Thursday, May 7, 2009

Making Models

When I am teaching myself a new binding from a book or periodical, I often start by making a model. Models are good for many reasons: they can be made from whatever materials you happen to have around, and by using your less than best materials, you've given yourself permission to make mistakes and learn about the binding as you go. Here you can make the adjustments, fine tuning, and improvements to the structure and just write your notes directly on the model. Once you've worked out the major bugs, you can cut into that sheet of precious paper you've been saving with confidence, and make a beautiful finished book.

Learning some new decorative stitch bindings has been on my "want to do" list for some time. My copy of Keith Smith's 1-2-& 3-Section Sewings has had about a dozen post-it flags sticking out the fore-edge for months, and so now it is time to hunker down and do it. I've also had a project in mind to make an entire bookshelf of various white bindings, so I'm going to combine these two ideas to make about a dozen or so white model books.

To make it easy to begin and continue over a period of time, I decided to cut enough materials at one time to make all 12 books. I'm starting with half a ream of Neenah Classic Columns 20 lb. writing paper, but you could also use white copy paper. To keep things simple, I cut the ream in half so that I now have 500 sheets of paper that are 5 1/2" high by 8 1/2" wide, to be folded down to 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" page size. For the covers, I'm using white museum conservation board from Hollander's. I cut the boards into 5 1/2" tall strips, and left each strip the full width of the board (13") so I'll have some options for folded panels if I want them later. Poster board could also be used for covers if you're making the budget version.  White and natural linen thread, waxed and unwaxed, in 2, 4 and 7 ply thicknesses complete the supplies for now.

If you don't want to spend a lot of time at the paper cutter, take the ream of paper to your local print shop, office supply store copy center, or Kinko's and ask them to guillotine cut your paper in half, a job that usually costs a couple bucks and takes about two minutes.

I'll be posting my projects as they are completed over the next several weeks, so perhaps you'll join me in learning something new!


  1. I've had that secret eyelet binding technique on my "must learn" list for a while now along with a few other bindings. I'm looking forward to seeing your results with the bindings you've chosen to explore.

  2. Hi Pam, I'm going to treat myself to a Mother's Day gift and buy your book!!!!~~~ Ever thought about doing an online class? Just a thought!!! I know I'd be interested! I can't wait to start my first book!I'm going to try and do a model. So yes, I'm going to try something NEW!!! I'm so STOKED about learning this !!!!! Blessings, Deborah

  3. Your books and instruction are wonderful, and the photos on your blog are gorgeous!