Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Craft Show Confidential follow-up: Book Stands

As a follow-up to last week's post about book stands, I wanted to show you some of the stands in use. I spent a lot of time looking through the Flickr and blog photos of BEST members.

Interestingly, I found that most folks display their books standing up on their own, spread open on a table or shelf. I'm not sure if that's because it's easier, they like how it looks, it's no-cost, or all of the above. I'd love to hear any feedback you have on my "research".

I did find a few images of book stands used in handmade book displays (mine included).

Barbara of Moon Bindery (a.k.a. moonbindery on Etsy) uses wire book stands to display her work at craft shows. Even with her traditional, deep-toned setup, they are barely noticeable:

I also use the white book stands, both the 2-wire and 3-wire versions (I buy them from Brodart). I find them very durable and easy to use. The stands really disappear into a light-colored shelf:

Here's an image of the 3-wire book stands in use from behind:

The stands are holding up photo albums that are 12" in height. You can adjust the third wire accommodate the amount of slant you want on your book.

Emily (a.k.a. Subu on Etsy) uses the clear plastic plate stands to display her work. While you notice the elegant shape at first, these stands also fade into the display.

While combing through Flickr and BEST member blogs, I realized that I'll probably need more photos going forward. If you're okay with my using your images in future BEST blog posts, please send me an Email with your Etsy shop name, Flickr account name, and/or your blog URL.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Craft Show Confidential: Book Stands

Welcome to the first post in my new series focusing on craft shows! I plan to focus on very specific topics – booth props, shelves, booth structure, considerations for outdoor shows, etc. – examining the needs and concerns of the book artist.

I don't really consider myself an expert on craft shows, even though I’ve been doing them for 10 years. The fact is that every year, I learn something new (usually the hard way). I hope to offer one bookbinder’s experience of doing craft shows. Several other BEST members have already written posts about craft shows, so I’ll refer to them whenever appropriate. If there’s something specific you’d like to see me talk about, feel free to shoot me an Email – I’m open to suggestions!

In this post, I’ll focus on one way you can support your books (and I don’t mean with therapy) - book stands. One advantage of book stands is that you can display books so they show from the front, without having to have them stand them open on the shelf. If people can see them, they’ll be more likely to buy them.

Stands help to prevent damage by stabilizing the books and preventing them from falling over. You can also use stands to display open books, which can be handy if you make books with content or wish to show a book in use (with photos or text in it).

There are several considerations when choosing book stands for use in displays at craft shows:
  • You don’t want them to be too attractive, because then they’ll take attention away from the work – your books should be the focus, not the stands.
  • They need to be durable and should be able to handle frequent use.
  • They need to be lightweight so they are easy to transport.
  • You need them in quantity, so they should be affordable.
I’ll be talking about a few styles of book stands that fit these criteria.

Adjustable Vinyl-coated Wire Easels

  • Folds up for easy storage.
  • They nest when folded up, saving storage space.
  • Durable.
  • Adjustable.
  • Come in black or white vinyl-coated wire or zinc-plated wire.
  • The vinyl-coated wire is slip-resistant.
  • If you have taller books, you can get a 3-wire easel which will give your books additional support from the back.
  • If you have a gridwall system, you can get the 2-wire easel in gridwall holder form.
  • Books can stick to the vinyl-coated wire base, which makes for awkward removal by customers.
  • White vinyl-coated wire gets dirty and requires occasional cleaning.

Adjustable Vinyl-Coated Acrylic-Base Easel

  • The acrylic bases can break if not stored properly.
  • White vinyl-coated wire gets dirty and requires occasional cleaning.

Acrylic Easel

  • Clear acrylic makes the stand "disappear" into a display.
  • Lightweight.
  • Has a polished appearance.
  • Durable.
  • The lip keeps books from falling off – your work will be secure.
  • Not adjustable.
  • Prone to scratching.
  • Takes up more storage space.

