1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

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1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Alitogata » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:38 pm

OK.. I did it. This is my first ever attempt on binding a hard cover sketchbook.
It is not made with the coptic stitch binding that misses the middle part of the cover but with the stitching method that real book binders use.

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I used a very cheap school watercolour paper because I didn't want to waste my "good" paper if something went wrong. So I bought a cheap school watercolour block on A3 size ( though I made the sketchbook at about A5 size). For the cover I used the cartons of the block and a sheet of velvet like paper ( those that are used for craft making ). For the stitching I used dental floss and I also used a multi purpose white glue that I used it to stick the velvet paper on the cartons and reinforce the back of the stitched signatures.

In order to attach the cover on the sketchbook I used two pieces of painting canvas. ( I forgot to photograph these though- they are on the underside of the cover on the first and the last page).

The sketchbook turned out fine, it opens completely flat and looks soo pretty with its velvet dark red cover.

This is what what happens when the weather is awful and the artist is depressed and in a creative blockage. :D
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Alitogata » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:50 pm

"Thoughts"

Now I have to make one with my "good" watercolour paper and with a fake leather cover. And not forget to attach a rubber band or something in order to hold the sketchbook firmly closed.

All these of course, when the weather will get better because currently I'm stuck inside and I'm not getting out to look for book binding supplies, as the roads and the pavements are covered with ice and lot of people had nasty accidents these days when they slipped and fall on the frozen pavements.

It snows in Athens.. Can you believe this? :) It is still sunny but frozen.
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby mdmattin » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:21 pm

Very impressive! Can you say more about the stitching method you used?
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Alitogata » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:04 pm

Certainly. The type of stitching is the same as the coptic stitch one. In and out of the signatures holes ( that you open in advance) and knotting each stitch with the thread of the previous signature of the binding on the same stitch raw.

The difference is that the first signature is stitched twice in a zick zack style and the knot that holds the thread in place as you start stitching, is on the outside, and that because the back of the finished sketchbook will be covered with the cover in this version of binding..

So the stitching goes as following:
First signature, knot on the outside, you get the thread in from the first hole and you take it out from the second hole. The thread goes in at the third hole, out on the fourth etc. When you reach the end of all holes, you do the same thing on the opposite direction.

When you reach the start point, you put on top of the first signature the second one, you get in from the first hole of the second signature, out from the second hole and secure this stitch with a knot that catches the thread of the bottom signature. You do the same for each stitch that comes from inside out, and at the end of the second signature, you place on top of that the third signature.
Only the first signature needs double stitching. The rest not.

After finishing the stitching. trim with a craft knife and a metal ruler the edges and measure with a ruler the exact dimensions of the trimmed, now bound, signatures in order to cut at exactly the same size the cartons for the covers. ( leave one two mm if you want to protect better the edges with the cover).

Then catch all the bound signatures with two bulldog clips very close to the stitches in order to squeeze them together, measure the width of the back ( in order to cut later a carton at this size) and apply glue on the back's outside where the threads are. I applied it with a brush but you can use a painting knife, your fingers .. something it doesn't matter. Let this dry and proceed with the cover.

The cover is easier that you could ever imagine. It is actually two rectangular cartons at the size of the sketchbook and one rectangular narrow one that is placed on the back of the sketchbook.
Glue these on the back of the material you'll use for the covers, leather plastic or velvet paper as I used with the following way:

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The margins are folded and glued in the inside of the cartons and secured with paper clips until they dry . Cut off whatever is not needed of the covering material, f.e the corners, or whatever excesses of the covering material in the middle part. ( what is needed to be removed you'll find out yourself depending how you fold the edges). In any case rub well the cartons with something flat in order to glue them flat on the covering material and make sure that you'll glue well the margins too.

When whatever you glued dries here is how you attach the cover on the sketchbook. ( very very easy).
You need two pieces of thicker paper, or fabric, or whatever you like at the double size of the size of the bound pages. Fold this in half and glue the one folded side on the first page of the sketchbook and the other side on the underside of the front cover. Do the same for the back and then place the finished sketchbook under something heavy until the glue dries. So simple!
I used two pieces of painting canvas ( I didn't have something else available but next time I'll use these super pretty marble papers- that look sooo nice!!! )

Don't glue the back of the sketchbook because you need it to be free standing in order to allow the book to open flat.

See at the scans below how my sketchbook looks like.

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This is the underside of the front cover. The canvas holds the bound pages inside the cover and hides the glued in the underside margins of the covering material ( whatever this is).

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And here is the back of the cover. Unattached in order to allow the book to open flat.

