Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Etsy Guide to Bookbinding Supplies

I just spent my entire evening compiling this for the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team's blog. This is definitly a resource worth sharing so I will paste the whole thing here as well. Everyone loves shopping for supplies!

An Etsy Guide to Bookbinding Supplies
So you were wondering if it would be possible to buy all your bookbinding supplies on Etsy? Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. So what can we find on Etsy to make a fabulous handmade journal?


We need some paper for the pages. Perhaps a prepared text block from:
Or handmade paper to make our own, from:
Or eco-friendly and lokta papers from:


For the cover we have several options. We could use leather, book cloth, or decorative paper. If you like leather, have a look at these shops:

Custom bookcloth is available from:

There is a good selection of decorative papers for the covers or endpapers. You could get some hand-marbled paper from these shops:

Japanese Chiyogami is available from:

Or you might like to use some handmade paste paper from:

Or handmade Batik paper:

Maybe Japanese Suminagashi paper:

Or some gorgeous Italian or Tibetan decorative papers from:


You can buy linen thread from:


You might like to get some false headbands for your journal from:

Or some hardware such as:
- metal corners from Contexto
- screw posts from Janiesmash
- clasps from BlueFlameLeather


If you need a new bone folder, visit:
RandyArnold (handmade Ebony folding tools)

Perhaps a hole punch drill from:

And pick up some PVA at:

Get brass triangles, weights, or micro scissors from:

Or tools for gold tooling, from:


You might want to consider getting a sewing cradle from:

Or a handy book press from one of these shops:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 22 is Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Since 1970, April 22nd has been recognized as Earth Day, meant to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It is now recognized as an international event in over 170 countries. If you are in Canada, check out Earth Day events in your area on the Earth Day Canada site.

I have been making different kinds of recycled books lately. I save a lot of boxes from food packaging because some of them have fun pictures and designs and sometimes I'll get a box that is an interesting shape... I save a lot of stuff, can you imagine how my little bookbinding studio must look with all this stuff in there? the room is very crowded... And if I'm going to save it then I also need to use it for something! So I just made a bunch of small notebooks using these saved boxes - two different styles.

Some fan notebooks, bound with a single screw post in the corner.

And a few stab-bound notebooks where most of the pages are box tops and side panels so the end that is sewn had a pre-existing crease. This gives all the pages a decent hinge allowing the notebook to open quite well.

You can also use boxes to make mailers, i.e. sturdy envelopes. This is particularly useful for people like me who sell stuff online and always have to find/buy shipping materials. If you want to see how it's easily done, there is a quick tutorial for making a granola box mailer on the TCET blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Security Patterns

I have an unusual fascination with the security patterns on the inside of envelopes. I actually have a notebook where I stick bits clipped from envelopes... so yes, it's a quirky little collection of envelope security pattern clippings. But some of them ARE really neat. This is one reason that I save all the old envelopes. The other reason is that I like making books out of them. In fact, sometimes I am so eager to save the envelopes that come in the mail, that I misplace the contents. I once misplaced a cheque only to find that it was still in the original envelope, tucked safely in my box of saved envelopes!

I've done some books like this before and they were a lot of fun to make. It takes a while to accumulate enough materials to do them so I haven't made any since last fall. Here are my newest ones, see how many security patterns you can find :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter and Happy Birthday

Happy Easter
We tried making some silk eggs today, something I'd never heard about until just yesterday when I saw it online - check out these amazing examples at Our Best Bites. My selection of silk was limited since I didn't have time to go thrift shopping for a better selection; however, it certainly worked. Now I'll be checking the ties every time I go to a thrift store in preparation for next Easter.

Happy Birthday
And sometimes my birthday happens to be the same day as Easter, and this year, so it is. Happy UnBirthday to everyone who didn't have a birthday on April 12th! (That's from Through the Looking Glass - an unbirthday, of course, can be celebrated on any day that is not your birthday.) And for those of you who are getting a reverse birthday gift from me (because I like to follow a few Hobbit customs too), I hope you have fun and find them useful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Recycling again

Books made from cardboard. Yeah, the purist bookbinders will cringe. These aren't exactly archival. They are just fun notebooks - not everything needs to last forever.

You see, for a lot of my handmade journals, I use paper from large sketchpads for the pages. Each time I finish with one of these sketchpads, I'm left with the large cardboard sheet from the back. So once I accumulate a stack of them, I cut them up and turn them into these cardboard books. It makes sense to me.

I have found that paste papers look great on these. My paste papers are obviously really basic, nothing fancy, and so I think they suit these books rather well. Making cardboard books gives me an excuse to make paste papers.

These are bound using one of the stitching techniques described by Smith in his book Sewing Single Sheets. There are folded strips of paste paper used as sewing supports, and sewing creates small Xs along the spine.

My stack of cardboard was almost to the ceiling when I started on these so I have lots of them, for sale on Artfire and Etsy.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A little Steampunk inspiration

Steampunk is pretty cool. Who wouldn't want some of those sci-fi inventions from Jules Verne and HG Wells sitting around, just looking cool in the backyard? Maybe some flying contraptions and alchemy gear in the attic? Wikipedia has a good summary of steampunk and its origins if you want to read more about it.

Somebody recently asked if I could make Steampunk journals... well, I never turn down a challenge.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

2009 Edible Book Festival

Every year on April 1st, Edible Book Festivals are being held all over the world! This year, the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team hosted a virtual event since we are too widespread to actually get together in the "real" world. All the photos submitted to BEST's event can be seen on Flickr. A summary of the B.E.S.T entries is available on the B.E.S.T blog.

1. 2. 3.

1. My kid's entry, The Giant Jam Sandwhich
2. One of my entries, Chorus of Mushrooms
3. My other entry, Limp Bindings from Tallinn

Visit the main organization's website at