Plate Stand

  • Folds for easy storage.
  • Durable.
  • Adjustable.
  • Has an elegant shape.
  • Clear acrylic makes the stand "disappear" into a display.
  • Lightweight.
  • There's no way to lock the stands in a closed position, so they are not completely stable.
  • The decorative quality may distract people from your work.

Many, if not all of the book stands shown above can be found at an art/framing shop. If you prefer to order online, library supply companies are a great place to get book stands in quantity:
Gibson Holders Incorporated was kind enough to grant permission for the use of their product photos in this post. They manufacture display stands and you can order directly from them (they supply Brodart).

You can view images of BEST member craft show displays in this post by MyHandboundBooks.

I'd love to see what you use to support your books! If you have used book stands at craft shows, whether similar to or different from those shown above, send me photos and I'll try to include them in a follow-up post next week. Be sure to include your name and a link to your Etsy shop.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Book Swap #13: KarleighJae

This rustic journal is made with soft rugged cowhide which will age and wear beautifully! The journal holds 70 pages (140 sides) of 80 lb Mohawk Superfine smooth soft white paper, wonderful for use with graphite, ink and even mild water mediums. Handstitched with strong linen thread and it features a wrap around front cover with slide tie to keep everything safe inside. --KarleighJae
You can see KarleighJae's creations for sale in her shop at

Our next swap books will be featured in February 2011.

Happy Holidays from the artisans of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Book Swap #13: MyHandboundBooks

In 1945, a sealed earthenware jar containing thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices was unearthed in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. One of the books was burned and part of another; but, twelve books and some loose pages survived. These books were likely made in the 2nd century AD, and the writings are mostly Gnostic treatises, believed to be a library hidden by monks from a nearby monastery. This set of books has become known as the Nag Hammadi library.

This purple suede journal is made using the same structure as the Nag Hammadi codices. The pages have been artificially aged by individually tea staining each one. This book is handbound using simple tackets along the spine and there are three straps for closure. Opening and closing the book using these closures, would likely have been part of a religious ceremony so all the straps were important. --Rhonda of MyHandboundBooks

You can find MyHandboundBooks' journals and planners in her shop here:

Book Swap #13: PurplebeanBindery

My swap book is a recycled bitty book, about 4x4". There is a page for every day of the year (plus), with recycled comic book pages dividing the months. The cover is some weird, bright red recycled rubber (possibly the material they make playground balls out of), all bound together with the buttonhole stitch. I started making books this size a few years ago. I wanted to keep a journal for a year, but didn't want to face a big, white, blank page every night - so I made a small book with just enough space to write a few sentences before I fell asleep. It worked. My favorite entry from that year: "May 1st Strange weather. Bought new underwear." I'm pretty excited this little guy is traveling to Istanbul to Ozlem, Askida on Etsy. --Anna of PurplebeanBindery
PurplebeanBindery's shop is here:

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Book Swap #13: Askida

I made a Coptic stitch book from a green bamboo stick straw mat with regular white and coloured papers inside. The covers are embellished with woven red tape and the leather closure straps are finished at the end with red bells creating a Christmas theme. The binding is sewn with green waxed thread. The book measures 10cm x 20cm. The envelope made with interlining fabric is to hold the book. This book is a little early Christmas gift for my swap partner Buechertiger. --Ozlem of Askida

You can see Askida's books made from balsa wood and upcycled materials here:

Book Swap #13: Surfbunny

Sun and Moon Journal is a blank book made entirely of handmade papers. The Sun and Moon covers are Mexican amate bark paper made by the Otomi Indians of Puebla. The interior pages are banana and mixed fibers handmade by us from our banana plantation. The book is coptic stitched with waxed linen thread. The pages of the book vary in color with the addition of cotton linters and other recycled fibers in some of the batches. The paper was made by harvesting banana stalks, chopping and cooking the fiber in a soda ash solution, rinsing and using calcium carbonate as a buffering agent. The sheets were pulled Western style and pressed in our hydraulic press, then air dried in an exchange dryer setup. --Surfbunny

