I wanted a large format sketchbook, so I gathered my materials, got organized and went to work.
Step 1: Materials List
Cardboard for the cover. Acrylic paints, one ream (500 sheets of paper), one book spine made of wood (see step 5), a specialty glue called padding adhesive, needle and thread, polyurethane varnish.
Step 2: Tools Needed
Various paper and cardboard working tools: cutters, rulers, scissors, craft knife, clamps, weights, stencil brush, etc.
Step 3: Cut Cover to Size
I made the cover out of one piece of cardboard and it is just large enough to cover the ream of paper, including the spine area.
Step 4: Glue Paper Together
I clamped the ream of paper to immobilize the sheets,and made sure the paper lined up exactly. Then padding adhesive is liberally applied to edge and allowed to dry.
Step 5: Cut Spine From Wood and Drill to Accept Thread
Pine is used, but you could use hardwood, certainly. After cutting to the size needed, about 8in x 1/4in x 1 and 1/8th inch, holes are drilled in the edges, all the way through. this will be attached to the book with thread and needle.
Step 6: Prepare Glued Ream of Paper
To make the book, I needed to drill holes in the paper, along the edge that will become the spine of the book. To do this, I used a 1/16th in. drill in my drill press. This insured accurate, straight holes.
Step 7: Sew Pages Together, Then to Spine
This takes a lot of thread so plan on re threading the needle several times. I am sure there is an art to book binding and threading,which I don't know, so just did the best I could. This will insure that the pages won't separate, and the book itself will not separate from the spine.
Step 8: Paint Cover for a Leather Look
To get a leather look, I used acrylic paint, picking the colors of burnt sienna, asphaltum, parchment, and black. The water based paint may cause the book to curl a little, so I put a weight on top of the book and let it dry that way. It came out pretty straight.
Step 9: Line Inside of Cover With Cardstock
I chose to line my book with black cardstock, but of course any color will do. To avoid any shrinkage or "crinkling" of paper, I used spray adhesive.
Step 10: Paint Stitching, and Stencil a Title
Since this will be a sketchbook, I used "Sketchbook 2009" I picked a font on the computer, printed it out in outline, and cut the stencil with a craft knife. A shadow is stenciled on with black paint, and then the final color, gold, is applied. I do this in several steps to avoid running the paint under the stencil. Stitches are painted by first making black dots by dipping a flat ended pin in black paint then making as many dots as possible. When this has dried, add a black shadow for each stich with a liner brush or black fine tip marker. Paint a diluted burnt sienna on with the liner brush, making each stitch. Highlight each stitch with a small amount of off white, or in this case, parchment.
Step 11: Glue Book, Spine and Cover Together
Here, a hot melt glue is used. Using generous amounts of melted glue along the spine, work fast, apply glue, then hold the pages/spine unit against the cover as tightly as possible. The hot melt glue dries very rapidly, so in a minute or so you can release the pressure.
Step 12: Book Is Done!
This book will serve as a convenient sketch book for a very long time. Handy, and easily accessible.