Wednesday, 4 November 2015

203. Gift Sketchbook and Work-in-Progress Pics

Hardbound Sketchbook Gift, A5
(more photos of the finished result right at the bottom of this post)

(There is only one rule in bookbinding:
The grain in the paper, cloth and board must run from head to tail.
City & Guilds)

I was commissioned to make this sketchbook as a gift to a friend's very gifted, artistic daughter. She loves wildlife and does beautiful sketches and paintings so I chose this lovely Japanese 'wove' paper with goldfishes. (As ever, I enjoyed the entire process from start to finish - she received it back in September.)

Separating into batches of four sheets

Decided to give her ten 'signatures'

Stitching the signatures using linen sewing tape

So far, so good

This is how it looks before it's glued and mull added. Don't worry...

Bulldogs clamp the now glued signatures to keep their shape

Folding the endpapers (correct grain direction is vital)

Bookmark ribbon added and glued

Headbanding added at each end and glued - adds a nice finish to the bookends

Mull cut to cover and reinforce the spine

Lining (red strip) added to reinforce the spine further
and bulldogs hold it all in place for a while

Final check that the book boards fit correctly
(I leave a 3-6mm overlap; usually 3mm)

And now for the scary arithmetic. Sigh….

See what I mean…!

Fitting all the boards in place on the 'quarter' fabric
(so called because it covers a quarter of the front and back boards when finished).

Before 'casing in' begins

At this point, I took it along to my very kind local printer who always guillotines the edges of my book block for a professional look. I can then start the 'casing in' process.

I completely forgot to photograph how I attached the patterned 'goldfish' paper to the boards and also how I sealed in the ribbon so it shouldn't come out - I must have been taken up with whatever I was listening to on the radio. The corners have to be cut diagonally and turned correctly so you still retain the point at each of the four corners.

The remaining photographs are simply different angles of the finished sketchbook.


  1. That was really helpful to see, thank you :) Nice clear photos and helpful text.
    the end book is lovely looking :D

    and thank you so much for all the comments on my blog, that was extremely nice of you to take the time to do :D

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer. Thank you. It was a pleasure to see all your lovely work!

  2. Wow!!! What a treat! I always wondered how on earth this was done. Loved it till we got to "that scary arithmetic," but then I recovered quickly. The young artist must have been absolutely thrilled to receive this lovely, thoughtful handmade piece which is a work of art in itself. Really well done, Sharon. Loved this post! Thank you for taking the time to do it!

    1. LOL, Chris! Glad it didn't scare you too much. She was actually; she's 16 and I'm honoured that her Mum asked me to do it. Thank you for your lovely words - it was a pleasure!

  3. You are so talented!! Not only to you paint and sketch beautifully, you also sew and do bookbinding with amazing skill!!!

    1. That is really kind, Azra. Thank you so much!

  4. This is a gorgeous post, Sharon!
    Thank you for documenting the process.of this work of art.

    1. Thank you, Martine. It was you who reminded me that I'd not posted it in your comment on my post number 196 - thank you!