Thursday, 5 July 2012

Making Miniature Books Part 1

I am up and about at last so I have set up my dining table for miniature book making. 
Thanks to everyone who gave me links or advice about where to look for tutorials, I have looked through lots of them and have started with two methods that have come from blog reading and looking carefully at some of the beautiful books I already have in my collection.
The first method I have been working on is the creation of fake leather/dragon skin. This is what I have come up with from various sources.
I have torn strips of tissue paper very roughly.......
 ...... and then glued the strips in over laying each other. I used a PVA/water solution and just slapped it on in layers on a piece of card stock. I started with two sheets one I simply tore the tissue paper into strips and for the other sheet I crumpled the tissue paper and then tore it into strips for a more crumpled effect.
 I let these sheets dry thoroughly and then coated with a layer of acrylic paint and two coats of a PVA wash which gave the textured paper a really nice gloss.
I will cut these sheets up into book covers tomorrow.
 I also decided to see if I was better of using this method on pre-cut book covers as well as trying to see if I could texture the front covers with hidden charms and glue blobs.
Here you can see the different stages. As I have a lot of bookcases to fill a lot of the books will have wood centres.
On these covers I have layered the tissue over an owl charm and a spider charm. Can you also see the glue bobs on the spine? Definitely trying everything here!! Added one coat of acrylic paint.
 Not sure how well this is working over the charms. You can just about see the spider underneath.
 Using my finger I have lastly, worked in a coat of Rub n Buff which really seems to have brought the texturing alive. I will now be able to trim them down and add the pages for the inside.
 By the time I trim it, fill with parchment pages and perhaps a spine label I think it might make a good topper for a pile of books.
The second method I have started with is much simpler but surprisingly time consuming.
I have printed off lots of complete book covers/jackets from Google images. Deciding that my Flourish and Blotts will include on its shelves lots of books that I have enjoyed with my children as well as those with a fantasy link.
 I tried printing directly onto card stock which worked quite well and meant I could then glue directly onto the balsa 'pages' insert.
I also printed onto paper which I then glued onto card stock, allowed to dry and then put together.
They both seem to work out the same really.
I also cut up some wall paper and leather off cuts. The leather was a nightmare to cut. I used a craft knife, scissors and a Stanley knife but still ended up with very rough edges. 
I have made the books in blocks of 3 and 5 as I think grouping the books will look much better on so much shelving.
The one thing this last couple of days has taught me is not to be too obsessive about all these books. I am going to concentrate on setting out lots of statement stacks and individual books around the whole shop.
Maybe one day it will be filled with individual, opening books that can all be read!! Not this year though!!


  1. Your books look great Janice!!

    I like the layering of the charms. Also the printing on card stock and glue over balsa seems like a great idea for bookshelf filler. I will definitely have to try that. Will you seal any of the card stock books or leave them alone for a more aged/faded look?

    1. Hi Jenny, a bit of both I think. At the moment I am simply playing with all the different ways I can come up with to make in bulk. I am so slow at putting them all together.

      All the book printies have been sealed with a sealing wax paste by Judkins which is great as it doesn't smear the printing and gives a nice sheen.

  2. Ooh I know exactly how you feel! I got obsessed with my mini books too and wanted each one to be opening and readable, if not readable, then, at least opening with real pages! But it's just SO much work. Even making the covers from images I found took forever (because not every book I wanted in my collection has a full jacket on Google Images). And then I made most of them hardcover instead of just doing the "glue the paper onto cardstock" method, and it was just all-consuming! Anyways, your books look very nice!

    1. Hi, I will make some with pages for the main interior of the shop but at the moment I want to make them in more bulk while learning lots of different techniques.

      When I have finished enough for one or two book cases I will get a sense of what they look like grouped together and then I can decide what to do about aging and fading.

      Just had a look at your blog. Your books are amazing.

  3. It's so strange seeing this paint technique! A couple of years ago when I was doing my coursework for my exam in GCSE art, I was taught this technique to create an aged effect with so it was a nicer reminder of that time :) we finished by rubbing gold paint into the surface and that really enhanced it a lot :)

    I really love how they've turned out :) have you ever tried marbling effects? It's really simple to do and that could make investing covers too :D

    Wonderful as ever and hope your legs getting better :)

    With regards to those book from your childhood, I remember hearing that in flourish and Blotts, there is supposed to be a 'muggle section'

    1. Hi Michael,

      I have had fun with the glue!! Very Playschool but the technique does work very well. I will have a go with the gold paste tomorrow that sounds like a good idea.

      I am going to work through all my odds and ends of card and fancy paper too a bit at a time. As I do it I will try and highlight what works and what doesn't as I can already see how some of the covers are not as good as they could be.

      I love the idea of a Muggle Section too. I am definitely going to have a set of Dr Suess there. Can you imagine the wizards trying to make sense of that!!

  4. I love your books Janice! It is time consuming isn't it?

    Hope your leg is healing up nicely.


    1. Hi Victoria,

      And you is your wrist doing? My ankle is nowhere near as painful as the wrist was.

      Gosh they are terribly time consuming and I am doing them the most simple of ways.

  5. I love your books, thanks for the explanation.
    I hope your leg is healing up nicely too.

    1. Thanks Maria. I feel the ankle is getting stronger every day.

  6. Books are fun but they are so time consuming! Nice little collection you've put together. With the leather, try painting the back with white wood glue and let dry then cut using a metal ruler and very sharp scalpel, take several lighter cuts rather than one hard cut then the leather won't move as much.

  7. I love the idea with the spine label. I'll hope it works well? Your books are beautiful.
    Hugs from Craftland

  8. Amazing! Thanks for sharing! ;)

  9. I like mini books and yours are fantastic. Great work.
    Bye Faby

  10. Hi Janice, loving your book ideas. I have played around with making books too. I have a template I can email to you to print off book pages which work by folding them into a concertina and gluing down one edge. If you want to cut leather neatly you need a scalpel with a blade with a curved edge, I use a 20N blade and it must be sharp. Also I use low tack masking tape to stick my leather to my cutting mat so it doesn't wobble and a metal ruler. You can use a small piece of crochet cotton stuck to the spine to represent the bumps and then when you cover the spine in leather they show up really well.

  11. Marbled paper is a good idea too, you can print off some from the Internet and use it. They make good ledgers etc and look great with the leather spines.

    Hope all my comments help


    1. Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to send me so many ideas and help. It is really appreciated Natalie. I am now off to google marbled patterns.

  12. Well done with all your books - I'm very impressed. It's not something I've attempted yet but no doubt my need for books will lead me back to the helpful hints and tips YOU received!!


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