In a perfect word, but also a more boring world. In truth most of us are making books for a little bit of income, and a lot of creative release. And even if it is your full time gig, saving a few bucks or finding inspiration from outside the norm is always a good thing. When making books my credo is- I may not have a lot of money to spare, but I can still have a lot of fun. That’s what I want to talk about on my new Wednesday blogging stint here- what I call budget bookginding, or hackbooking. “Hacking” tools & supplies from other aisles of the craft store, or things already around the house, or even things saved from the trash to create new and interesting structures and save a buck.
So let’s get started! There are a lot of beautiful tools out there, but sometimes you have to make do with what you've got on hand. Below are some of my favorite easy substitutions- bookbinding "tools" you probably already have laying around the house.
Glue papers: Free newspapers, catalogs and magazines. Every Thursday our local free paper comes out, so every Wednesday night I take a few left from the stack outside my office and use them to protect my table from glue when working on my covers. Just open the paper to the front page and start gluing, and when the page is all gluey turn the page for a fresh surface. Do be careful when using lightweight or light colored paper as the ink from the pages can transfer with the glue- in those cases it's best to use the blank backside of a printed page from your recycle bin or a spare scrap of wax paper as your glue paper.
Cutting/ scoring mat: Cardboard from the back of sketchpads. I use sketchpad paper for a fair number of books, and instead of recycling the backs right away I've found that the thick backing makes an excellent "pad" to protect my table when scoring pages with a bone folder. In a pinch they also work as a quick cutting mat. Bonus- you can write down your measurements on the board for quick reference.
Punching Cradle: Telephone book. I started using the phone book in a pinch when my cradle bit the dust and I needed a quick replacement in the middle of a project. You do need to be extra careful that the signatures don't slide once you've squared them up, but otherwise this works great- just tap your signature on the table to square up the pages, open your book to near the center, and place your signature in the valley to punch. And don't forget to put your slip of sketchpad cardboard underneath to protect your table from awl holes. One warning- I've yet to run into a problem, but you may want to "test" the ink in your phone book first by rubbing a piece of scrap paper against the page you plan to set your signature on- if the ink rubs off place a clean sheet of paper between your phone book and signature for extra protection before punching.
Bookpress: Stack of books. The classic book press (no pun intended). Just sandwich up your glued boards (wrapped in wax paper) between heavy books large enough to cover the board surface for a good, even pressing. Our Time Life art history books get lots of love this way.
Hinge spacers: Skewers. At just over 1/8" wide wooden skewers have become my favorite way to get even, easy hinge spacing in my books. Just place down a skewer on either side of your spine, snug up the cove beside it and lift the skewer away. Voila! Perfect, even hinge spaces- from a cheap and reusable little tool. The pointy end is also good for poking ribbon ends down into hole to finish off a stab-binding.
So what am I missing? I'm sure there's a ton of great "household material tool hacks" out there, please share your favorites in the comments below!