Posts Tagged ‘bookbinding’

Tutorial: Watercolor Poppies Notebook

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve made about a dozen or so of these notebooks. I’ve made them for neighbors, family, friends and even a couple for myself. I’ve really enjoyed the freeform aspect of painting the covers as I go. I’ve gotten a few requests for the step-by-step, so here you go!

The cover material is Canson Watercolor Artboard. I was given a pad of this artboard and truly have enjoyed the thickness of this paper. It’s actually coldpress watercolor paper that’s mounted on museum board. So you can soak the paper with as much soupy water as you want, it won’t buckle. You may get a slight bow to the board, but it all goes back to its original flat shape once the paint has dried. It’s perfect for book covers!

Shall we make a notebook (or 10) together? Let’s get it going! Affiliate links are used to link to actual materials I own and use. Your support feeds my craft addiction, which feeds more tutorials. So thank you!! 

For supplies, you will need: 

If you’d like to just paint poppies, skip to the bottom. If you’d like to bind a notebook, you’ll want to line the underside of the boards with a decorative paper. You can use wrapping paper (I used Rifle Paper Co wrapping paper) or any kind of scrapbooking paper you choose. 

You can get your favorite paper and cut it into fourths (4.25″x5.5″), or you can download my lined filler paper and have it printed at your nearest print shop. for a .75″ coil bind, you’ll want at least 60 sheets of paper (15 copies, cut in fourths). If you don’t have a good cutter at home, your local print shop can do the cutting for you! 

First, we need to cut down the boards down to size. For a notebook that fills quarter sheets (see here for filler paper download), 4.25″x5.5″, you’ll cut your boards down to 4.5″ x 5.75″. 

On a larger sheet of decorative paper, apply glue to the backside of the paper. Spread with a watered brush. Press the paper down, be careful to avoid getting glue on the top of your watercolor board or you will have a terrible time painting it. 

Turn the boards over and with your bone folder, work the bubbles out. 

On a protected surface, cut the boards free of the excess paper with a craft knife. I LOVE this craft knife from Slice. It won’t cut skin! See my review of it here.

Allow to rest so the glue has time to dry. NOW on to the painting!! 

For this portion, I’m using 2 different brushes. I’m using a red sable brush (a soft, natural bristle brush), size 5 round and a synthetic size 0 round for the little details. You can use whatever brushes you have on hand, but I like the flexibility of the sable brush and how it gives me more organic lines. You can get amazing results from just about any brush, but if you’re investing in watercolor, consider purchasing a sable brush. They’re just so fantastic to paint with. 

Start by mixing 2 types of oranges. A true orange and a reddish orange. Make them soupy. You want lots of water in there to work with. 

Start by picking up the lighter orange and fill your brush with that pigment. On the middle to top third of the board, I make organic ‘V’ strokes. Start heavy and thick at the top and release pressure so you have a point towards the bottom. It doesn’t matter where you put them. Make about 3. Allow the watercolor to dry. 

If you want an open poppy, scribble a couple of ‘v’s and a rounded bottom. Drop the darker, reddish orange in the wet middle of the open poppy. 

Once the first set of marks have dried, add another ‘V’ stroke, align the bottom of the ‘v’ in the same spot as the lighter pigment, but offset the tops of the ‘v’. 

The one on the lower left wasn’t quite dry when I added the darker color, so there isn’t as much of a separation of pigment. That’s totally okay! You can see on the right ‘V’, that there’s more a separation of color. Making them slightly different gives each flower a more organic touch. 

While the bottoms are still a little wet, draw in the stems. I like to create a varied, organic, almost awkward stem. Drop some darker bits of green color in there for some variation. When it comes to mixing the green stems for poppies, I go for a mid-toned, warm green. No jewel-toned greens here, otherwise the orange won’t pop. 

You can leave your painting simple without any leaves and just do the stems, but I love how easy these leaves are. With the tip of your brush, draw little scribbles. Little zig-zags that go into each other for the leaves. I also like including pods, the stems tend to arc downwards and have a cupped ‘c’ shape on either side. You can be quite abstract with those shapes. 

Now that the greenery is done, the poppies are dry enough for the middles. The centers of poppies are black with little bits of yellow pollen. I like getting a muddy blue-ish black to paint the middles. On the open flower, you’ll draw a circular-ish (again, don’t be perfect) shape with black stamens coming out of the black. You can add yellow to the tips. That’s where the pollen lies. For the profile flower, have the stamens coming out between the front ‘V’ shape. 

With your #0 brush, grab a yellower orange and make little lines coming out of the ‘V’ shapes. Make them squiggly and imperfect. Then add fuzz in green to the pods. 

Boom! DONE! So easy, right? I like to add little splatters afterwards. Because it’s fun. 

For the back covers, I used complimentary colors and something simple like just leaves or a splatter pattern. Easy, peasy. 

 I used this tutorial from Ink Struck Studio for the butterfly cover and I learned the roses from Natalie Malan.

Now for the binding part. With your binder tool, punch holes in the covers and filler paper separate. But make sure that the holes are centered. Put the filler paper on the coils, then the front cover, then the back cover (facing the front cover). This will allow the coil edge to be unseen on the inside back cover. Crimp down with your binder tool. 

