Bookmaking (part deux)


I have to admit this to you: Out of the three bookmaking tutorials, this one is probably the most boring.  I hope you read it anyway, or this is just a big fat waste of time.  For those of you who actually intend to make a book, listen up.  You’re going to need….PAGES! (cue applause)

Here is what you’ll need:

  • A T-square or L-square ruler
  • Acid-free paper
  • A pencil

1) Prepare. Gather materials.   Figure out which way the grain is going in your paper.  Much like the binder’s board, gently bend it from side to side, and then from top to bottom.  If it bends easiest from side to side, the grain is running vertically.  If it bends easiest from top to bottom, the grain is running horizontally.

For this book, you want the grain to run vertically on each page. Mark the direction of the grain with a pencil so you don’t forget.

2)  Start tearing the paper. Measure the height of the cover and subtract 1/4″ (this will make the page shorter than the cover by 1/8″ on the top and bottom).  This is the measurement for the height of the page.

Using a square ruler to guide you,  tear the paper in strips of this measurement (against the grain).  I used paper on a roll, so I ironed it on a low dry setting to keep it from curling too much.

3) Continue to tear the paper. Now that you have some of these lengths of paper, set one in front of you horizontally.  Measure out the width of the pages on the paper (subtract 1/4″ from the width of the cover for the page width).

Once you’ve marked the page, fold the end of the page to the second mark.

Crease with the bone folder starting from the middle and moving to the ends.  This will make a card on the end of the length of paper.

Using the ruler, rip this card off.  Repeat as many times as you can on the length of paper and move on to the rest of the paper.  You should end up with a stack of cards.  If you want your book to be thicker, make more cards.

4) Assemble the Signatures. Take three of these cards and place them inside each other.  This bundle is called a signature.  It is a grouping of pages within a book.  You can choose how many pages you want in your signature.  I used 100lb paper so I chose to have only three “cards” in my signature, because the paper is thick.

If you choose to use other kinds of paper in your book now is the time to measure and cut them out and add them to your signatures.  I added some tracing paper in my book.  Other cool options are graph paper, decorative velum, and tissue paper.

If you want the pages to be uniform sizes width-wise once they are in signature groupings, you would go back to Step 3, and add 1/2″ to the measurement for the width of the book (or if the 1/4″ has already been subtracted, add 1/4″ instead of 1/2″).  Then, once you’ve made those little cards, and assembled the signatures, tear 1/2″ off of the width of the page using the straight-edge to guide you.  Multiple pages can be torn at once.  I wanted my pages for this book to be a little more uneven so I didn’t add the 1/2″. Below are examples of each so you can decide what you want.

And that’s it for the pages!

****ON A SEPARATE NOTE, keep an eye out for a familiar face if you get the York Daily Record.  I will be featured on Sunday, because I was the winner of the paper’s pumpkin carving contest with the Edgar Allen Poe-mkin.

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About Melody

My name is Melody Martin. Check out my art blog, and learn all about the steps and techniques that go into oil paintings.
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2 Responses to Bookmaking (part deux)

  1. Nate says:

    Some of us live too far to get the York Daily Record. You should scan it, and post on the blog.

    Also…graph paper is cool, but engineering graph paper is cooler.

  2. Melody says:

    hmm…engineering graph paper? Sounds positively delightful! and I will scan the YDR article so you foreign aliens can see it! 🙂

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