Making a sketch book

Today’s post is going to be different. I have used some really nice sketchbooks in the last few years but have been unable find them in shops any more.

I liked their format, the small A6 landscape shape, their hard cover. I found some other sketch books but they are not the same: The shape is too wide, or the cover is too soft, or the paper is too thin or too white.

So I decided to have a go and make my own sketch books. This is my third one, as I learned from the mistakes of my first two. And this is how I made it:

I had some A4 card paper at home. I cut it lengthwise with a craft knife, making two sections 9 cm wide. I was left with a spare strip of paper (approximately 3 cm: I clip them together and use them for testing colour mixtures)

I purchased a sharp pointy gadget from the DIY store near my home. There are also specific art shops where you can buy a bookmaking awl.

I made some thin pencil marks following the holes on a notebook cover as guide.

Then I made the holes on bunches of paper, 4 or 5 sheets each (first I folded them in half, to know where the holes should be)

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The next step was to get a needle and thread and good lighting. I started sewing the bunches individually. Make sure your holes are wide enough so your needle won’t have to squeeze through (I broke a couple in previous occasions)

Once all were sewn individually I joined the sides of the thread, so all the bunches (AKA ‘signatures’) were connected. I prefer to be generous with the sewing, although you don’t need to use much tension: A tight thread tends to pull on the paper and may tear it when you turn the pages or try to open the book flat.

 

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After the sewing is done the next step I did was gluing the bunches of paper to a piece of fabric. I found wide ribbon does a good job, it can flex well and it won’t add bulk when I glue the covers.

I used Eva-con R adhesive from a bookbinders shop.

I clamped the book together for a day or two for the glue to dry.

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I left the book to dry vertically, so any drips would go towards the spine and not anywhere else. I kept it inside a kitchen cabinet held against a box to make it stay up. 

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Once the glue is dry it’s time to glue the covers. I made mine from some old notebook hard covers I had been keeping for no reason. I cut them to be slightly wider than the paper inside, and I applied glue -not too generously, you don’t want drips now- to the first and last pages, before letting it dry horizontally under a stack of books.

This is the final product. You can, if you like, cover the spine with self adhesive film or glue some piece of fabric all over the covers.

I don’t mind that it looks rough and homemade, so I leave mine like so.

sketchbook

Tach├ín. (or “ta-daah”)

Thanks for reading this.

PS: for more info on recycled sketchbooks check this post and this other one

 

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