Archive for July, 2008

Pillowcase Books

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008


These are the first finished products to emerge from a recent interest in soft cover bindings. I was inspired by nighttime journaling and the way that so many ideas flow the instant your head hits the pillow. Their design also relates to the concept of hiding secrets inside or underneath a pillowcase.

The covers are created from vintage pillowcases. I first bound the pages by sewing them to a grosgrain ribbon with the kettle stitch. I then hand sewed the covers to the bound pages. My favorite part was creating the laundry care icons and designing the book plates for the front and back. I printed these designs onto iron-on transfer paper and adhered them to the ribbon extending from the binding.

See more photos of the finished books here.

If you would like to take one of these books home for yourself, they are available for sale in my Etsy shop.




More Bookbinding Resources

Friday, July 11th, 2008


Now that you have started collecting your tools, it is time to learn a few bindings! I don’t consider myself an expert in any way whatsoever. I just love making things and bookbinding is one medium that I work in. I will, however, send you in the direction of people who know much, much more than I do. This post is similar to an older post that I did on bookbinding resources, so feel free to ignore it if you read it already!

My favorite published resource is a book by Keith A. Smith entitled Volume I Non-Adhesive Binding: Books Without Paste or Glue (shown above). This guy knows his stuff. Although he has several other books available, I suggest this one to start off with. He introduces his readers to the basics, such as tools and paper grain and eventually illustrates several dozen different binding variations. His book is available on his website and also at Amazon. You may even be able to find it at your local library.

There are many online resources as well. Brian Sawyer has a great collection of bookbinding links here, which include everything from thorough tutorials to inspirations. Even more links are available at The Book Arts Web. I also discovered some great information at My Handbound Books. This blog has a selection of tutorials and ideas as well as a fantastic list of resources.

Last but not least, I suggest enrolling in a bookbinding class or workshop. This is often the quickest way to learn. Check out your local paper or art stores as well as local colleges and art centers to see if they offer any classes of this sort.

A Few Bookbinding Tools

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008


I’m thrilled by all of you who are either picking up bookbinding for the first time or giving it a try again after a hiatus! Here is a short list of some basic tools as well as a few links to where you can purchase bookbinding supplies. Remember, you don’t need all of these tools to get started, but you may consider collecting them over time if you plan to continue making books.

1. Waxed linen thread – (for sewing the binding) Linen is very strong, and the wax keeps it from tangling when you sew your pages together. You can purchase unwaxed thread and wax it yourself, if you like. (shown are turquoise and orange crush)

2. Tapestry needles – (for sewing the binding) The eyes of these needles are large enough for the thick waxed thread to fit through. I like the ones that are blunt-tipped, which save my fingers from much pain! Tapestry needles are available in sewing and craft stores.

3. Awl – (for punching holes in your pages and covers) There are different types of awls. This image is of a “heavy-duty” awl, although I consider it “medium-duty” (this is the only one that I have). There are even more sturdy awls, with a round ball for a handle. These may be more comfortable to use. You can likely find the heavy-duty style of awl at your regular hardware store. (shown is Wooden Handle Awl)

4. Bone paper folder and scorer – (for scoring and folding pages, smoothing edges, smoothing glued surfaces, and more) This versatile tool could easily become your favorite! (shown is size small)

5. Cutting tool – (for cutting pages and covers) I have a light-duty and a heavy-duty knife, both by Olfa. I purchased these in a paint/hardware store. (shown are Olfa Standard-Duty and Olfa Handsaver)

6. Straightedge – (for cutting pages and covers) A heavy-duty straightedge with a non-slip backing is important when cutting thick book board and thick stacks of papers. (shown are Alumicutter and Safety Edge)

7. Book Board – (also known as Davey Board, for covers) There are varying thicknesses of book board for different books. I prefer a thin board for smaller books and thick board for larger books. Book board is acid free and very stiff. It is perfect for covering with pretty papers for your covers. (shown is Lineco Binder’s Board)

8. Adhesive – (for gluing papers to book board, and more) There are a variety of adhesives that you can use for book binding, but I mainly use PVA (polyvinyl acetate). It dries clear and acid free and cleans up with water. (shown is Lineco PVA)

9. Glue brushes – (for gluing papers to book board) I have two sizes of old brushes that I use for gluing. Stiff is better than soft. One tip is to cut the bristles down to about 1 inch so that the brush is more stiff. One of these is an old paintbrush, and the other I purchased from a dollar store.

10. Cutting mat (shown is Alvin)

There are all kinds of other tools and goodies for different types of bindings, but you can always save money by being creative with the tools that you already have. Here are a few links to where I do most of my tool and supply shopping:

Dick Blick (you can find almost all basic tools here)

There is a great list of other online sources at the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team’s blog.

PaperSource (here you will find pretty papers and small sheets of book cloth)

Fully Booked

Monday, July 7th, 2008




After much anticipation, I recently received my copy of Fully Booked – Cover Art and Design for Books, published by Die Gestalten Verlag. I’m quite excited to be included in this fantastic collection! The second and third images above include my own work, and below are a few images including the work of other artists and designers. Fully Booked is filled to the brim with wonderful designs, including book covers as well as artist books. If you are looking for a good dose of inspiration, this is a great place to find it! It is available in many bookstores, and also at Amazon.





The Best Kind of Inspiration

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008


Here are a few pics from a recent trip back home to Kansas. The wheat was ripe and ready for harvesting and recent rains left the landscape bright green. There is plenty of inspiration to be found in the city, but I am always awed by the vivid blue sky and constantly changing cloud formations of the plains.