Thursday, December 24, 2009

Handmade Sketchbook Finished!

Here it is! The finished sketchbook open to a couple of watercolors that were painted before I put the pages together into the book. Below you will find the steps I went through since my last post to add the book block into the cover.

After pressing the cover between the boards for a couple of days it was properly dry. I squeezed glue onto the back board and brushed it out.

After placing the book block with it's cheesecloth spine down on the center of the cover I added a little more glue through the cheesecloth and brushed this out too.

Pieces of the same linen cloth used for the cover were then glued down to the mat board. They are called fillers. The cheesecloth is now sandwiched between the mat board and the linen filler.

Here, I'm brushing glue across pieces of Canson pastel paper which will be used for the end papers.

Those binder clips did a great job of holding the book block up vertically for me while I positioned the fillers and end papers and pressed and smoothed them down.

The burgundy colored end papers are a little too long at this point but I will tear them even with the other pages later. I placed sheets of newsprint to absorb moisture from the glue down directly on the end papers then wax paper next to protect the good drawings and painting pages from moisture. I also added some foam core to keep the cover up since it slants downward a little when closes. This kept the homesote boards horizontal once I put them down and weighted them.

The sketchbook is now between 2 homesote boards and more heavy art books placed on top to weigh the book down for final drying for a few days.

The open sketchbook two days later after drying. I have trimmed the end papers to the same width as the painting papers.

There are a few minor problems. In between the signatures there is a lot of space at the spine. I'll do the stitching a bit more snug next time.

The other problem is that the pages are a bit wider than the linen cover. I may not have gotten the book block glued in tightly enough against the cover spine. Bookbinding is definitely an art in itself. I'm looking forward to taking a workshop to improve on some of these details. But the sketchbook will still serve it's purpose quite well for me regardless of these little imperfections. I'm very much looking forward to filling it!


  1. Tons of work, but very cool! Thanks for sharing the process.

  2. Hi Deb, I'm glad you liked the process. I think the next time I make a sketchbook it should go a little faster. I bought a book the other day at Costco about Chinese brush painting which I have been wanting to learn. It has a nice red linen cover and boxes inside with brushes, tube colors and a smaller book. Once I take these things out I can use the cover for my next sketchbook. That's another way to simplify the process.


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