I have always loved the idea of a 'ancient' looking book.
Every time I've looked in a second hand bookshop, I've never found a suitable example.
On top of that, i have always like the idea of a slightly fantastical book, something a bit sci-fi, but a bit legendary.
Films like the 9th gate, neverending story, and others, have this crazy books, happened across by someone, this is something i wanted to incorporate.
So, after making a couple of smaller books, I realized that I could easily make what i wanted.
Another idea I had seen before, but not done overly well, is that pieced together stitched look.
When talking through this with Rocketscientist, we happened across the idea of a living book, and bit by bit our creativity unfolded into one of my most epic projects to date.
The Book of Time is the ultimate time travelers companion, containing the history of everything that was, and is yet to be. The book is a self perpetuating ouroboros, seeding a smaller book, which was then taken back in time to become the book itself. There are about three instances of the book, one book exists, but has traveling from the beginning of time to the end three times, hence, 3 books can be found, but only one book exists.
The book itself is a living book, it's sense are deeply embedded into space time itself, and it grows new pages for new events. Constantly changing and evolving depending on the fluctuations of time.
The book itself is unreadable, and requires a super focused crystal diopter to read the strange 'growth patterns' on the pages. Once read, the two accompanying decoder books are needed to translate it into a form of the Anglitectro language readable by those who need to.
The power of the book lies in the ability to 're-write' time. Some events can be changed easily, others have a deep grain, and can not be changed without destroying the book itself.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Paper, depending on your book size, for mine I used SRA3 (320 x 450).
- Thread - for the spine sewing, the leather cover, and the 'roots'
- Glue (pva or elmers glue)
- Spine material, I used denim, thin cotton works best.
- (optional) Industrial Guillotine.
- Thick Vellum, or mount card
- Green and brown felt tips/markers
- Liquid Latex
- A pebble
- A few special metal pieces
- Stanley knife with plenty of blades spare
- Leather Awl
- Scalpel and blades
- Masking tape
Step 2: Folding Signatures.
Taking my SRA3 sheets, I carefully folded them in half. I decided to fold 5 sheets to make signatures of 20 pages.
We use these special folding bones at work, so i folded these in my lunch time. When using the bone, first fold the page as normal, then on a flat surface run the bone up and down the fold, press firmly, but not too hard, just enough to get a crisp fold.
I think i folded about 20 signatures, keep going till you have a width you like.
Step 3: Hole Poking.
Now, this step was a bit of a pain, I had no access to a special signature stitching frame.
Firstly, we need to make some holes in our signature, for this I use a leather Awl.
To mark out the holes easily i firstly clamped all the signature to a desk, marked out 3 sets of 2 holes, to make a space for 3 backing strips(this will become more clear in further steps)
Lay out the signature open onto a nice soft surface, a cutting mat, or some playdoh or even blue tac.
Its a bit labourious, but the next step is more of a pain, so enjoy this one while it lasts.
Step 4: Stitch It.
Now, this section was a pain for me, but it turned out pretty good considering my lack of equipment.
Firstly i cut 3 strips of denim, long enough to leave 50-80mm over the front and the back. (depth of book + 2 x 50-80mm)
Next, I took my first signature, on the front page I masking taped the denim to hold it in place.
Instead of going from one end of the page to the other, I instead did it in three sections. I simply looped the thread around the denim, and through the holes of that section.
Keep at it, after each denim bit was sewn on, i clamped either side of the denim to compress the book. When compressed I wound more thread around the original thread to tighten up the stitching.
Do not pull too hard, or the thread will snap.
Repeat for all three denim strips.
Step 5: Glue It.
Next we need to glue the spine.
I started by clamping my book between two bits of wood. I then lent one end upon my desk, and another on my lap in order to make easy to glue. Another idea would be to use two chairs, and rest it across them.
Firstly, get some PVA(elmers) onto the spine rub it into the gaps in the signatures, the best tool for spreading is your fingers.
Next take a section of denim and place it into the spine, rub it into place with your hands.
Now put another layer of glue on top of the denim.
Place this on, or up against a radiator to dry.
Step 6: Leather Jigsaw.
I cut out two sections for the cover out of thick vellum card.
In order to get the best match up, I decided to stick then stitch, which worked out the best in the end.
Place a few big sections on the card, then cut further bits of leather to meet up with each other. Glue these onto the card, but don't glue all the way up to the edges of the leather.
I then took a brown felt tip and coloured in the sections that would show through, I then went over with the brown again with a green one, to give me a deep colour.
To give the gaps some texture I then stippled some liquid latex onto the felt tip.
Next, using a curved needle I carefully stitched the sections together.
Step 7: Cutting Circles.
Well, imbetween normal life, this section took me about a month to complete. Mainly because cutting circles takes an age, and is very boring.
Before starting this step I took the book into work and got it cut down on one of our industrial guillotines, this worked a treat, and I took about 5-10mm of each side giving my a nice neat edge.
I ~~foolishly~~ decided that I wanted a core running down the middle of the book.
My first attempt was to drill the hole clean through the book. This attempt was met with fail, burning smells and ripping paper stopped me before I ruined the book completely.
I wanted the final result to be good, so I then opted to cut them out by hand, lucky for me the pilot drill hole went clean through the book providing a guide for each page, using a masking tape roll I cut holes, lots and lots of holes.
The feeling when i new i had nearly completed was intense...
Completion was an amazing feeling, only topped by the pie I then ate.
Step 8: Stop for Pie.
I can not stress this step enough, it is the most important.
That is all, onto the next step.
Step 9: Attach and Join the Cover.
Next we need to join the cover to the book, at this point the front and back covers were almost complete, but no joined yet.
Using the denim flaps glue the covers to the book, leave about 5mm from the cover to the edge of the spine.
I then proceeded to attach a few more bits of leather and cut them so they would join up with the back cover. To make the spine covering a bit more sturdy use some thick paper stock along the spine.
Glue and stitch the leather in the same method as before to tie in with the design.
Step 10: Decorate the Outside of the Cover.
I had an old few bits of metal to make the front cover, the main bit was an old hard drive motor. (most modern hard drives have motors built into the shell which as not detachable, older hard drives normally have seperate motors)
I also used an old perf wheel of one of the machines at work.
I decided that the hdd motor would make for a good 'access panel' for getting to the 'living core' of the book.
I cut out a hole for the motor to slide into, I then drilled holes, and glued magnets in place with epoxy resin. The motor it self was not magnetic so I glued some magnetic screws onto the hdd motor with epoxy.
I then cut off the top layer of leather and glued on the perf wheel in a juxtaposition to my liking.
Step 11: The Internals.
The 'core' was made to look like a 'seed' of sorts. I made the seed by attaching some string to a pebble of the right size.
The enclosure for the core is made using an old bell from one of the old-school telephones. I thread the string through a hole in the top.
The idea of the string is to make roots, that then flow into the book, making it a living book.
I carefully unwound the string and glued it down into place, spreading the 'roots' out. Once done i then cut a section of thinner tanned leather to finish off the rest of the cover.
A paint job and more liquid latex then adds to the organic look.
I repeated this process for the back cover, but this time i made a 'mini' book growing in the back pages.
Step 12: The 'device'
This is the device used to read the book. I picked it up on on ebay for a very good price, and is actually an old shop microscope.
I took it apart and spray painted the whole thing black, masking off the few chrome bits i wanted left.
I used direct to metal spray paint which is holding well.
I then used some metallic paint to dry brush onto the device, several coats with a light haired brush gave me a light scratched look.
Step 13: The Decoder Books.
Using the same methods as for the original book, I took some off cuts from a few printing jobs at work.
This folded nicely into long companion books.
Simple leather covering made for a nice set of extras. With the leather i made sure to use some of the existing stamped text to add a bit of a hobbled together look.
Step 14: Completion.
Thus, the book of time was completed.
It was an epic project, and if you have stuck with it, then you must be pretty epic to have made it this far.
The last addition for me was to put in a bit on a spread to make for a good final shot.
I really want to hear what you think of it, it took me a while, and I am very pleased with what i managed.