Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cookie Box Book Tutorial

You asked for it, so here it is... ta da! The tutorial for the repurposed box book, as seen in the last Reuse ~ Repurpose blog for week 2

First of all, here is what you'll need:
A box that you want to make into your book
You'll also need a glue stick or rubber cement, an awl (or similar), a bone folder, a book binding needle or leather working needle, a pencil, graph paper, scale/ruler, waxed thread, and paper for your signatures (groups of folded paper for inside your book.) You can get most of the book-specific stuff you need at Volcano Arts. That's where I purchase most of my book binding goodies, including the waxed linen thread, and bone folder. I also used a paper punching cradle, which you can also get at Volcano Arts, but if you don't think you'll be making a lot of books, then you can probably do without one. It just takes more time and care.

So first thing you do is to cut off the top and bottom pieces of your box, and then cut one side out, so you have a three-sided book cover.

You may be lucky and not have to modify your spine
The next step is figuring out how many signatures (sections of folded paper) you want to have in your book, and what size they will be. When I took six sheets of my graph paper and folded them in half, I realized that it's going to either require a lot of paper cutting, or I should lengthen the sides of my covers, by creating a new fold for the spine, as the signature was too wide for the present length of the cover. Some boxes won't require making a new spine... it depends on the size of the box that you start with.
Measure width of signature
I measured the length of the short side of my signature and marked it at the top and bottom of one side of my book cover. Then I measured and did the same on the other side. I drew a line from top to bottom, and created a new fold. Using the bone folder to get a good crease is important. This will be the point which your book opens.
Make new, good creases at new spine locations
 Next, you will create enough signatures to fit into the space of your book's spine. I created six signatures, each with seven pages, as the graph paper was rather thin. It will depend on the thickness of the paper you use, and how deep your spine is. 
When using the bone folder for making your crease, always start at the center of the fold and go outwards, towards the outer edge of your signature. This will ensure that have straight creases, and no wrinkling.

The jig: six columns (one for each signature)
Next you will make a jig, or template, for your spine to locate the holes for the stitching. Take one piece of the paper that you are using, and cut a piece the width of your spine, and the length of your signature, and using your glue stick or rubber cement, place it down the center of the spine, graph side up. Then count your signatures again, and about every 1/8-1/4" mark your hole locations with a pencil. You will need an even number of rows along the spine, and the holes should be equidistant from each other. However, you can make your rows spaced differently, as this is part of the design aspect. 

Then you will punch your holes in the spine, through the jig, being careful not to make the holes too large. You just want the holes to be large enough for the needle. In fact, if you don't have a blunt-ended needle or an awl, you can use your sharp needle to make the holes, that way you know that the holes will be perfectly sized for your needle.

Six rows of stitches (always an even number of rows)
After you have located & punched the holes on the spine, take the rest of that sheet of paper that you cut your jig from, and fold it in half. Then lay it next to your jig, and mark the locations of the holes on the edge of the fold. (See above) When you reverse the fold on this sheet that has the hole locations marked, you can use this as your signature punching template.
Punch through the template and the signature, keeping the pages together, and making sure that you're going through the spine. Do this with each group of signatures, making sure that you keep them all organized, if your holes are not symmetrical. You want them to all line up exactly so when you're done punching, so that they perfectly match the jig on your spine.
Next, measure out your thread: stretch the thread from one end of your spine to the other, and count off the number of signatures that you have, adding about 6"-8" for safety and knotting. (I had help with counting, as you can see.)

Thread your linen thread onto your book-binding needle, and make a knot at the end, so that you can keep a taut thread as you work. You will start at either top or bottom, as long as you start with the outer-most hole. From the outside of the spine, go into the book, through the corresponding hole in the outer fold of your signature (the mountain) and coming out into the inside (the valley).
Proceed going into and out of the signature and the book's spine, threading together the signature to the book. You will always end up outside the spine if you correctly made an even number of holes. (Let's hope you did!) And when you come back in from the top or bottom, put another signature inside, and repeat the process until you have sewn in all the signatures, and are back up (or down) across from where you started. As you go, check that the threading is taut... not pulling too much, just making sure that there isn't a loopy spot that is too loose.

To finish off, weave through the top loops.

Over/under until you get to the starting point.
View of signatures from bottom.

View of signatures from the top.

Tying off the remaining thread, you can either make a knot right at the opening, or you can do as I've shown above, and weave through the top stitches, until you get to the first point of entry. Then tie off to that thread. You're done stitching your signatures into your box cover! You can now decorate the box, or add something to the inside cover, or you can create a closure for your book! It's all up to you!

This was my first tutorial, and I'd appreciate any constructive criticism! Was it clear? Did I show enough photos? Were the photos clear? It was hard because I had cats all over me and only two hands. I used a tripod and timer for the photos that show both of my hands! I hope you enjoyed this!

To give credit where credit is due, I got this idea years ago from this awesome book by Esther K. Smith, How To Make Books. So you mustn't think I'm brilliant or anything. It was so long ago that I've since made my own changes, and expanded on her ideas, but that is where it started! Also, I want to credit Christine Cox of Volcano Arts because that is where I took my best book binding classes!! She's brilliantly talented and knows EVERYTHING about book binding, paper, etc.... If you ever get a chance, you should totally take one of her classes! They're a lot of fun, and you get to be creative for a week, eight hours a day! 


Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic tutorial Shari - thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Both the written instructions and the photos were extremely clear and concise - I love how you included details on altering the spine of the book.

I love the cats in the photos - they are so sweet :0)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shari - I've put a video link to some utube's on locker hooking in the 'tutorials I love' page at the top of my blog - these are the ones I found to be the most informative, beginning right from the materials you need and taking you through 3 different projects (their are 7 videos in total by ColorCrazy).

It's really fun and easy to do :0)

Hope they help you get started.

shari said...

Thank you, Shell! I appreciate it!! I'll check it out. :-)

Terriaw said...

I think this tutorial looked very clear! I can't wait to make one of these. I really love the idea of the jig for a guide to punch your holes. I might just have to buy a cool cookie or cracker box just for a book cover. BTW, love your little helper!

Orion Designs said...

Wow - I think it's a great tutorial Shari. Off to scour the cupboards for the perfect box!

Orion Designs said...

I would suggest adding a photo from either the top or bottom, so we can see how nicely the signatures stack together inside the book.

shari said...

Thanks, Terri & Vicki! Yes, my "little helper" loves to contribute!

I added the photos of the signatures just for you, Vicki! :-)

Kelly said...

How clever! Thanks for detailing it so thoroughly!

shari said...

You're welcome, Kelly! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Orion Designs said...

I just made my first one of these -- the instructions were great. I kept it simple with only 2 signatures and it only took me about 1/2 hour!

Look for a blog post from me :)

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