Introduction: Crafting a Tiny Functional Book
Welcome all, this time I’ll be making an small but functional book for my pocket. You never know when you’re gonna need a tiny book to draw, mark down an address or phone number. Smartphone ? what’s that ? never hear of those.
Anyway, there really isn’t much to it beside the size (and the sub-optimal materials and tools used), I simply crafted a basic adhesive Case binding. It seems to be the easiest and most versatile method.
Case binding uses a hard cover as a case to encase the block of pages. Said hard cover can be made off pretty much anything (or so I’ve been told) covered with paper, cloth, leather, with flat or round spine, bookmark, etc
Any way, this is what I used:
- 3 Sheets of A4 paper;
- Fabric ribbon;
- Some glue;
- Thick cardboard for the cover;
- Marbled and brown paper for the cover;
- 2 Brass fasteners and some linen thread;
- A utility knife;
- Some kind of clamp device;
Step 1: STEP 1 : PREPARE THE SHEETS
First off I needed to get the sheets to the correct size by cutting them in 16 with my utility knife. I then folded each of these pieces in half and grouped them in 7 groups (called ‘signature’) of 6 different pieces. And clamped them so that they would hold their shape.
Six was probably too many sheet considering the thickness of the paper, I 'd recommend 4 or 5. Also make sure to really mark the crease.
Step 2: STEP 2 : PERFORATING THE PAGES
Next, I pre-pierced holes for the sewing process. Using the ribbon to space the holes appropriately and symmetrically, I made a stencil to keep hole position consistent.
I then lined up your paper sheets with the model over some cardboard and pierced them with a thumbtack.
Real bookbinder usually clamp their book in a press and saw/knife over the folds, but considering the size, I find the thumbtack method easier, faster and cheaper.
Step 3: STEP 3 : SEWING THE PAGES TOGETHER
And now, to assemble the signatures.
As indicated by the arrow, I started with the left most hole and sewn forward.
I threaded the needle through one the hole toward the inside of the page block ; then back outside through the next hole, went over the ribbon and back through the following hole ; and then again over and under, until the last rightmost hole. At which point I would add another signature, this time sewing right to left.
As I add more signature to the block, I link them together as seen in picture 2 ; as well as clamp them together to keep them tight.
Finally I tied each loose end of the thread to their closest link before tying them together.
Remember to tighten the thread whenever you reach the end of a group.
Honestly, at this size, those ribbon are probably useless, especially since i glued the pages together afterward, but it does look nice.
Step 4: STEP 4 : FINALIZING THE PAGE BLOCK, ADDING THE BOOKMARK
GLUE time !
I glued the spine over the thread and placed my bookmark "ribbon" and Left it to dry with some clamp to hold the shape.
Once dry, I cut out a small patch of strong paper -shorter than the page block and slightly wider than the spine- and glued it to the top of the spineand over the bookmark.
Let it dry.
Normally you'd use some thin fabric instead of paper, but i didn't have any.
Step 5: STEP 5 : HEADBANDS (OPTIONAL)
I afterward made some fake paper Headband that I glued to the top and bottom of the block. They are purely for show and serve no purpose here.
I then tried to even out the pages by cutting out the excess with my utility knife, Big mistake ! It looked awful and messy. Don't do that unless you know how to clean it up.
Step 6: STEP 6 : CUTTING OUT THE COVER BASE
Now to carve the hard cover.
Both the front and back cover pieces need to be identical, and need to measure at least the size of the page block. I wanted the pages to be flush inside, not leveled with the cover, so made each side slightly taller and wider than a normal page.
The piece of for the spine of the book needs to be the same height as the front and back cover pieces, and the same width as the book block.
Step 7: STEP 7 : FAILED "RAISED RIBS"
I thought it would look cool to give my book some raised ribs (like these) to complete the old tome look.
So I added some ribs and tried to glue and shape the cover around them. Another mistake ! Paper doesn't stretch, it tears. Thankfully mine didn't but it still looked pretty bad.
So I just scrapped them and tried something different (see step 9).
Step 8: STEP 8 : COVERING THE COVER
Once I had made those 3 cardboard pieces, I glued them onto the paper I picked as cover material and cut out the excess material.
I left a small gap between each pieces to allows them to be folded freely as seen in the third picture (around 1~2 x the thickness of the cardboard) and left enough room around the corners to fold the paper back over without exposing them.
Step 9: STEP 9 : THE QUARTER BOUND LOOK (OPTIONAL)
I also wanted to emulate the three quarter binding style in which some stronger material (eg : Leather) is used to reinforce the spine and the four corners, while sides are left bare with the weaker one (eg : paper).
Here, I simply re-applied some brown paper for contrast on the spine and corners.
I also added some paper stripes to the spine piece, to replace those failed ribs from earlier. I doesn't really looks the parts, but give the finished cover some welcome depth and texture.
Step 10: STEP 10 : THE "THREAD LOCK" (OPTIONAL)
This step was a bit of an after thought, so that's why the inner end page has been ripped off for this step. No need to do that with yours.
I took two brass fasteners, tied a linen thread to the one on the right.
I then punctured the cover on each side and forced the fastener through the gap.
Step 11: STEP 11 : ASSEMBLING THE BOOK
Finally, to assemble the pages to the cover, I spread some more glue one each side of the piece of cloth that was attached to the spine and attached them to each end of the inner cover.
Make sure you can properly open and close the assembled book before proceding.
And for a cleaner looks, I covered the first and last pages to the cover boards with a nice brown endpaper ; this hides the ugly fold of the cover materials and reinforce the book.
Press down on the covers and inserting some spare paper to prevent the pages from sticking to one another while the glue dries.
Step 12: STEP 12 : FINAL PRODUCT
And at last, my tiny but real miniature book was finished.
It didn't turned out as good as expected, but I'm still happy with it. It looks almost good and fit in my pocket !
Some of the thing I would do differently If I were to make a second one would be :
- Get an actual ribbon
- "Age" the page with some coffee for a better "old book" effect before assembly
- Do NOT cut the page like an idiot to even them out
Thanks for reading, have a nice day.