Now they’re ready to gift! Or keep. I like to hoard the things I’m most proud of making. ;)

This tutorial and accompanying printable is free for personal use. 

Sponsored: Leather Folio Tutorial

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jo-totes

This tutorial is sponsored by Jo Totes. They have a wide selection of fashionable camera bags in both genuine and vegan leather. My favorite of all is the Siena bag – an italian leather bag that ages beautifully. I use it as my every day bag. It fits all of the essentials! The structured body allows me to easily find all of my purse’s contents quickly.

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My purse essentials (beyond baby stuff): my instax camera, a notebook, pen, chapstick and gum.

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For a while I had my notebook just floating around my purse naked. The problem with this was that the top page would frequently break off, wrinkle and just get disgusting. To remedy the problem, I hand-bound a folio where I can just insert the notebook I’m using and protect it from the contents of my purse. I’m constantly ripping out pages and tossing them, so it’s nice to have something reusable instead of having to bind a new journal every time I run through my pages.

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The original version I bound was a traditional 3/4 rounded back bind with cutouts and pockets. I thought about sharing how to make this, but as I broke down each step, I realized that I had very specific bookbinding tools and the steps would take 5+ hours to photograph and explain. I ditched that idea for a simpler sewn version. It’s not as rigid, but it’s still quite sturdy and can be completed in well under an hour. You could opt out of real leather and use an industrial felt instead. I’m not sure I would recommend a vegan leather as it doesn’t tend to wear well over time.

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This would be a great gift for a guy or gal. Christmas gift perhaps? It’s just over 2 months away, so time to start planning! I’ve already taken care of a couple of Christmas gifts already. I feel way more on top of things this year. Don’t worry though, I have plenty of time to procrastinate and get behind on my gift-giving.

So would you like to make one with me? It’ll take you about 20-30 minutes. If you’re making a bunch all at once (which I would totally recommend!) it’d take less than that for each one.

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Supplies:

  • ruler
  • rotary cutter (and mat)
  • bulldog clips
  • thread
  • leather needle (or topstitch needle)
  • elastic
  • button
  • hand-sewing needle
  • x-acto knife
  • pen
  • bonefolder
  • leather
  • sturdy canvas or a fabric wallpaper*
  • notebook**

* I used fabric wallpaper for this. I scored some years ago from design centers in SF. Just ask an interior design company if they have any wallpaper samples that are being discontinued that you can have. Alternatively you can fuse any kind of fabric to Ultra Hold Heat ‘n Bond with regular copy paper.

** My favorite paper is the Rhodia pad or Clairefontaine Triomphe paper. They come in plain, grid, dot grid and lined.

Read more for the full tutorial.

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Recycled: Ostrich Wedding Book

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Today’s recycled post comes from a bookbinding project I did in July of 2008. My sister’s friend was getting married & her mom wanted me to bind a wedding sign-in book for the occasion. Her colors were pink & green. Jerre’a sent me the paper & fortunately it matched my green ostrich leather perfectly!

It’s so funny how pictures of previous projects take me back in time. Right about this time 3 years ago, I was taking care of a 3 month old Penelope & teaching bookbinding & watercolor classes for the continuing education program in Redwood City, California. We were living in Menlo Park at the time. Our summer was full of hanging out with friends, kiting, beach going & SF touring. I miss those days, but I’m so happy to be where I am right now.

It’s memories like those that make me realize how happy things are. I’ve been sort of up and down these last couple of days, so these reflections do me the world of good.

This book could be yours. . .

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Last week, I wrote about hosting a little friendly contest over at IS•LY’s flickr group, and I’m totally serious about it. Seriously, serious.

Here’s the deal. . . I really want you to post your handmade projects (whatever they may be) in the flickr pool. Seriously, I just get so excited to see what other people are making, and how creative you guys are! Please show me! So if you show me something you’ve made, and I’m just in love with it, I’ll send you this hand-bound book and some hand-drawn/designed stickers. Sounds like fun, right? So this month, only one winner will be chosen, and I will announce that winner next Wednesday, March 3rd.

Here are the contest details:

  • Items must be made and photographed by you (unless you’re the one modeling the handmade item – but please, don’t hire a professional).
  • Photos must be uploaded and added to the flickr group by Sunday February 28, 2010 at 11:59pm MST.
  • Judging is subjective and as non-biased as possible. Entries will be judges by yours truly & Susan Petersen.
  • (1) Winner will be announced March 3, 2010.
  • International entries are allowed.
  • Multiple entries are encouraged.
  • Comments on this post are NOT entries.
  • To enter, join IS•LY’s flickr group (click here) and add your photos to the pool.

Bonnes Chance, everybody.

Next month’s prize is going to be even awesomer, by the way. ;)

Flat Back in a Snap

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flatback-pageclick on image to enlarge

This little eBook has been in the works for nearly nine months. It’s gestated just like a baby sans the vomiting and weight gain.

See, bookbinding isn’t just for conservators with 2,000 square feet of art space and thousands of dollars in tools. It’s very inclusive, so join the club! Bookbinding requires a desk, some floor space and a few inexpensive supplies that you might already have. So here it is; learn to bind a flatback journal—just like the blank books in the bookstore—at home, using regular crafting tools. Get your copy by making a selection and clicking the button below. If you’re not sure about the tools to buy, add the tools eBook for only $2 more!

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