A long time ago, I wrote a post on six common mistakes to avoid when making your own DIY books. I had just started making my own books at the time, and the mistakes I documented then sound hilarious and highly “beginner” mistakes 🙂
Having spent some time doing a lot more bookbinding since then, here are five more mistakes that I’ve found since then, that “work-in-progress” bookbinders might have to grapple with:
One: Warping of book boards when making hard cover books: This is a common issue that you need to figure out when making hard cover books. Due to differences in the materials that get glued together – the board and the end paper, you often find that your book board curves inside out or outside in, after drying. Obviously you want to avoid this! Drumming is a common technique that you can use to stop this from happening.
Two: Not using enough glue when attaching your cover and end pages, leading to “air bubbles” in your cover: This is a common issue when you start making multiple journals and are trying to economize on your supplies. Say you’re making a leather bound journal – one of your last steps would be to glue your leather on to your book board or your end pages. If you don’t use a liberal amount of glue, the leather won’t attach evenly, leading to small air bubbles once the glue dries. This leads to an uneven texture for your book cover, which can be annoying!
Three: Not using waxed thread for sewing your text blocks: Most bookbinding kits now come with waxed thread, but there are enough tutorials that talk about using any thread you find at home, or using beeswax to cover your thread in wax. The problem is that bookbinding typically requires fairly long pieces of thread (tens of inches), and its very easy for so much thread to get entangled as you sew. And applying wax on your own does not work that well easily. So I recommend buying waxed linen thread for your DIY books from the get go.
Four: Not cutting headbands slightly thinner than the thickness of the spine: There are two ways you can attach headbands into your books. You can either sew them into your textblock – this takes time but looks beautiful and is the more traditional way of adding headbands to your books. Or you can glue headbands on to your spine. I follow the second method as its faster and still looks pretty. When following this method, make sure that you cut your headband to be a bit narrow-er in width, compared to the width of your spine. If not, your headband will scrunch up when you open the book which doesn’t look very neat.
Five: Not pressing your newly glued books for long enough: Lastly, be patient when you’re waiting for your DIY books to dry. This can take a few days, depending upon the temperature. If you don’t wait for enough time, your books will warp after you remove the weights and your book continues to dry. So be patient. I like to dry my books for atleast 2-3 days, and sometimes it can take a week!
Categories: Book binding, Creativity
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