Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Back to the books

I finally got back into making books. I had been itching to use some of the new paper I bought at Falkiners and took a stupidly long time deciding which paper to use first, they are all so delicious. Indecisive? Me? Maybe, I can’t decide.

This is a sketch book. The coptic stitching binding method is very good for sketch books as the book opens completely flat. It also has rough watercolour paper and smooth sketching paper interleaved in each section, as L’s son said that would be most useful for him. This set me thinking and I decided to make another, bigger format sketch book using a different technique next, which will also be a good all purpose sketch book.

13 responses to “Back to the books

  1. californiablogging August 12, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Your books looks lovely. I’d like one like it in my stocking!

  2. Diane August 12, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you! When I have enough stock, I may start to sell them. I do get very attached to them though!

  3. DoanThuc August 13, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    I am Doan Thuc from Vietnam.
    I love your book. They look beautifull and coloful. Hope to see more books.

  4. Diane August 13, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you! I’m glad you like them. I am working on another one now!

  5. fishwithoutbicycle August 14, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    Wow!! You really should think about selling these. They are beautiful. There’s a high end stationary store in New York – Kate’s Paperie – where they charge an arm and a leg for this sort of thing.

  6. Diane August 15, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Thank you! I have visited Kate’s Paperie – it is one of my favourite shops in NY. My sister just said she would like some for Christmas presents so I had better get going and build my stock up!

  7. KiwiPulse August 18, 2007 at 9:07 am

    What a nice book you have there. I guess the simple things is always the best. Why complicated our life :D

  8. Diane August 18, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Very true! I am working on a book at the moment which is much more complicated (hence the long gap since my last post!) and it is giving me problems, but I will persevere….

  9. Pingback: Arts: Bookbinding | Informative & Breakthrough News About Everything Designed By Humans

  10. Allison June 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I love the way this sketchbook looks and lays flat. I am very impressed. I am an architecture student, working on my portfolio for graduate school, I was wondering if you would be willing to give me some pointers on self binding something similar to this?

  11. Diane June 30, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    It’s one of those things that is much easier to do than to describe! There are lots of tutorials on the web – it’s called a Coptic binding. I learned from a book by Keith Smith ( ‘Non-Adhesive Binding Vol. III Exposed Spine Sewings’

    This is useful

    This video is useful and shows punching the holes well

    This video is useful for the stitching

    Another helpful tutorial

    Be warned, if you use a curved needle, you will end up with fingers resembling pin cushions until you get used to it!

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  12. Dan Frier March 22, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Hi there, came across your page through google.
    I see this post is pretty old now but hopefully you’ll still be active on the site :)

    I’m a student in my final year and working on my dissertation and I was thinking about using a coptic stitch to bind it.
    Can you think of anything that might prevent me from succeeding?
    Is there a limit to the number of pages I can use? Would the paper have to be thick like cartridge paper to hold the stitch?

    I realise you’ve probably much better things to do than reply to my questions, but I’d be so appreciative if you did :)
    Your books are beautiful by the way

    • Diane March 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Hi Dan
      Sorry took a while to reply, as you noticed, I have rather left this site by the wayside – keep meaning to revive it but….

      Anyway, to answer your question, if you can do a coptic stitch, then I think it would be a lovely way to bind your dissertation. Personally, I always find doing a coptic stitch quite difficult. If I use a curved needle as is recommended I invariably end up stabbing my fingers and then you have to be careful not to get blood on the pages (seriously!)

      I think that this book was made by taking 30 sheets of A4 (to make an A5 sized book) – I think slightly heavier weight paper is better (cartridge paper) although this was interleaved with rough watercolour paper and plain sketching paper so anything goes. The sheets were then folded in half precisely and then three sheets were placed inside each other to make 10 sections. If you use thicker paper, you will see that the edge of the book (the opening edge is not smooth as the layers as the inside pages of each section stick out slightly because of the thickness but I think it adds to the ‘handmadeness’ of the book – trimming them so they are smooth is a whole new world of pain best avoided!

      The bigger the pages ie A3 folded in half to make an A4 sized book, requires more rows of stitching (obviously) and use a strong linen thread for the stitching so there is no danger of it snapping. Not sure about the limit to the number of pages as I’ve never made one much bigger than A5 but I imagine if it was too thick it might become unwieldy and and twist about too much but not sure on this. Maybe using a thicker twine for the stitching might help with this – and would also look more in proportion with the dimensions of the book.

      Anyway, what can I say? Have a go with a practice book first and see what you think. Falkiners have a great range of book board, needles, paper, glues and thread on their website if you need to buy supplies and are in the UK. The videos and links I posted in the comments below are informative too.

      Hope this is helpful, let me know how you get on. Good luck! :-)

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