Archive for the ‘Bookbinding’ Category

Welcome Back

Since this months The Virtual Crafting Challenge features the Letter B, it seemed a good time to gather my bookbinding tutorials together for you. If you are new to bookbinding you will find this series a great place to get started.

How to Colour Your Thread for Bookbinding

This film shows you how to colour your thread. Sorry the lighting is a bit dark, it was the first video tutorial I made.

Natural coloured linen thread is widely available, if you are on a tight budget or short of space, then colouring your thread is the ideal way to go. You can co ordinate your thread to your projects, without the need for many many threads on hand.

If you have enjoyed this film or have any questions, do leave me a comment :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

February 2010′s theme is:


Great I hear you say, but now what? Well for those of you who would like a few ideas to get you started, here are some  colours, products and techniques to help you choose, where you could go with this month’s theme. Feel free to use your own ideas for the letter B.


  • Blue
  • Bronze
  • Brown
  • Beige


  • Brads
  • Beads
  • Board
  • Bells


  • Batik
  • Bookbinding
  • Beading
  • Box Making


  • Bottles
  • Boxes


The most important thing about this challenge is that you have fun and explore. Don’t feel pressured to have a finished item at the end of the month. Explore different styles and techniques either in person, if you have the suppliers or through research, looking online. You learn so much more when you take away the rules and just PLAY.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I will be reviewing the following book

Embroidered Books By Isobel Hall

Publisher: Batsford

ISBN: 978 1 9063 8813 3

Why I ordered this book

Having more experience in bookbinding now, I was looking for some new inspiration, for decorating the covers of my books. I already have books detailing the binding itself and I really wanted some visual inspiration of finished works.


The first section of the book deals with construction of  the books.

The styles mentioned are;

Books with embroidered spines, Post and screws, Concertina style books, Shaped books, Carousel books, Waterfall Pages and box books.

The next section covers Techniques and Materials

Cocoon Strippings, Plaster of Paris, Inkjet printing, Glue Sticks, Metal relief foils, Texture effects, Marbling, working with Waxes, Using Grungeboard and Using Pulp Papers.

At the back of the book are a list of UK suppliers and also a selection of other books the reader may find of interest.


The finished examples of books shown are very beautiful. The list of techniques and binding styles was impressive.


The step by steps included with the finished picture are not a detailed guide, so it is not your usual project based book. The descriptions are more how to combine techniques together. You need a thorough knowledge of various materials and products before you will be able to follow along with this book.

I am new to fabric and had no idea what the materials were or how to use them. Since the only instruction in the book is written, I felt it needed to go into more detail on what to do. This book would have benefited by having a glossary of products, so newbies like myself could look up what something was.

Sadly the descriptions for me left me with many questions and I wasn’t able to follow any of the projects. I would need to do a lot of research away from the book, to discover what the products were, and how to use them before I could used this book as it was intended. The earlier list of items needed at the start of each project disappeared, so I was having to read the entire project to find out what I needed, only to find I didn’t have them.

Summing Up

My first glance through this book impressed me, wonderful images of finished books, the first few projects looked much like the tutorials I write; with a list of products you need followed by a list of instructions and I thought I was going to enjoy this book. Sadly when I started reading it, I became lost in a wealth of products I didn’t recognise with no where to find out about them, within the book. Had this book stated it was for an experienced fabric artist,  I would have known that I didn’t have the required skills to follow it.

Fewer projects but with more detail of how to complete the project would have helped. I write this from a position of having NO prior knowledge or experience with working with fabric. If I had already known what the materials were and how to use them, then this would be a good book to encourage me with ideas of how to combine techniques.

I still enjoy the images of the finished books and will use them to inspire me with products I already own. If I later acquire more skills with the fabrics mentioned in this book, then I will revisit it with new eyes.

Who is this book For?

Someone who is used to working with fabric and already has techniques under their belt. Looking for ways of combining their skills. This book would not be good for a new bookbinder or someone new to using fabrics.

This review tried to be fair to the author, who is obviously very talented and knowledgeable. Her finished work is very inspiring. Note to the publisher’s please add something in the back cover or inside jacket, to say this is for experienced fabric crafters. I bought this book online and that was all the info I had before purchase. It was only once I was looking through the book that I discovered the need for prior knowledge.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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The other day a friend on mine Dymphie took a photo of her collection of books on bookbinding and it inspired me to create a list of my top five favorite books on the subject. Would any other bookbinders out there like to contribute their top five favourites? Either leave your list as a comment below or maybe create your list on your own website and link it back to here in a comment.

