I’ve had bookbinding on my mind for about a year. It ticks off all the things that always turn me onto a craft: it uses up things that might otherwise be discarded (paper scraps), it involves a certain amount of precision and skill, and it results in a wholly new, totally practical item.
So I fired up Periscope yesterday and made my first handmade book. (Well, I did a bunch of prep work, then fired up Periscope and started making a book, then I finished making the book later. Making a book takes a lot of time.)
Notes from a First-time Bookbinder
Though every bookbinding tutorial I found lists very specific materials required to make a book, I had no trouble making do with what I had at home (see details below in the Scope Notes). So keep that in mind if you’ve been holding off trying this out because you don’t have certain items.
Also, this is not a quick project. All told, I probably spent about three hours making this book yesterday. It’ll probably take less time to make my next book, but maybe consider this a weekend project rather than an in-one-sitting project if it’s your first time.
Lots of notes about this project! First, about the tools and materials (some of these are affiliate links):
- For the front and back covers of my book, I used pieces of corrugated cardboard I cut down from a shipping box then covered with decorative paper. The paper is from the inside covers of an issue of Mollie Makes magazine (which often includes gorgeous full-page prints in its pages). You can also use bookboard, heavy cardboard or chipboard for book covers.
- For paper, I used scraps, all cut roughly to the same size (half of an 8.5″ x 11″ paper, so 8.5″ x 5.5″ – folded in half, as they are to make a book, each page I made is roughly 4.25″ x 5.5″).
- Every tutorial I found called for a bone folder. I’m pretty sure I have one somewhere, but in the interest of actually doing this project, I just used the side of a pencil shaft to make a good crease in my folded papers.
- I used a tailor’s awl to punch holes in my papers and covers, because that’s what I had on hand. In the interest of keeping my fabric- and paper-cutting tools separate, I’ll probably pick up an awl like this one for bookbinding.
- Most bookbinders use waxed linen thread to sew their books together. I didn’t have any, so I used dental floss. Minty fresh!
- I used a sharp tapestry needle for sewing. It worked great, but many people who sew the sort of binding I made prefer to use a curved needle.
- If I end up really getting into this and use very tough materials for my covers, I’ll probably have to end up drilling the holes in them. Or I might splurge on one of these, which looks like it can also be used on leather (which is something on my list for a future First Time Make.)
Next, about how to do it:
And finally, I think the only thing I mentioned in the scope that wasn’t specifically about bookbinding was the Daily Making Jumpstart, which you can sign up for right over here. I hope to see you in there!
Join me every week(ish) as I make stuff for the first time. Follow me on Periscope to be alerted when a broadcast begins, and on Instagram and Twitter for some advance notice!
If there’s something you want me to make for the first time, leave a comment and I’ll add it to my list!
Remember how I came up with a harebrained idea for a Periscope series of me making things for the very first time? Well, thanks to your help, I have a list of more than two dozen things to make (keep those ideas coming!).
Today, I did my first #firsttimemake scope, and to be easy on myself for this first one, I chose a project that’s been high on my list for a very long time: assembling and warping my frame loom. (I bought the loom a few months ago, and have been so excited to use it that I haven’t touched it. You know how that goes, right?)
I’m so excited to finally weave on it that I have a feeling I’ll do the second scope within a day or two. Or later today.
Watch the video below! And let me know if you have any questions about it. I’ll do my best to answer here on the blog, and/or in my next scope.
Follow me on Periscope so you don’t miss the weaving!
I’ve heard so much about Periscope over the last few months that over time it seeped into my consciousness as this vaguely threatening, building-size, mildly horny beast looming in the shadows of the things I knew I should really check out.
Why threatening? Mostly because I didn’t really know anything about it other than what people raved about.
Also, because I can be cranky, and I don’t think I’d found the right people to follow. The few ‘scopes* I tried watching seemed, frankly, rambling or dull, or, let’s be honest, Gary Vaynerchuck way too early in the morning.
But deep down, I knew Periscope would probably rock my world. I do, after all, love video, and I’ve experienced through the classes I teach how fabulous a medium it is for makers of any kind. I just needed to poke around it on my own, and figure out for myself what I want to do with it.
Then my friend Meighan O’Toole posted a link to this Academy of Handmade post about Periscope, and I didn’t read it. But I did decide that it was time. I just had to dive in. Dive in blind and see what I turned up.
And so I got all set to do my morning workout yesterday, then realized that while I usually put that off as long as possible, on that day I was using it as an excuse to put Periscope off as long as possible. So I switched around my plan, and in my hideous workout shirt, I just ripped the bandage off and fired up Periscope.
What I Learned from My First Periscope Broadcast
That’s a copy of my first scope, above. I was not kidding when I said my workout shirt is awful. (You can follow me on Periscope right here.)
