27 May 2015

bookbinding inspiration

Reading through comments on a recent post by my dear friend Kate (aka Cathy Johnson), I remembered a pack of sample watercolor papers purchased several years ago from Legion Paper. Kate mentioned binding a journal of a similar sampler pack.

Nearing the end of this journal, I've been considering buying more paper to bind a few more. But why not use what I have? First I cut the Bockingford tinted samples in half to make a smaller purse-size journal. Then I used most of the other sample sheets as-is, folding once to form signatures.

I checked in the old steamer trunk that holds my bookbinding materials for cover boards, planning on binding both of these with an open spine & Coptic stitch. But I found these two book covers, bug-chewed text blogs removed, that were rescued from a discard pile at a library sale years ago. Totally unexpected, BOTH of them fit the signatures I just made! The only adjustment needed was to remove two papers from the larger set, since the original book was rather thin. With the title "Near to Nature's Heart", the small book may be dedicated to nature sketches.

After cutting and folding new signatures, I leave them under this weight (an antique iron from Bill's grandmother) a few days before sewing. It helps the paper hold it's new shape.


  1. Beautiful! I'm putting some Niddegan and Frankfort into an old book and having to cut the pages down!

  2. Oh, I do love Niddegan! Too bad it's hard to find.

    I was completely "gobsmacked" to find that the papers fit the covers perfect without cutting!

    1. If I were using my grandmother's wildflower book, the Niddegan would fit just right too. But...nope!

    2. Not bloody likely to use that book, no. You are blessed to have it!

  3. Hi, Vicky. I'm a fairly new subscriber here. I so enjoy getting your posts in my mailbox, and I really love this idea. I'm just learning how to bind my own books. I've been thinking about using an old book cover, but I'm wondering if I should be concerned about any archival concerns?

  4. Welcome, Susan! Both of these covers are about 100 years old, so I did wonder about that. I knew they were not of monetary value due to the pages being so bug-chewed and falling apart. But I really don't worry much about archival concerns --- when I'm gone, my kids will probably just through my sketchbooks away (unless a grandchild or two rescues them!)

  5. Thank you for taking the time to respond, Vicky. I would like to give this a try sometime. I love the inside front cover of the journal you posted today (June 4). I'm also enjoying going back through your archives.


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