Thursday, 30 April 2009

An Etsy Guide to Bookbinding Supplies

So you were wondering if it would be possible to buy all your bookbinding supplies on Etsy? Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. So what can we find on Etsy to make a fabulous handmade journal?


We need some paper for the pages. Perhaps a prepared text block from:
Or handmade paper to make our own, from:
Or eco-friendly and lokta papers from:


For the cover we have several options. We could use leather, book cloth, or decorative paper. If you like leather, have a look at these shops:

Custom bookcloth is available from:

There is a good selection of decorative papers for the covers or endpapers. You could get some hand-marbled paper from these shops:

Japanese Chiyogami is available from:

Or you might like to use some handmade paste paper from:

Or handmade Batik paper:

Maybe Japanese Suminagashi paper:

Or some gorgeous Italian or Tibetan decorative papers from:


You can buy linen thread from:


You might like to get some false headbands for your journal from:

Or some hardware such as:
- metal corners from Contexto
- screw posts from Janiesmash
- clasps from BlueFlameLeather


If you need a new bone folder, visit:
RandyArnold (handmade Ebony folding tools)

Perhaps a hole punch drill from:

And pick up some PVA at:

Get brass triangles, weights, or micro scissors from:

Or tools for gold tooling, from:


You might want to consider getting a sewing cradle from:

Or a handy book press from one of these shops:

That is quite a thorough supply list for most bookbinders. The list is lacking a few things... I couldn't find any decent bookbinding needles or any good sources for binder's board, for example. Be sure to let us know if you have seen those things or any other essential bookbinding supplies on Etsy that should be in our list!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Recycling for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Several members of BEST like making books with reclaimed and repurposed materials. If you need some ideas to get started on the path to making eco friendly journals, have a look through these.

Upcycled Tea Box Journal
by UsefulBooks
Price $14
Cover made from an Arizona Pomegranate Acai Tea box, reinforced with chip board and tyvek for strength.

Recycled Plastic Bag Memo Books
by Arrrt
Set of 3, $10
The covers are a material that was made by fusing and dyeing plastic shopping bags. Creates a materials that is waterproof and rugged.

Cardboard Journals
by MyHandboundBooks
Set of 2, $14
Made from cardboard scraps, each containing 10 cardboard sheets and covered with paste paper on the covers.

Jotter Notebooks
by ComfortableShoes
Set of 6, $7.99
Cover is made from a discarded advertising poster that was coated with vinyl.

Bike Inner Tube Book
by PalePink
Price $29
The cover is made from a bicycle tire inner tube that has been reinforced to make a sturdy cover, and includes an elastic closure.

Journal Das goldene Kochbuch
by Buechertiger
Price $28
The covers are salvaged from a 1970s cookbook to make this lined journal, which also contains a few photo pages from the original cookbook.

South America Blank Journal
by ConduitPress
Price $15
This books is covered with an upcycled map, and the pages in this book are 50% sugar cane, 30% post consumer, and 20% recycled fiber (so no new trees were used).

Old Mail Recycled Journal
by MyHandboundBooks
Price $20
The covers are scraps of mat board and all the pages are previously used envelopes and other materials that have been through the postal system.

Bamboo Miniature Book
by KupoKiley
Price $7.50
The covers are made with a couple discarded wood blocks, covered with the bamboo paper to make a chunky little book.

Find lots more examples of recycled, upcycled, repurposed books by visiting Etsy and searching for our items, using terms such as:
bookbindingteam recycled book

Monday, 20 April 2009

Journal Keeping: the supply kit

I'm heading off to Colorado on Wednesday to visit my uncle. I get back and move the next day! Kind of bad timing, but the trip was planned before the move decision. All this craziness leads to this week's blog posting being poorly planned, sorry it's just been so busy.

As a result, when I stopped packing up my apartment long enough to realize I had no journal to take with me, all my bookbinding supplies were long packed. Now, I'm picky about these things, I'm a bookbinder! I can't just go to a mall and buy a mass produced one. (The Horror!) So, I decided to take one that's been in my shop for ages, one that has the kind of inside pages I most prefer and is also a binding that I can easily rebind when I get home to have a cover that says more Colorado and less Christmas.

Today I packed up my journal and gear. Here is my supply kit. Most everything here can be found in any art supply store. Small watercolor kit, some watercolor pencils, colored pencils, glue stick, water resistant pens, water soluble pens, brushes that I can fill with water.

I'll be taking next week off to move, but I'll be back in two weeks refreshed and with some great new journal keeping ideas! Happy Journaling!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

What to do with all these blank books . . .

(One day late on my Monday series, sorry! It was a busy day, and then suddenly over!)

