Monday, January 31, 2011

Slip Cover, Pamphlet Stitch Journal

Here is a book construction technique that requires little or no glue. The results can be as elegant or basic as you care to make them. I mentioned in a previous post on Mossgate Journal Cafe that I would make a tutorial that explained how to make a journal like My 20 Minute Sketch Book.
So here is its sequel.

Here are a couple of simple alternative designs, too.

The one difference in the example below is that the covers were each made separately. The method that I will show connects the two covers.  The book below was made at a workshop so I was using scrap papers that were supplied to us. I love the long runny ink lines on the paper of the outer cover side. Noone could identify the paper. The paper sometimes has a lot to do with how a water medium behaves.

To begin the process, decide what size your pages will be. I usually determine this by what dimensions the paper will fold down into.  I used Strathmore drawing paper from a spiral bound pad.
Once I trimmed off the holes along the top edge, the measurements were 14 inches by 16 6/8 inches.

I then folded each sheet in half and then tore the sheet in half along the fold. You could also cut the paper if that is your preference. 

If you choose to tear the paper, make sure you make a strong crease first. If the paper is tough you might need a straight edge or metal ruler as a tearing guide and run a slightly wet brush along the fold to dampen it and soften the fibers.

This sample journal will hold four folded sheets of paper equaling 16 pages plus an extra sheet that will slide into both covers.

Now we will pierce the sewing holes and stitch the pages together.
A paper ruler comes in very handy here. If you are doing more than one section of pages, this paper ruler saves a lot of measuring time and keeps the hole punching consistent.

Plain paper works as well, I just find measuring more reliable with 1/8 inch grid paper.
Mark one end as top or left and keep the paper ruler in the same direction while piercing holes in the sheets. For a small journal 3/8 of an inch is a good distance to stay from the top and bottom ends of of the sheets.

You can pierce all the sheets at once for this project if the paper is thin enough but it is usually best to do each sheet separately remembering to keep the sheets so that all the tops are stacked in the same direction. Otherwise, the pierced holes may not match up if the hole spacing on the paper ruler is slightly irregular. 

Piercing holes is easier when the folded sheets are placed in a cradle. A cradle is easy to make from twine and scrap cardboard. I have a number of these cradles because they become misplaced thus I have to make another.

Soft padding material under the cradel will give the pin tool (or large needle) room to pass through the fold and make a better hole. A cutting mat will protect your working surface and the point of your piercing device.

Now to the stitching. There are endless varieties of thread...cotton, hemp, linen, silk, etc..  Linen thread made for binding comes in waxed and unwaxed.  I prefer to wax my own thread. Paraffin (or candle wax) and bees wax work well.  Bees wax is slightly tacky which is good in that it helps hold the stitching at the proper tension as you adjust it during the stitiching process. Waxing helps to reduce fraying of the thread fibers.

The thread below came from the stitching across the top of my Purina Cat Chow bag. What a waste of really strong thread. If economy is an issue, you can find materials in the oddest places.

The stitching will be a two-sided process.

Measure your thread by extending it along the fold, double that length and then add another ten inches. Better to have a little too much thread than not have enough.

Begin the sewing by running the thread an equal length out the left and right center holes.  I have the thread only coming out of the left of the two center holes. But the next image does show the remaining piece of the thread coming out the right.)  The threads should be at equal lengths.

If you begin sewing by entering from the mountain side of the fold, your final tie off will be on the outside of your section of pages. 

Once you have stitched down the left side and back again to the left center hole, put the needle on the remaining right portion of thread and do the same going back and forth on the right side.

Tie of with a square knot.

Now we will make the covers.
Staying with economy, I am using a Wheaties cereal box for the inside cover supports.
Cut the cardboard to the size of the folded section and add 1/8 inch on the top and the bottom.

I then cut a sheet of cover paper so that it measured the height of the boards plus enough on the sides of the two boards so that the extra paper will fold over the boards by about two thirds on each side.

Trim the ends at a slight angle so that inserting them into the cover sections will go more smoothly.

Now cut two pieces of cover paper to the width of the cardboard but with two inches or so of extra paper at the top and bottom of the board which will be folded over.

Now this part might look weird but just follow along, it will all make sense shortly.
Slide the side pieces of the long piece of cover paper in between the outer paper and cardboard of the cover sections. 

Once you have done that, flip each cover section over toward the other.
It should look like the image below.

Now slide the outermost left and right page of your gathering of sewn pages in between the inside cover paper and the cardboard of each cover. After inserting the left page into the left cover, position the covers into a backward "V" which will make it easier to insert the right page into the right cover.

It should look something like the image below when completed.

You can apply a thin film of glue in between the cover paper and the cardboard at the top and bottom of the journal if you don't like the gap. Pressing the journal under weight will help flatten the cover paper somewhat, too.

I have edited this post several times but still might not have found all the errors. I hope it is at least  understandable.  If not, let me know.