeps. As stated on the original source by the original author: "You may use this tutorial in part or whole to teach others, please don't remove my name or URL" Again, a big thankyou to Mr Darrow for all his hard work in producing such a wonderful how-to for us!


  1. Wow this is amazing!! Your book turned out so pretty! The flower touch is gorgeous.

    1. Thankyou so much Jessica!! I ADORE it! (I'm very modest about it aren't it?) It turned out great and I'm sure the next time i give it a go it will be even better. I have the urge to make a really tiny one and put a keychain on it, that would be super handy to have in a purse!

      Give it a try :o) It's fun!


Thanks a bunch of bananas for the comments lovelies! I sure do appreciate it you spunky thing you :o)