Books about making books!

Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals & Albums, by Shereen LaPlantz
Innovative Bookbinding: Secret Compartments and Hidden Messages, by Shereen LaPlantz
Bound: Over 20 Artful Handmade Books, by Erica Ekrem

I've been getting a little bit into bookmaking, which has been so much fun.   I've tried out several books on the subject, and here are three I looked at recently.

Cover to Cover is full of great ideas.  It's a very good general book about making books, and covers a lot of the basics.  Shereen LaPlantz seems to have specialized in taking simple ideas and coming up with a zillion ways to implement them in cool ways.  This would be an excellent purchase for somebody like me who wants to try out different things and is not yet very knowledgeable.  (Several of the books I've looked at in the past have turned out not to be very good, so this is a serious recommendation.)  There is also a lot of variety here; you can make a traditional journal with hard covers and a Coptic stitch, or an artistic oddity that could go into an exhibit.  The diagrams are quite good and fairly easy to follow.

Innovative Bookbinding is a reprint of a book that actually had samples of several of the illustrated techniques in it, but of course that made it intensive to produce.  My copy just has photos of those, and is a good deal easier to come by.  It is entirely about secreting small surprises into handmade books, and putting in various sorts of pockets, slots, puzzles, and so on.  I tried some of the techniques and I couldn't get the fancy flexigon right, but I did make a really cool little book and some puzzle samples.  All of the diagrams are hand-drawn, and there are not as many as I would like, but there are enough.   I liked this book very much and plan to go back to it for many ideas.

As far as I can tell, you can't go wrong with a book by Shereen LaPlantz.

Bound is a little different.  It's more about making new books from old -- that is, it has techniques for taking apart an old, worn-out hardback book and using the covers to produce new items.  Or you might like to use an old cigar box, a worn-out sweater, or even some leaves.  There are also some leather projects.  There are some nice ideas for spine stitching  I found this book to be frustratingly short on diagrams and illustrations.  The projects are cool, though also a bit too artsy for my taste. 

I do like to have a lot of diagrams and illustrations.   I always want to see every step and every detail, and I get frustrated when there isn't enough for me to easily grasp what's going on, or if I can't see inside an interesting feature.  And I'm used to sewing instructions that mostly do show everything.  Some of these things are meant more for inspiration than exact copying, and I'm all for that, but I still want to see every little bit!  How else can I know my options?

My main problem with bookmaking is that I like making the books, but I haven't got a lot of ideas about what to put in them.  I would mostly like to make blank books for other people to write in.   While I adore secret compartments in books, you have to put something good in them and I'm never sure what to put.   I need an artistic partner or something.  Or maybe if I keep making little samples, I'll eventually think of things to put in there?


  1. I have a journal problem. This is not a good post for me to read, lol! ;-)

  2. Hey, you need a new hobby, right? :D


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