That's it. It wasn't that difficult as I thought and it took me more time to wait the glue to dry than to stitch it and make the covers.
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby mdmattin » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:05 pm

Thank you! A lot of helpful tips there, thanks for such a comprehensive explanation.
So the glue on the back is there to help keep the signatures together?
I have noticed that with just the coptic stitching they start to pull apart after a while (keeping it in my back pocket and sitting on it probably doesn't help).
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Alitogata » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:47 pm

mdmattin wrote:Thank you! A lot of helpful tips there, thanks for such a comprehensive explanation.
So the glue on the back is there to help keep the signatures together?
I have noticed that with just the coptic stitching they start to pull apart after a while (keeping it in my back pocket and sitting on it probably doesn't help).
Matthew


No the glue on the back is there in order to keep the signatures more compact and the stitching secured.
The coptic stitching is actually the same with the other stitching the only thing that is different is how you stitch the first signature and that the stitches are not visible under the book cover. But it is the same kind of stitch.
If your coptic stitching is falling apart I would suggest to try some other kind of stronger thread. And make double knots on each stitch. My coptic stitch sketchbooks never failed though I'm not careful with my sketchbooks either. ( I abuse them.. :twisted: :lol: )
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Andre Jute » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:24 am

Ooh, very nice, Marialena.

Even the cheap paper won't be wasted -- you can use it for charcoal or pencil or crayon studies.

I'm very interested in how you made this book, because I've just bought a pad of thirty A3 sheets in various colors of a sort of Italian Ingres paper, Fabriano Tiziano, that I want to make into an A4 book for oil pencil and watercolor sketches. I found that Canson's Mi-Teintes, which is similar, takes watercolor well, but I like the soft Italian colors of Tiziano better than the Mi-Teintes colors which I anyway already have in other sketchbooks. (You can buy Mi-Teintes as A4 sheets at most art shops; it's great stuff for not too wet watercolors, with a choice of two textured sides.)

I too was thinking of marbled endpapers and have bought a marbling kit to make my own, but the paper merchant you shared with me, Vintage Paper, is having a sale on English-made marbled papers.

As an alternative, I thought of canvas painted with acrylics (just for the quick drying) as endpapers. I assume you know you can paint on gessoed canvas in watercolors; just don't use your best sable brushes; if you do, it might be smart to make the paintings abstract because soon or later some extra water will get in there and ruin a representative painting.

Also, depending on how wet and tidily you paint, you may want to consider a fold-over flap, or even a hardcover foldover to put under the page you're actually working on; I say this because I'm always having to put scrap paper under my pages to prevent water running over the edge of the page and into the pristine unused part of the book, and scrap paper in the spine edge at the fold too, purpose to soak up excess water before it ruins clean pages. Of course if you stick to the middle of the page, those considerations don't arise.

Mind you, I think your cover could wear sooner than you think. A sketchbook gets a lot of handling. Cloth from an old shirt or something might have been better, like Matthew's jeans sketchbook; I have a couple of thirty-year old cotton shirts set aside for covering books, one blue, one pale tan. A craft lady was eyeing the fawn pages in my plein air sketchbook (you remember, the paper we dyed with tea) in the summer and asking if I had a full imperial sheet I could sell her, which she wanted to cover a large scrapbook; she said cotton paper makes a lasting cover but of course white would get dirty soon.

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Alitogata » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:04 am

What is the weight of the Fabriano Ingres paper you bought? I have searched up and down whole stores to find Ingres at 250 gsm and I haven't manage to find it anywhere.
Canson Mi-Teintes is awful with watercolours. It is not only its surface that sucks the paint but buckles like hell.

As for the cheap paper, I tried it and it is ok. Not the heavier and of the top quality one, but it didn't buckle either.

I love marbled papers and I would like to make some myself, but I find the way of making them a bit too messy and I haven't the proper space to make and dry marbled papers in my house. I don't even have enough space to store my paintings anymore. :lol:

I know that this sketchbook's cover can easily be ruined and stained with water or paint, but this particular one was made as a test. Next time I'll use fake leather for the covers, Strathmore 500 mixed media paper and marbled papers for attaching the cover on the sketchbook. I saw on You Tube though another nice cover that has real leather on the spine and marbled papers on the outside of the covers. Can you imagine sketchbooks with such covers!! Wow..!!
As for the unused pages under the one I'm working on.. well .. I assume that the best way to have sketchbooks in pristine condition is not to use them at all. What I mean is that I can't trouble my self more in order to protect my sketchbooks from my self.

