Planet Book With Stir Stick Binding

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About: Retired techie in love with crafts, cooking, and all things creative. Visit me at cuttango.com where I blog about my crafting adventures with my ScanNCut electric cutting machine.

I'm excited to share this Instructable that shows how to bind a book using coffee stir sticks. The project also shows how to make a printed page translucent. I used these techniques for this book of planets that celebrates the beauty of the solar system. I was inspired by the presentation of the planets on NASA.org. They managed to take something as complex as the universe and present it in a simple manner by showing each planet as an individual object. I took their concept a step further and presented each planet in its simplest form without labels or facts.

The book consists of 8 pages bound together with black plastic coffee stir sticks and a cool hinge binding technique. The planet images were printed on regular printer paper with an inkjet printer and then painted with resin. When the resin dries, the paper becomes transparent and glasslike.

I used my ScanNCut electric cutting machine to cut the pages. Each page has a cutout of a circle (or an irregular shape in the case of Saturn) and 4 circles in the spine area that will serve as slots for the hinges. These pages can also be made with circle punches and a craft knife.

Step 1: Tools & Supplies

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Craft Knife or Electric Cutting Machine
  • Circle Cutters or Electric Cutting Machine
  • Disposable sponge brush
  • Disposable container
  • Disposable stir stick
  • Glue applicator

Supplies

  • 4 sheets 8 1/2 x 11 black cardstock
  • 8 Plastic Coffee Stir Sticks
  • 2 part epoxy resin
  • PVA glue
  • Printed planets

Step 2: Cut Planets

Use your own images or the attached pdf to print the planets. Cut out the planets leaving a border large enough to glue to the book page circle.

Step 3: Apply Resin

Set up your work surface with plastic. Mix equal parts of resin and resin hardener together in a disposable container. Use a disposable sponge brush to apply resin to the printed planets. When dry and no longer sticky, remove from plastic work surface. Let cure for 24 hours. When cured, the paper will appear translucent.

Step 4: Prepare Book Pages

If you have electric cutting machine software that can read an SVG file, you can use the attached files to cut the pages. Otherwise, use the diagram to create your own. The page will be folded in half. Cut 7 pages with the circle cutout and 1 page with the Saturn shape cutout.

Step 5: Fold Pages in Half

Carefully fold each page in half. Crease edge with fingers or bone folder.

Step 6: Glue Planets to Pages

Add a thin line of glue to the planet border and glue to the cutout in the left half of the folded page.

Tips:

  • Check out the Instructable Glue Class for information on how to use a syringe glue applicator to apply a small line of glue. It works wonders and prevents unwanted glue seepage.
  • After gluing, place inside a large book to keep flat while the glue is drying.

Step 7: Glue Page Together

Glue the fore edge of the page and press to adhere for folded page.

Step 8: Bind Book

We will be using a variation of the Piano Hinge Bookbinding technique that is usually done by weaving bamboo BBQ skewers through slots cut at the fold of a signature. Since my goal was a clean look, I opted to use black plastic coffee stirrer sticks for the rigid connector and half circles for the slots. It is a simple process, but a bit tedious. The key is to take your time.

  1. Take the first page of your book and place the stirrer inside the bottom tab the through the opening. Skip the next tab and go through the middle opening. Skip the next tab and go through the top hole. The stirrer will extend past the top of the page.
  2. Take the 2nd page and place the stirrer inside the bottom tab and through the opening like you did in step 1. Run the stirrer through the next tab from the FIRST page. Run the stirrer through the middle tab from the SECOND page. Run the stirrer through the fourth tab from the FIRST page. Run the stirrer through the top tab on the 2nd page extending past the top of the page.
  3. Add the 3rd page using the same process attaching the new page to the previous page. Continue weaving along this manner until all of the pages are attached.

Step 9: Finish Binding

To finish, make sure the stirrers are lined flush with the bottom pages. Trim the excess extending from the top.

Step 10: Display for the World to Enjoy

If you're like me, you enjoy seeing unusual items displayed on desks and shelves. Handmade books are perfect for this. Display for others to admire your wonderful work and the beauty of the universe.

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