Over the weekend I went to the nearby city of Portsmouth, NH. It's only 2 hours away, so perfect for a quick escape. Never one to go empty handed, I brought with me a small journal that has become my roadtrip journal. What's great about this journal is that it often goes on the same trips year after year, so it's a great reference for cities we like to revisit.

Which brings me to this week's journal idea (which may seem kind of obvious, but comes in so handy that I feel it's worth mentioning). Bring along a small glue stick, or get a cute journal with pockets, and save business cards of the places you love. I can't tell you how many times I've been to a city and we've thought, "Where was that place with the great appetizers" or "Where were those delicious fried clams?" I love that I always have the answer right there, complete with address and phone number.

Since my main traveling companion is also a major foodie, I gotten into the habit of writing down what we're eating and what we think about it. This often serves as great inspiration for the cook when we get home (who doesn't happen to be me, so I like feeling useful and keeping track of the inspiration!) With good food goes good wine, so we also have a habit of doing the same for the wine we drink, so we can remember when we got home what we had and what we loved. This is invaluable if you go somewhere like Napa or Bordeaux where you'll be tasting lots of different wines.

Friday, 10 April 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: I

Introducing the “I” group of BEST. Today we have a group of 3 interesting shops to impress you.

Rachel of In a Bind Design knows the ins and outs of writing, papermaking and bookbinding! Imagine yourself inscribing this inspiring Safari Journal :

The work of Intotheblystic is internationally collected. Her Landscape Journal is impressed with an Indigo Monoprint and is infinitely refillable:

The youngest member of BEST can be found at itsalljustmenagerie. Not only does he make inventive books like this one: Colorful Paint Swatch Small Journal, he illuminates footwear and includes original art works in his shop as well.

Now go check them out and be inspired by these incredible shops!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Guardrail Damage Ahead

EB from matchboxbook has forwarded info from a show he is involved with at 500X Gallery. He thought this might be helpful, since in the past on the forum we have talked about subjects like making press releases and finding different venues for our bookcraft. This is one way to do it.

For immediate release.

500X Gallery presents Guardrail Damage Ahead. The show runs April 4-25, 2009, with an opening reception on April 4, 6-10:00 P.M.

Guardrail Damage Ahead is an amalgamation of drawing, bookcraft, photography, and video.

Blake's work based on a prearranged system of order suggests a basic truth or an underlying code. Comically the code cannot be contained. He begins from a base of minimal line drawing on paper and steps into a world of small, simple books that take on a life of their own, spiraling out of control into something resembling a three ring circus--in a quiet sort of way.

Best works from a foundation based in the corporate culture. He takes the perspective from inside the business suit. What should have been order and security turns out to be something else altogether. The characters he has created in photographs and on the screen are groomed for control--self control, a controlled environment. But something has to give.

Guardrail Damage Ahead.

Monday, 6 April 2009

What to do with all these blank books . . .

Yesterday was gorgeous here in Rhode Island, so it seemed the perfect day to take a hike. Of course, for me that meant bringing along a journal. I have one that I use just for local activities like this. I didn't want to bring too much with me, so I put a few essentials into a zip lock bag to bring along. Supply basics for me involved:

1. Gorgeous blank book (preferably handmade, of course!)
2. Caran d'Ache, these are water soluble crayons. You can pick these up in any art supply store.
3. One water soluble pen.
4. One water resistent pen. I use the Micron ones, available at art supply stores in many sizes and colors.
5. Pencil
6. Most important of all, a paintbrush that is hollow and filled with water. No little tub of water needed that I have to fill and balance on something. This you just squeeze, get some water and use to push around the water soluble crayons or pen. They sell these at most craft stores.
(7. Lastly, my inhaler and lipgloss. Not necessary, but just in case!)

I started out by writing about our hike, being sure to include some boring details about date, time, weather. I described the walk we just did and also noted what sounds I was hearing from where I was sitting.

Then, inspired by last week's post showing Sara Midda's little pattern studies, I decided to do my own little pattern study looking at the tons of shells and rocks around me. I did three little studies using mostly just my water soluble pen, then using the watercolor brush a bit. The second one I did use the crayon a little and then the brush to get a quick, grey background. I usually try not to gather things to take home with me, I'd rather leave the shells and rocks behind, but I do often take a photo before I leave.

This is where I was sitting, facing the ocean. After this long, snowy winter, it was so refreshing to be at the beach again. For those of you in Rhode Island, I highly recommend the book Weekend Walks in Rhode Island. It's got 40 great hikes, with a lot of details about best time of year to go, where to park, what to expect. It's a great reference.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

2009 Edible Book Festival - Winners

BEST Overall

BEST Edible Bookbinding Technique

BEST Children's Entry

MOST want to eat!

Special thanks to our judges:
- matchboxbook
- comfortableshoes
- kjerstenhayes