Saturday, November 15, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Creating- Day 1- One Book...

Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Creating!! For the next 12 days, I am going to share with you the items that I am making as gifts for my loved ones for Christmas. All of them will be handmade and they will cover several different crafts, not just the papercrafts that you are used to seeing from me.

Most of the ideas for these gifts have come from others and I will try to give you as much info as I can about where to find instructions if I don't have the complete ones on here for you. I wanted to do more handmade this year and hope that maybe you will be inspired to do the same by something that you see. I also did this for a more selfish reason... by posting these ideas to my blog over the next 12 days, I am hoping to have all my Christmas crafting done by Thanksgiving as my 12 days end the day before Thanksgiving. (hopefully, I can stay on top of my schedule so that actually happens! LOL!)

So on to today's gift. My DH is a tough guy to buy for...if he wants it, he will usually just go out and buy it and the things that he hasn't bought, it's only because they are REALLY expensive so out of my budget. But he really loves high quality things and craftsmanship. He also likes keeping travel journals, sketching, and notebooks around to keep track of things.

So a few weeks back, I was in Barnes and Noble and saw a gorgeous leather bound journal that was in an old style that was just his style, but it was $50 and I didn't want to spend that much for just a journal. I decided that I could re-create it and make it myself. Nevermind the fact that I have never done ANY bookbinding. LOL!

I quickly set about on an internet search for bookbinding tutorials and here are the sites that inspired and tutored me through this process:

And here is what I ended up with. Overall, this was fairly simple to do once I figured out the basics of the stitching.


These were my basic tools. I bought nice 8 1/2 x 11 "resume" paper from Walmart and simply scored it in half with my Fiskars trimmer so that the book is 100 pages, sized 5 1/2 x 8 1/2. I also used a pencil, my paper piercer (this one tool is ESSENTIAL for this process!), and waxed linen (although I used chocolate brown for my final book.)


When you are creating a handbound book using the stitching method, you create signatures which you can see here. My signatures were 6 full sheets each.

For the piercing of my signatures and my leather, I created these templates so that I could be sure that everything would line up correctly. The left piece is my signature template and then the piece on the right is my template that I used for my leather. The way that this book is constructed, the entire binding of the pages and cover was all done as one binding (that's why you can see the binding on the outside of the leather.) If you are doing this style, I recommend doing a practice run with just some extra signatures first just to get the feel of how the book goes together without the possibility of messing up your leather.

I was lucky to find an entire leather skin locally for a great price and it's beautiful. But that meant that I had to cut it to size for my journal. I cut it to 15 x 9 because I wanted the journal to be a tri-fold finished piece and that gave me enough to fold around to the front. I simply used chalk and some old quilting templates to mark out my leather and cut it with my good sewing shears.

Again, I used my piercer and template to prep my leather for stitching. This really was not a big enough hole for sewing and took tons of work and wear on my fingers to actually stitch through the leather by hand. By far, this was the most difficult part of the process.


And here is the finished book open. I used some leather sealant (that DH uses on his hiking boots) to "finish" off the edges of my cut leather.

Here is a good view of the way that the signatures fit into the book.

The leather was probably not the best choice for my cover of a first project though as it was very difficult to work with and my fingers are VERY sore from pushing/pulling my needle through the leather, but I think that Ben will like it. For a first attempt at bookbinding, I think that it turned out pretty well and foresee some more play in this area in the future!

Overall, I am pleased with how it came out. The one at Barnes & Noble is probably prettier, but I am hoping that this one will mean more because I made it myself.
BTW, don't be intimidated that all of the 12 days ideas are going to be this involved. I promise you, they won't be. This was my most difficult project and even it wasn't really that difficult. I'll see you tomorrow for Day2!!


Kerry said...

This is beautiful Christi! Props to you for trying something new! I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!

Jenn said...

Wow! I'm sure your DH will love it, it's gorgeous. Can't wait for the next 11 days.

Sharon said...

WOW, it is beautiful and I am so impressed and inspired. What a great ideal. I'm thinking you might be married to my husband though....sounds just like him.

Jess said...

Wow, this is fantastic! What a work of love. Thanks for sharing!

Rita said...

What a thoughtful, wonderful gift. I would never be brave enough to try and make my own leather journal. You are oh so talented -- I am so excited to see all of your other projects and get some ideas! My mojo has been on a serious vacation this year in general! Thank goodness for your inspiration.

jo said...

That is gorgeous Christi and I'm usre ben will love it!

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