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What do you think of when you hear the word journal? Some of us get excited about writing and sharing our thoughts and feelings. Others of us groan at the thought of keeping a journal. I fall into the latter camp. However, journaling goes beyond “diary” keeping. Hand made books aren’t all about feelings. This blog is a journal of sorts- a window into our homeschooling world. In books, you can write stories or hold drawings and paintings. A hand bound book can be anything you’d like it to be. Today’s post is 3 Reasons to Make Bound Books.
Design the Book for Your Use
Sure, you can buy a ready-made book or journal, but many times it isn’t quite what you’d like. Also, if you are an avid journaler it’s extra special to make the book in which your writing and art will reside.
- Decide how you want it to open- And design the cover and pages accordingly
- Choose the type of cover- hard or soft
- Make book that can fold back on itself
- Figure out how it will close- will it have a fastener?
- Even choose the type of binding your book will have
Use the Type of Paper You Want Most
Bound books have all sorts of purposes and uses. Part of how you will fill it will depend on the medium you plan to use. Choose the paper for your needs.
- Watercolor Paper– for exquisite water color paintings
- Wet Media Paper– for use with paints
- Drawing Paper– for pencil and ink
- Lined or Unlined Paper– depending on whether or not you want to write or draw or both. The choice is yours!
Record What You Want the Way You Want
There are so many options for what you might want the hand bound book for. Here are a few ideas:
- Travel Journal– Collect ephemera, drawings, pictures, and record a vacation
- Garden Book– Record your garden planning and progress in a hand bound book
- Project Journal– Whatever it is you are working on, you’ll have a place to keep a record that is designed just for the project at hand.
- Photo Book– Of anything! Choose favorite photos from a trip or activity.
- Nature Journal– Record your observations from your nature study. If you make it small, it can go in the bag with your other supplies and travel with you.
Book Binding Supplies
There some essential supplies for binding books. Some you may have on hand, but others you may have to procure. All of them are readily available.
- Bristol Board– Uncoated, machine finished paper board. Also known as comic board, this is extra thick and usable for the covers of a book.
- Scrapbooking Paper– I like vintage styles best for book binding, but the choice is yours!
- Paper– This is watercolor paper, but any kind will do depending on the needs of your book.
- Awl– This is for putting holes in the signatures of your book.
- Thread– For sewing the signatures (groups of folios or folded pages) together. This is special linen book binding thread, but you can also use regular thread or coat thread.
- Book Binding Needle– You’ll need this if you are using book binding thread. If you are using regular thread, you can probably get away with a regular sized needle. However, once you wax it, you’ll need a needle with a bigger eye.
- Bone Folder– Many card making kits have these, but it makes the crease line on a fold nice and sharp. There are plastic versions as well, but this gives you an idea of what you are looking for.
- Beeswax– For coating the thread as you sew your book signatures together which lubricates the thread and prevents knots as you work.
- Ruler– We love the metal rulers which are longer than 12 inches. It’s much easier to do larger projects without having to use something like a meter stick. The metal keeps it from chipping and cracking.
- Binding Tape– For assembling the signatures together. We often use bias tape for this purpose.
- PVA Glue– If you are making a keepsake, this is a pH neutral variety. We also use clear glue.
- Scissors– These are our favorites. They aren’t little scissors and they aren’t big scissors. They’re perfect for paper projects and you can get the non-stick variety for cutting sticky things.
- Paper Trimmer– Terrific for uniform cutting which makes a neat book. The 12 inch size makes it easy to work with larger size books as well. Straight edges every time!
Resources on Making Hand Bound Books
Of course, you may want some ideas and guidance on how to make the books. Before our own tutorial arrives, here are some books we use and love.
- Journal Your Way: Designing and Using Handmade Books– A lovely book which explains sixteen different journal types with ten different cover styles.
- The Complete Decorated Journal: A Compendium of Journaling Techniques– This is an all in one everything about decorating and formatting journals. It’s a great addition to the first book.
- Bound– Over 20 artful books to make with nice bindings.
We’d love to share how we make the hand bound books along with some book binding vocabulary. What will you use your book for?