Tell me now your dirty little secret? Did you sell the paper to this lady?? :lol:

Announcement now!!
My next project is to make my own watercolours. Some of them with pigments and some of them made by pebbles I collected on the beach.
I'm now at the stage of gathering the equipment I'm going to need and I have stuck with the muller that I'm going to need to mix the pigments. This thing costs a hell of money.. up to 150+ euros for a decent one. I have searched the whole web upside down to find a reasonably priced muller but...nothing. I think that I'm going to order a custom made one made by marble. It will probably cost me less than buying one of these glass ones.
But why are these things so expensive? I don't get it. They are not made of crystal.. just glass...

Any ideas??
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Andre Jute » Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:01 am

Alitogata wrote:What is the weight of the Fabriano Ingres paper you bought? I have searched up and down whole stores to find Ingres at 250 gsm and I haven't manage to find it anywhere.
Canson Mi-Teintes is awful with watercolours. It is not only its surface that sucks the paint but buckles like hell.


There's a really very heavy pastel card of or with Mi-Teintes Ingres glued to it called Pastelmat, well over 250gsm. Heaviest Mi-Teintes or Titian paper is 160gsm. I don't find that Mi-Teintes buckles all that badly. Could it be that I have a lighter touch than you? I would have thought that unlikely.

Alitogata wrote:I love marbled papers and I would like to make some myself, but I find the way of making them a bit too messy and I haven't the proper space to make and dry marbled papers in my house. I don't even have enough space to store my paintings anymore. :lol:


We have a "mud room" in our house, a room for people in wellington boots to take them off, which we use as a scullery since the stable yard, on which it opens, was paved with cobblestones about two centuries ago. I don't think a little colored water splashed in it will do too much harm.

Alitogata wrote:. Next time I'll use fake leather for the covers, Strathmore 500 mixed media paper and marbled papers for attaching the cover on the sketchbook. I saw on You Tube though another nice cover that has real leather on the spine and marbled papers on the outside of the covers. Can you imagine sketchbooks with such covers!! Wow..!!


Not smart for a working sketchbook. The marbled papers you can by are 70lb paper at most. Maybe a book like that will be okay if you're binding finished art. But marbled end-papers will be good on a working sketchbook as they're protected.

Alitogata wrote:Tell me now your dirty little secret? Did you sell the paper to this lady?? :lol:


Wanna come see my etchings? No, I didn't have an imperial sheet of the tea stain paper; if I did, I would have given it to her; the biggest I made was a quarto. I told her to go home, clear the coal out her bath, brew a pot of strong tea, and spread newspaper across the bathroom floor. I haven't seen her since.

Alitogata wrote:Announcement now!!
My next project is to make my own watercolours. Some of them with pigments and some of them made by pebbles I collected on the beach.
I'm now at the stage of gathering the equipment I'm going to need and I have stuck with the muller that I'm going to need to mix the pigments. This thing costs a hell of money.. up to 150+ euros for a decent one. I have searched the whole web upside down to find a reasonably priced muller but...nothing. I think that I'm going to order a custom made one made by marble. It will probably cost me less than buying one of these glass ones.
But why are these things so expensive? I don't get it. They are not made of crystal.. just glass...

Any ideas??


There's what appears to be a cast concrete mixing bowl and muller at Lidl for about a tenner. I looked at it and decided the business end of the muller is a bit small.

I almost ordered this box set of restorer's traditional pigments
http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=72 together
with the 2in muller for 32 euro at the top of this page
http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=11
together with further mediums so that I would be able to mix watercolors, oils, egg tempera, gouache, etc
http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=44
all from Zecchi in Florence, but decided it is too much trouble mixing your own paints.

There are more sources for mullers, though I imagine they all come from just a few glassblowers:
A selection of sizes from Jacksons in London, a good source if you can bulk up the order to where you don't pay postage, including what looks similar to the Zecchi muller for a better price:
https://www.jacksonsart.com/search/?q=glass+muller
My own arts supplies pusher in Cork offers this 60mm muller for 25 euro
https://corkartsupplies.com/Glass-Mulle ... 0mm-G01705
but before you get excited, check out the price of the mixing plate
https://corkartsupplies.com/Glass-Mixin ... 1cm-G01706
Anyway, I'd buy a piece of glass from a local hardware store and save the postage.

I'd check the local makers of funerary marble pieces for the price of a small piece of flat marble and custom made muller, which should be quick on their lathe, especially since you'd be keen to take their least popular color of marble, uniform pale grey.
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Re: 1st attempt on a hard cover fully bound sketchbook

Postby Alitogata » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:57 pm

Andre Jute wrote:There's a really very heavy pastel card of or with Mi-Teintes Ingres glued to it called Pastelmat, well over 250gsm. Heaviest Mi-Teintes or Titian paper is 160gsm. I don't find that Mi-Teintes buckles all that badly. Could it be that I have a lighter touch than you? I would have thought that unlikely.