1.  Volume 1 Non Adhesive Binding; Books without Glue or Paste


2.  Cover to Cover

  • Author: Shereen La Plantz
  • Publisher: Lark Books www.larkbooks.com
  • ISBN: 13: 978 – 0 – 937274-87-3
  • ISBN: 10: 0-937274-87-9

3. Expressive Handmade Books

  • Author: Alisa Golden
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • ISBN: 1-4027-2051-3

4. Hand Bookbinding A Manual of Instruction

5. Bookbinding A Beginners Manual

  • Author: John Ashman
  • Publisher: Adam & Charles Black
  • ISBN: 0-7136-2113-3

All of these books would be suitable for beginners, I’ll do a separate list another day, of my top five books for the more experienced binder. Here’s why I love the above books.

1. Excellent detailed instructions for many kinds of binding styles. When you want to progress and just want instructions on how to complete a selection of different bindings, without endless pictures of finished books, get this book. Excellent reference book, but might overwhelm a total novice.

2. Excellent first book for bookbinding. Plenty of inspiring pictures, with a good selection of binding styles, described step by step.

3. This would also be an excellent place to start for the new bookbinder. inspiring pictures and instruction on binding styles.

4. Another great book for the first steps. The pictures are all black and white and are more ‘technical drawings’ that compliment the techniques covered, rather than glossy finished books. A lot of excellent info and the section at the back on making your own binding equipment is superb and will save you a lot of money,when you just start out.

5. I Love this book. It is one of those ‘Does what it says on the tin’ kind of books. truly excellent descriptions of many aspects of bookbinding equipment is explained as well as binding styles. An excellent reference book to explain terms you will see in other books.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back 

Well I must have been a very good girl last year, as I received some lovely pressies for Christmas. Here are a few highlights. 

From my husband, some wonderful stamps from Glenda Waterworth’s Elusive Images range and Black UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel). From my mother in law; a Bind It All, so handy for quick projects. I was a bit naughty and bought myself a few pressies too, some of the snowflake dies from Spellbinders. 

My Creative Christmas pressies for 2009


When my back improves I hope to bring you some inspiring projects to tempt you to play too. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I would like to share  pictures of the two wonderful Lying Presses, that my amazing husband made for me. A lot of my books so far have not featured glued bindings and covers so until recently, I had not needed these kinds of press. Until I bought some bookcloth and tried my hand at case binding that was.

My New Lying Press

I had the MAD idea of making case bound books as Christmas gifts! In case you ever find yourself also thinking this is a good idea…my advice would be to start MUCH earlier than late November! This made drying times much longer as it is now damp and cold in the UK. Make them in the summer when the glue will dry faster (if you live in the UK that is).

The first press is 28cm long and the larger one is 40 cm long. When I am using one of them I put it across the other pair like this;

My new Large Lying press

This makes up for the fact that I don’t have a tub for them. It keeps the work up off the desk. I really couldn’t justify £80 for a commercially made press, for the amount of use they will get. Making them yourself, does also mean you have full control over the size of the press.

I’m so lucky to have a wonderful husband that supports my hobby and who will put such lovely tools together for me.

Thank you to my wonderful husband for taking time out of your hectic schedule, to make these for me. I love them and I love you too. :)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share some pictures of the Slip Case I made for signatures waiting to be bound into books. Because of limited dexterity, my bookbinding tends to be broken into steps, with varying amounts of time between the steps. It may be several days/weeks between my cutting and folding paper, before they are piereced and sewn.

Here is the case I created


My first Case


Here is a view of the lining of the case

My favorite size to bind in is A7, so my case is a little taller than this. I now have a place where folded papers can live until they are needed for a book. I always mark the corners of my signatures, after they are pierced,  to ensure they remain in the correct orientation for sewing. So my pierced signatures can also happily live in the case until their turn comes round.


Sewn signatures, awaiting covering. Safe in their new case.

The method I used to create this case was featured on Sage Reynold’s channel on You Tube, I’ve put a link to his channel and  the slip case films below. Sage has a wonderful method of working and explains the process from start to finish. The best thing about Sage’s method of working is that he is taking all his measurements directly from the item he is casing, and uses very clever templates for repeated cuts. SOOO much easier and saves a lot of time. The finished box is really sturdy too.

This is my first slip case, and I am very pleased with the result. Thank you Sage for your excellent tuition on You Tube, it is inspiring and your video’s are so helpful and easy to follow.


Sage Reynolds on You Tube.

Sage Reynold’s Tutorials for Creating a Slip Case

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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