Monday, January 7, 2013

book binding 101

Now that the Christmas gifts are received, I want to share with you just how crazy I can be sometimes.
It might be more frequently than that.
My family had a blog going for about 5 years. In the beginning it was very active with photos galore and banter back and forth. I'm not sure what happened. I know that I started blogging at some point myself and contributed less to that family blog. Then Facebook came along and perhaps it signalled the final demise of the blog.
I have wanted to print the blog book for a while, but if you've ever priced the cost of printing out a blog .... my budget had a fit. I'm sure I could have coerced a few siblings to join in on the cost of it, but there was an even bigger problem. When I looked at printing blogs, it printed only the blog entries, not the comments. We are a family of 10 children, inlaws, outlaws (as my hubby likes to call himself) and parents. You can only imagine some of the banter that went back and forth in the comment section of the blog.
I wanted all of it. I wanted it all preserved. I wanted it all in print.
One day I decided that maybe I should just print the book myself. We have a nearly commercial grade printer that spits out massive amounts of paper with minimal ink. Minimal might be stretching it, but it seriously stretches far.
Good thing I started this project a year ago ... it took that long.

First I copied and pasted everything to a Word document. It was great for audio book time ... I probably went through a good number of books while I worked on Word. Some pieces had to be cut and pasted separately. Like the date of the initial posting. Then the title of the posting and the contents could be done together. Then came the line that said how many comments. Then came each individual comment ... each copied and pasted individually. I know that there were a total of 949 blog entries. I have no clue how many individual comments followed those. I don't even want to know. When I copied and pasted, the format never copied the way I wanted it to which meant resizing and moving things around the pages. In those 949 blog entries were oodles and oodles of pictures. There are a few members of this tribe that love to take photos. I copied and pasted them all.

The fun part was moving them all to a form where you could read them as a book. I was printing them onto 8.5x14 size paper stacked 6 sheets to each pile. Imagine folding that stack in half and then being able to read it in order. I messed up more than once. Once I got a system going it went pretty good. I've only printed one of these ... someday I want to print one for myself as well.

After everything was printed, it was time for binding. People at Hobby Lobby looked at me like I was nuts. They had no clue what I was looking for. I needed thread and thought (while I was still following instructions) that it had to be waxed. Couldn't find that, so figured I would just wax it myself. I didn't. It didn't need it. Each stack of 6 sheets was folded in half, I then used a nail (because I don't think I own an awl) to punch 6 holes in each set down the center fold. There is a nifty tutorial (many of them actually) online that I used to follow for sewing them together. When they were sewn they looked like this.

By now, Christmas is fast approaching and I've long since passed my December 15th shipping date. I'm getting a bit frantic. I had tried to divide them evenly, but hadn't had the forethought to think about that when I was busy shoving paper through the printer. Like a blank page at the front of the book would be handy. I had to add it in. Anyway, with weights applied on top of the pile, the binding was glued. Then the books were flipped on their backs to attach a piece of heavy weight cloth to the binding with glue. Dry once again.

Another trip to Hobby Lobby (the new one is nice and close) to try find fabric for the book cover. I couldn't find anything I liked or was in the mood to make a book cover. I don't have a whole lot of extra around here, but I do have a few bits and pieces. This special piece of fabric is Marimekko and was brought from Finland as a gift. I haven't been able to figure out what to use it for .... and figured this was absolutely perfect.
The instructions on the internet said to use something called chipboard. Couldn't find that either. I did find an inexpensive piece of thin foam board that I figured would work. I think they also have what looks like it might be chipboard in large sheets at Hobby Lobby. This worked perfect. A bit thicker for the outside of the book ... but perfect.
Pieces were cut for the front, back and binding of the book.
Make that books. I used some miracle spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the cut pieces of board.
The fabric was cut and then glued down over the edges of the book and ready for inserting my pages.
Apparently I was a little stressed because my photos are pretty much nonexistent. After the book pages were glued to the books outer cover, my plan was to use this paper for the inside covers of the book. Didn't work. I used pieces of cardstock and attached them with spray adhesive. The paper was much sturdier and it worked out perfectly.
It was done!
The first book ended up being 2 1/2 inches thick.
The second one I made 2 inches ... and the outside cover should have been 1/4 inch bigger to really close like the first one does.

They needed labels but my brain was done. I grabbed some scrapbooking lettering and plunked them on. After the books were wrapped and in the box ready to mail, I knew what I should have done instead. So .... because I can get away with it, I asked that the books be delivered back to my house in February so I can add titles and volumes to the bindings.

As it turned out, the books being delivered by the postal service after Christmas worked out perfect. Mom was in the hospital and it gave her something to page through while she rested. I figure it will be good for nights when the sandman is late in arriving, when they need a trip down memory lane or a good rip roaring belly laugh.
As for book binding at this house .... I have even more ideas. I was really misnamed. My middle name should have been Ihaveanidea. My trunk is full of old family photographs. I love journals and fill lines with nonessential information all the time. I have some reindeer hide that has been traveling with me for about 20 years. Oh my, but the ideas are endless.


  1. Awesome idea!! Now I have an idea.... This might not be good. Just when I had cleaning the house in my brain. Tee Hee. :)

    1. Amber, it's kind of like cleaning the house outside the brain. About the time you're getting it all organized in some fashion, the littles come along and throw you for a loop! Glad I could oblige this time! :)

  2. Mom, January 7th. The books are awesome. The day shift RN for the last 3 days of my stay in the hospital thought the books were great. It will take me awhile to get them read. Randalls were here one day and Becky and the girls enjoyed looking at them. I noticed the covers were
    Marimekko fabric. Nice.

    1. No hurry in reading them. It was certainly a trip down memory lane making them! I got to read nearly every post and comment again ... some more than once. I was able to watch us move to and from Alaska. I watched births, engagements, weddings and funerals through the pictures. Take your time and enjoy!

  3. Genius! And what a labor of love!

    1. It was fun! Google book binding when you're ready to give it a whirl!