Perhaps. I never said that I have the lightest of touches. :lol: But there is always the possibility that there are faulty bunches of Mi-Teintes papers. So the quality of paper is not the same everywhere. Which is the rule regarding the Fabrianos. Half people say that are fine and the other half that are awful.

We have a "mud room" in our house, a room for people in wellington boots to take them off, which we use as a scullery since the stable yard, on which it opens, was paved with cobblestones about two centuries ago. I don't think a little colored water splashed in it will do too much harm.


This is the reason why large houses are very convenient. You can mess up completely one room and spare the rest of this mess. The problems of course start when you need to housekeep the whole place. But I assume that those who have the large houses have the proper staff to do the house keeping.
I don't have the luxury of a large place but I currently have the luxury of my own place that means that I don't have to share the whole of the building with anyone else. Rigel is at the yard and it is scary enough to discourage anyone to get in. And that is a great advantage.. not having anyone to share the place. ( but if it was a little bit larger it would be perfect.)

Not smart for a working sketchbook. The marbled papers you can by are 70lb paper at most. Maybe a book like that will be okay if you're binding finished art. But marbled end-papers will be good on a working sketchbook as they're protected.


I agree. I will probably buy marbled papers to attach the covers on the sketchbook and not for the outside for the covers. Leather is currently out of question as I don't have the proper tools to cut it and I don't know how to handle it at all. ( how it reacts when you try to use if for book binding, what sort of glue is needed etc).

Wanna come see my etchings? No, I didn't have an imperial sheet of the tea stain paper; if I did, I would have given it to her; the biggest I made was a quarto. I told her to go home, clear the coal out her bath, brew a pot of strong tea, and spread newspaper across the bathroom floor. I haven't seen her since.


Yeap.. I wanna see your etchings.
So you took care of the further training of this kind lady!! Well done Andre :wink: :lol:


There's what appears to be a cast concrete mixing bowl and muller at Lidl for about a tenner. I looked at it and decided the business end of the muller is a bit small.

I almost ordered this box set of restorer's traditional pigments
http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=72 together
with the 2in muller for 32 euro at the top of this page
http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=11
together with further mediums so that I would be able to mix watercolors, oils, egg tempera, gouache, etc
http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=44
all from Zecchi in Florence, but decided it is too much trouble mixing your own paints.

There are more sources for mullers, though I imagine they all come from just a few glassblowers:
A selection of sizes from Jacksons in London, a good source if you can bulk up the order to where you don't pay postage, including what looks similar to the Zecchi muller for a better price:
https://www.jacksonsart.com/search/?q=glass+muller
My own arts supplies pusher in Cork offers this 60mm muller for 25 euro
https://corkartsupplies.com/Glass-Mulle ... 0mm-G01705
but before you get excited, check out the price of the mixing plate
https://corkartsupplies.com/Glass-Mixin ... 1cm-G01706
Anyway, I'd buy a piece of glass from a local hardware store and save the postage.

I'd check the local makers of funerary marble pieces for the price of a small piece of flat marble and custom made muller, which should be quick on their lathe, especially since you'd be keen to take their least popular color of marble, uniform pale grey.


Please allow me to inform you regarding some of the pigments. All earths, sepias, umbers, ochres and the synthetic ones are cheap like hell. And they are used for mixing in building materials like cement, tile glues, plaster etc. They are the same stuff with the art pigments and are recommended for artistic applications too ( like frescoes etc) and the price is in most of the pigments per kilo.

http://www.xtools.gr/274-%CF%83%CE%BA%C ... E%AD%CF%82

The above is not the only hardware store that sells such kind of pigments as a building material. You can get such kind of colours everywhere. How fine their powder will be depends on how well you are going to make them with the muller.

As for the more exotic and expensive ones, then there is the pigments for icon painting and include the original cobalts and cadmiums that are more expensive of course than the earth colours, but available again in larger quantity and better price than the ready made one ( per ready made ml).

http://www.arttime.gr/index.php?route=p ... t_id=17199

( if you can't see it in English click on the top right corner - I post the page in its English version).

Muller:
The handle of the muller is the problem and not the surface.
The cork art supplies is actually selling a 20x30 piece of glass ( A4) for 45 euros!! (+ shipping according to weight).
I can get a marble same size for 10 euros.

Now the handles that are 5-6 cm are too small trust me. The pestle of my mortar has larger diameter than these.
But check the prices at Jacksons ( who is notorious for the the shipping costs it charges too, but anyway). The 5cm glass handle costs 25 pounds the one with the double diameter, 63 pounds! Interesting eh??!!
The one at 7cm looks decent but again the final price depends on the shipping costs. How much Jackson's charges per kilo! :roll: :lol:
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