- Live video is awesome. One of the reasons I don’t do more video is that it takes a metric tonne of time to produce, between planning, filming, and – the big kicker – editing. Live video just takes the planning and filming. Or, if you’re me, just the filming (ok, with a tiny bit of planning).
- Here’s why else live video is awesome: No polish (I’m not a big fan of polish, if you haven’t noticed). Even people who try to be polished seem unpolished on Periscope (which may be why I was so turned off by some of the scopes I tried to watch – people with perfect hair and lip gloss just seem silly when the resolution is crappy and the camera’s shaking). Live means you get all the reality of what goes into filming things but don’t get to see because the flubs, mistakes, and accidental slips of profanity get edited out. (I did not swear during my first scope; go me!)
- It does not feel like you’re talking to yourself. I thought it would. But it doesn’t. When you broadcast a scope using the front-facing camera on your phone, you can see hearts and comments that people are making. So first, you know people are there, and if they comment you know who they are, and that allows for way more interaction than if you were just shouting into the ether from your own personal vacuum. Not feeling like you’re talking to yourself is awesome, because what would be the point? Not only was I able to catch some of the comments before they disappeared, so I could address them, but I also ended up having a few conversations with people after the broadcast who mentioned they had commented, which was icing on the cake.
- The hearts. In addition to comments, viewers can double-tap their screen to make little hearts float up the side of the video. This idea sounds so profoundly dumb that I think it played a big part in my avoidance of using Periscope. But I’ll tell you this: the hearts are not dumb. They are, in fact, awesome. Profoundly ridiculous, maybe. And also awesome. Because while you’re chatting away into your phonecam – you can see yourself on the screen, obviously, which can be really distracting – you’re also getting subtle feedback about whether people are digging what you’re saying or doing. And no negative feedback – there are no, like, tomatoes that people can throw onto your screen, only hearts. The hearts can run dry, of course, but then you can trip over something or accidentally swear or wax philosophical about not standing in your own sun, and the hearts pop back up again.
- Periscope has tremendous potential for people who make stuff. Know how one of the things we makers do is make stuff all by ourselves? Well, there’s something about a live video – even if you watch it later – that seems way more personal and less solitary than even listening to a podcast while you work. For one thing, no annoying radio voice that’s reading a script to you – live video means no script-reading (or, it should; for the love of puppies, don’t read a script). Video means we can teach each other how to make things – by actually showing how to make it. It means we can do what I did in my first scope: make something while chatting. If you make something while I’m making something, we’re making things together. That’s just a lovely thing to do.
(Meighan wrote a post about her first Periscope broadcast, too, but I haven’t read it because I want to write mine first, without unintentionally nicking any of her ideas or notes. You should read hers. She’s way less rambly than I am.)
My Idea for a Periscope Project
I’m going to try to make Periscope a regular part of my week. Maybe even more than once a week. And I have a harebrained idea about a series of scopes I’d like to do. It’s an idea I need your help with.
Do you know the YouTube phenom called unboxing? It’s when someone films their opening of of a product for the first time. Often it’s electronics (oh, the unboxing frenzy when a new iPhone is released), sometimes it’s of any other kind of product. Anyway.
I want to do a series of scopes where I try a new art or craft technique for the very first time. Which is not at all like unboxing, except where it’s like unboxing trying something new. I’ll call it… #firsttimemake, or something like that (suggestions welcome!).
I recognize that this may result in major failures and/or actual bodily harm, on live video. I’m cool with that.
And I need your help compiling a list of things to try for the first time. When I attempt to make such a list on my own, I come up with zilch. Which is dumb, because there are so many things I’ve never tried before.
Please comment or shoot me a note and rattle off a bunch of things you’d like to see me attempt to make for the first time in a live broadcast!
I will, obviously, discard suggestions that might burn my house down, and I’m going to prioritize projects that won’t require me to purchase anything new (but if something excites me, I’ll totally purchase something new to make it).
These can be things you think I’ll be interested in or have fun with, or things you’re interested in, or things you think will simply be fun to watch me bumble through. Whatever.
I admit I feel some concern that no one else will think this idea is brilliant. If you think it’d be even remotely cool to watch, please shoot me an idea. Even a dumb one. Even one you haven’t thought through. If even one person responds with an idea, I will consider my assessment of brilliance to be totally bang-on, and I will prepare to make that thing for the first time in a live broadcast for you to enjoy (or mock; whatever).
Let’s see where this goes, eh?
* People call broadcasts scopes. I’m confident they don’t use an apostrophe at the beginning to mark the chopped-off syllable, but since I’m writing and not talking and I’m cranky, I’m using it here, at least for this very first post about Periscope.