Book artists are emerging in the art world in unprecedented numbers. Making handmade books is a great way to show your creativity. Bindings hold together the portfolio of pages that comprise a book. Sewn, folded and pasted bindings are the customary methods for constructing bindings but they can also be fabricated with non-traditional materials.
Stab Binding Variations
Spectacular and artistic bindings complement the structure of the book, but they do not have to be difficult or time consuming. One of the simplest binding methods taught at many book binding workshops is the stab binding. This method traditionally uses embroidery thread or waxed linen thread sewn in a particular pattern to hold the book together. Pipe cleaners, thin ribbon, wire, raffia, hemp cord or yarn may be used instead of the more traditional materials. Just make sure not to use anything that breaks easily while lacing the binding together.
No Sew Bindings
There are techniques for book binding that do not require hand sewing. For instance, post and screw bindings are perfect for scrapbooks because they allow for more pages to be added or removed by simply undoing the screws. Another fun method to bind a book is to use o-rings which can be purchased in a multitude of sizes to suit your needs. Rubber bands can be threaded through the holes of your book and held by nails or a straight object of your choosing. Seek unconventional materials to join together the pages of a book like hardware staples, pre-made hinges from hardware stores, safety pins, plastic tubing, shoe laces and beaded pull chains.
Bindings can be made or constructed with virtually any type of material -- just let your imagination run wild. Be environmentally conscious when searching for unique bindings -- things like twist ties from bread, recycled phone and electrical wire utilize materials that would otherwise be thrown in the landfills. Eyelets, brads or grommets can be used as bindings for a small books. Taped and pasted bindings are simplistic methods that are based upon Japanese butterfly books; when this method is used, the book will fan out when it is opened. Use cutting and folding techniques that transform a simple piece of paper into a cover, pages and binding for a book. If you make your own paper one simple binding method is to put one edge of the damp papers in a book press or flat edged clamps. As the sheets dry in the book press, they will adhere together permanently.
Searching for inventive materials to use for book binding should be one of the most enjoyable parts of your journey. Look in unusual places like thrift stores, hardware stores, your kitchen, craft stores and even dumpsters (wear gloves) -- you will be surprised at what you find to generate your next masterpiece.
- Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals & Albums; Shereen La Plantz; 2000
- The Encyclopedia of Papermaking & Bookbinding; Heidi Reimer-Epp, et al.; 2002
- The Penland Book of Handmade Books; Jane LaFeria, et al.; 2004
Tia Paitsel is an entrepreneur who has worked in positions ranging from home organization to computer repair. She graduated cum laude from Adams State College with a B.A. in advertising/marketing and a minor in fine arts.