Friday, 25 December 2015

210. Another Gift Sketchbook and WIP Pics

Hardbound Sketchbook Gift, 5.5" x 5.5"
(more photos of the finished result are 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 have two friends who are 'two peas in a pod'. They call themselves 'Batman' and 'Robin'. Robin has in the last five months discovered she has a previously unrealised gift for art - it's been quite a revelation to us all - her included! Batman thus asked me to make Robin a sketchbook for Christmas that would be small enough for her handbag and also fairly lightweight.

Robin is a wildlife lover and avid photographer and, while we were deciding on the right cover, we came up with the idea of a 'robin' theme. Ordinary paper is not brilliant for book covering; you really need something stronger and flexible enough to fold around board, which is the idea of bookcloth. I found this gorgeous print in a fabric shop in St Albans - the owner has been there for 40 years and I always find what I'm looking for there. I used tissue paper and Bondaweb to turn it into bookcloth (that's bookcloth is made) and the rest is history! 

If you're interested, there are work-in-progress images below. Happy creating everyone!

 After folding and arranging the signatures, I guillotined them into a square format
then stitched them with waxed thread 
using three pieces of  sewing tape for spine strength
 Only six signatures this time (it needs to be lightweight)
Glued between boards then a ribbon bookmark added a bit later
Headbanding added and everything held in place with 
again with rough boards and bulldog clips
A better view of the headbanding (red and green tips)
… snap happy!

After this, I added mull around the spine for strength and also a heavyweight paper spine.
(I omitted to photograph them but you can see mull and a spine in my November post - or click "Bookbinding" in the 'Labels' list on the right and it'll take you there.)
Homemade bookcloth with boards and spine measurements marked on the reverse.
Aligning the grain in each case, I made the bookcloth using a layer each of the strong
cotton fabric, Bondaweb and white tissue paper (ironed as per the instructions).
This ensures no glue seeps through onto the fabric part of the bookcloth.
The right side of the bookcloth.
(Grain direction marked with arrows on the boards.)
I made the 'case' and scored the two spine seams with a bone folder.
Then, with a knife, I cut two slits an inch from the edges and eased the ribbon through. I hammered the slits back into place so the ribbon was taut and the boards flat again. Finally, I glued the entire length of each ribbon onto its corresponding board to ensure it will not break free over time. 

At this point, I attached the red endpapers to the text block then visited my lovely printer who chopped the edges of the text block for me. Not only does it make it look neat
but it is easier to flick through the pages if the sheets are aligned.
I then attached the endpapers to the case.
(This is the back one - the text says "Stitched and bound by Sharon Veares")
A few pics before it's given a 12-hour press
… it's just showing off now...
 It's tired now - all that modelling!
I untied the bow and moved the ribbons and the bookmark out of the way of any glued parts before placing boards on top and underneath for pressing.
Glassine paper (or the like) between the endpapers ensures that any 
undetected glue spots won't stick them together in the pressing process.

It's finished!
The top
The top (again)
The bottom
The back cover
The front cover.

The size had to be specific so I am really, really pleased that the pattern ended up just as she wanted it - on both the covers - quite frankly, as this time the cover is one continuous piece, it's a miracle!

(I can't risk posting this until Christmas Day, just in case…..)


  1. This sketchbook is truly stunning and I'm sure the new owner will love it! Great to see the process of your work too.
    Merry Christmas to you Sharon!

    1. Thank you, Helen; that's very kind. I trust your Christmas was great and here's wishing you a successful 2016.

  2. Gorgeous - gorgeous!! What a perfect print! And that's not a miracle - that's your patience and love and talent manifesting itself in this special gift. Robin is one lucky lady!!

    1. Oh thank you so much, Chris, for your lovely comments!

  3. I'm sure this beautiful sketch book will be treasured for a long time, as I've said I can see this book sold in Harrods, it really is of the highest standard. I hope you've had a great time over Christmas. xxx

    1. Azra, you are too kind - that's high praise coming from you. Christmas has been lovely and I hope yours has been too.