Surfbunny's books and handmade paper are here:

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Book Swap #13: UberArt/EmersonBindery

This charcoal grey swap book is bound using Secret Belgian Binding and was a lot of fun to make. I just love this technique and am so glad it's not a "secret" any longer! Ha ha! I experimented with waxing the paper covers using a furniture paste finishing wax and buffing it to a nice matte sheen. It makes the covers so silky soft and hopefully will repel dirt moisture, and fingerprints. It needed one last finishing touch, so I dug through my button and brad collection and stumbled upon a brad which coordinates perfectly with the grey, blue, and chartreuse green in the pattern. The book board is too thick to set the shank of the brad so I used a metal glue to set the brad in place. -- Beth of UberArt and EmersonBindery
You can see Beth's offerings for sale in her shops: and

Friday, 17 December 2010

Blog Interview: CinderLisaDesign

Welcome to the last edition of our blog interviews for this year. Today we are vising Lisa of CinderLisaDesign located in Bountiful, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Hi Lisa, thanks for having us! Tell us a little about your shop and your crafting: What do you make and sell?
I have a few spiral-bound notebooks, upcycled from food products - I hate to throw anything away. The spiral binder was my sister's though, and she's in California, and her machine inaccessible since my move to Utah. So I've taught myself Coptic stitch (and recently stab-bound, though I haven't used that much in the shop yet) to keep up my upcycling ways.

So far as my journals go, I play to my strengths, and what I know is sewing. My covers are quilted—a lifetime growing up in a quilting family means I have quite the stash of cotton fabric. I use felt as a base, and quilt fabric over it, sometimes pieced, sometimes just as a plain swatch of fabric I find particularly beautiful. I also have an extensive collection of buttons at my disposal, and one of my favorite things to do is go through them and find just the right accents to finish off a piece.

Lately I've been making wedding favor notebooks, too (I used them for my own wedding, too, you'd better believe!) and they've been a lot of fun to do. It's a lot of fun working with a customer, finding custom colors for them.

You seem to indicate that you have a background in sewing...
My mother is a quilter, specializing in Hawaiian and Jacobean appliqué. She's from a long line of quilters, so fabric and craft stores have always been a part of my life. One of my earliest memories is learning how to sew with DMC floss and bubblewrap that my mom would give me. I've dabbled in quilting, but never had the real patience needed to finish things in that media. My brothers and sister are all artists in one way or another... my brothers have both worked as professional sculptors and artists, and my sister was actually a LEGO master model builder.

So how did bookmaking come to your life?
Really I've only been bookbinding for a couple of years, and I was actually inspired to do it by browsing Etsy and falling in love with the handmade books I was seeing. I've been a lover of books all my life, and an avid journaler for years. While buying journals I'd think every once in a while that I should learn how to make my own, but had never really looked into it. Finally one day I decided to go ahead and do it. I looked up a youtube video on longstitch softcover books, got out my sewing machine, and never looked back!

Do you have a day job different from being an Etsy seller?
Yes, I work as a freelance writer, and as an editor for Drollerie Press, an online publishing company specializing in "speculative" fiction. I went to school for a Literature degree from the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, which is a degree designed especially for students "curiously focused" on Literature and Creative Writing. My big goal is and always has been to get published—I'm working on two Young Adult paranormal novels at the moment, and am looking forward to finishing the first early next year. (Wish me luck!)

I would like to work employed, and have been looking for a "day job" for a good long time with little success. Well, I just got married in the beginning of November, so the last year my job really has been trying to accomplish that with as little money as possible, meaning hand-making a LOT of the decorations, the favors, even my bouquet (out of paper, of course!).

What is the story behind your Etsy name?
CinderLisa was a nickname my mom gave me when I was a kid. Whenever I even came close to complaining about chores, I'd get a "but how else will you earn your prince?" Honestly, I sort of hated it, but when I opened up my Etsy shop, I decided I was going to reclaim the name for myself.

