I may have mentioned that I’m getting ready to make a bedtime book for the Peanut last week. I’ve decided that while I’m doing that, I may as well create a tutorial (or more) during the process; mainly because It’s been a while since I last made a hand bound book and talking through it is a fantastic way to learn yourself; or in my case refresh my knowledge.
With the Bean’s debut just around the corner I’m not up to major projects at the moment so I may get a few tutorials done before she comes along and I may just get this one done and follow up once we’re all sorted as a family of four instead of a family of three. We’ll see how things go and I’ll just ask for your patience now and get it out of the way.
The first step in making a hand bound book (outside of getting text together and breaking it up into page sized bits) is getting your signatures (or in my case; a signature) ready. A signature is a group of folded pages that make up a booklet which is then sewn together and attached to the hard cover of your book.
Today I’ll show you how to find the grain in your sheet of paper so that you can cut your paper to make a signature for a hand bound book.
What you will need:
Soft Bristle Brush
When working with artist grade paper especially when you are going to be using artist grade paper for book making you should be aware of which way the paper grain is before you measure and cut your paper for signatures and for accordion folds. Paper grain refers to the direction that most of the fibers that make up the paper lie. During paper making the fibers that make up the paper tend to align themselves in one direction. Most artist grade papers are made using cotton fibers.
The best way to figure out which way the papers grain runs is to bend your sheet of paper. One side will roll easier than the other; the smaller the sheet of paper you are working with the more dramatic the difference will be. The side that bends the easiest is where the grain runs. You will be folding your signature parallel to the grain.
Measuring and Cutting
Now that you know which edge is parallel to your paper grain measure your paper for cutting. For my book I am making a 5.5″x7″ book. I will be cutting sheets for my signature that are 11″ x 7″ with a fold made 5.5″ in on the 11″ length that runs running parallel to the grain of my paper.
I will be using two methods of cutting my paper for this book. the tops and bottoms of my pages will be cut using a blade for a straight edge and for the outside edges of my signatures I’ll be making a deckle edge using water and a brush.