Note: If you missed part one of this tutorial, you can find it here.
Hello again! This is the second installment of a two-part bookbinding tutorial on making a book from a Guittard chocolate box. To recap, I was inspired to make it after deciding to dive into candy making.
Now that the covers are done, we need to bind this puppy. By now you should have cut and folded your inside pages and created five signatures (groups of pages) of six pages nested together. Set those aside for now, as well as the one reserved page for the signature-punching template.
The stitch that I used is not one I came up with, it's from Keith Smith's book, "1- 2- & 3-Section Sewings: Non-Adhesive Binding Volume II."
Forgive me while I digress a minute about book artist Keith Smith. If you're new to bookbinding or haven't heard of Keith Smith, you should definitely check out his books. He's written several, which are considered by many to be the bibles of the craft.
They're not pretty--there are no artfully staged color photos--but they offer fantastic instruction. Some of the more complex stitching can be intimidating, even for experienced binders, but I recommend starting with the one I mentioned. It's a great way to get your feet wet.
The stitch I used is called a sewn chain, and I added one little variation. You can make your stitch length whatever you'd like--I always use 1/8-inch grid paper to map out my stitches. I mark off a section that's the exact width and length of my spine, then work out the spacing from there. For this binding, I made a small first stitch at the top 1/4 inch long (the anchor stitch), then made larger, 3/4 inch-long stitches below that. I spaced the five rows 1/4 inch apart.
After you've marked your template, you'll need to punch holes in your spine. That can be done with an awl or a Japanese paper drill. The drill is on the expensive side, but if you start getting serious about binding you'll use it a lot, I guarantee.
Tape your template to the outside of the spine using low-tack tape (I like Post-It correction tape) and punch through the spine with an awl at each marked spot, as shown above.
Use the grid template to mark your signature punching template. Before you start sewing you'll need to make holes in each signature that correspond to the holes in the spine. Above, I've placed the fold side of the signature punching template right next to one row of holes, then marked it at each hole. Make sure you write a 'T" at the top of both signatures so you know which side is up. Yes, I realize that the short first stich gives it away, but it's a good habit to adopt.
Each signature is sewn separately--they don't connect. If you decide you want to take a signature out for some reason, you can do that without disrupting the rest of the book.
Open the template and carry the marks across the fold. Then, fold it the other way so that the marks are now inside. Slip the template into the middle of each signature and, with an awl, punch through the signature at each mark. For more on how to do that, go here.
Thread your needle with about 30 inches of 4-cord waxed linen thread, but don't knot it at the end. The signatures are sewn directly to the spine, so pick up the first signature and bring the needle through the second hole from the top from the inside to the outside, leaving a 2 inch tail. Enter the top hole from the outside, again going through the spine and the signature. Tie the ends in a square knot on the inside:
Enter the third hole from the inside and come out. Then, slide the needle under that first anchor stitch, going from right to left:
Keith Smith's instructions direct you to go back into the same hole (third from the top) at this point, but I decided to add another go-round on the anchor stitch and subsequent stitches. Make sure the thread is taught before slipping under the anchor stitch a second time. This addition gives the stitch a little bead that I think looks attractive. It's totally up to you--you can do it either way:
Go back into the third hole from the top from the outside, making sure the stiches don't cross, and enter the fourth hole from the top from the inside. Then, slip under both "legs" of the previous stitch from right to left, again going around a second time if you wish. Enter the fourth hole from the outside, come out the fifth hole from the inside, and continue the pattern until you reach the last stich. This is how things should look as you're progressing:
At the end of the row you should be on the inside of the signature at the last stitch. All you need to do now is a half-hitch knot. Slip the needle under the last stitch and pull the thread until you have a small loop. Take the needle through the loop and pull downward, toward the tail (bottom) of the book, until a knot forms. Do that one more time and clip your threads to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch:
If you're right-handed, start the sewing at the first signature and always slip the needle under the previous stitch from right to left. This prevents you from hitting the previous row with the needle. If you're left-handed, you may want to start at the last signature and go from left to right. Whichever you decide to do, be consistent with your sewing.
Sew the rest of the signatures the same way. Pretty much any longstitch will work for this structure, so if you're not fond of this one, feel free to use another binding.
I always say that a handmade book isn't finished until there's stuff on the pages. So write, draw and whatever else to your heart's content, and enjoy your book! If you make a book from a box, please send me a photo, I'd love to see it!
Next, I'll offer some ways to wrap up those delicious caramels!