Friday, October 28, 2011

BOOK: Wedding Album

This is a wedding album I made for some friends using a variety of techniques. This was mostly an experimental project as they weren't too specific about what they wanted so I tried a few new ideas.

1. The idea of creating a 'window' for a photograph at the front of the book had gotten my attention a while back but the design element practically screams "photo album". I created the raised border using grey-board and added a layer of thin, brown paper over it to remove some of the 'seams'.

2. I used a Half-Cover bind with leather corners and spine since I was running out of leather.

3. I wanted to try a 'window in a window' or 'border inside of a border' design element where the outside of the book has a raised border and then another border set inside the edge. I think it really brings some interesting design elements to the cover of the book but will have to fiddle with how I use it on future projects.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

TERM: Half-Cover

This is a design feature that usually includes leather on the spine and corners but can also refer to a design that has one type of material for the spine and corners and another for the bulk of the cover.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


When building a journal - there are a lot of words that are used to describe how the journal is constructed and what it's for. Here are some of the terms used to describe the journals and books that I make:

Book Sizes

Size 1: A book that is 4 1/4 by 5 1/2 inches in size
Size 2: A book that is 5 by 7 inches in size
Size 3: A book that is 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches in size
Size 4: A book that is 7 by 9 1/2 inches in size
Size 5: A book that is 8 1/2 by 11 inches in size.

Brick: A book made from a quarter-sized piece of paper, roughly five and a half inches by four and a quarter inches by one inch thick. Usually holds 200 pages.

Bookplate:also known as ex-librīs [latin, "from the books of..."], is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner. Simple typographical bookplates are termed 'booklabels.

Closure: Any means by which the book is held closed. Commonly this is done with some kind of tie (ribbon, leather or string) or buckle.

Colophone: A symbol or design that is unique to the owner of the journal.

Cover: The covering (leather, wood or paper) that protects the book-blank (pages) from damage.

Double Fold: A Double-Fold Journal is a combination of two books within the same cover.

Half-Cover: A style of book that is a combination of two cover materials; often leather (for the spine) and paper.

Peg-and-Loop: A method of holding a book closed. Often used with a pencil or pen to secure a flap.

Recessed Design: A design element whereby the image is cut into the cover.

Spine: The edge of the book where it is held - marked, etc.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

TERM: Bookplate

Bookplate v 1.0
The bookplate is something that I've been wanting to create for a while; something that I could use to mark my books. I wanted something that I could easily print out from my home office and use on everything from paperbacks and such. The image of the Hermit from the Rider-Waite that I've altered for my blog and such seemed a logical choice. It's a nice color of green too for the background.

See also:


PROP: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Journal

Ok, so I have been reading up on the Jules Verne style of the old Steam-Pulp stories. When I got a copy of the movie I saw that there was something unique in the props for the character of the Professor; his journal.

Immediately I sprang to work on tearing apart how it's made. Like an arrow from a bow, I snagged some screen shots and thanks to some Photoshop work I think they're clear enough I can tear apart the design.

The first thing that I saw was that it has a snap closure on a flap that folds over the journal's cover; not an uncommon feature since you want to protect the pages and such.

The left cover, apparently wooden, is longer than the pages by almost six to seven inches. This extra width in the board to cover not only the pages but also the small 'box' that's attached to the rear board.

This 'box' is designed to hold ink wells and dip pens - the most common writing medium of the film's period. I have a better picture of what the box looks like below but for now let's concentrate on how the designer has incorporated it into the cover.

Two hinged flaps extend from the head and the foot of the rear cover that can fold over the box presumably to protect it from wear and tear.

The two flaps, somewhat shown here in a capture that I tried to blow up large enough to see, just fold over the 'box' or 'tray' of writing materials and the actual closure flap would close off the third side with the paper covering the fourth.

The character of the professor is shown opening the head and foot flaps so that he can access the ink wells and dip pens in the open box / tray inside.

The pages of the journal almost look like they're stab-bound. A stab-bound journal would seem to make sense since you're basically writing things in it that will be pulled out and later organized into whatever research you're working on. I would almost say that this design of journal is more like a captain's log.

This is the good shot of what the inside of the journal looks like. The writing tray has the two ink wells and a few dip pens for writing. You can clearly see the tab that extends out of the head of the rear cover as well as the closure flap that would close over the front board.

I like that in this case, they covered the tabs with some marbled paper and the tray is apparently felted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Element: Photo Cover

This journal was made with a standard paper cover and spine and then covered with a piece of photographic art that I salvaged from a wildlife calendar. The near cardboard quality of the calendar allowed me to add the art piece to the book without much of an issue.

I rounded the corners of the cover and the block and finished it with an elastic band (not shown) along the open edge.

The book was a gift to a friend's son since he liked wolves.

Block: 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches
Cover: 6 x 4 3/4 inches

New Bookmarks / Buisness Cards

Thursday, June 23, 2011

TERM: Cloth Cover

Covering a journal in cloth is a tricky deal. But I decided to give it a try and see what could be done with it. Basically this is a standard-sized 3 journal (5.5 x 8.5) that has had the cover boards covered in various forms of decorated cloth. In the cases shown here they were covered in a collage of cloth to make the books appear 'quilt-like'.

The tan journal to the right has leather (pig) fore-corners, a cloth spine and cover and no closure.

