Thursday, 21 August 2014

How to Make a Sketchbook with No Sewing!



Concertina-format sketchbooks are a bit intimidating: I had one on my shelf for a whole year before I finally got up the courage to use it at last year's Urban Sketcher's symposium in Barcelona


The trick is just to start. Once I did, I was away. I have filled two, on both sides, and am keen to keep going. There's something really exciting about the ability to create an on-going image - maybe one long landscape like the one at the top, done in Wales last summer, or combining sketches in creative ways like the Manchester one I did recently:


Trouble is, the nice watercolour paper ones are hard to come by and a bit pricey. So, I decided to try my hand at making my own to take with me to this year's symposium. How hard could it be? Well, a wee bit trickier than I thought, to be honest, but I got there.


I cut 2 big sheets of watercolour paper into 3 strips each, enough for 3 books: one slightly smaller one, like the Manchester one, and two medium, Moleskin-sized books. Working out the best page width was the first tricky bit. I then scored across the paper strips with a special device, ready for folding (you get it from book-binder's outlets):


The width of one paper sheet wasn't enough on its own: there had to be a join to get a decent length of concertina. This was the next tricky bit - if you don't get the two strips exactly in line, the error accumulates with each fold. My first attempt was a bit wonky, because I didn't realise that. You can just make out the fold below. I allowed a 10mm overlap and joined the the 2 strips with double-sided tape:


The really exciting bit is the binding. The little book I took to Manchester has no binding at all - no, really - just a board attached at each end. No sewing or making covers with spines: easy-peasy (ish). 


The finished book folds up into itself and all you need is a rubber band to stop it unfolding. It's the perfect method. I covered the end boards with fabric from a dead pair of walking trousers, stuck on with PVA. The fabric didn't want to do what it was told, so the corners are a bit dodgy, but, all in all, it looks very smart and cost very little. Have a go!

12 comments:

Cathy Holtom said...

Great idea, I will have a go!

Pete Scully said...

This is great Lynne! Inspiring me to make my own now.

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

They're great fun, aren't they Lynne! I made that my "parting gift" for Sketchbook Skool, a PDF with instructions for making these. (Have you tried pasting a full page join together but only on three sides so it makes a pocket?)

Chantal said...

I'm all for making a sketchbook with no sewing! This is next on my list! Thanks for sharing the instructions.

Joan Tavolott said...

I love these! Do you have any suggestions on the best way to work on it and not have the whole thing unfold every time you move? Do you clip it closed?

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

I use an elastic band on mine, Joan!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Yes, two elastic bands, one for each end, or 2 book-binder's clips (which get in the way of your paint less than bands).

Laura said...

Thanks! Great idea ! Will make one today!!

Desiree Habicht said...

Awesome, I will have to try this

Richard T said...

Excellent idea, especially as it lets you use a favourite paper.

Allen jeley said...
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ANNE E said...

I make a sketch book for kids with your guide line and kids really like my sketchbook thanks for share it computer science statement of purpose .