Apthecary: books part 2

Last time I went through how to construct a miniature hardback book. This time I’ll be looking at some alternative materials that are worth trying.

I happened to have a load of old, Chinese calligraphy papers from a while back. I used the margins (which are quite wide) to make book pages following the steps from my previous post. The first thing to note is that this paper is much lighter (almost the same as tissue paper) than printer paper. This led to a few problems with my first experiments: I used PVA to stick the pages together and the glue just seeped through the layers, glueing the whole thing stuck. I used a glue stick in the version below, and that worked fine. The other thing is that the pages don’t hold the creases that well once glue has been applied, so it’s hard to glue them accurately straight. As you can see in 2 the pages are not very well aligned, giving it a more rustic look.

On the other hand because the pages are thinner, you can have more of them in a book compared the same sized book using printer paper. In this one there were between 55-60 sides, whereas in the blue book from the previous post there were 30 sides. I also prefer the colour of the rice paper because it is unbleached and the natural fibre gives the book a more authentic feel for my project. I was also surprised to find that using a fine line marker pen worked well, the writing is small and clear, and the ink does not bleed through to the other side.

book_cloth bound

As for the cover, I used a cotton scrap from an old bed sheet, painted one side light brown before cutting it and gluing it to the card. Unfortunately I cut the corners a bit close and you can just see above in 5 this leaves a small gaps at the corners. I don’t think it would have frayed, but I decided to cover it up by painting the corners dark brown, and the spine to match. I like the texture of the cloth, but next time I might try a lighter cotton as this one seemed too bulky or stiff to allow much definition of the spine as seen below.

here is a birds eye view of all my books. The newest ones are the blue one and the brown one. The three in the middle are the first ones I made, they are ok, but the spines are a bit unrealistic as I used a single piece of card for each cover instead of dividing them into three sections (as shown in my first post). The shape is not quite right when you compare them to the blue book. The spines also buckles when the books are opened, causing creasing in the wrong places.

books_spine contrast

You may notice the green book has a bulkier cover than the rest. This is because the card I used was much thicker, it’s the white one in the images below (an old box lid). For my other books I used the brown card envelope seen below, which is half as thick. Both are fine depending on what look you want to go for. However, I would not use a lighter card as it may buckle during the glueing process if too flimsy.

book_hard cover options

I used a selection of papers to cover my books. I quite like sugar paper and other rough or fibrous textures as even if I don’t want to decorate them they still look interesting. I used regular, coloured blue card for my ‘book of beasts’ to give it a more refined aspect. patterned paper is great for doing the inner and outer covers for fancy books.

books_cover options

There are loads of possibilities for how to fill the books, below are two examples. In the first I have hand written and drawn my own notes taken from a book of poisons (these books are for my apothecary set!) and in the second I gathered pictures of Leonardo Da Vinci’s anatomical sketches and printed that onto paper that I then folded into pages. My printer is not that great, but I think if you have a good printer you could get some excellent results. Now I have to think of what to put in my ‘book of beasts’.

book_pages contrast

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