Why would you make a book by hand?

handmade booksAfter attending a Book Making Workshop, I can answer that question with another question.

Why wouldn’t you make a book by hand?

Various art venues around the north east run craft workshops, but I’ve never looked at the BALTIC before. I randomly saw a tweet promoting a Book Making Workshop as part of their Book Market festivities, and signed up along with a friend from work.

I’d done book making before in a workshop at work, and we made hardback notebooks using newsprint paper. They had book board covers, covered in book cloth.

These ones are a little more rustic. We used a simple 3-hole pamphlet stitch, and sewing the pages gives a much better finish than simply stapling them.

We experimented with simple covers, and our tutor Deirdre was at pains to communicate that a book needs to be handsome as well as functional, so we were given carte blanche to decorate them in any way we wished!

Marbled cover and marbled end papers with washi tape

handmade book

These marbled papers were beautiful. I used this particular paper as a cover, and I love how it looks like oil on a puddle.

handmade book

Here’s the inside, where I used a contrasting end paper and secured it with washi tape. I’d never used washi tape before and after this I don’t think I’ll use it again, but hey ho.

Marbled cover

handmade book

This has a marbled cover and then two different marbled end papers, but I haven’t included the inside because I need to cut the edges off with a scalpel to neaten it up!

Plain purple card cover

handmade book

This one is super simple, just featuring a purple card cover. I’ve actually folded the edges over to almost make dust flaps but unfortunately that then takes up two of the pages so I probably won’t use it like that.

Red cover with book board and book cloth

handmade book

This one was my favourite! It’s got a soft spine, but I used book board glued to the end papers to give it some rigidity. Then I glued book cloth to the outside to make it look more professional.

handmade book

Here’s the inside, featuring more of that purple card as a contrasting end paper!

I don’t know if I’ll ever use book making for anything other than mini sketchbooks or notebooks for myself, but I’ve learned from bitter experience that just because you can make something doesn’t mean people want to buy it!

Have you ever tried book making? What has put you off giving it a go?


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