I have now bound the signatures into the cover, and also worked on the end papers. In keeping with this being a recycled project, I thought it would be fun to make the end papers from recycled papers. For some time I have been saving commercial envelopes with printed designs inside them – these designs are supposed to make it impossible to read the contents of the envelope. Some of them are really quite attractive, and if you unfold the envelopes you can salvage some quite decent sized pieces.
There was only one design that I had enough of to do this project, a kind of herringbone pattern resembling a twill weave, in a brownish colour which suits the style of the book quite well.
It was a bit dull on its own, so after cutting them to size, I stamped them with an Artistic Stampers music background stamp, using Pumice Stone Distress Ink. I then inked the paper with more Pumice Stone, and then distressed the edges further with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. This is the result.
Unfortunately, as is my wont, I didn’t think far enough ahead, and the end paper which will be stuck to the first and last pages will have to be trimmed to fit, which means that the music on that side will no longer be in the centre… Ah well, you can’t expect perfection all of the time!
Before the end papers are put in, I have to attach the embellishments on the cover so that the brad backs will be concealed behind the end papers. I have decided to leave this until I’ve completed the construction of the inside of the book.
I painted the spine with black acrylic paint in case any of it shows once it is covered when the book is completed.
Stitching the signatures and binding them into the cover, I had to decide whether or not to create a decorative spine using the excess thread from stitching each signature. Jennibellie does this to great effect, stringing beads etc. onto the threads. However, I decided I wanted this little book to have a traditional, vintage look, and to be more masculine, so I decided to create a plain binding. To do this, you have to begin with the thread on the inside, working in figure-of-eight style through the prepared holes in the signatures and in the binding, and finally tying the ends together tightly, cutting off the excess, and to be sure that it won’t come undone, adding a small blob of glue onto the knot. This leaves a very clean and neat finish on the outside of the spine.
It was quite difficult when returning through the centre hole, not to catch the previous thread with the needle – if this happens, it is impossible to pull up the threads tightly, prior to tying.
I used waxed linen thread which is nice and strong. In the above photo, the stitching is complete, but the ends of the threads have yet to be cut off. This is what the spine looks like at this stage:
For an album this size, three holes per signature are sufficient. To finish this off nicely, I painted the spine again with black acrylic paint.
The inside of the front cover looks like this, with the faux leather folded around and glued.
The first signature is on the right. As with all of them, the outermost page is the largest recycled Christmas card. Here it is weighted down with my heat gun – the signatures initially proved very springy and unwilling to lie flat, but they soon settled down. Also, I the book will look better once it has something on the pages to bulk them up a bit.
I painted the red Christmas card with white gesso, and then added some burnt umber acrylic paint around the edges, and also into the corners of the folded faux leather, so that no white would show once the end papers were glued in place.
In the next picture, you can see the different sized cards forming the pages in each signature. I think this will make for an interesting appearance once I paint the borders on the pages.
Because the colour scheme of the finished book is going to be fairly dark, I decided to paint the pages with black gesso rather than white.
I had awful problems with the pages sticking together. To start with, I dried each one vigorously with the heat gun in an attempt to speed up the process, but it only seemed to make it worse – I was probably melting the acrylic in the gesso! When I returned to the book later, this is the sort of thing I found on each double page spread, even happening where there is a gap between the signatures, as in this case:
Horrible, isn’t it. Opening the book, you could hear an awful cracking, crunching sound as the pages popped apart, causing damage each time.
I tried going through the whole book, repainting each page, and this time leaving them to dry naturally for several hours or overnight, and the result was certainly better, but the problem remained. It occurred to me that other people might have experienced the same difficulties, and a Google search showed this to be the case. There were quite a few helpful suggestions as to how to deal with the problem, but most involved inserting an extra page between the art pages, made of either waxed paper or baking parchment. I did not want to do this as it would spoil the overall effect of the book. The best solution I could find was to add a protective layer to each page – some people suggested watered down gel medium but I think the problem would have remained. The addition of a fine dry powder such as talcum powder or cornflour seemed to be the best solution, and this is what I have done.
Tipping a small amount of baby powder into a bowl, I used a very large, soft brush to apply a very small quantity to the pages. So far, so good!