The blue jean journal (below) has a cloth spine and cover, no fore-corners and leather ties as closures. The handy thing about cloth covers such as these are that you can really personalize the journal to the person it is being made for. The tan journal was made as an example and sold to a one-time client, but the blue jean journal was designed for a client that has collected several of my books.

TERM: Peg Loop

One of the easiest closures for leather covered journals is the peg and loop. The peg is often a pencil or pen that can hold the book closed by use of a loop that passes through an eye cut into the flap of the back cover of the book.

TERM: Recessed Design

The recessed design is a favored effect for the front cover of a book. There are a lot of people that want the front cover decorated with some sign or symbol that would identify themselves as the author / owner or describe the contents of the book.

The example to the right is the symbol for the planet earth from the Stargate television series/ movie. Designs such as this (fairly simple shapes) are easily added to the cover of a book and the cover material (often paper or leather) is pressed into the design.

This element can be used to add a symbol, surround the symbol with a border or the like. The recessed design is often cut into the boards about 1/8th of an inch deep but can me made further depending on the materials involved.

BOOK: Soft-cover Double Fold

So, first I need to explain what a double-fold journal is.

A Double-Fold Journal is a combination of two books within the same cover. Normally double-folds are done with hard covers, but I wanted to see if it would be possible to replicate the design with a leather cover.

This design also encompassed an elastic band around the belly of the book to hold the whole thing together.

This style book would be perfect for a personal journal. This particular model is 5.5 x 8.5 with two books of approximately two-hundred pages each.

BOOK: Paper-Back Journals

Paper-covered journals are a fairly simple construction and it actually saves money.

Since I don't have to put the money into the book for leather, this option is much better to turn out journals in bulk. The Paper journals that I've made can range in size and I add an elastic band around the belly "a belly band" to hold them closed.

Shown in the pictures to the right, the journals are size 5 (8.5 x 11 inches) (the light green), size 3 (8.5 x 5.5) (the dark green) and a size 2 (7 x 5) (the brown)

BOOK: Colophone Journal

This journal is a size 3 (5.5 x 8.5) double fold with a colophone on the top cover a closing flap and a peg-and-loop closure.

What does that mean?

Well, a Double-Fold book has two books within the same cover. A Colophone is a symbol or design that is unique to the owner of the book. In this case the colophone was created as an embossed (raised) design. The closing flap, shown on the right, helps hold the book closed and is part of the peg-and-loop (shown with the pencil).

8.5 x 5.5
200 pages per section

BOOK: Sun and Moon Journal

This book was an experiment in leather dying, press-work and soft-covering a larger-sized book.

Size 4 Journal (7 by 9 1/2 inches in size)
Approximately 250 pages

The design is pressed into the leather with a leather-working tool and then the dye is applied to bring out the design. In this case I applied several layers of dye to the moon to bring it out in contrast to the sun design.

This journal also demonstrates the use of leather as a cover material for larger sized books. The leather is somewhat stiff when first used but will eventually loosen up once it's opened a number of times.

BOOK: Oak Leaf Journal

Size 2: A book that is 5 by 7 inches in size

BOOK: Paladrym: Double Fold Journal

A Double-Fold Journal is a combination of two books within the same cover.

Books (9 x 12)
200 pages Internal book
300 pages Main book

BOOK: The Blue Star

Title: The Blue Star
Dimensions: 9 x 12 x 3
Construction: Double-Fold, size 5* with equally sized book-blocks for the two sections.

The Blue Star is a double-fold journal that I made for a friend of mine using blue, goat skin.

The journal gets its name from the large blue star that I cut into the cover boards and then depressed the leather into the space that I created.

The Blue Star was given blue ribbon markers and...

BOOK: Pilgrim's Journal

BOOK: Triangular Book

This book is a modified Size 5 book that has had the sides cut down to create an equilateral triangle for the cover.

So the spine of the book is a full eleven inches (10.5 for the block) and the width at the middle is nine inches (8.5 for the block).

The book was done for a client out of Norway who wanted an 'unusual book' with a triquetra recessed into the cover. This is actually the second of two triangle books that I did. This version had no closures (at the client's request) and the second had no cover design but two snap closures located midway along the two angled sides.

The second book was given to the prop company who did the work for Stargate: SG1. There was a call on one of my bookbinder forums where the prop company needed a 'bunch' of handmade books but did not have the budget to buy them from a prop maker. So the head prop guy put the word out that he would accept any donations and send all of the binders back a letter of acceptance and appreciation. Basically it was a way for binding geeks who were also into SCI-FI to get their hobby on film.

So I thought that a triangular book would catch their attention. Sure enough - if you look real carefully in the background of Episode 11, Season 3 (Past and Present) where you see a pile of books and notebooks you'll see the triangular edge of my book. Granted you have to be looking for it but when I saw it I gave a not-so-silent Whoot-Whoot!

So to show off what the inside of the book would look like if you used it for actually writing, a good friend of mine took one of the blank pages I had cut out but did not use and threw in some basic illustration and text to show off the alignment.

BOOK: Acorn: Children's Book

An large book made for a friend as a 'baby album'.

The center design was a hand-sculpted, fimo acorn that was painted copper and painted oak leaves around it.

The book uses a variety of techniques and elements including a leather spine, corners, paper-cover and added paper decorations.

The oak leaves were cut from card stock and painted to appear 'distressed' and glued to the cover around the center pendant. The pendant, cast from a real acorn, is actually removable from the book - a gift for the little girl for whom the book was made.


The book was approximately a size 5 (9x12) with a pig skin spine, raised cords and protected corners.