What do you think is the secret of your success?
I really try to make a range of things... I think the only reason my shop has been successful for me so far (considering I've yet to had a chance to truly devote myself to it) is because of the product range I have, from kitschy notebooks to unique, one-of-a-kind journals. I've been really careful to put a whole price range in my shop, and when deciding on new products, an effort to round out the price range is usually a factor.

Would you dare to show off the first you ever made?
Sure, you can see it in the photo below. The cover is made from a bag of scraps from a strip quilt I was working on (which is still unfinished). It's not perfect, but it was enough to make me believe that I could keep doing it, and it gave me that little thrill of satisfaction that only finishing a creation can give you. You can read the whole story here, on my blog.

This year almost came to an end. Do you have new plans for the next year to come?
I'm really interested in making custom envelopes and cards, which I'd be putting up in my shop. I just enjoy finding new ways to play with paper. I also learned a lot from putting my wedding together, and am considering implementing some of those techniques, also... I'd be delighted if I could start selling the type of bouquet that I used in my wedding, and once I figure out pricing for that, I'm going to test it out.

Thank you, Lisa, for granting us a glimpse behind the scenes!

If you now are curious to learn more about Lisa and her creations there are a couple of places where you can catch up with her: Of course you can go to Etsy and browse the shelves in her shop, she is writing a blog on crafting, and another writing blog, and you can find her on twitter and tumblr.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Book Swap #13: Buechertiger

This cute little book is perfect to be carried in the pocket of your coat or in a purse. When the muse decides to kiss you, you can immediately jot down your ideas. The book measures only about 2 inches by 4 inches. It is bound in a Coptic style and is decorated with two-colored Coptic headbands. Coptic headbands are usually one colored. This is one of several two-colored variants that I invented. I call it the Dalmatiner book, because of the puppy on the covers, and the black and white thread I used for binding it. I hope the recipient Karleigh Jae will find it usefull and will put it to good use! --Buechertiger

Visit "Buchertiger's Bucherladen" at

Book Swap #13: UsefulBooks

I am a confirmed word nerd. When a friend asked me a while ago to make a book with a quote from Shakespeare on the front, I absolutely loved the concept! I made this book for MyHandboundBooks with a quote that she chose from Pierre Trudeau. The hand-sized coptic bound book is covered with handmade Nepalese lokta paper. The quote is printed on tea stained paper and inset into the cover. For the endpapers, I used paper that I marbled in a metallic stone pattern to coordinate with the chocolate brown lokta paper. The text block is made from 120 gsm Italian velata that I tea stained for added character. A small black button and waxed Irish linen thread serve as the closure. --Cindy of UsefulBooks
See Cindy's other books for sale here:

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Book Swap #13: CamilleRiner

Being in Canada, I thought that PrairiePeasant would enjoy a book celebrating the rejuvenating aspects of the winter season. This miniature origami petal fold book contains a short poem that I wrote when I was trying to focus on the "positive" aspects of winter during a long cold spell in South Dakota. We all need times of rest, and winter can be the season to make some time to gaze out the window at the trees, crunch through the snow on a nice walk or wrap up in a soft blanket to take a nap. The book cover is from a photograph of some aspen in my yard, and the clasp is a small twig from one of those trees. -- CamilleRiner
Visit Camille's shop to see her artists books and prints:

Book Swap #13: PrairiePeasant

This little longstitch bound book is made with found and recycled materials. I love the upholstery fabric used on the cover, but have no idea if it is vintage or new--the colours and pattern are so much fun. The covers are lined with a khaki linen fabric that I found at a thrift store. Once again, I've used paper from a local papermaker, Botanical Paperworks, for the pages. I was lucky enough to find a box of their "leftovers" once at our local art recycling centre, ArtsJunktion. Even the cotton embroidery floss used for the binding was inherited from a neighbor. This book is completed with a vintage button and a little elastic closure. --Laura of PrairiePeasant

See Laura's ecofriendly journals, cards and envelopes in her shop: