November 03, 2009

harper perennial how-to: bookmaking 101

  • About the author EB

One of our editors recently sent me some photos of a book she had made. Yes, made. Not in a class, just in her house, on a random bored weekend afternoon. So I asked her to explain to you, olive reader readers, how she did it.

I’ve been told by my mother that I was born with scissors and a gluestick (some might say “cray-zay” glue) in my hands, and I recently put this old bit of family lore to the test. Surrounded as I am at my job by impressive feats of paper engineering – – the lovely books on our shelves – – I figured, why not make one myself?

In my quest to build a book from scratch, I thankfully stumbled across Alisa Golden’s Expressive Handmade Books – – a fantastic guide for the journey. After printing my text on paper torn against a ruler (to give it the rough edge), I folded my pages in groups of eight and stitched the batches together. To make the hardcover case, I speedily applied glue to three pieces of board and wrapped them in a scrap of fabric – – thereby turning glue, my former birthright, into my sort-of, like, frenemy. I then attached the case to the text block using the maroon-colored endpapers.

It’s the perfect one-day project – – unless you’re me, and you spend most of the afternoon wrestling with your printer output settings. Then it’s a two-day project that involves frustrated fist-shaking and replenishment of calories lost during frustrated fist-shaking via baking detour into Ree Drummond’s new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I mean, you can’t really have the word “bookmaking” without the B, A, K, I, N, or G, can you?

And at a whopping 2.75” wide and 5.5” tall, it makes the pocket-perfect Olive Editions look boldly XXL.