Thursday, 13 May 2010

Our Love of Books both big and Small

John and I both love books, we have many many bookcases full! John loves the old ones, and scours charity shops and car boot sales for lovely old books he remembered as a child!
He loves to have the bookshelves full of old, beautifully covered antique books.
I do too, but being a miniaturist I eye them up , not just to read or to just admire but with a different motive in mind!!

Alot of these old books make fantastic and cheap miniature books. One book can make me up to 20 or so mini ones with beautiful covers!

Now dont get me wrong, alot of these books are far too precious to cut up , and it would be sacrilege to do so but now and then you find the odd one with faults with it like a damaged spine or writing in it etc
Yesterday John came home pleased as punch with a lovely old copy of Jules Verne's '20,000 leagues Under the Sea', an old Boys book.
Straight away I was eyeing up the gorgeous cover, red with black and gold detailing and the pages were gold leaf. 'Don't even think about it' he told me. Hmm spoil spoilt!!

Anyway I wondered why it is was so cheap at £1.49 and on looking at it abit closer found the reason to be half the pages had fallen out so big chunks of the story were missing

Yippe so that meant I could have it, no good to have a unreadable story after all!
So last night whilst watching Midsommer Murders, i got out my wonderful Hobbycraft laptop workstation, turned on the little halogen light and got to work.

I have read a tutorial that suggest just using thick old book covers to cut strips off, using the outer edge for the book spines for mini books that are just to be put on shelves . The edge of a thick covered book of about 2 -3mm just then looks like a book spine when on a shelf and you can decorate with a gold pen to make the detailing on it. . But with such a wonderful design for a cover, I ended up carefully peeling off the entire fabric cover, then using cardboard to make a new book sleeve and covering it with the material. Here's some pics of the process and how some of the books turned out.
Once the cover is made I then cut my pages. The outer edge was gold leaf so this gives a great effect for the mini books! Thats part of the beauty also as the pages are already aged and stained so no tea staining process necessary! Im so lazy anything for quickness and ease!

Cutting paper straight with just scissors is a nightmare as you cant get all the pages even and lined up! I need to look into a guillotine or some sort of cutting tool. If anyone makes books and knows of an easy way to cut paper evenly Id be thrilled to learn from you! Instead for now I just measure my book page size, cut a chunk of paper with scissors and then cut into the width of paper I want. I then glued the spine of the paper pieces onto the spine of the book, pressed while drying between more real size heavy books and voila , here are a few I made last night!

The cover should give me about 10 books I reckon. These will go on Dumbledore's shelves. I'm going to need loads so I am going to be buying some as well as making some myself as I get bored easily lol!

So now I need some more great books like this, in shades of red, blue, brown etc with exciting covers such as this one. Car boot season is starting so Ill be on the rummage for them!

John has a remarkable book about Lawrence of Arabia which has the most beautiful cover in cream and gold with wonderful embossed designs on the cover but I wouldnt dare touch it!!!!!!!!

I forgot to take a pic of the book before beginning. As always , too impatient to get started , but the picture here is more or less the same book in blue. My favourite book I made is the tall thin one with the entire '20,000 leagues under the Sea' on its cover. This was the part of the book spine originally.
I have also cut out the larger title portion on the book cover with the same writing and glued it onto a piece of card. I'm now going to frame this and it will be used as wall hanging. Goodness knows where but it looks good!

For once I have enjoyed making the little closed books. I love to make open ones. I recently spent a bomb on some new paper for making these , to have thinner pages but the paper came and was virtually the same as my own printer paper so what a waste of money. If Nikki is reading this, i think making mini books, both open and closed would be a great subject for her wonderful Question and answer blog as I only know my own way of doing it and find some bits quite tricky. I'm sure there is an easier way to make both open and closed books and would love any tips or tutorials to help out. In the mean time these will do and were fun to make! hope you like them.

When I come back from KDF, Ill show you other things Ive made recently.

Off now to see if I can buy Lola a new outfit for tomorrow, well a girl has to look her best!!


Tabitha Corsica said...

Nice books, Kate. When I make my mini books, I cut the pages using either an Exacto knife and a metal straight edge ruler or my Fiskar paper cutter. I actually like the blade and ruler best.

You're right in there being several ways to make mini books. For my closed books, I line up and even out my pages, clamp them all together with a big bullnose paper clamp on the edge that would open and then apply a slathering of thick white glue to the edges which will become the spine. I make sure the glue has penetrated all the edges and then clamp that side as well. When it is dry, I gilt the "open" edges and then glue the whole thing into prepared cover. Lately, I have added a pretty paper to the top and bottom of the paper stack and the inside of the cover, like you see in "real" old books.

I once saw a tutorial about stitching the pages at the spine but have not tried that. I think I might use the sewing machine for that as it would be able to make amller atitches than I could by hand. As I recall, you were supposed to make mutiple little sewn packets and then glue the spine together and then apply the cover.

I just love mini books. Grace White makes beautiful ones which I am sure you've seen. She is a book conservator in real-life I think.


Lorraine Escapita said...

That is such a great idea, making mini books from big books! I love it! I had the toughest time figuring out how I was going to cut all the pages for my books, I ended up using the computer to print an extremely light colored grid that I could use as my guide while cutting all the tiny sheets. I made one book before with actual print in it and this is how I did it then. Not very professional I'm sure, but my paper cutter has been leaving a weird raised groove on everything I cut.

Well if Nikki gets this on the question and answer blog I'll be happy to post my process in full detail. I've been thinking about doing it for a while but just haven't got to it.

Good luck finding more old books!

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

I really enjoyed reading this. My husband and I love books, too -- when looking at houses what we were most concerned about was finding one with enough wall space for BOOKSHELVES!

It's funny, but I had just read that tutorial you mentioned, about making mini books from the covers of real books. Thank you for your step by step through the process!

Annie said...

Ohhh wow....what a great idea, and not at all 'blasfemic' when it´s an old book missing pages. In deep respect for the broken book it´s getting a new and worshipped life as a miniature book... What else could it want ;0)

I collect old books to, think I have to look for some to devide into several minibooks. Thanks for sharing the idea!

Ascension said...

Una gran idea!!!!
De un solo libro, sacas un monton y ademas te han quedado genial!!!
Gracias por todas las explicaciones.
besitos ascension

Ara said...

These are so great!! And what a wonderful idea!!! I don't think I would have ever thought of that. Now I need to make sure I keep my eyes open at garage sales for interesting book covers!!! hugs, ara

Michelle's Mad World said...

I remember the wonderful books you made for Debbie, the owl and mushroom ones...simply superb! I was so taken with them. :o))

I hadn't thought about using old paper backs that are past their best. I love books too and have a large collection.

Have you considered scanning the covers before you start cutting them up, as that way you'd get even more books?! :o))

I haven't thought about what I'm wearing yet, but I must!lol

Michelle xxxx

Never Enough Time said...

Your books look great Kate. I would also love to learn more of bookmaking on Nikki's Question and Answer.